Aug. 19, Lexington, Ky.
With four horses in the top six, including all of the top three, Scott Stewart became the rider to beat in the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals. Only Lillie Keenan joined him in the top slots, taking fourth and fifth going into the second round tomorrow night.
Stewart, Flemington, N.J., and Keenan, New York, N.Y., both spent last week helping riders at the USEF Pony Finals in Lexington, so they hadn’t ridden their horses all week. But they didn’t seem to have any rust to knock off as they posted scores in the high 80s from each judging panel, with Stewart’s Declaration earning the high score of 91 from panel 3 (Carleton Brooks and Jimmy Torano). Empire, owned by Becky Gochman, also earned a 90 from panel 4 (Jim Clapperton and Mike Rosser). Scott Hofstetter, Otis Brown, Russell Frey and Julie Winkel also officiated.
“The course was great,” said Stewart of the track designed by Patrick Rodes and Bobby Murphy. “For once I couldn’t complain even if I had a bad day. It was really huntery.”
Check out the course map here.
Despite the huntery feel to the course, the leader, Carlos Boy, is a former jumper owned by Krista and Alexa Weisman who Stewart started showing this spring. He’d competed in grand prix classes in the same arena at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Watch his round.
Watch Declaration's round.
Watch Empire's round.
Keenan, who rode her horses Madison and C Coast Z (a former European show jumper) to the top spots, said the course reminded her of photos of her mother Pam Carmichael showing in the hunters decades ago. “I loved the course,” said Keenan, who trains with Heritage Farm.
Watch Madison's round.