Tiffany Morrissey and Sebastian Claim the Professional Section of the $20,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

  Tiffany Morrissey and Sebastian edged out Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy for the win of the    $20,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby   - Professionals. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography.

Tiffany Morrissey and Sebastian edged out Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy for the win of the
$20,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby - Professionals. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography.

Lexington, Ky.– June 20, 2017 – Country Heir II resumed at the Kentucky Horse Park for another top-notch, sellout week of hunter and jumper action. Tuesday kicked off with Equitation Day and Local Day. It was World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) week and the show featured a $20,000 USHJA National Derby, a $30,000 USHJA International Derby plus two grand prix events; the $25,000 Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital Grand Prix, the $50,000 Country Heir Grand Prix and more.

$20,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
When entries soared to 64 for the USHJA National Hunter Derby, Country Heir management doubled the prize money and split the class into Professionals and Non-Professionals. The increase brought the total prize money offered for Country Heir I & II to nearly $500,000.
 
Jennifer Alfano and Jersey Boy, owned by SBS Farms Inc, earned 92 points for their performance in the first round. The pair came back to lay down a second-round score of 94, taking all the high options to lead the field. With a huge first-round score of 94 points, Tiffany Morrissey of East Wind Farm, and Sebastian, a 7-year-old gray Holsteiner gelding, owned by Stacey Werner, had a good chance to edge out Alfano and SBS Farm's famous derby horse. The pair earned a second-round score of 93, and a total of 187, to clinch the win of the Professional section. Alfano and Jersey Boy took the second spot. Werner, from Jupiter, Florida, also rode Sebastian to the championship of the Non-Professional Hunter 2’6” division, with a clean sweep.

“Jennifer put the pressure on,” said Morrissey. “It was go big or go home. I knew I had to do all the high options and all the inside turns if I wanted to win. This is only his second derby ever. He did a small one in Wellington two weeks ago and he won that as well. He is really a show horse. He is brave and he wants to win.”

In the $20,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby Non-Professional Class, Phoenix, owned and ridden by Sophie Onody from Aurora, Colorado nabbed the top prize. Onody, trained by Mark Mead, secured the win with a total score of 175. Second place, with a 172-point total, went to Fernelli, owned by Margaret Shank Benjamin and ridden by Piper Benjamin from Lake Forest, Illinois.

  Sophie Onody and Phoenix won the $20,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby - Non-Professionals Photo by Anne Gittins Photography

Sophie Onody and Phoenix won the $20,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby - Non-Professionals
Photo by Anne Gittins Photography

$30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Kelley Farmer and Kodachrome, owned by Nina K. Moore, made it two-for-two by taking their second consecutive 2017 Country Heir USHJA International Derby win. The pair took four high options to win the top score of 382. Havens Schatt and Mostly Sunny, owned by CH Farm LLC, took second with a total score of 379.5. Farmer was also third with Presumed Innocent, owned by Derby Lane LLC.

  Ringmaster John Franzreb and Frankie Stark with Kelley Farmer and Kodachrome. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography

Ringmaster John Franzreb and Frankie Stark with Kelley Farmer and Kodachrome.
Photo by Anne Gittins Photography

$10,000 Joey Darby Green Hunter Challenge
In a repeat performance of last year’s event, Kelley Farmer, from Lane Change Farm, earned the victory gallop of the Joey Darby Green Hunter Challenge. Farmer and her mount, Valid, were one of 12 horse and rider combinations to return after the $1,000 USHJA Pre-Green Hunter Incentive class. Farmer and Valid, a standout bay Oldenburg gelding by Banderas and owned by Golden Oaks Farm Inc., were the leaders heading into round two with a score of 91. Farmer navigated Valid around the Tucker Williams-designed course, earning a score of 87 a total score of 178 to secure the win. 
 
Serena, ridden by Havens Schatt and owned by Melanie Jeanes, were in second place after the first round and held on to finish second.

  Kelley Farmer and Valid. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography.

Kelley Farmer and Valid. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography.

$50,000 Country Heir Grand Prix

Of nearly 40 entries, 11 horse-and-rider combinations finished the first round of the Devita-designed track of $50,000 Country Heir Grand Prix fault-free to qualify for the jump off. A summer storm ended the show jumping action in the Rolex Stadium and the jump-off was not held. Nine riders, two of whom rode two mounts in the class, agreed to evenly split the prize money for each entry that qualified for the short track, earning $4,454 each. Michael Morrissey, the fastest four-faulter in twelfth-place at the end of the event, earned a $1,000 prize.


$25,000 Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital Grand Prix
Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z, owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC, secured the win by mastering Phil Devita’s course, collecting the top prize in the $25,000 Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital Grand Prix out of a field of 49 entries. Pablo Barrios and his own Zara Leandra took the red ribbon.

 Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z accept their award. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography.

Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z accept their award. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography.

