Grabbing a two-round score of 172, Harold Chopping (Southern Pines, NC) and Halston, the 2013 Hanoverian gelding (Harvard x Queen) owned by Rick Gabel and Carole O’Brien, dominated the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby at TIEC during Tryon August 1. In second, Isaac Leffkowitz (Ocala, FL) and Ever So Clever, a 2011 Swedish Warmblood gelding of unknown breeding, scored 171 for Fat Chance Farm, while third place was awarded to Ashley Conkle (Wellford, SC) and Olivia Kuo’s Rebel de Vizy, the 2005 Cheval de Selle gelding of unknown breeding, on a score of 162. The class tested 17 entries over the Dean Rheinheimer (Sheridan, IN) course design, and Chopping sat in first place heading into the handy round.
“Halston doesn’t have a lot of experience doing classes like this, especially the Handy round,” Chopping acknowledged. “Knowing that we were going to jump this National Derby, I spent a little extra time at home working on trot jumps, rolling back to oxers, and landing on leads. I thought he pulled it off beautifully! I was thrilled.”
Chopping reflected that the course was fair, but “challenging enough. The first round was very fair with some bending lines and riding tests where the horses had to be good at focusing on the jumps. It was challenging, but not overdone at all. The lines rode appropriately, the distances were good, and the high options were in fair places.
“I’m just thrilled that we can show here [TIEC], and that everything has been smooth,” Chopping concluded. “I live three and a half hours from here, so it’s not hard for us to come and compete. I have horses that’ll do the FEI classes and the Hunters, so it’s great to have a quality facility where you can do a bit of everything.”
Darragh Kerins and Family Dominate $30,000 Sunday Jumper Classic
Darragh Kerins (Wellington, FL) piloted Skara Glen’s Para Bellum to a win in the $30,000 Sunday Jumper Classic at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), stopping the timers in 41.152 seconds. Second went to Taylor Land (Atlanta, GA) and the Pinetree Farms Inc. entry, Liroy 30, a 2009 German Sport Horse gelding (Levistano x King Kolibri), on a time of 41.914 seconds, while third belonged to Grant Seger (Corpus Christi, TX) aboard the Grey Fox Crossing entry, Dr. J, a 2008 Italian Warmblood gelding (Diamant de Semilly x Calando I) owned by Grey Fox Crossing, after their 43.245 second jump-off performance.
The 2011 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Singulord Joter x Labor’s VDL Indorado) owned by NRG Farm LLC was one of three mounts Kerins qualified for the jump-off, with only one time fault preventing him from boasting a fourth double-clear on the day. Kerins had a busy class beyond his own rides, too, with multiple family members and clients joining him in the ring, he recapped. “It sure was busy. I had four and my wife Sarah had one, and then we had one customer, also, so it was a busy morning! I thought it was a really good course, and plenty difficult,” Kerins said of the Skip Bailey (Chicago, IL) course design that tested 34 entries in the first round, with 15 pairs qualifying for the jump-off. “There was the one line here by the in-gate with five loose strides to a double of verticals, and then you had two very careful planks down the center on the other side. It was a nice course.”
Skara Glen’s Para Bellum has been in Kerins’s string for about a year, he shared. “NRG Farm and Samantha Rice purchased him for me and we’ve just been taking our time with him. He was great all through the Florida circuit, and I’ve just kind of been babying him, but today was the first time I kind of let him outside the box a bit, and he handled it great.”
As for his jump-off strategy with so many to tour the course, Kerins eyed up the current leader and tried to trim some off Taylor Land’s time, he explained. “I saw Taylor go just before me, and she looked very quick. I realized that the only way I could be a little bit quicker was back to number two, which just worked out for me, because I knew I had to be slower to the double of verticals, and then I took another good shot to the next vertical on the rollback. I think both of those places are where I just got that tiny, tiny bit of an advantage.”
The family affair will continue for the Kerins crew through the Tryon August Series and likely into the Tryon Fall Series, Kerins concluded. “We actually just made a decision to stay on for the rest of August, and will probably stay here through the end of October. We love the place, and it’s good for our kids, too. My son Daniel jumped his first bigger class the other day, going double-clear in the Welcome Stake. For me to be able to be able to compete with my wife in the Grand Prix and have her go double-clear [for ninth] and for me to get the win – it’s just been a great week. And now, we’re going to watch my daughter [Khloe Kerins] show in the .80m [division]!”
Taylor Land and Liroy 30 Launch to $15,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake Win
Taylor Land (Atlanta, GA) and Liroy 30, the 2009 German Sport Horse gelding (Levistano x King Kolibri) owned by Pinetree Farms Inc., sped to a win in Friday’s $15,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake to kick off Tryon August 1 competition, stopping the clock at 33.565 seconds. Darragh Kerins (Wellington, FL) piloted Delight M-G C de Leuze, the 2009 Belgian Warmblood mare (Armitage x Vox Dei MG C De Leuze) owned by Trefoil Farm LLC, to second on a time of 34.816, while Daniel Bedoya claimed third aboard Abracadabra WKT, the Monica Hanks-owned 2008 Holsteiner mare (Casall x Romino), in 34.852 seconds.
“The course was nice!” Land shared. “I thought it was smooth and forward, which is good for my horse. There were some good tests that reflected some of the things I’ve been working on with him, like setting up to careful jumps. In the jump-off, there were some inside turn options and places where you could really gallop, so it was a good opportunity to use his big stride and make up time. He was just really with me.”
Land, who will continue as a competitor in the Tryon August Series and return in October for the Tryon Fall Series, is a frequent face in Tryon Stadium and praised the newly re-engineered Tryon Stadium footing:
“I love the new footing! It’s wonderful. They’ve done a fantastic job. It’s definitely softer than it’s been in past years, but it’s still really solid under their feet. The horses feel really comfortable and happy jumping on it.”
In the Farmpaint 1.15m Jumper Division, F. Peter Jordan (Lexington, KY) piloted Hickstead’s Jewel, owned by Outland Farms LLC, to champion honors, with reserve named to Gisele Beardsley O’Grady (Tryon, NC) aboard Chaquira for Martha Hall.
The Nutrena® 1.40m Open Jumper Division saw Kirk Webby (Ocala, FL) and Jamie Stryker’s Crime Time 6 take top honors, with reserve going to Daniel Bedoya (Magnolia, TX) riding his own mount Heather.
Skyler Walker (Charlotte, NC) and the Hope Farm LLC entry Hope dominated the .90m Non-Pro Jumper Division, and Courtney Baggett (Houston, TX) claimed reserve aboard her own Upcountry Bettie.
Innosense claimed champion in the Foothills Hunter 3’ Division with owner Mackensie Bowles (Stauton, VA) in the irons, while Melissa Blades (Grass Lake, MI) piloted Greg Shover’s Coscato to reserve.
Isaac Leffkowitz (Ocala, FL) and Qualiano claimed the Performance Hunter 3’3” Division for owner Lisa Kristiansen, while reserve was named to Suzanne Feagan (Columbus, NC) aboard the DCB Services LLC entry, Whiskey Thief.
Grace Rabb (Fort Mill, SC) and her own Carnival championed the Large Pony Hunter Division, and reserve belonged to Martha Parrott (Raleigh, NC) riding her own Stoneledge Bodes Well.
The Tryon August Series continues through August 23, 2020, with two weeks remaining of Hunter A/Jumper 4 competition. Though competitions remain closed to spectators, highlight classes are live streamed for free at Tryon.com/streaming.
For full results from the $30,000 Sunday Jumper Classic, click here.
For full results from the $15,000 Horseware Ireland Welcome Stake, click here.
For full results from the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby, click here.