August 8, 2016--The final day of World Championship Hunter Rider week at the Chicago Festival of the Horse began differently than most. David Cormalleth played tribute to the late Russel Frey with a rendition of "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes before riders in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby entered the Grand Prix arena to compete for top honors.
There were 19 riders entered in the class, but it was Maggie Jayne riding Frosted Blue that came out victorious. Jayne and Frosted Blue earned a score of 174 after the first course, sending them straight to the first place slot.
"Frosted Blue really rose to the occasion of jumping the bigger jumps because we haven't done it that much," Jayne said. "He was super brave, so it was really fun. He's just getting so much more comfortable at carrying a big canter and having it just be effortless. I think that's what appeals to the judges, and he does it so easily. At the same time, he's still able to get there and get the nice height, so it's fun."
The top 12 riders were then called back to the ring to compete over the handy round, with Maggie Jayne and Frosted Blue in the lead. The handy round posed many questions for riders, including four high option fences, a trot fence, and various rollback turns throughout the course.
Dorothy Douglas was second to last to complete the handy course, setting the standards high for Jayne with a score of 195 with no added high options. She said, "For the handy, the plan was just to be as handy as possible, make straight lines and try to go inside. I chose not to do all of the high options because I wanted to be as handy as possible."
Douglas was riding Vicerory, a gelding that is usually seen with Stone McCormick in the Junior Hunter divisions. She said, "The good thing is that [Viceroy] is so adjustable, so that you when you get to the jump, and you have to move up, he moves up easily. He has a huge stride, carries his own motor, and he's not scared of anything."
She continued, "As a rider, even though this is my first time riding him, you feel really confident going in the ring. Someone else could have ridden him, but Mike McCormick and Tracey Fenney gave me this opportunity and it's really cool."
Jayne was the final rider to enter the ring, and began her handy round prepared to tackle all four high options in order to showcase Frosted Blue's talents. She said, "Dorothy went before me, and she went beautifully and had a great round. She did all of the smaller options and was super handy. I just didn't think I could do that. I stuck with the bigger options and I maybe wasn't as handy, but that's what he does best. I was showcasing the best of his abilities and the way he's going right now."
Jayne's strategy paid off, as the pair soared to a handy round score of 194.5, enough to keep them in the lead. Jayne and Frosted Blue ended with a total score of 368.5. Douglas and Viceroy maintained their second place spot, finishing with a total score of 367.5.
The third place finisher in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby was Megan-Murray Tenuta aboard Rebecca Price's Editorial. Tenuta's total score came to 362.5 after earning a 170 for round one and a 192.5 for the handy course. Jayne picked up another ribbon, earning a sixth place riding Color Pearlz after receiving a total score of 346.5.
Immediately following the International Hunter Derby, riders in the Equo-sponsored $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby had their shot at a blue ribbon. This time, 31 different riders were vying for the blue, with Amelia McArdle being the one to come out on top riding Czech Mate.
Appropriately named, Czech Mate is a 9-year old Czech Warmblood, and does the 3'6'' Junior Hunters with one of McArdle's students. McArdle said, "He's very handy; he really likes turning. He's always seeking the next jump, which is great for the handy. You can always make the smoothest and shortest track with him because he's always with you and looking for that next inside turn."
After the first round, McArdle sat in fifth place, and new that she needed to make up some points if she wanted a shot at the win. McArdle's flawless handy round sent her right to the top after earning a score of 86 to include all four high options.
She said, "I knew there was an inside turn that it was about 50/50 whether or not people were going to do it, and I knew that if I wanted to make up extra points I needed to show something a little flashier for the handy. I went in, and even though it was to the spooky barrel jump, [Czech Mate] was really good to me. I just tried to make some really handy turns and when I could in the open spaces try to go forward and show his big stride and gallop a little."
McArdle's plan worked, and earned the pair the first place finish with a total score of 174. Second place went to Amanda Shaw riding her own Contemporary, a 12-year old Hanoverian gelding.
"[Contemporary] really needs to stay between your hand and your leg," Shaw said. "He gets really long-strided and strung out very easily. It's a very big balancing act with him trying to keep him where he needs to be. He has a very smooth canter that if you can manage it well works very well for you."
Shaw and Contemporary finished the first round with a score of 81.5, putting them in second place. The pair came back to the handy strong, earning a score of 82.75 to include all four high options. Their total score of 172.5 was enough to clinch the second place spot overall.
Rounding out the top three in the division was Isabella Baxter on her own Chief. Baxter and Chief earned an 81 for their first round, and a score of 83 for their handy round, including all four high options in their courses.
Sunday's derby competition concluded the second week of the Chicago Festival of the Horse. Many competitors have spent years traveling to the Lamplight Equestrian Center to compete, and McArdle has been competing at the facility since she was a junior.
"I've grown up showing here, I've done it for many, many years," concluded McArdle. "The place has just gotten better each year. I've always loved coming to these horse shows. They're super nice and in our backyard. I know Nina Koloseike has done some fabulous improvements to the facility; it's great for both spectators and riders!"
Competition at the Chicago Festival of the Horse kicks off its third week on Wednesday, August 10, at 8:00 a.m. For more information on the Lamplight Equestrian Center's Chicago Festival of the Horse Equifest show series, please visit www.lamplightequestriancenter.com. A downloadable prize list is accessible online.
