Pletcher and Argentum Claim Third Derby Victory

March 31, 2009



Lexington, KY – March 30, 2009 – Peter Pletcher and Argentum claimed their third hunter derby victory after winning the $15,000 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby hosted by the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show on March 27, 2009. Held at the Great Southwest Equestrian Center in Katy, Texas, the event was a successful venture for Pletcher who rode four horses to top 12 placings in the class.

Each Hunter Derby features a traditional hunter course and a handy hunter course that are built to encourage and reward brilliance and athletic ability from horse and rider. Pletcher of Magnolia, Texas guided Alta Basaldua’s Argentum around the two courses to best a highly competitive class that included Dallas Harvest Derby winner Camira.

“Course designer Patrick Rodes brilliantly set an inviting, yet challenging course for this event which provided the riders with the ability to select the route best suited to their horses,” commented USHJA President Bill Moroney who judged the class.

Basaldua bought Argentum, an 8-year-old Oldenburg, last year while riding with Pletcher on the HITS Thermal Desert Circuit. The Pin Oak Derby marked the pair’s seventh derby start since the inception of the USHJA Hunter Derby Program in December 2007. Previous accomplishments include winning both the 2008 Pin Oak Charity Derby and the 2008 Spring Gathering Derby.

After claiming first place honors in the first round over a traditional hunter classic course which featured natural obstacles reminiscent of the hunt field, Pletcher and Argentum negotiated the handy hunter course along with 11 other top contenders. The grey gelding executed a near-perfect trip around the challenging course to clinch the overall champion title. Camira, owned by Melanie Barnes and ridden by Pletcher, took reserve champion honors, and Tell All, ridden by Russell Frey and owned by Susan Baker, finished third. Pletcher had two other mounts finish in the top 12, including Skara Glen Stables’ Skara Glen’s Corsani (5th) and Lynn Walsh’s Ocean Park (12th).

“The determination and intensity of the riders made for a very exciting class and handy hunter round. The combination of exceptional hospitality, spectator enthusiasm and Pin Oak traditions provided an atmosphere of excellence in hunter competition,” Moroney said.

The 18 month derby series will culminate at the 2008/2009 ASG Software Solutions/USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals on August 21-22, 2009 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. The top 75 money earning horses will be invited to compete for international recognition. Click here for up to date standings.

Visit www.ushja.org for a complete schedule and more information. Questions concerning the Derby can be directed to USHJA’s Director of Programs and Education, Melanie Fransen or 859-225-6960.

The 2008/2009 USHJA International Hunter Derby Series is supported by the following sponsors: ASG Software Solutions-Title Sponsor; Dietrich Insurance-Presenting Sponsor; Walsh Harness & Saddlery-Featuring Sponsor; Charles Owen & Co.-Major Sponsor; Dover Saddlery-Major Sponsor; Essex Classics-Award Sponsor.

Contact: Rachelle Wilhelm 859-825-6005 rwilhelm@ushja.org

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