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Wellington, Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Wellington, Florida

Tori Colvin Cruises to First and Third Place in $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Up and Coming Rider Kat Fuqua Dominates Junior/Amateur Section of $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Caroline Nickolaus

Reporting from Wellington, Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Wellington, Florida
Saturday, March 11, 2017 :: Posted 03:50:40 PM UTC

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© Caroline Nickolaus: Tori Colvin rode Harper Lee to the top of the leaderboard in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby on Saturday afternoon.

Wellington, Fla. – March 11, 2017 – It has been almost two years since Tori Colvin left her junior riding career behind, having shown successfully in all three rings, but that has not lessened her accomplishments in any way. For years, people watched Colvin climb through the ranks from catch riding in the pony hunter divisions as a child to achieving stardom at the Grand Prix level by the young age of 13. More recently, the 19-year-old rider turned professional. Throughout her decorated career, Colvin has amassed tricolors, rosettes, trophies, and highly-coveted titles one could only dream of, and on Saturday afternoon she experienced the sweet taste of success once more.

Colvin, of Loxahatchee, Florida, and Harper Lee triumphed in the Open Section of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at The Stadium Derby Field at Equestrian Village. The Open Section consisted of 27 professional entries.

For Harper Lee, a six-year-old Polish Warmblood mare, it was only her second time on grass competing in a hunter derby. Just last weekend, the mare made her derby debut at Deeridge Farm’s inaugural event, Deeridge Derby Weekend. This Saturday, with Colvin in the irons, Harper Lee was able to nail the course, earning a first-round score of 88 from the judging panel.

“I just started riding her at the beginning of WEF. She is a Pre-Green horse and she is the easiest thing in the world,” Colvin laughed. “In the first round, she went in there and was great. She just picks up the canter and goes. She held her breath a little bit over the first couple of jumps.”

© Caroline Nickolaus: Tori Colvin and Harper Lee

With the top twelve open riders coming back in reverse order for the handy phase, Colvin was currently leading the pack, and as the final rider she knew she had to step it up if she wanted to earn the tricolor.

“It’s a humongous ring and they didn’t give us much room for a trot circle, but by the handy she was amazing and I just let go and cantered around. She doesn’t bat an eye at anything,” Colvin said.

Colvin laid down another solid performance to earn a 94 in the handy and a total score of 182 after they jumped all four high-option fences.

Harper Lee’s owner, Laura Karet, also shows the young horse in the Low Adult Hunters. Karet has had the mare since she was a 4-year-old, and is thrilled with the mare’s stellar performance.

“I’m so excited I can barely talk. She’s really never done anything like this before. We’re very, very proud of her. She’s so sweet. She’s a laidback lady, and is very ‘in your pocket.’”

Coming in second place behind Colvin in the Open Section of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby was Kim Barone and Raven Ridge Farm’s Easy Street Hu after collecting 178.5 points. Colvin also received a 174 total score with another one of Karet's entries, Caliber, to claim the yellow ribbon.

Some of the same qualities exhibited by Colvin can be seen in the personality of the winning rider in the Junior/Amateur Section of the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, Kat Fuqua, who hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Fuqua, who just yesterday swept the $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby aboard Somekindawonderful, proved she can be just as victorious in the show ring riding horses.

© Caroline Nickolaus: Kat Fuqua and High Noon 3E

Fuqua, trained by Keri Kampsen and Liz Reilly, led Float On Equestrian LLC’s High Noon 3E to the top of the leaderboard on Saturday afternoon, besting 19 other contestants. Fuqua rode the 14-year-old gelding who she has just gotten the ride on two months ago, to claim a score of 83 in the classic round after opting to do only one of the four high-option jumps.

“It feels really good. This is the first derby I’ve ever placed in with this horse. It was fun and I loved doing the victory gallop,” Fuqua said.

Spectators looked on over the lush derby field as the top 12 in the Junior/Amateur section returned for the handy phase. The judging panel ultimately awarded Fuqua an 84 in the second round for an overall tally of 167 points.

Fuqua demonstrated that age is just a number, having been one of the youngest riders in her section and surpassing those with many more years of experience in the saddle. Like Colvin, the transition from ponies to horses has been a smooth one for Fuqua.

© Caroline Nickolaus: Kat Fuqua and High Noon 3E in the Awards Presentation

“He has a really smooth stride,” she said of her horse, affectionately known in the barn as ‘Hippo.’ “But, he’s more like a kitten – he loves attention and treats. He’s really friendly,” Fuqua acknowledged.

Some of the same characteristics that can be seen in Colvin are present in Fuqua – both of the girls are humble, show a genuine passion for horses, are not afraid of hard work. Both of their mothers are an integral piece of the puzzle and make up their support system at the show ring. It is likely that Fuqua will follow in the same foot steps as Colvin and continue to prosper in her riding career.

Narrowly missing Fuqua by three points in the Junior/Amateur section was Calistoga Gold, ridden by owner Kira Telford. The duo earned an overall score of 164. In third place was Lisa Butzer aboard Allyson Colluccio’s CS Online with 157 points.

© Caroline Nickolaus:
Kat Fuqua steals a kiss from her partner, High Noon 3E, after winning her first hunter derby on a horse!

Other articles of interest
Hoft, Cohen, Ellis and Kurtz Conclude Week Nine with Equitation Wins
Karen Polle and With Wings Fly High to Win $380,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate CSI5*
Kat Fuqua Pilots Somekindawonderful to $5,000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby Championship
Scott Stewart and Kelley Farmer Claim Championship Titles in Professional Hunter Divisions During WE
Karen Polle and With Wings Soar to Victory in $130,000 WEF Challenge Cup CSI5*

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