Wellington, Fla.—March 4
If there is one place Tori Colvin shines the most, it’s handy hunter rounds. This is a rider who can turn on a dime without looking hurried and get a horse locked in on a fence out of a blind turn that would leave most other riders bailing out to one side or the other.
But when Colvin trotted back onto the field with Private Practice for the handy round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, she was already carrying a ten-point lead from her near perfect classic round that pulled scores of 92 and 94. She didn’t need to show off on any turns or even jump all the high options to secure the win.
“Tom Wright who helps me with him said, ‘You know, if you have a really nice course, and it’s going well, jump the small [option] jump to the last,’ ” said Colvin, 20.
But then, that last tight rollback to the high option was just too tempting.
“Me being a very competitive person, I said, ‘There is no way I’m jumping the small one,’ ” Colvin said with a laugh. “I wanted to go in and have a smooth round, but I wanted to jump all the high options, and as I was going up to the last I was like, ‘If he hits this one, Tom is going to kill me.’ ”
Colvin was spared thanks to Private Practice ratcheting up his already extraordinary form—the recent jumper ring convert already gives each fence about six inches of clearance—but he made an even bigger effort over the final fence, and it didn’t go unnoticed by the judges. This time he pulled base scores of 94 and 95 to cement his place at the top of the leaderboard with a 19-point margin.
“He needs to get much fatter, and he has the most massive bridle path you’ve ever seen on a horse, but as far as his jumping style the more he does in the hunters the better he gets,” Colvin said. “He’s still a little jumper-y, so he could be a little more relaxed, but his jump—you don’t really want to change that.”
Though Private Practice (Peter, in the barn) just switched over to the hunter ring, Colvin has thought the horse would be a great fit for more than a year.
“We were at a barn trying other horses, and I saw him in the stall,” Colvin said. “I love chestnuts with white, so of course I was drawn to him.”
Colvin watched videos of the horse but didn’t try him until he showed up a year later in a junior hunter class with Madison Goetzmann.
“I saw Goetzmann show him, and my mom goes, ‘That’s the same horse,’ and I went, ‘No way,’ ” Colvin said.
Amateur-owner Brad Wolf, who boards with the Ingram family where Colvin trains and rides, tried the horse shortly after and bought him for Colvin to campaign. In their first week showing together Colvin and Peter qualified for this year’s $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.
“He was a little fresh under the lights, but we didn’t know him at all at that point,” Colvin said. “We didn’t really know how to get him ready, but he came out here and was spectacular.”
Colvin plans to continue campaigning Peter in the derbies and 3’9″ green hunter divisions before Wolf potentially takes the reins in the amateur-owner division next year.