Lexington, Ky.—Aug 18
You’ve heard of Ovation, Way Cool, Inclusive and Cuba—and countless others Tori Colvin’s ridden to major wins over her short lifetime. If you haven’t heard of Private Practice, you’re going to want to remember his name.
He first started making headlines during the winter circuit when he won the $50,000 Deeridge Derby (Florida), and since then he’s been fighting to make himself a household name. And after his performance in the Rolex Arena in the handy round of the Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby, he’s turned any heads that weren’t already been entranced with the chestnut.
“It’s amazing; he was amazing,” Colvin said. “He was fantastic; he jumped around and jumped every jump for me like a 20. He just jumped out of his skin; he really rose to the occasion.”
For the past several years Liza Boyd has held the distinction of being the only rider to win the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship more than once. But she can’t say that any longer, as 20-year-old Colvin added her name to the record as a repeat winner, turning in an impressive performance to follow her win in the 2017 championship aboard Cuba.
Colvin guided the 8-year-old gelding to base scores of 95, 96 and 96 in the handy round to move up from second place in the classic. The leaders from the classic round, Holly Shepherd and Tybee, took fourth place after a mistake at the fifth jump, the white planks.
Carleton Brooks, one of six judges scoring the championship rounds, said what set Colvin’s round apart from the rest was quite simple.
“Tori’s horse jumped every fence exactly the same; she never changed pace. That separated her, no question,” Brooks said. “Liza [Boyd]’s horses jumped phenomenal, but Tori never missed a lick; from the moment she walked in the ring it was the Tori Colvin we all know and love.”
Watch Colvin’s ride on Private Practice, courtesy of EQSportsNet:
Boyd looked like she might earn the championship a fourth time—she took second and third to Colvin aboard Clemens and Tradition, respectively—but Colvin’s round was simply in a class of its own. She scored a total of 606, 16.5 points ahead of Clemens, who scored a 589.
“I was so proud of both my horses; they’re both 3’9″ green horses, and they stepped up to the plate tonight,” Boyd said. “I thought the course was amazing. I felt like a bit of a jumper rider. I channeled my old jumper riding days!”
The Alan Lohman-designed handy track proved plenty challenging for horses and riders. The course featured a rather sizeable log trot fence that caught a number of horses off guard—resulting in a number of stops—and a bending one-stride line of split rails that called for clever riding and thinking horses.
“I think the courses are getting more challenging as the derbies have evolved,” Boyd said. This year marks the USHJA’s derby program’s 10th championship. “All the horses really stepped up and jumped it great. I think we’re becoming better riders through this program. It’s making us better and making us excited to get up in the morning and try to do better.”
There was some speculation as to whether any riders would try to bounce Lohman’s split rail in-and-out—the option was technically available depending on where riders chose to jump through it, but all riders chose to do the one-stride option down the middle.
“The bounce was kind of not an option, and then the far side was a bit of a catch-22,” Colvin said. “Because you could get lost and do a three, a lot of things could happen. So I just stuck to the main middle track.”
“Today I think you really had to be physical and ride up to the jumps,” Brooks said. “There was a separation between the ones that could really rise to the occasion and the ones who couldn’t; it was great to judge.”
Click here for full results, and check out the Chronicle’s Sept. 3 issue of the magazine for an in-depth look at Colvin’s derby championship win.
You can find all of the Chronicle’s Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship coverage. Don’t forget to follow the Chronicle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Chronofhorse