Thursday, May. 23, 2024

Daquiri Tastes Sweet Victory At Lake St. Louis

Penny Cooper’s first year green hunter takes the first 2008 International Hunter Derby.

Rider Tammy Provost didn’t enter Daquiri in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby with the blue ribbon in mind. She simply wanted to give the first year green hunter—making his debut at3'6"—more mileage in the show ring.
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Penny Cooper’s first year green hunter takes the first 2008 International Hunter Derby.

Rider Tammy Provost didn’t enter Daquiri in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby with the blue ribbon in mind. She simply wanted to give the first year green hunter—making his debut at3’6″—more mileage in the show ring.

Her plan paid off in more ways than one, however, as Daquiri’s performances over natural fences were rewarded with the top placing and a purse of $2,850 during the Lake St. Louis Holiday Horse Show, Dec. 5-9 in Whiteside, Mo.

Provost, Westfield, Ind., said the recently imported, 6-year-old gray has all of the attributes of a star show hunter, so she was confident in entering him in the derby.

“He has a lovely attitude—anything you want, he’ll do it,” she said. “He actually has one of the best attitudes of any horse I’ve had. He’s also quite a good jumper and good mover, which adds to his appeal.”

A field of 25 horses competed in the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association’s first class of the 2008 series, a part of the USHJA High Performance Hunter Program.

The two-round competition featured a standard hunter course and a handy round, in which riders are able to earn bonus points for handiness and boldness. The fences, set at 3’6″ to 3’9″ with options up to 4′, included natural obstacles such as birch rails, post and rails, gates and a portable bank; the courses were also built to encourage brilliance.

Provost was proud of Daquiri’s confidence in the initial round. “The first round was a basic hunter course, but the jumps had no ground lines, and they were a different style,” she said.

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Provost added that she carefully considered the options available when planning Daquiri’s trips. “The courses were exciting for the hunters. The first round had lots of options, but because he doesn’t have a lot of miles I chose to do the low options no matter what they were,” she said. “I also chose to do the skinny gate instead of the bank.”

Even with Provost’s more conservative choices, Daquiri’s jumping style and flow was rewarded with an average of 84 from the judging panel. Their score took the lead going into the handy round.

 The pair didn’t have much breathing room, though, as That’ll Do and Brenda Mueller were just fractions behind with an 83.75 average, and Winston and Catherine Rinehart stood third with an 83.

The handy course was challenging right from the start. Riders walked into the ring and immediately walked a jump to get started.  The course again offered a variety of options, so the riders could choose to show off their horses’ strong points.

“I was very handy on Daquiri,” said Provost. “Not only was I handy, but I also opted to gallop where I could. I wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but he was brilliant.”

The judges agreed and awarded Daquiri an 85.75 with an 8-point bonus for handiness, the highest bonus earned during the handy round.

Provost also placed second in the handy round aboard Alliy Moyer’s Almost Majic, a 5-year-old Westphalian, (84/5) for fourth overall.

That’ll Do and Mueller scored an 82 with 3.5 points for handiness to capture second place overall. Mueller, a professional based at Telluride, Hampshire, Ill., also placed second last June with Diane Carney’s and Don Stewart Jr.’s regular working hunter in the inaugural International Hunter Derby demonstration class held at Canterbury Farm (Ill.).

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Judge Mike Rosser, who presided over the class with Kate Giraldi, Brian Flynn and Nancy Jones, said, “The concept is great. There were no related distances except for the in-and-out. [Course designers] Diane Carney and Tommy McIntyre made several options where you could show your horse off.”

Provost, a lifelong hunter rider, enjoyed the derby and plans to continue pointing her horses and students toward the series. “It’s something different for the hunters. I’d heard about it earlier, and I was excited to give it a try,” she added.

She was especially fond of the class format—which allowed greener horses and less experienced riders to participate without being over faced, including her two first year green mounts and a student moving up from the 3-foot division.

Provost purchased Daquiri, a Hessen gelding, after watching him on a videotape. In fact, she liked him so much she bought him for herself as a project. But when he arrived in Indiana, he attracted a lot of attention in the barn, and Provost sold him to Penny Cooper, one of her students.

“Penny rides him and takes lessons on him,” noted Provost. “Her daughter Alex is also planning to show him in the adult amateurs in Florida this winter. He’s a wonderful horse who will go far.”

Provost was proud of her students too, including Whitney Kent, who placed eighth in the derby aboard Arto.

“My students were nervous looking at the course, but they had so much fun. This is a great class for the hunter/equitation horses. In a way, it’s kind of like a Medal and Maclay class for them. And everybody enjoyed getting all dressed up and jumping for $10,000 in shadbellies!”

Tricia Booker

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