| Jami Jensen, co-owner of Crooked Willow Farms watched one of the first Hunter Derby Classes at the HITS Winter Circuit in Thermal, CA earlier this year. Immediately following she stated that the class was made for CWF stallion Acord III. Acord competes primarily in the jumpers, but a decision was made by Jami to allow Acord the chance to show in the Hunter Derby during the Summer Series in Colorado Springs in June.
The USHJA International Hunter Derby Series was created to bring show hunters to the international level, to increase spectator, media and sponsorship interest and to bring tradition and basic riding principles back to the sport of showing hunters.
Acord III and rider Paul Rohrbach put down a beautiful 1st round and were rewarded with scores of 88 and 89 from each of the two judging stations consisting of two judges each and 1st Place.
Amidst many brilliant rounds in the 2nd Handy Hunter class Acord and Rohrbach needed a combined score of 185 (average scores of 93 from each judging station) to take the lead. Since they were 1st in the first round they were the last to go and eagerly accepted the challenge.
Riding smooth and quiet the pair showed the crowd and rest of the field what a fast and inside lines in a Hunter competition were all about. The duo made short work of the bank before moving to the option fences, choosing 4' over the 3'6" every time and galloping to the verticals in a gusty display of horsemanship. Their guts were rewarded with 14 bonus points from the judges for a 98 + 98 score as well as the 2nd round and overall win!
Winning the Colorado Hunter Derby was a great accomplishment for any horse, but even moreso for this stallion as he also sired the Best Young Horse and Reserve Champion Pre Green horses that won earlier in the day.
"Those were the highest scores I have ever gotten said a smiling Rohrbach after the event. Acord was brilliant and the wilder jumps really seemed to make him more comfortable and jump great. I took a few chances knowing Acord's capability and it worked out well for us."
Asked to describe those chances, the veteran rider explained his strategy.
"I opened in galloping to a couple of the verticals which is really a no-no in the day to day horse show," he began. "And galloping at a little bit of an airy natural vertical is probably something a rider wouldn't want to risk, but Lindsay (Kendall) had a very strong trip and so did Kim (Dixon), and I knew I had to take the chance. I knew the horse well enough to trust him and thought it would work well and it did."
Interview taken in part with permission from Phelps Equestraian Sports Newtwork. Article by Lincoln Rogers, June 23, 2008.