Saturday, Jun. 8, 2024

Yes Indeed Answers All The Questions In Gulfport Hunter Derby

Gulfport, Miss., March 4

Olivia Weaver’s Yes Indeed and Sarah Mechlin had plenty of adversity to overcome on their way to first place in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Gulf Coast Magnolia Classic IV today. First there was the rain, which fell steadily throughout the morning class. There was also the wind, gusting up to 30 miles per hour. Then there were the courses themselves. But Yes Indeed, or “Ray,” and Mechlin handled all the challenges thrown at them with aplomb, winning the 49-horse class over last year’s champions Primera and Catherine Rinehart.

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Gulfport, Miss., March 4

Olivia Weaver’s Yes Indeed and Sarah Mechlin had plenty of adversity to overcome on their way to first place in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Gulf Coast Magnolia Classic IV today. First there was the rain, which fell steadily throughout the morning class. There was also the wind, gusting up to 30 miles per hour. Then there were the courses themselves. But Yes Indeed, or “Ray,” and Mechlin handled all the challenges thrown at them with aplomb, winning the 49-horse class over last year’s champions Primera and Catherine Rinehart.

“He’s such a character,” Mechlin said of Ray. “To be quite honest, I was just along for the ride. He is a privilege to get the chance to walk in the ring on.”

The pair came back for their handy round in fifth after earning an 88, plus 3 height bonus points from Team 1 (Nancy Wallace and Mike Rosser) and a 78, plus 3 height bonus points, from Team 2 (Ray Francis and Tucker Erickson) in their first trip.

“I really wouldn’t have changed anything about round one,” Mechlin said. “I just wanted to be smooth and clean. I was a little worried about the black planks on the diagonal because some people were having rails there, but he just jumped them beautifully. He gave me everything he had. He jumped high over everything and never came up out of his frame. He was low and nice the whole time. I couldn’t have asked him to be any better.”

Ray earned a score of 90, with 7 handy points and 4 height bonus points, from Team 1 and an 85, plus 7 handy points and 4 height bonus points, from Team 2 in the second round for a combined final score of 369. 

“I just wanted to be smooth and tidy in the handy round,” Mechlin said. “I wanted to give him time to see that gate we trotted through. I wanted to have fun, and I did. Winning is icing on the cake. I just love handy rounds. My theory is gallop and turn and have fun.”

Ray, an 8-year-old Rhinelander gelding, and Mechlin, Cincinatti, Ohio, have been a team since the horse’s pre-green year. They’ve done numerous hunter derbies together, and Weaver also shows him in the large junior hunter division.

Many horses were spooky in the wind, especially with natural brush elements of the course blowing around. Several pairs used up their allowed number of refusals and stopped out. Course designer Allen Rheinheimer also included a liverpool located centrally in the ring, just for scenery, and a few horses also took exception to the sight of that.

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“It’s a big ring, so we had a lot to work with,” Rheinheimer said. “We decided to put in some water for a different look. I think it worked out well. It was windy, and some of the big trees blowing around affected the horses, but overall I was happy with it. I was pleased with people not having as many problems as I thought they might with the water.” 

A one-stride combination also caused some problems, with quite a few refusals occurring there, but Mechlin, 23, wasn’t worried about Ray spooking at anything in the ring.

“In the one-stride, you come through the turn to that, and it was pretty airy,” she said. “The horses could see through it—they could see the pile of logs on the right side and the liverpool laying to the left. Even Ray, who’s a steady Eddie, he kind of peeked off the second element a little, but he just gave me a big effort and jumped up.

“I knew it was going to be a spooky course, but he is reliable,” Mechlin continued. “He’s never let me down.”

Results: (Horse/Rider/Owner)

1. Yes Indeed/Sarah Mechlin/Olivia Weaver

2. Primera/Catherine Rinehart/Helen Gilbert

3. Ovation/Courtney Calcagnini/Taylor Reid

4. Corazon/Patrick McGinnis/Patrick McGinnis

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5. Carson/Courtney Calcagnini/Kristen Blomstrom

6. Figaro B/Holly Shepherd/Linda Bobrick

7. Dress Up/Jana Rodes/Jana Rodes

8. Carlano/Will Roberts/Andrea Ramirez

9. CR Carolato II/Jordan Siegel/Buddrus Equine LLC

10. Dolce/Sue Takata/Sue Takata

11. Marquis/Daniel Geitner/Lee Cesery

12. Damocles/Daniel Geitner/Janet Peterson

Full horse show results available at Horse Shows Online.

View Gulfport photos from Thursday here.

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