Welcome to the Practical Horseman Podcast, featuring conversations with respected riders, industry leaders and horse-care experts. The show is co-hosted by Practical Horseman editors. Our goal is to inform, educate and inspire.
This week’s episode is a little different than our typical podcasts. To clarify, we are sharing our press conference audio from the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. The event was held August 19–20, 2022 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
To give you some background on the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, the riders have to qualify for the competition. Additionally, the championship consists of two rounds. The first round, called the Classic Round, is over a more typical hunter course and held on a Friday. This year, 69 horse-and-rider combinations competed in that round.
The second round, called the Handy Round, is on Saturday. That course has tighter turns and other options. For example, this year had a tricky bounce combination made up of tree-branch rails with big stumps for standards. Riders could ride directly to the bounce from the previous fence or ride past it and make a right or left rollback turn to it. Forty-one pairs advanced to this year’s Handy Round. During both the Classic and Handy rounds, there are higher fence options that the riders can take to earn bonus points.
USJHA International Hunter Derby Press Conferences
Getting back to the podcast, the first part is the press conference after the Classic Round. During this part, you’ll hear different journalists asking questions of the top three finishers of that class. Hunt Tosh rode to first place with the Wheeler Family’s 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding Cannon Creek. Hunt and Cannon won last year’s USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship. John French placed second with a the 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding Milagro, owned by Kent Farrington LLC. John won the inaugural hunter derby championship on Rumba in 2009. Additionally, Hannah Isop rode to third place with Tracy Freels’ 18-year-old Selle Français gelding Red Ryder. So you’ll hear all three of these riders answering questions.
The second part of the podcast is the press conference after the Handy Round. Hunt and Cannon Creek stayed on top to win the championships. Hannah and Red Ryder moved up to second place. And Hunt and his second horse, Ceil Wheeler’s 9-year-old warmblood gelding Autograph moved up from eighth place to third. USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship newcomers Colin Syquia and Front Page placed fourth and were the leaders of the Tier II riders. You’ll hear from these three in this part. (John French and Milagro had a lovely ride but had a hard rub at one fence to move them down to eighth.)
Finally, the podcast concludes with a few comments from Hunt in a brief interview I had with him right after the award ceremony.
As I listened to this audio again, I found myself enjoying it just as much as when I’d been there in person. And I hope you would, too. It’s sort of a sneak peek at what goes on behind the scenes at a top hunter competition. I think you get a sense of the riders’ personalities as they joke with each other. It’s also cool to hear them talk about their horses and course strategies. Unfortunately, you can hear background noise. You can still hear the riders pretty well, but when the journalists are asking questions, it sometimes is a little challenging to catch it all. But I think from the riders’ answers, you’ll get the context.
Podcast Sponsor: Troxel
Before getting into the podcast, I’d like to share a word from this episode’s sponsor, Troxel. Over two years of research and development went into engineering the most ventilated helmet in the equine industry, the new Terrain. This next generation, lightweight, low-profile helmet is equipped with 12 extra-large vents that deliver unmatched airflow. And a newly-developed front cage adds an extra level of impact resistance. The polycarbonate shell is co-molded to the EPS liner for the perfect combination of lightweight performance and strength. Innovations include a patented, cooling and moisture-wicking CoolCoore liner treated with odor-bursting FUZE technology, a shatterproof, replaceable visor and a new micro-adjustable DialFit system. These features take the Terrain helmet to the next level. For more information, visit www.troxelhelmets.com.