Holly Shepherd and Tybee Take Command in the $289,730 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship


Lexington, Ky. ---- August 17, 2018 ----- "We're going to have a horse show tomorrow night!" said commentator Tom Brennan, as Tybee and Holly Shepherd landed off the final high-option oxer in the Classic Round of the $289,730 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship.

Shepherd, of Grand Bay, Alabama, navigated Tybee through a torrential downpour to earn scores of 91, 88 and 92, and 12 additional points for taking all four high options offered for 283 points. Defending champion Tori Colvin piloted Brad Wolf's Private Practice to second place with 279, and three-time champion Liza Boyd claimed third and fourth places with Tradition (277) and Clemens (276.50), respectively.

"First of all, I think the course was amazing," said Shepherd, of the track designed by Alan Lohman, of Poolesville, Md., and Danny Moore, of Spring Hill, Florida. "It was a little competitive; you had to have a good horse with some scope and a lot of heart out there today. My horse went super. He came in the ring and kind of hawked at the UHSJA sign. I had to tie knots in my reins because they were slipping so badly [in the rain]. So, that was the first time I've ever ridden with knots in my reins, but I was glad about it at the time."


Holly Shepherd rode Helen Brown's Tybee to a first place finish in the Classic Hunter Round of the 2018 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, earning a score of 283. Photo credit: Shawn McMillen Photography.


Three panels of judges scored the 85 entries in the Classic Hunter Round from separate vantage points around the Sheila C. Johnson Arena in the Kentucky Horse Park's Rolex Stadium: Bobbie Reber and Shane George on Panel 1; Holly Orlando and Chris Wynne on Panel 2; and Carleton Brooks and Chance Arakelian on Panel 3.


Shepherd is relatively new to showing Tybee, an 11-year-old Hanoverian chestnut gelding (by Black Tie), owned by Helen Brown, of Alpharetta, Georgia. The pair has competed in just a handful of shows together, having paired up in May.

"I saw you on him at Tryon (North Carolina), and I knew we were in trouble," said third-placed finisher Boyd to Shepherd. "Remember, when you left him really, really long to that log...and he jumped it like he did every jump out there (today), and I was like, 'Oh, this pair could be trouble. We better watch out.'"

Colvin, last year's champion, earned the second-placed ribbon aboard Brad Wolf's Private Practice, an 8-year-old chestnut Holsteiner gelding (by Lordanos). Trained by Tom Wright, Private Practice is no stranger to the Derby format, having earned nearly $30,000 in derbies in this year alone. Colvin praised her horse and his attitude.

"He's been amazing," she said. "Every derby he's done, he's done an incredible job. He used to do the jumpers, and we just got him in Florida, so we haven't had him for that long, but every round he does he tries to win."


Elizabeth Boyd rode Maggie Hill's Tradition to a third place finish the Classic Hunter Round with a score of 277. Photo credit: Tricia Booker/USHJA.


Boyd, of Camden, South Carolina, who's won the Derby Championship three times aboard famed Brunello, finished the Classic Round in third and fourth places aboard Tradition and Clemens, respectively.


Boyd wasn't completely sure what to expect with Tradition (Cornet's Stern ---- Larix), an 8-year-old bay Westphalian gelding owned by Maggie Hill, of Jackson, Wyoming. Hill purchased Tradition from Scott Stewart, who told Boyd of the horse's talents beyond the Junior Hunters. But an injury sidelined Tradition, so he's been slowly returning to form, and this was the first time Boyd showed 4' with him.

"I did think before we went that Scott said he could do it," noted Boyd of Tradition. "So, I thought, 'I'm going to believe him and hope he can.' When he jumped the oxer in-and-out, I thought, 'Oh we're good. This horse has a lot of ability.' So, that was a nice surprise."

Just 1 point behind Tradition (276 points) was Boyd again aboard Finally Farm and Westerly Farm's Clemens (Clemence ---- Diana), a bay, Oldenburg gelding.

"We're in a good spot, and we're just excited to be here," said Boyd of sitting third and fourth. "It will be fun to see what the course designers give us tomorrow. I thought [they] did a really good job, and it was different from the course [they] did last year, which was basically singles, no lines. So, we had some lines [today], and I really thought the triple was fun."


Elizabeth Boyd also finished fourth aboard Finally Farm and Westerly Farm's Clemens with a 276.50. Photo credit: Tricia Booker/USHJA.


Based on the results from the Classic Hunter Round, 34 competitors will return Saturday night at 6 p.m. for the Handy Hunter Round. The top-25 overall finishers today will compete in the Handy Hunter Section A, and the top 20 Tier II riders will also return and compete in Section B with those who also fall into the top-25 overall competing for prize money in both sections.


As the Championship celebrates its 10th year of crowning the best Hunters, this year's event will feature $289,730 in prize money, with $231,784 paid out to Section A competitors and $57,946 paid out to Section B competitors. The top-placing Section A rider will also receive a $1,000 rider bonus, and the top-placing Section B rider will receive a $500 rider bonus, donated by Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw. Riders who did not earn a spot in the Handy Hunter Round will advance to the $10,000 Derby Challenge Round, presented by the USHJA, which will begin tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the Rolex Stadium.

The USHJA thanks Show Manager Hugh Kincannon and Grounds Supervisor Rob Murphy for their assistance with the Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship.

The USHJA thanks the Official Sponsors who helped to make these championships possible, including: Charles Owen, Inc., the Official Helmet of the USHJA; CWD, the Official Saddle of the USHJA; Parlanti International, the Official Riding Boot of the USHJA; Professional's Choice, the Official Horse Boot of the USHJA; Rood & Riddle, the Official Equine Hospital and Veterinary Pharmacy; Platinum Performance, title sponsor of the Green Hunter Incentive and International Hunter Derby Championships; The Clothes Horse, the Official Cooler of the Championships; EQSportsNet, the Official Host Broadcast; Hunter Championship Award Sponsors: Essex Classics, FITS Riding, and Shapley's; and Supporting Sponsors Envisian and Nightwatch™.

For more information about the 2018 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship, visit IHD Championship

Classic Hunter Round Results