Kelley Farmer and Taken Gallop to $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Victory

The 2012 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival drew to a close today. The feature attraction of the day was the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at The Stadium, and Kelley Farmer rode Nancy Amling's Taken to victory.

Competition concluded in the International Arena on Sunday with the junior and amateur-owner jumpers competing in their final classics. Beginning the morning, Abigail McArdle jumped to victory in the $10,000 Griffis Group High Junior Jumper Classic aboard Bravoman. Cara Dayton and Caballero 81 earned top honors in the $10,000 Charles Owen Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, and Alexandra Crown and Can Be Good won the $10,000 South Florida SportChassis Low Junior Jumper Classic.

In the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal, Tracey Mack-Gorin won the final class, while Devon MacNamara won the circuit award. Schaefer Raposa wrapped her last week with wins in the Marley Goodman Small and Antares Large 16-17 Junior Hunters.

Yesterday, some special awards were presented at the winner’s circle of the International Arena. Richard Spooner’s top mount Cristallo won the Simba Run Perpetual Trophy. Spooner accepted on behalf of Show Jumping Syndications International as the owners of Cristallo, who has earned the most Open Jumper prize money in classes held at a 1.45m or more during the FTI WEF. Cristallo’s groom, Antonio Camarino, was presented with the Oliver O’Toole Perpetual Memorial Trophy for his hand in Cristallo’s success.

Another important award presented on Saturday night was The Harrison Cup Perpetual Trophy, which was awarded to Beverley Widdowson for the second year in a row as the owner of Nick Skelton’s fantastic horses, who won the most jumper money in all of the open jumper classes at the FTI WEF. Skelton accepted the award on Widdowson’s behalf.

The Christy Conard Perpetual Trophy for Equestrian Excellence was given to Catherine Tyree, who accumulated the most points in the four major equitation classes held during the FTI WEF.

The $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby was the highlight class of the day and held on the grass derby field at The Stadium. The top 25 finishers from yesterday’s first round returned for their handy round and jumped over a variety of fences, including the the hedge brush, table bank, and the derby bank. There were 16 jumps on the course designed by Bobby Murphy, and it tested not only the horses’ versatility, but their stamina.

Scott Stewart and Declaration by Sportfot

The first horse in the ring was Charleston Z, ridden and owned by Victoria Press. The junior rider galloped right around the course and showed how it was done, scoring a 182 in the second round to move from 25th to 12th place.

A big move from ninth to second place came from Declaration, ridden by Scott Stewart for Fashion Farm. Stewart and Declaration picked up a gallop and had no troubles on the course. The judges rewarded them with a second round score of 218 for a total of 396 for second place.

Stewart said that he aimed two of his mounts – Declaration and Dedication – for today’s class. Dedication came back on top in the second round, but an unfortunate refusal and fall for Stewart at the second jump took him out of the ribbons.

Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy were sitting in second place after the first round, and they had a solid second round trip to finish with a total of 386.5 points for third place.

“I have to say, when I walked the course I was quite nervous about the bank, but both of my horses were awesome,” said Alfano, who also placed seventh with Helen Lenahan’s Miss Lucy. “I was thrilled with them. On Jersey Boy, I felt like I picked up the gallop and just kept galloping, you didn’t have to break it up anywhere and it just rode really nicely.”


Kelley Farmer and Taken by Sportfot

Farmer and her third mount of the day, Taken, looked right at home galloping around the grass field. They showed a great, even pace throughout the course and stepped it up for the two hand gallops asked on course. They took all of the high options on course and received handy scores of ten and eight for a second round score of 213 and a total score of 398 and the win. This was Farmer’s and Taken’s eighth derby victory.

“Oh my God, that was so much fun out there,” Farmer declared. “It was great and I loved that field. You get to gallop like that and jump hedges, the banks and everything. How much fun for the horses to be out here and to get out here, I loved it. I thought they jumped great and all the horses did nicely out here. We all had little bits; I had one (that was) a little overwhelmed out here, but for the most part I thought the horses were great.”

Junior and Amateur-Owner Jumpers Wrap Up the Season

Ireland’s Alan Wade set the courses in the International all week and finished out with a successful day on Sunday. In the $10,000 Charles Owen Low Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, 76 entries showed and 21 cleared the course to advance to the jump-off. Sixteen jumped double clear, and Cara Dayton and Caballero 81 had the fastest round in 30.085 seconds for the win. Chandra Cummin and Ornella R placed second in 30.917 seconds. Michaelle Navarro-Grau and Maharshi finished third with a time of 31.052 seconds.

Class winner Cara Dayton is a twenty-four-year-old rider from Chesapeake City, MD. Dayton rode as a junior, then took some time off for college and is now excited to be back on the horse show scene. Dayton currently has three horses: Lucifer, Caballero 81, and Holly, and is training with Olympian Anne Kursinski.

