Liza Boyd and Tradition gave two stunning performances to earn a total score of 371 in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in Tryon Stadium to take the win on October 19 in Mill Spring, North Carolina.
Boyd, of Camden, South Carolina, piloted the 8-year-old Westphalian gelding for owner Maggie Hill. Reserve honors were earned by Harold Chopping, of Southern Pines, North Carolina, and Barbara Scott's Catchphrase, an 8-year-old Zangersheide gelding, combining their first-round and handy scores for a total of 370. Holly Shepherd, of Grand Bay, Alabama, claimed third in the irons for Helen Brown aboard Tybee, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, finishing on a two-round total of 369.25.
Eighteen entries toured the course set by designers Dean Rheinheimer and JP Godard, with the top 12 invited back to showcase their talents in the Handy Round. Boyd noted that the second round was tricky, but she credited Tradition for pulling through.
"That was a pretty hard Handy," she explained. "From 1-2, when I was cantering to it, I didn't realize how tight I had turned. I think that's what got me such high points; I think I sliced to it a little bit more, a bit on accident, actually. When I was cantering to it, I thought for a second, 'Oh my, he could run out here.' But he just stepped up for me."
Planning for a well-executed Handy Round, Boyd elaborated on her plan moving through the trot jump. "I definitely did have to fudge (the trot jump) a little," she said. "I started trotting later than I had planned, which gave me some extra points. You take a little risk when you take that long to come back to the trot. I did a sitting trot to get him engaged from behind a little bit better. Then for the hand gallop I tried to get it done early. I was able to measure the distance and make sure he was back on his hind legs for the last jump."
Boyd and Tradition have had a productive year, and the pair will continue to compete through the indoor season and head to Florida for the winter.
"The horse stepped up and was third at the USHJA International Hunter Derby Finals (in August), and then he went on and helped me win the World Champion Hunter Rider Pro Finals class at Capital Challenge," noted Boyd. "He helped me gain a place in the top six. He's done a lot for me this year, and he's really quickly stepped up to the plate to become a really top professional horse. He's young, and super, super scopey. In Europe, I think he really jumped some really great tracks; he's got a lot of ability. He's done a lot."
Special thanks to the Tryon International Equestrian Center for the press release.