Birthday Win for Brian Moggre in $25,000 Jumper Speed Derby at Chicago Festival of the Horse
Brian Moggre had the attention of the audience at Lamplight Equestrian Center before he was announced as the birthday boy over the loud speaker. The 15-year-old was wished a happy birthday as he exited the SmartPak Grand Prix arena, after he initially set the time to beat in the $25,000 Jumper Speed Derby.
"It's cool winning on my birthday," Moggre smiled. "It's the icing on the cake, really. I just went in and thought, 'It's my birthday, I'm just going to have fun.' It's a big money class, but I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself. I just went in and gave it all I had, and it worked out."
In a course that utilized every inch of available space, the junior athlete was ninth to attempt it aboard MTM Ace of Spades. The featured class converted faults to time, extending the opportunity to win to anyone with the fastest time despite faults.
Moggre proved to be the quickest competitor, not once, but twice. With four faults and a final time of 90.902 seconds, Moggre and MTM Ace of Spades claimed the top spot on the leaderboard and held on to it until the very end of the class, when he took his turn with his second mount.
Moggre re-entered the arena aboard MTM Flutterby, and after a tricky stride that resulted in four faults to start the course, the Texas native managed to outrun himself by a split second. Clocking in at 90.800 seconds, Moggre sealed first and second place in the speed derby.
"I knew I wanted to be clean," Moggre said. "But, I knew that if anything happened I needed to be running. Hearing the crowd changes how I'm feeling. I heard everyone sigh when I knocked the rail, so I knew I had to kick it into gear if I was going to win. That was my trigger. I think that's what makes me competitive. If I hear the crowd sigh, I'm going to make sure I'm the fastest 4-faulter. I'm going to do the best that I can, because why settle for anything less?"
Moggre purchased both horses from MTM Farm, which is owned and operated by Tracy Fenney and Mike McCormick. The winning horse, MTM Flutterby, is a 9-year-old Thoroughbred cross that was bred at MTM Farm. The 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood, MTM Ace of Spades was imported and has been with Moggre for just over two years.
The up-and-coming rider shared, "They both jumped amazing, but they're polar opposites. Ace is big and slow and always tired. He's super sweet, while Flutterby is small and spunky. She's a hot headed ride, basically she's a sassy chestnut mare. Ace is quick, because he's big and can leave out so many steps. Flutterby is quick because she's just quick off of her feet. I typically like to ride Ace first, because I get a feel for the course on a normal sized horse. When I get on Flutterby, I have to remember to add a step and to make up time with her foot speed."
Moggre knocked Liz Atkins and Niro 8 down to third place on the leaderboard by one tenth of a second. The professional rider also incurred four faults, settling for a final time of 90.931 seconds.
"This horse was made for 1.35m/1.40m speed classes," Atkins said. "He's brave and careful. He turns well. He's absolutely perfect for these classes."
The duo secured a win earlier in the week in the 1.35m Open Jumper and used the speed derby as a confidence booster.
"I was really close to winning the Grand Prix yesterday, so today I just wanted to go for it," Atkins explained. "It's a speed class, you go in and you go fast. You risk having a rail, but you still have to try and do it. These classes are so fun. I love that they offer this class here. It's a great time and it's great for the horses."
Congratulating the victor, Atkins continued, "Brian was just awesome. What a great birthday for him. These kids are so good. They're making the professionals work for it. I'm happy for him, he deserved it."
The sole competitor to have a clear round in the highlighted event of the day was Holly Shepherd and Copycat, who locked in a time of 91.633 seconds. However, Douglas Boyd placed above her after incurring 4-faults, but sneaking in a time of 91.567 seconds to steal fourth place.
Sharing his thoughts on Lamplight Equestrian Center, Moggre concluded, "I love this facility so much. It's beautiful, the money is great and the people are just really a pleasure to work with. A lot of my friends compete here, making it an all around exciting show."
The second week of the Chicago Festival of the Horse concluded on Sunday for both hunter and jumper competitors, but will pick up again on Wednesday, Aug. 10 with the final week competition. Spectators can look forward to the $15,000 Welcome Stake on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 4 p.m, and $50,000 Grand Prix on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 4 p.m.
For more information on Lamplight Equestrian Center's Chicago Festival of the Horse Equifest Show Series, please visit www.lamplightequestriancenter.com. A downloadable prize list is accessible online.
RESULTS - $25,000 Jumper Speed Derby
1 MTM FLUTTERBY BRIAN MOGGRE MAJOR WAGER LLC 0 0 4 90.800
2 MTM ACE OF SPADES BRIAN MOGGRE MAJOR WAGER LLC 0 0 4 90.902
3 NIRO 8 LIZ ATKINS BENCHMARK STABLES LLC 0 0 4 90.931
4 NICHOLAS DOUGLAS BOYD CLARA CIANCUILLO 0 0 4 91.567
5 COPYCAT HOLLY SHEPHERD LORETTA PATTERSON 0 0 0 91.633
6 AL PACHINI SHANNON HICKS HELEN GILBERT 0 0 4 92.051
7 CALLISTO Z TIFFANY HAMMACK CASSIE BERKE 0 0 4 96.242
8 RODEO VDL LIZ ATKINS BENCHMARK STABLES LLC 0 0 8 99.075
9 CUPINA COLADA MAGGIE JAYNE AMANDA DOLLINGER 0 0 12 99.118
10 LEVITICUS DOROTHY DOUGLAS L.O.O. LLC 0 0 8 100.215
11 DERINA SANDRA DALMAN SOUTHVIEW INC. 0 0 8 101.087
12 MANCHESTER HOLLY SHEPHERD LORETTA PATTERSON 0 0 12 101.483