El Primero is Number One Again with Victoria Colvin in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
On the final day of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), Sunday, March 31, the top 25 hunter combinations returned to the Derby Field at Equestrian Village to contest for the winning honors in the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Victoria Colvin lead the all-female podium followed by Kelley Farmer in second, and Liza Boyd in third as the trio once again demonstrated why they are household names in the hunter industry. The second round of the derby is the pinnacle event for hunter riders to close out the winter circuit and only invited the top-scoring competitors from round one of the event.
Ken Krome once again designed a beautiful track on the turf that included three high options and a rollback to a trot fence following fence two. The two panels of judges, consisting of Danny Robertshaw and Robert Crandall for panel one and Scott Williamson and Rob Bielefeld for panel two, had the ability to award extra points for handiness ranging from zero to 10. Junior rider Brian Moggre was the first of the 25 to return for round two but had an unfortunate rail at the second fence.
Jacob Pope shot to the top of the leaderboard midway through the class with a second round total of 200.00 points and held the lead until veteran hunter rider Liza Boyd piloted Tradition to the lead. Pope’s combined score of 375.00 points was still enough to maintain the fourth place with Forget Me Not Farm’s Unbelievable.
The last to return to the field was 21-year-old professional Victoria Colvin and the Meralex Farm entry, El Primero. The two held the final position after receiving the highest score in round one of 190 total points. Colvin and the nine-year-old KWPN gelding (Numero Uno x Zo-Special) gave it their all during the handy round and earned a whopping 212 total points from the judges for their effort. Combining both scores, Colvin landed on 402 overall points to take the blue ribbon. “It means so much to win this class after winning the derby at Deeridge as well. It’s really encouraging to come out here and have him do so well in the same season,” Colvin said.
The young professional has only had the ride with the gelding since the beginning of WEF, but the pair have already proven themselves as fierce competition. “I’ve only been riding [El Primero] since the beginning of WEF so I don’t know him that well, but Louise Serio had the ride on him before me and I owe her a lot of credit for helping me figure out how to make him go his best,” Colvin explained. “Everyone in the top ten were amazing riders, so I had to go in and just give it my best shot.”
Boyd and Maggie Hill’s eight-year-old Westphalian gelding Tradition (Cornet’s Stern x Larix) accumulated an impressive second round score of 196.50 points and rounded out the top three after a combined score of 376.50. “This horse did win in Friday’s $15,000 USHJA International Derby Hunt & Go, because Tori and Kelley didn’t show,” Boyd teased. “In all seriousness, he did really perform well and this is his third time being in the top three of a very competitive class.” “I have to thank Tradition’s owner, Maggie Hill, for encouraging me to show today,” Boyd added. “I wasn’t sure that I had it in me this week, but Maggie has more stamina than anyone, so she talked me into it and I’m very glad she did because both of our horses went great.”
While Boyd displayed an exemplary round, Farmer brought the heat with Larry Glefke and Kent Farrington LLC’s seven-year-old Westphalian gelding (Los Angeles x Fiones), Consent. The pair added a second round score of 201 points to their previous 184 and finished second with 385 combined points. “We’ve partnered with Kent [Farrington] on a number of horses and he has a beautiful eye for a good horse whether it’s a jumper or a hunter,” Farmer commented. “This horse is only seven, but he tries to win every time even though he is not nearly as seasoned as the top group.” “He doesn’t ever let you down and I knew if I had any chance of catching [Victoria Colvin] then I couldn’t be conservative by any means. I couldn’t have asked him to be any better,” she added.