Victoria Colvin Has a One-Two Finish for Third Victory in $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular
RELEASE: February 16, 2014
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Victoria Colvin and Ovation (Sportfot)
. - World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) competition peaked on Saturday evening under the lights of the International Arena at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. The country's top professional, amateur, and junior hunter riders went head-to-head to earn top call in the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular.
Hunter horses and riders were showcased throughout week six of the FTI WEF in WCHR competition. Riders qualified for the class during competition for their respective divisions throughout the week.
Sixteen-year-old Victoria Colvin topped the class for the third year in a row with champion mount Ovation, who she rode to the 2013 title as well. Ovation, a 14-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Dr. Betsee Parker, won the class with a score of 89.66 with Colvin in the irons. Not only did Colvin clinch her third title in the Hunter Spectacular, she took the top two spots. She rode Way Cool (the 2012 WCHR Hunter Spectacular winner), a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding also owned by Dr. Parker, to second place with a score of 89.16.
Kelley Farmer and Certainty, owned by Glefke & Kensel LLC, were next best, taking third place with an 87.50. Peter Pletcher and Empire, owned by David Gochman, rounded out the top four after also finishing with an 87.50.
Colvin had the disadvantage of going first out of the 29 entries for the class and did her best to lay down a round with a score that would hold up. She was happy with an 89, but she admitted she never thought it would stick. "I thought the first [round], [the judges] wouldn't give too high of a score. I thought 89 is a good score, but it's also very beatable," Colvin acknowledged.
Colvin returned mid-way through the order with her second mount Way Cool, the gelding she rode to victory in the 2012 Hunter Spectacular that can have a penchant for untimely misbehavior. She admitted she was unsure how either mount would act under the lights of the International Arena, but went into the ring determined to best her score with Ovation.
"I picked horses that are unpredictable, and I didn't really know how they were going to go when they walked in, but I was very happy with how both of them went. Way Cool, I wasn't sure when I trotted in what he was going to do, but he went right around. He was a little freaked out at the people, but he went right around," Colvin remarked.
She explained, "They're both a bit spooky, but they're old souls in a way. The night, the people, it's just a big class for both of those horses to do."
With two "byes" for the class thanks to previous wins, Colvin could have had her pick of horses to take in the ring for the class, but she settled on Ovation and Way Cool based on their good behavior earlier in the day during the Junior Hunter divisions. Dr. Parker admitted that she didn't want either of the horses to go in the class, but was ultimately happy that Colvin remained the voice of reason.
"I kind of love the way our team works because we have a lot of back and forth between us, (trainer) Scott (Stewart) and I, and Tori and her mother. Nobody seems to have the primary voice. And tonight I really didn't want Tori to ride either of those horses, and I'm so glad the team didn't listen to me!" Dr. Parker laughed.
While many successful riders her age are all too eager to leave the hunter divisions behind for the thrills of the jumper ring, Colvin still campaigns multiple hunter mounts. Colvin admitted that with horses like Dr. Parker's, she's in no rush to transition out of the hunter divisions. "I do really like the jumpers and the jumpers are really fun, but I have so many nice hunters, and these classes I love, so I think that I will continue to do these classes," Colvin expressed.
Colvin's piece of the $100,000 prize will be donated to Danny & Ron's Rescue, a cause that is near and dear to Dr. Parker's philanthropist heart. With the prize money doubled this year for the Hunter Spectacular, Parker was especially thrilled to be able to share the wealth, especially after having doubts whether Colvin could pick up a third victory.
"I was really excited tonight to win the Hunter Spectacular for the [third] time because first of all, I told my team members, I don't believe lightning strikes [three] times in the same spot, so I was wrong. I was thrilled to be wrong tonight!" Dr. Parker smiled. "It's important to find a good cause to get behind and bring it forward, like Danny and Ron have been brought forward. I was really thrilled for that."
Like Colvin, Farmer also had her pick of a barn packed with talent. She ultimately chose one of her greener mounts; Certainty hasn't even turned six yet. The Oldenburg gelding has been brave and scopey ever since Farmer first swung her leg over him last summer, so she had no doubts he would rise to the occasion on Saturday evening.
"From the first day we got him, he has been just as brave as can be," Farmer beamed. "I was pretty confident with him. With one that young and that green anything can go wrong, but I knew that he wasn't going to come in here and have a meltdown. He was great this week both days. He's got that mentality; he thinks he's too good. The only thing we did wrong was let Tori show up!"
Pletcher was happy to be mounted on a more experienced horse. Empire, an 11-year-old Warmblood stallion, is regularly seen in the Amateur-Owner Hunters with owner Becky Gochman and Pletcher contested the Hunter Spectacular with him in 2013.
"There's nothing better to ride than a good amateur horse. You take away a lot of the pressure to know that horse is going to go around like he's going to go around. He went super, I couldn't be any happier with the way he went. I thought that was as good as he's gonna be, so I was very happy," Pletcher commented.
Pletcher was also pleased with how the course rode, feeling that course designer Steve Stephens produced a very fair course for Saturday night's field of horses and riders. With junior and amateur riders and horses with a wide range of experience, Stephens had to build a course that everyone could handle, yet was also still a challenge.
"I thought it was a good course. It wasn't really hard in any aspect one way or the other. Steve is a very good course designer for sure, and he knew the group of horses that were coming into this class, and he did the course perfectly for it," Pletcher described.
Full Results $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Hunter Spectacular
Horse Rider Owner J1 J2 J3 Final
1 OVATION VICTORIA COLVIN DR. BETSEE PARKER 91.00 89.00 89.00 89.66
2 WAY COOL VICTORIA COLVIN DR. BETSEE PARKER 92.00 92.00 83.55 89.18
3 CERTAINTY KELLEY FARMER GLEFKE & KENSEL LLC 88.00 86.50 88.00 87.50
4 EMPIRE PETER PLETCHER DAVID GOCHMAN 86.50 87.50 88.50 87.50
5 WALK THIS WAY CHRISTOPHER PAYNE SUSAN MORICONI 87.00 88.00 86.50 87.16
6 KENNZO MOLLY ASHE-CAWLEY KRISTEN ABBATIELLO-NEFF 86.75 86.25 88.25 87.08
7 LUCKY TIMES MEREDITH DARST OLD WILLOW FARMS LLC 85.00 87.00 87.00 86.33
8 GRAYON LILLIE KEENAN JAY GOULDING 85.50 86.00 84.00 85.16
9 TIFFANI LILLI HYMOWITZ ROSE HILL FARM 84.00 85.00 85.00 84.66
10 SOULJA BOY LILLIE KEENAN STONE HORSE FARM LLC 82.00 82.00 83.00 82.33
11 COME MONDAY TARA METZNER DAVLYN FARMS INC 86.00 78.00 82.00 82.00
12 FONTEYN HAYLEY BARNHILL JOHN & STEPHANIE INGRAM LLC 80.00 80.00 84.50 81.50