Nick Haness Makes a Clean Sweep, Winning Both the $10,000 USHJA International Hunt & Go Derby and the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby
THERMAL, Calif. – January 29, 2021 – Friday welcomed twenty-six pairs to the Hunter 1 arena at the Desert International Horse Park for the $10,000 USHJA International Hunt & Go Derby, sponsored by BUTET. Nick Haness (Temecula, CA) and Ecole Lathrop’s Starburst tasted sweet victory with an overall score of 355.
Jamie Sailor (Moorpark, CA) and Skyhawk, owned by Laura Wasserman, earned reserve honors for their overall score of 352. Finishing the top three with an overall score of 348 was Zoe Wolf (Santa Barbara, CA) aboard Ashland Farms’ Cassario 8.
“This is a horse named Starburst, who is a newer ride for me. He just got imported last year and is owned by Ecole Lathrop and trained by Archie Cox,” shared Haness. “[Desert Holiday] was his first time showing as a hunter; we are really excited and thrilled that he has his first career International Derby win.”
The Hunt & Go format of the class required riders to complete both the Classic round and the Handy round at once. Fences one through eight of the course, designed by Ken Krome, made up the Classic round and the Handy round consisted of obstacles ten through fifteen. Obstacle nine acted as the differentiator between the two rounds and asked riders to walk their horses through two trees before continuing onto the handy portion.
“This was a super fun derby because it was a bit different. It was the Hunt & Go format which I have never actually done before,” Haness revealed. “It was really interesting to learn that we go in the ring, do our first round and stay in to do our handy round. It is a newer thing for me and the international derby ring. Really super fun, it was a great class with a beautifully decorated arena.”
Following the International Hunt & Go Derby, thirty-seven pairs challenged Krome’s course in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by County Saddlery. The National Hunter Derby heeded a traditional format with the top twelve pairs returning for the Handy round after the Classic round scores.
Capturing the top spot yet again was Haness and West Coast Equine Partners LLC’s Morrison for their combined score of 181. Amanda Tallman (Bishop, CA) and her own XL Action received a combined score of 180.5 to earn second place. In third place was Corene Smith (Covington, WA) aboard Madeline Cristy’s Ivy League for their total score of 178.
“It is a great feeling. I am super excited,” noted Haness on winning both derbies. “It is always fun to win one derby, but to win both derbies that were offered today – two for two – was a pretty outstanding day. There’s nothing else I could have hoped for.”
Morrison is becoming no stranger to the winner’s circle, having won the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open last week at Desert Circuit I.
“I am just very impressed with that horse […] He really has risen to the occasion with both derbies,” shared Haness. “Today, I thought he was awesome in the handy class; he was terrific. He turned tight to the jumps and jumped better and better. It has been really fun to learn that horse’s personality and to get to know him and let him shine. These derbies have been super fun and I think he really likes it.”