Christina Smith & Soon To Be Top the Field in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Jr/Am
For Immediate Release:
THERMAL, Calif. – December 11, 2020 – Christina Smith (Villa Park, CA) and her own Soon To Be topped the field in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Jr/Am, sponsored by RunAmok Horse Transportation. The pair bested a field of twenty-two competitors with scores of 90 and 92. Payton Potter (Woodland Hills, CA) and Khaled, owned by Infinity Equestrian LLC, earned reserve for their scores of 81.5 and 91. Alexandra Miller (Santa Fe, NM) and her own Please The Crowd, rounded out the top three with scores of 81 and 90.
Smith and the eleven-year-old Oldenburg gelding have been paired together for three years. “He is a super fun horse, he has the best feeling over the jumps and is really handy. He’s really nice and balanced and I think he is meant for the derbies,” shared Smith.
The course, designed by Michael Pegg, included four different bending lines. “I thought the first course looked really challenging. I personally don’t like bending lines, so I was super nervous about them,” Smith noted. “We went in and I was able to get a good pace from the beginning and just held it. The course rode really nice and smooth and it was super fun.”
Going into the Handy Round, Smith held the lead just by one point. “Going into the handy, Frank is just a super handy horse so I just tried to stay out of his way and let him do his thing. He has a really nice trot fence, so coming up to the last couple of fences, we nailed the trot fence and was able to just do a tight roll back and gallop the last fence. He was super,” reflected Smith.
The pair will finish off the Desert Holiday series with Week III next week and will continue to stay in the desert through the conclusion of Desert Circuit 2021. “We’ll spend the winter here. I think we’ll probably do more of these now on him, I’ve only done a couple, and then do my division which is the 3’3” Amateur-Owner Hunters,” Smith revealed.
About the Desert International Horse Park
With nearly 1.3 million square feet of competition and riding space, the Desert International Horse Park is one of the largest equestrian facilities in North America. Offering multiple weeks of world-class equestrian competition from October through March, the facility is a destination location for thousands of equestrians, their horses, family and friends for several months annually. Competitors from all over the world travel to Thermal, CA to not only compete but to enjoy everything the desert has to offer.