Thermal, Calif. – Jan. 21, 2022 – The first feature hunter class of Desert Circuit took place on Friday at the Desert International Horse Park. Hunter athletes took to the ring first for the $5,000 $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open, sponsored by Ritz Carlton, followed by the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Jr/Am, sponsored by San Marcos Stables in Hunter 1. Topping the Open section was Californian Joie Gatlin and D’Avant with a total score of 191. Avery Rose Glynn won the Junior/Amateur section with Opportunity Mars on a total score of 175.5.
Course designer Michael Roy Curtis set forth two beautiful hunter courses that helped to highlight the impeccable talent that was showcased throughout both classes. The first round was a classic hunter course that consisted of 11 obstacles, featuring four high options set at 3’5”, that allowed the horses to ride forward to each fence and down the long lines, showcasing each horse’s brilliant scope.
After the 26 entries in the Open section completed and were scored for their first rounds, the top 12 horse-and-rider combinations returned in reverse order of first-round scores for the handy round, navigating their way over a challenging nine-obstacle course that asked several testing questions of both horse and rider. The handy course began with a long gallop to a single oxer at the far end of Hunter 1, then an immediate rollback to a trot jump one-stride. The course featured multiple opportunities to show off a hunter’s handy abilities and turn tightly, while also opening the stride and keeping a steady rhythm the whole way around.
Toward the end of the order, Gatlin took to the ring for a first round with Cathy Morris-Schmitt’s D’Avant, an 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding, and gracefully cantered around the course with a steady, rhythmic pace and showed off the horse’s scope over each fence. Taking all four high options for four extra bonus points, they landed a first round score of 93. Returning for the handy round, Gatlin laid it all on the line and showed off what the gelding had to offer, being rewarded for her efforts with a high score of 98.
Nick Haness took both second and third place honors aboard Inkwell and Reese’s, respectively. Haness and Tami Cabaniss’ Inkwell, a 10-year-old Warmblood gelding, rode to a first-round score of 90.5 and an impressive handy round score of 95 for a total of 185.5, which proved to be just below the mark for the title, but put him by a quarter of a point right above the West Coast Equine Partners, LLC, entry Reese’s, the 7-year-old gelding who, with Haness aboard, received incredible scores of 93 and 91.25 for a 185.25.
In the second derby of the day, the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Jr/Am, it was Avery Rose Glynn who continued her winning ways after topping the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 2* Friday morning. She topped the 25 entries aboard Opportunity Mars, owned by Hope Glynn. She piloted the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding to scores of 85 and 90.5 propelled her to the top of the leaderboard. Second place went to Catherine Westling and Rigoletto, a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, and third place honors went to Didi Mackenzie and MTM Do Right, a 14-year-old Westphalian gelding.
Hunter competition in Hunter 1 continues Saturday with the Amateur-Owner Hunters and the $1,000 Dog Puissance to benefit USHJA, and hunters conclude on Sunday with the Amateur-Owner Classic. The Junior Hunters conclude on Saturday with the Junior Hunter Classic in Hunter 2.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Joie Gatlin – Winner, $5,000 $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open, sponsored by Ritz Carlton
On the handy round:
“I wanted to have a good even pace the whole way through, so I stepped right in, picked up a good gallop, and galloped right up to the first oxer. I just thought about taking him right just a little bit so he could have a good handy turn. He trotted the one-stride beautifully; I was really happy with that. He landed right in a good rhythm. I used the inside turn, that double inside to the oxer, and he used his scope and I was really happy with how he jumped that oxer. I skated out just a little bit so I could kind of come back on that vertical, and land with a good turn to the brown vertical across the diagonal. Then, off the right lead, we did a wonderful inside turn, he just was right with me every step of the way to the big gray oxer. After that, I wanted to be a little direct to the hay bales and then try to get a nice nifty turn afterwards and just kind of pick up the gallop down to that last jump. I was so happy with him. He was just right with me every step.”
“We’ve only been partners for a year now. I bought him for one of my very good amateur ladies, Cathy Morris-Schmitt, and he’s going to be her amateur horse here shortly. I’m just trying to get miles on him. We just love him. He’s super comfortable to ride, lovely to train, jumps great, moves nice, and I’m just really excited about his future. I do the 3’6” First Year Greens with him and in a little bit she’s going to start doing the A/Os.”
Goals for the circuit with D’Avant:
“Maybe we’ll do another derby or two, and then I would really love for him to get really consistent in the 3’6” Green Working Hunters.”
“It’s beautiful. They’ve done a tremendous amount of work out here – new footing, new landscaping. It’s really nice to be out here.”
Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score | R2 Score / Total Score
$5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open, sponsored by Ritz Carlton
- D’Avant / Joie Gatlin / Cathy Morris-Schmitt / 93 | 98 / 191
- Inkwell / Nick Haness / Tami Cabaniss / 90.5 | 95 / 185.5
- Reese’s / Nick Haness / West Coast Equine Partners, LLC / 94 | 91.25 / 185.25
- Crowd Pleaser / Julia Rossow / West Coast Equine Partners, LLC / 89 | 93 / 182
- Charismo / Katie Taylor-Davidson / Molly Brock / 91 | 89.5 / 180.5
- Cloud 9 / Katie Taylor-Davidson / Kristine Floyd / 90.25 | 90 / 180.25
- Cascarillo / Hope Glynn / Maureen Buckley / 87.5 | 90.5 / 178
- Kanndarco / Jordan Appel / Emma Solomon / 86.5 | 91 / 177.5
- Picnic / Katrina Karazissis / Lisa Hankin / 87 | 89 / 176
- No Reservations / Chad Mahaffey / Curtis Holdings Inc / 90 | 81 / 171
Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score | R2 Score / Total Score
$5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Jr/Am, sponsored by San Marcos Stables
- Opportunity Mars / Avery Rose Glynn / Hope Glynn / 85 | 90.5 / 175.5
- Rigoletto / Catherine Westling / Catherine Westling / 86 | 89 / 175
- MTM Do Right / Didi Mackenzie / Didi Mackenzie / 82 | 91 / 173
- Sokrates / Natalie Rae Medlock / Natalie Rae Medlock / 83.25 | 89.5 / 172.75
- Paperboy / Julia Greenspan / Brighton Farms / 91 | 80 / 171
- Decklin / Gable Gering / Gable Gering / 79.5 | 89 / 168.5
- Andover / Cathy Morris-Schmitt / Cathy Morris-Schmitt / 80 | 87 / 167
- Caprio 33 / Michelle Berry / Professional Maintenance Systems / 82.5 | 69 / 151.5
- Blue Moon / Gabriella Goshtigian / Rosegale Farm / 75 | 68 / 143
- Lighthouse / Avery Rose Glynn / Rebecca Fahrendorf / 93 | 47 / 140