Lexington KY – July 29, 2012 –The $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby received the top hunters from around the country to ride a course that was certain to keep horse and rider on the edge of their skills. Set in the Stonelea Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, the event saw 24 riders compete for the top prize. It was Shawn Casady and Without Question who rode to the top of the leader board, solidifying an overall victory with the high score of 181 points. Louise Serio and Corvine were awarded the red ribbon for posting an impressive performance, a scored total of 177 points, while Steve Heinecke excelled to the third place finish, with a score of 176 points aboard So Lucky.
Riders displayed their honed talents, completing the lengths of a classic hunter course designed by Joseph Carnicom, and sponsored by Hallway Feeds. The top 12 scores in the first round earned the right to compete in the exclusive second round to seal their placings. In both rounds participants were given the option to supplement their scores with extra points by taking any of the four higher fences. The course was adeptly set, reminiscent of a classic hunt field, made up of natural wood and birch oxers, grass roll tops, and a hay bale obstacle. Jumps were set at angles where riders had to cut through previous jump paths and lead changes and tight turns were crucial for success.
Louise Serio posted an early lead during the first round, entering the ring as the eighth rider to attempt the course. Her first round score of 91 definitely caught the judges’ eyes as she put down a careful and consistent round aboard Corvine. The rider left nothing to chance as she demonstrated her hunt sense, earning the top score of 91. She secured the final slot in the handy round to take her try at the short course. Her handy round earned the duo the overall score of 177 points, securing the second place position.
“It was good. It was a fun course to ride and it was designed well. I had a lot of fun,” Serio shared as she recalled the course. “Corvine was actually great, but I got a little behind at the trot jump, that was my fault, he was perfect. He followed my plan. He also won the National Hunter Derby at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, and that’s about all he’s done since then. He hangs out doing derbies mostly.”
It was upon returning for the handy round that Shawn Casady rode his mount, Without Question, owned by Ponies and Palms Show Stables of Boca Raton, FL, and leased by Marigot Bay Farm of Dover, MA, in such a commanding fashion that he gained the second round high score. The pair opted to take all four high options, worth a point each, which were added to his base score of 88. The overall score put the horse and rider at the top of the rankings with a total of 181 points, and the lead of the evening’s victory gallop.
“My first round was nice and solid, she jumped great. In the first round we took all of the high options, which allowed for us to earn a pretty good score. Her handy round was great, we just went in and she was bright. She jumped even higher than before. We made all the inside turns when available, and she had a great hand gallop. ”
Shawn Casady has only been riding Without Question for a couple months. She is a 16-year-old mare, normally working as a childern’s hunter horse out of Dover, MA, with Madison Arani. Without Question was bred, which slowed her previous showing career, but is now making a comeback.
“These classes are such an amazing place to showcase a horse that should be jumping at this level later in their life,” trainer Leslie Emerson passionately spoke about Without Question. “We are a huge fan of our rider, Shawn Casady, who is up for the Leading Rider Bonus from Hallway feeds. They make such a great team, and she is the best horse, ever. She’s so angelic, and we are happy to recognize her as amazing for the children’s hunters.”
“I have fun in these classes,” Casady explained. “Having a fit, strong mare is a bonus, especially thanks to Hallway Feeds and their Leading Rider Bonus. It makes the classes that much more fun. She’s sweet and every time she enters the class she gives a 100 percent. I’ve been riding her since the Florida Circuit and she’s been a dream.”
Steve Heinecke returned for the handy hunter course with a first-round score of 88 points. He once again navigated So Lucky, owned by Jane Fisher of Baton Rouge, LA, to the score of 84 with the additional four bonus points to earn another 88. His overall score of 176 proved good enough for the third place ribbon.
Placing on another mount, Louise Serio rode To the Nines, also owned by Palms and Ponies, to the fourth place award with a two-round score of 175 points. The pair was followed closely by Lindsey Tomeu aboard Take Note, owned by Siboney Ranch of West Palm Beach, FL, who posted a score of 163 points. It was owner and rider True Kershenbaun who picked up the sixth place award riding Ultra of Leawood, KS, to the overall score of 162 points.
Shawn Casady maintains the lead in the jaunt of the Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Series, where he competes against other junior, amateur and professional riders for their piece of the $15,000 Leading Rider Bonus. His win today increased his standing, placing him in first with 600 points, while following in pursuit is Louise Serio with her new rank of 550 in the series after today’s second place points.
“I love Kentucky, it’s my favorite,” Casady said. “I spend my summer here and I look forward to more derbies and shows. It’s great to be here.”
This was the third of six National Hunter Derbies sponsored by Hallway Feeds, featuring $15,000 Leading Rider Bonuses for professional, junior and amateur riders. The competitors can look forward to the chance to participate throughout the series, where they can aspire to climb the ranks and claim the bonus.
Today marked the conclusion of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, but the exciting hunter/jumper action will continue at the Kentucky Horse Park on Tuesday with the Kentucky Summer Classic. The week’s highlight events include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic and the $40,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix. It will also feature the fourth leg of the $5,000 Hallway Feeds National Hunter Derby. The 2012 USEF Pony Finals will get underway August 7-12, followed by the Bluegrass Festival Classic and the KHJA Horse Show.
For more information about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows, please visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.
Photo Credit: Shawn Casady and Without Question won the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Photo By: Ashley N. Williams/PMG Photo can only be used in relation to this Phelps Media Group press release.Photo By: Kendall Bierer/PMG. This photograph may only be used in relation to this Phelps Media Group press release.