Dayton’s winning mount today was Caballero 81 or ‘Cabo’. Dayton has owned the eleven-year-old Hanoverian gelding (by Contender) for almost two years.
Dayton went 22nd in the order of 76 horses and jumped off immediately following her first round, so her leading time held on through most of the class. She spoke about her plan on course, stating, “I strayed a little bit from the plan in the first round because I felt him spook a little, and then I over rode and got a little crazy. I got lucky in the last line in the first round; I left one out. Then in the jump-off, I decided when I walked the course that if we made it I was just going to go as fast as I could, so I pretty much did that. Then at least, since we went early, I could rest the class knowing we went as fast as we could. If we got beaten there was nothing else we could do, but luckily we held on.”

The $10,000 South Florida SportChassis Low Junior Jumper Classic completed the day’s competition with a win for 16-year-old Alexandra Crown and her mount Can Be Good, a twelve-year-old German-bred Holsteiner mare.

That class saw 54 entries and 17 made it to the jump-off. Eight jumped double clear, and Crown and Can Be Good finished with the fastest jump-off time in 29.700 seconds for the win. Jackson Brittan and Silver Oak Farm LLC’s Torpedo finished second with their time of 30.195 seconds. Victoria Colvin and Ax-Cent, owned by Rivers Edge, placed third in 30.468 seconds.

Crown, of New York, NY, just stepped up to showing in the Low Juniors in January and also purchased Can Be Good aka ‘Candy’ at the same time. Crown trains with Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley at Rivers Edge, and they found the mare in Germany.


Abigail McArdle and Bravoman by Sportfot

The first class in the International Arena this morning was the $10,000 Griffis Group High Junior Jumper Classic. There were 25 entries and just three were clean to advance to the jump-off. Class winner Abigail McArdle (17) of Barrington, IL, rode Bravoman, an 11-year-old Argentine stallion by Countryman, to victory. They had the last spot in the jump-off and knew that a clear round would get them the win. They did just that, gaining the victory over Lillie Keenan on Abigail Wexner’s Zycarla Z and Kira Kerkorian on Malcolm.

She said of her jump-off ride, “Originally my plan for the jump off was to go inside 1 to 2, but after we saw that Lillie had that rail, we decided to be safe and go around. Be tidy but clean.”

McArdle started riding Bravoman this past summer and trains with Katie and Henri Prudent. “He doesn’t act like a stallion at all,” McArdle described. “He’s lovely at the barn and to flat. It’s been great to know you have the scope and all the tools, it’s just up to you to know how to use them. It’s been fun to be able to work with a great horse.”

Equitation and Hunter Riders Capture The Last FTI WEF Tricolors For 2012

Tracy Mack-Gorin of Mystic, CT, surpassed a field of 15 to claim top honors in this week’s Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal. The race to accumulate the highest number of points this season, and be named circuit champion in the division, remained close up to the very end. Ultimately, Devon MacNamara of Philadelphia, PA, pulled ahead by just one point above Mack-Gorin to win the series with 64 points.

Following today’s victory, the overall medal victor, MacNamara, commented on her success this season. “This year worked out better than I ever could have hoped for,” MacNamara admitted. “This is the first time I’ve ever been down here and my boss has made my dreams come true.”


Devon MacNamara and Paramount by Sportfot

MacNamara’s partner in the series victory is a twelve-year-old Westphalian named Paramount. “We started week seven and I truly didn’t think it would amount to this,” MacNamara said. “Paramount normally does the hunters, but we decided to play with him in the equitation and he loves it.”

For her efforts this seasons, MacNamara received a custom Butet saddle from Beval Saddlery. The dedicated rider looks forward to using her new saddle while working as a groom at Journey’s End Farm in Glenmoore, PA.

Mack-Gorin’s victory today earned the adult rider a new bridle and custom engraved picture frame from Beval Saddlery. According to Mack-Gorin, the opportunity to lease and catch ride several different mounts to compete was a blessing, and adjusting to each ride was a challenge met by accepting detailed instruction from her trainer.

In the coming weeks, Mack-Gorin and MacNamara plan to recover from a season filled with hard work and determination. Both Adult riders are grateful for the remarkable training they received this year from trainers Erica Hogg-Belden and Debbie Wilson-Brock.

In the Junior Hunter arena, Schaefer Raposa wowed judges atop her Marley Goodman Small and Antares Large Junior 16-17 mounts, Turtle Bay and Enzo. Raposa captured the championship tricolor in both divisions, earning 28 points on Turtle Bay, a bay Warmblood gelding owned by Terrapin Hill Farm, LLC, and 40.5 points on Enzo, an eight-year-old chestnut Warmblood owned by David Oberkircher.

The FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has come to a close. Equestrian Sport Productions thanks everyone for another highly successful season. For full results, please visit

Final Results: $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby