Upperville, Va. – June 8
For the second weekend running, Betsee Parker's Inclusive has come out on top of a U.S. Hunter Jumper Association Hunter Derby. Last weekend, he won the derby at the Devon Horse Show. Now he did it again by winning the $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby for the second year in a row at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show.
Piloted by Tori Colvin, 15, Inclusive put down a typically flawless classic round. They took all five high options in the first round and the four in the second round.
“The first round was a very straightforward kind of hunter round,” said Colvin, of Loxahatchee, Fla.
In the handy round, the horses trotted a log that took them up a grass bank, then cantered a tight circle to jump a stone wall toped with a split rail. They then jumped another split rail fence on the grass, then cantered down the bank to return to the turf.
“That was scary,” Colvin admitted, noting the soft footing going up the bank had gotten rather torn up after rain storms for several days prior.
While the bank didn’t cause anyone major problems—there were no refusals or rails down—the horses in the class seemed to look twice as they turned toward the crowd as well as hesitate before taking on the stone wall. A few horses trotted for a few steps going up the bank, and several took a little leap over the line from grass back to turf.
Colvin also competed Tiffani, a chestnut mare owned by Danielle Stacy of New York. Colvin is putting a few miles on the mare in the junior hunters as well before Lili Hymowitz takes over the ride.
“I had no idea what she was going to do,” said Colvin. She rode Tiffani, who placed fifth overall, conservatively on the bank, but chose to go a little tighter on the turn to the stone wall with Inclusive. The decision paid off, and they earned 9 and 8 bonus points for handiness from the two different panels of judges.
“He’s such a great horse, so he just sort of rocks whenever he goes in,” she said. “He’s just so easy. You know he’s not going to stop.”
In second place, Taken was ridden by Kate Conover instead of his usual Kelley Farmer, and Farmer took third on Mythical.
Farmer brought four horses to the Upperville derby, and the prize list restricted each rider to three apiece. She asked Conover to fill in aboard Taken.
“He was such a blast,” said Conover, Ocala, Fla. “He’s got loads of hangtime, which was really fun. I tried to stay consistent, and I wish I’d known him better because [in the handy round] I really would have sliced the turns more.”
Conover normally rides for Stacey Schaefer’s Shadow Ridge Farm and fills in for Sandy Lobel, but also spends a lot of time in Europe scouting out top hunter prospects, and she’s returning to the Netherlands on Tuesday to search for future stars.
There was one glaring omission on the start list for the derby. Commentary made a splash last week at Devon (Pa.) after that German Sporthorse mare made her hunter debut on derby day, finishing second with Farmer aboard. The mare had been an upper level eventer in Karen O’Connor’s stable, most recently finishing eighth at the Jersey Fresh CIC** (N.J.) with Hannah Sue Burnett up in early May.
Farmer rode the horse at Devon and told the Chronicle that she would hand the reins over to fellow professional Conover for the Upperville class thanks to that show’s restrictions on horses for each rider.
Commentary competed earlier in the week at Upperville, winning the second year green and grand green hunter titles, as well as the reserve high performance championship with Farmer. But she scratched from the derby, as the horse is in the process of being vetted to be sold.
The horse evented under the name RF Amber Eyes, and when Larry Glefke and Ken Garber bought her in the third week in May, she started competing under the name Commentary. She also was registered anew with the U.S. Equestrian Federation, leaving the same mare with two USEF numbers. Commentary’s new registry also listed a different age for the horse and didn’t include her breeding, which is included in her USEF record. RF Amber Eyes is listed as a 9-year-old German Sporthorse (Liberty Son—Natascha). That listing also links to her FEI passport number, and the FEI site includes her dam sire, Glistan. Commentary’s recorded as an 8-year-old warmblood with no breeding included.
According to Glefke, the double registration and inaccurate information is an accident and Farmer misheard or misremembered the horse’s age when she registered the mare. Glefke was unaware of the discrepancy in the registrations, and pointed out that they had to purchase the horse in an accelerated time frame as she was due to head to Europe the week of purchase.
“I didn’t know that the three-day horses are registered,” he said. “The sale happened in a matter of about five hours. I don’t even have her passport yet.”
Farmer said she contacted the USEF to correct the mistake as soon as she was alerted to the discrepancy, and the Chronicle confirmed that the Commentary's registration has been updated, with her original USEF number and new name and owners.
Glefke also answered questions about the horse’s eligibility for the second year green division. He knew the horse had competed one year in the United States, and in Europe before that. He said that it’s common industry practice to consider a horse’s first year competing in the United States as their first green year, regardless of their European record.
Glefke runs a busy sales barn at his Wellington, Fla., Lane Change Farm and frequently imports horses from Europe to show and resell. This is the first time they have bought an eventer for the hunter ring.
-Anne Kursinski competed Only One, an aptly named animal as the only off-the-track Thoroughbred who competed in the derby. She is entered in Sunday’s $75,000 Upperville Jumper Classic Grand Prix with him as well. They did not make the top 12 in the derby.
-Two Californians made the trip to Upperville. Erin Bland rode Weatherly and Hope Glynn rode Woodstock (sixth) and SVS Caremunde Z (seventh).