First Annual Equitation Day
In the first-ever Country Heir Equitation Day, sponsored by Ashland Farms' Ken Emily Smith, Alexandria Beneson and E-Jazz, owned by Sheryl MacLeod, won the USEF Hunter Seat Medal, the WIHS Equitation Classic Hunter Phase and were second-overall in the WIHS Equitation Classic. Beneson trains with Ken and Emily Smith. The pair also had two wins in the 3’3” Open Equitation and earned the championship of the division. Joe Carnicom designed the Equitation Day courses and Scott Hofstetter judged the event.

  Alexandria Beneson and E-Jazz on Equitation Day. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography.

Alexandria Beneson and E-Jazz on Equitation Day. Photo by Anne Gittins Photography.

“They make a huge effort,” said Emily Smith, whose Ashland Farms brought nearly 40 horses to Country Heir I & II. “The rings are always decorated so well, everything looks very special. It’s a welcoming show. They made Equitation Day really special in the Walnut ring. It’s such a great opportunity for the kids to get into that ring.”
 
Also, held Tuesday, Country Heir II ran a Local Day show in the Murphy Ring. The local show was well-attended and approved by the Kentucky Hunter Jumper Association and the Ohio Hunter Jumper Association. WCHR Week Highlights
WCHR Week at Country Heir II attracted some of the finest hunters and riders from across the country. Conformation Hunter champion, Corporate, ridden by Maria Rasmussen, owned by Corporate Way LLC, won the hack and two of their over fences classes to take the division. Rasmussen was reserve champion with Corporate Way’s Subject to Change.
 
Halston, owned by Susan Moriconi from Saint Louis, Missouri, and piloted by Christopher Payne was the champion WCHR Green Hunter 3'6. Kelley Farmer had the ride on the reserve champion, Presumed Innocent, owned by Derby Lane LLC.

Havens Schatt rode Mostly Sunny to the WCHR High Performance 4' championship honors. Mostly Sunny is owned by CH Farm LLC. The pair won the hack, the handy class and two additional over-fences classes to take the division. The reserve champion was Cassius, owned by Don Stewart and ridden by Caitlyn Shiels, from Canterbury Farm.
 
Fonteyn, ridden by Victoria Colvin and owned by Ram LLC, John and Stephanie Ingram, was the champion of the WCHR Performance Hunter 3'6. Crack, owned by Julia McNerny and ridden by Havens Schatt, earned the reserve championship.
 
A California split of the popular WCHR Performance Hunter 3'3” division resulted in two championships for Colvin. She was the jockey for Paloma, owned by Daniel Viviani and trained by Tom Wright and Libretto, owned by Brad Wolf and trained by Torrey M. Hardison. Rasmussen earned another reserve championship with Cinza, owned by Whitney Sinclair and trained by Jeff Wirthman. Jade, owned by Shaw Johnson Price and ridden by Peter Pletcher also garnered reserve championship of the division.
 
The WCHR Performance Hunter 3' division was also split yielding two champions. Best of Me, owned by Henry Healy and ridden by Jeff Gogul and Kindred, ridden by Jennifer Alfano and owned by Kathy G. Chiaf were awarded the tri-colors. Just Ask, owned by Roberts Stables, LLC and ridden by Jeff Gogul, and Big Light, owned by Carolyn Brown Capps and ridden by Molly Sewell, were the division’s two reserve champions.

Many thanks and warm wishes on behalf of Frankie Stark and show managers, Tucker Ericson and J.P. Bordeleau, to all Country Heir I & II sponsors, exhibitors, trainers, owners and families.
 
We look forward to seeing you next year when the show returns to the Kentucky Horse Park for Country Heir I, June 6-10, Country Heir II, June 13-17. Equitation Day and Local Day June 12. See you at the ring.

Click here for complete results of Country Heir II.

Click here for complete results of Country Heir Equitation Day.

Sponsor Spotlight

Ashland Farms and owners and trainers Ken and Emily Smith have a proven track record as one of North America’s top competition hunter/jumper operations. They offer sales, training and coaching and compete year-round on the East Coast.

Ken and Emily Smith have coached their clients to multiple national titles. In 2014, they coached their son, Spencer Smith to the win of the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals at Harrisburg. He was awarded the Wilson Dennehy Equitation Trophy as the rider with the best results overall from the ASPCA Maclay Final and the Pessoa/USEF Medal Finals.

At Ashland Farms, they understand that each client has specific needs, ambitions and abilities. The Smiths work to map out the most effective path for success. Coaching is more than achieving great results in the show ring. Their program is designed to build confidence, a benefit that their clients experience that extends beyond their competitive pursuits.

From unlocking potential in young horses, to refining experienced horses into champions, Ashland Farms creates individualized training programs to achieve clients’ goals and substantial results. Clients benefit from a number of amenities and a breathtaking setting. We invite you to schedule an appointment with our stable manager to tour our facilities.

For more information about Ashland Farms go to: ashlandfarmsfl.com