Jimmy Torano will be putting his saddle on the Lane Change Farm entries at this year’s USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships, Aug. 22-23 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
Kelley Farmer was slated to ride seven Lane Change horses at Championships, but she broke her collarbone on Aug. 3 during a fall at a derby at Equifest II (Ill.). She went in for surgery yesterday, Aug. 11.
“Originally they thought they would just put in a rod, like they did for Scott [Stewart, who broke his collarbone in July],” said Farmer. “But mine was in so many pieces; it was much worse than they thought, so they put in a metal plate and screws. My mom [Bibby Farmer Hill] is taking care of me, and hopefully I’ll be at the Horse Park to watch.”
Farmer and her partner at Lane Change Farm, Larry Glefke, decided to have Torano take over the rides on her entries: Scripted, Mindful, So To Speak, Point Being, Taken, Unspoken and possibly Enticement. Assistant trainer Evan Coluccio was set to compete Why, but he’ll hand the reins over to Torano so he can help prepare the Lane Change mounts for competition.
“Jimmy rode [Unspoken] before [and won the derby SFHA Annual Charity (Fla.)], and he sat on Point Being at Devon [Pa.],” said Farmer. “We needed someone who was not only talented, but fit enough and strong enough and mentally tough enough to do them, and that’s Jimmy.”
Torano has competed in the derby series regularly and judged the Championships twice. This will be his first time he’s competed himself. He got a call from Glefke asking if he could fill in while he was in the schooling area of Vermont Summer Festival .
“I actually haven’t judged her horses too much, so I went on Shownet and watched videos of all the horses to get an idea how they go,” said Torano, who runs JET Show Stables Inc. out of Mohrsville, Pa., and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “I’ve got great horses to ride, and I’m sure all eyes will be on us. Normally you’d send one or two horses if you got hurt right before finals, and the fact that they have this much trust in me is fantastic.
“Every year I said I wanted to do [Championships]. I had a couple that I wanted to do over the years, but usually they get sold. What a great opportunity for me. Every time Larry and Kelley go in the ring they go in to win, so I know each horse will be perfectly prepared to do well. I will have to adapt to each horse, but I think I’m pretty good at that. I can ride a lot of different types of horses. I’m really looking forward to it.”
This isn’t the first time Torano’s had the call to fill in for a top hunter rider. During the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival (Fla.) Peter Pletcher asked him to take over his rides.
“He came to me and said ‘I need you to ride a few horses,’ and it turned out to be 12—plus my own,” said Torano. “I’m used to doing it.”
Farmer’s not sure when she’ll be back in the tack, but she’s looking forward to it.
“Originally with the rod they said two to four weeks, but this will take a little longer; we don’t know,” said Farmer, Keswick, Va. “My mom probably knows and won’t tell me. I’m going a little stir crazy already!”