Molly Ashe-Cawley, of Wellington, Fla., rode Kennzo to first place in both rounds of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by MeadowView Farms, to earn the blue ribbon on the first day of the Hampton Classic.
Their total score of 373.5 edged out teenage sensations Victoria Colvin on Inclusive (368.75) and Lillie Keenan on Monterrey (368.0). Colvin also finished 11th on Listen (271.0) and 12th on VIP Z (268.0) in the 35-horse field.
This was first time that the USHJA International Hunter Derby has been held in the Hampton Classic’s Grand Prix Ring, but Ashe-Cawley, an accomplished grand prix rider, felt right at home. Kennzo, a 10-year-old Finnish warmblood owned by Kristen Abbatiello-Neff, felt at home too, because he used to show as a jumper, until he made it really clear that he disliked water jumps. “This was fun, and it was a beautiful course—a lovely, flowing course,” said Ashe-Cawley. “He always liked this grass field—he showed here twice as a jumper—so I thought I’d give this a go with him.”
The Hampton Classic was Kennzo’s second start in a USHJA International Hunter Derby. He’d finished second in his first start.
Ashe-Cawley and Kennzo were the final pair on course in the fist round, and they took the lead by scoring 182.0 from the four judges, seated in two locations around the Grand Prix Ring. Ashe-Cawley and Kennzo also earned the top score in the second, shorter “handy” round (191.5).
“Riding a hunter course actually causes me more stress than riding a jumper course. When there are 10 or 12 strides between jumps, I can do all sorts of things wrong!” said Ashe-Cawley with a laugh. “And I never love going last, but there really wasn’t any extra pressure this time.”
The 37th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show runs through Sunday, September 2 and features world-class show jumping competition, as well as magnificent shopping and a variety of entertainment attractions. The Classic features six show rings with more than 100 classes of competition for horses and riders of all ages. A wide range of jumper, hunter, equitation, short stirrup and leadline classes are all part of the Classic’s schedule, as well as competitions for riders with disabilities.
Further information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show is available at the Hampton Classic website at http://www.HamptonClassic.com
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