Wellington, Fla.—March 2
After Tori Colvin garnered her fifth WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular win aboard Private Practice during Week 6 of the Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida), it was safe to bet that they would be the pair to watch in the classic round of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
While Colvin was at the head of the table for the press conference that followed her leading finish in the derby’s opening round, held at the Wellington, Florida, Deeridge Farms, it would be El Primero who helped her earn the leading score of 186, after Private Practice had a rail.
“I think that horse kind of rose to the occasion here. I think he loves it out on the field,” Colvin said of the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “I’ve shown him like four times. I’ve schooled him a couple; he’s one of the easiest horses I’ve ever ridden.”
“He’s a new ride, I showed him a couple times at [the Winter Equestrian Festival], and then I did him in a night class,” Colvin added.
After a tricky ride in Friday’s $2,500 USHJA International Derby Welcome Stake, Havens Schatt and the 11-year-old Mostly Sunny, a horse she has been bringing along for the past six years, finished second to Colvin with a score of 181.
“He had not shown since week four of WEF, so it has been a little while,” said Schatt. “Yesterday we had quite a bit of trouble; I think I was riding him like he was just going to go around, and I was not really with it. It was very uncharacteristic—we crashed and ran out of the in-and-out—a little bit of everything yesterday. That was really my fault.”
“Today I was back on my game, and he is always on his game,” she said. “He jumped spectacular today.”
Liza Boyd rode the 9-year-old Westphalian gelding Tradition to a first-round score of 180 for third place.
“I started doing him in derbies last summer,” said Boyd. “He’s just gotten better and better. Brave, scopey, he loves a challenge. He likes this grass field. A little bit like Havens we didn’t have the best warm-up yesterday. It was more of a training ride, but I think we peaked today, just like I wanted him to.”