Wellington, Fla., Feb.18
Plenty of applause accompanied Castle Rock and Louise Serio when they exited the ring after the second round of the $50,000 WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular. After all, they’d just jumped into the lead, looking poised to defend their title from last year. But Serio didn’t feel terribly confident.
“I knew I wouldn’t win,” said Serio, Kennett Square, Pa. “Even though I was on top, I knew she was coming.”
That rider who shook the confidence of one of the most successful and experienced hunter pairs around? The 14-year-old Tori Colvin.
Sure enough, Colvin relegated Bryan Baldwin’s Castle Rock to second by riding Way Cool to an overall average of 91.5 in Round 2. Colvin also picked up third on another mount, Inclusive, owned by Scott Stewart.
Watch Way Cool’s first round here:
And check out Castle Rock and Louise Serio in the first round:
Coming in for the second round, Colvin found herself having to dig her spurs in a bit.
“I thought I was going to have a rail, but I didn’t. He was good. He was very tired,” said Colvin, Loxahatchee, Fla. “I don’t think he’s ever been under the lights before. He did rise to the occasion; he was a little aware.”
Thirty-two riders took a turn over Skip Bailey’s track, set in the huge International Ring, with lots of single fences and plenty of room to show off some pace. Riders earned invitations by winning tricolors in their respective divisions this week at the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, with a few byes awarded for standout performances in previous World Champion Hunter Rider events. Though last year professionals were separated from juniors and amateurs, this year everyone went head-to-head again, with the top 12 earning a call back to the second round. Both rounds are traditional classic trips.
“When we walked [the course] it seemed simple and almost a little plain, but it rode really fun, and the horses jumped amazing,” said Liza Boyd, who finished fourth on Brunello.
A few riders ran into problems. Lillie Keenan’s sole ride, Bases Loaded, tripped badly after landing from an in-and-out in Round 1, and Keenan hit the dirt. When she started to lead him from the ring he strongly favored one leg. After a few minutes of examination in the ring, trainer Larry Glefke led him out a side exit of the ring where a trailer awaited, and at that point Bases Loaded appeared to walk much more comfortably.
Lane Change Farm’s bad luck continued when Kelley Farmer’s standout first year mount, Voice Of Reason, hit the brakes coming into an in-and-out. But she kept her head in the game, giving Taken a confident, forward ride to finish ninth.
Brunello and Liza Boyd set the pace in Round 1 over the 4-foot fences. Last of the first trips, that horse jumped with plenty of room to spare. Watch their first round here:
“He really does shine under the lights,” said Boyd, Camden, S.C. “He made such a hard effort in the first round, he jumped every fence out of his skin. He got a little tired by the second round. I wish the format would have been like what it was in previous years, where the winner comes back last. He could have gone back to the barn and gotten some water. I’m not complaining—that’s just what works for him.”
Colvin has been riding Way Cool, owned by Betsee Parker, for several years, and by now the 10-year-old Hanoverian (Embassy—Fabienne) has become a seasoned partner for her, and one of her favorite rides. He qualified for the class by winning the reserve large junior hunter, 15 and under, championship during the week.
While Colvin wasn’t too overwhelmed by beating out the pros, not everyone feels the same way.
“I think I’m the oldest one in the class, and she’s the youngest one in the class,” said Serio. “The times are changing; maybe I should announce my retirement now!”
For full results, visit www.showgroundslive.com