Upperville’s Hunter Derby was Saturday, and let’s get the preliminaries out of the way.
Despite my reminder on Instagram, no one made the deadline to request my presence in their VIP space. I’m very disappointed in everyone.
Additionally, standing next to the entrance of the VIP tent and looking really sad didn’t work either.
But never fear, this turned out to be a good thing! We went and sat under the oak trees, and then gradually moved over until we were right by the in-gate. And really, the VIP tent has nothing on hanging out by the in-gate. We got to see all the riders talking with the trainers, putting last minute touches on their horses, and joking around with each other. AND Tori Colvin hung out with us for like 30 minutes. We even got a picture with her!
Okay, so I will admit she did not agree or offer to be in this photo. But she actually did hang out in approximately a 10-15 foot radius, chatting with various people, checking out the course map, and, amazingly, polishing her own boots. Actually, she’s holding the rag and polish in our group photo. AND she did end up winning the derby, so what this tells me is that if you really want to win, you need to hang out within a few feet of Dave and I for 25 to 30 minutes.
Okay, so on to the actual derby. Please feel free to correct/discuss your thoughts in the comments. I’m still learning, and I would love for more input.
The jumps were all spaced out far away from each other, so there were really only a few related distances, 7 and 8, and 9 and 10. The option fences were 2, 4, 5, and 12. Jumps 2 and 12 were the same, round bales, just jumped opposite ways.
When we first got there, about 30 minutes before the derby, there were many people walking the course, complete with their horses.
All horses seemed mostly unimpressed at that time, and only a few had any issue greater than a down rail.
Granted, this jump was on the exact opposite of the arena so it was hard to see, but no one had any difficulty with it.
The first option fence, round bales, with the left having an additional rail on it.
Wishing well vertical. No issues.
I would call this wall “Very intimidating”. Possible that the riders agreed. I think the majority choose to do the smaller height.
An option fence, split rail vertical, with one side higher. This was unfortunately where the crash happened.
I found it interesting that after this wreck, Coluccio continued to jump a few more fences, but everyone knew they were schooling jumps. Not quite like this crash, but a couple of people had some kind of issue and choose to school before retiring. Even the announcer declared, “X has decided to retire, but is taking a few schooling jumps to retire on a good note.”
The horse above, Casaloma, ridden by Paul Matthews, had an unfortunate bit of luck as Casaloma did a big spook at something. Matthews elected to school him over a few more jumps before retiring.
To get to 6, riders had to turn right to loop around the jumps and come back over to it. It consisted of a very green and leafy oxer, which was probably beautiful on the other side. It also had tree stumps near it, I suppose just as another obstacle for the riders to avoid.
This was the first related distance. It seemed straightforward, and perhaps that’s why one horse had an issue with it.
She circled and went over it with no problem.
It was about 7 strides to 8, and yes, I am terrible at both counting and judging distances. If they went over 7, they went over 8.
I would guess it was a two stride from 9 to 10.
And after that jump, 90% of them had to do a lead chance.
An option of a coop panel, or a much lower overgrown log jump. Nearly everyone choose the higher option.
The final fence, with a height option. About half choose the high option.
The handy round was eight jumps, with some of the jumps from the previous round reset to face the opposite direction. Jason Berry will demonstrate all the jumps because I don’t have any pictures of anyone else doing it.
The eventual winner was Victoria Colvin, making it her second win for this event in a row.