Peter Pletcher and NLF Shakespeare’s Rhythm Win $30,000 USHJA Hunter Derby at Country Heir

Professional rider Peter Pletcher once again captured the winning honors with NLF Shakespeare's Rhythm in a derby event. The pair earned the top call during the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Country Heir Horse Show for Nordic Lights Farm and the Bruheim Family. A flawless handy round helped them receive high scores and eventually head the event's victory gallop.

Peter Pletcher and NLF Shakespeare’s Rhythm. Photo by Anne Gittins.

Pletcher and NLF Shakespeare’s Rhythm’s smooth trip during the first round landed them in the second place position going into the handy round during the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Using an inside track to slice one of the oxers and jump brilliantly through the challenging two-stride, the duo quickly jumped to the top of the leaderboard with their high scores and added bonus points. Pletcher and NLF Shakespeare’s Rhythm’s earned the winning title and led the evening’s lap of victory in the Walnut Ring of the Kentucky Horse Park.

“NLF Shakespeare’s Rhythm was really good and super smooth,” commented Pletcher. “He was amazing during the handy round, really the best he has been all year. He has worked his way up and did the High Performance division. After Devon I decided that he’s good to just be a derby horse now and focus on that instead of the High Performance. He’s come along beautifully. He’s so brave and honest, he’s right on track. We’re hoping he stays like this through the Finals.”

The talented combination was on track for a victory at Country Heir after warming up in the Performance 3’6″ Hunters. Their winning ways shone through as they earned the blue ribbon in the handy round as well as a second place ribbon.

Pletcher and Nordic Lights Farm will show again later this summer at Horse Shows by the Bay in Traverse City, MI, before returning to Kentucky for the $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.