2016 Upperville Hunter Derby

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.

Please... the only thing that will quench my thirst is moderately priced champagne...
Please… the only thing that will quench my thirst is moderately priced champagne…

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!

Left to right: Tori, her trainer, and a surly, bored husband.
Left to right: Tori, her trainer, and a surly, bored husband.

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.

upperville hunter derby course

When we first got there, about 30 minutes before the derby, there were many people walking the course, complete with their horses.

before

All horses seemed mostly unimpressed at that time, and only a few had any issue greater than a down rail.

Jump 1: 

Brandon Gibson on Cristal
Brandon Gibson on Cristal

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.

Jump 2:

Kelsi okum
Kelsi Okum on Park Place

The first option fence, round bales, with the left having an additional rail on it.

Jump 3:

Samantha Schaefer
Samantha Schaefer on In the Know

Wishing well vertical. No issues.

Jump 4:

Kama Michelle Godek on Dreamliner
Kama Michelle Godek on Dreamliner

I would call this wall “Very intimidating”. Possible that the riders agreed. I think the majority choose to do the smaller height.

Jump 5:

Brandon Gibson on Cristal
Brandon Gibson on Cristal

An option fence, split rail vertical, with one side higher. This was unfortunately where the crash happened.

Evan Coluccio on Socialite
Evan Coluccio on Socialite

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.”

upperville hunter derby
I loved the look of this gorgeous horse, but he got a bit upset by something, and performed some “airs above ground”, a SUPER technical, advanced move. Yes, I read COTH forms.

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.

Jump 6: 

jump6
Elizabeth Bailey riding Acido 7.

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.

Jump 7:

Jason berry upperville
Jason Berry on Cobalt Blue

This was the first related distance. It seemed straightforward, and perhaps that’s why one horse had an issue with it.

Danny Mahon
“It’s a trap!” Rider Danny Mahon on Ronaldo

She circled and went over it with no problem.

Jump 8:

kana Michelle godek
The horse rocket: Dreamliner, ridden by Kana Michelle Godek

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.

Jump 9:

Jason Berry on Falcor
Jason Berry on Falcor

I would guess it was a two stride from 9 to 10.

Jump 10:

jason berry
Still Jason Berry

And after that jump, 90% of them had to do a lead chance.

Jonelle Mullen on Heisman
Jonelle Mullen on Heisman

Jump 11:

Cobalt Blue R
Jason Berry riding Cobalt Blue R

An option of a coop panel, or a much lower overgrown log jump. Nearly everyone choose the higher option.

Jump 12:

Rider Kelsi Okun on Consigliere
Rider Kelsi Okun on Consigliere

The final fence, with a height option. About half choose the high option.

Handy Round

upperville hunter derby

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.

Entered at a canter, and immediately headed to the first jump.
Entered at a canter, and immediately headed to the first jump.
Jump 1, and turned right to loop back around to the front of it.
Jump 1, and turned right to loop back around to the front of it.
Passing by the first jump.
Passing by the first jump.
Jump 2 over the haybales.
Jump 2 over the haybales.
I think this is jump 4, jump 3 was completely hidden from me.
I think this is jump 4, jump 3 was completely hidden from me.
Jump 5
Jump 5
Jump 6
Jump 6
Jump 7 was the same as jump 3, and also hidden. Jump 8 was over the hay bales again.
Jump 7 was the same as jump 3, and also hidden. Jump 8 was over the hay bales again.

The eventual winner was Victoria Colvin, making it her second win for this event in a row.

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