Tori Colvin and Private Practice are Perfection in the $289,730 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship

©Shawn McMillen Photography

Defending champion Tori Colvin rose to the occasion, achieving an impressive victory over her peers to capture the $289,730 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship after two days of competition. Aboard Brad Wolf’s Private Practice, Colvin earned near-perfect base scores of 96, 95, and 96 and earned 28 of the 30 available bonus points in the handy round for the victory.

As the Championship celebrated its 10th year of crowning the best hunters, the final portion of the competition in the Rolex Stadium at the Kentucky Horse Park featured a beautiful handy hunter course designed by Alan Lohman and Danny Moore. The fence heights ranged from 3’6″ to 4′ and offered riders an opportunity to pick up bonus points by taking any one or all of the four option fences, which were offered at 4’3″ and 4’6″ in addition to a trot fence at fence 7. The 11-obstacle course featured several areas where riders could show off their handiness with tight turns and rollbacks.

“Yesterday [in the classic round] he was really good,” Colvin said of Private Practice, an eight-year-old Holsteiner. “He hasn’t been in this ring, and so he was a little greener than he was today. Today he stepped in and was fantastic and jumped everything and every jump as a 20, and he jumped out of his skin. He really rose to the occasion.”

“Tori’s horse jumped every fence exactly the same. She never changed pace, and that separated her. There’s no question,” said judge Carleton Brooks. “Tori never missed a lick from the moment she walked in the ring. It was the Tori Colvin we all know and love right there.”

©Shawn McMillen Photography

When three-time Championship winner Liza Boyd entered the ring aboard the first of her two entries, Clemens, owned by Finally Farm and Westerly Farm, she knew she had to be at the top of her game. She had a lot on her mind, and the in-and-out, vertical-to-vertical option was one weighing on many riders’ minds. “I had enough things to stress about, so I just let Jack [Towell] tell me what to do [on that one],” said Boyd. “He had helped Daisy Farish earlier in the Derby Challenge. They had something similar. However, he had a big long speech about how it worked out for Daisy, so I just listened to what he said and didn’t stress. So thank you, Jack.”

Boyd went on to earn base scores of 91, 92, and 89 with 29 bonus points with Clemens to take second overall, and she returned to the ring on Maggie Hill’s Tradition and delivered another solid round, earning 27 bonus points and base scores of 87.75, 91, and 90 for a two-day total of 584.25 and a third-placed finish overall.

As the final contenders on course, classic round leaders Holly Shepherd and Tybee, owned by Helen Brown, delivered a strong round, posting base scores of 89.5, 88.5, and 84.25 and earning 27 bonus points for fourth place. “Going back on top always seems like the most nerve-wracking place to be, and my horse was definitely reading that from me tonight,” she said. “And, I was a little conservative a couple of places where I shouldn’t have been, but he was amazing, and it was awesome to be here.”

For Colvin’s performance, she received the Beaver River Farm Perpetual Trophy along with a custom CWD saddle as the winning rider, and Private Practice was awarded the Wrenwood Farm Trophy for owner Brad Wolf. Aubrienne Krysiewicz-Bell earned the top Junior-Owner Rider Award in the Championship aboard Early Winter, while Kelley Corrigan earned the top Amateur-Owner Rider Award for her performance aboard Privateer. Jacob Pope received this year’s Rider Style Award. Clemens and Boyd were presented with this year’s Shapley’s Best Turned Out Award with groom Alberto Ramirez being presented with a Shapley’s Awards Package.

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