GLADSTONE, N.J.–--Morgan Ward rode Cypress to win the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby over of a field of 48 Monmouth at the Team at Hamilton Farm, the home of the U.S. Equestrian Team.
It was icing on the cake for Ward who was also celebrating her birthday on Aug. 14.
Skip Bailey’s derby course included four high options and possibilities for inside turns and creative navigation.
In the handy round, the high-score riders at the end of the group seemed to challenge each other. with each trip.
Ward was impressive as she took risks, and they worked out in her favor, so that she earned a first-round score of 94 and an 87.5 in the handy to seal the twin with a total of 181.5 points.
Ward and Cypress, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Bruce Green, have been a team since April.
IN EARLY July they won the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at the Vermont Summer Festival.
“The horse has one pace,” she said. “He doesn’t change, and he’s extremely handy. It doesn’t matter what distance, his knees are always up and he has great expression.”
Ward is a young professional from Milford, N.J., and works out of Willow Brook Farm.
“Especially for us, ithis show is local, and it’s exciting to show at the USET,” Ward said.
Second-place finisher, Michael Desiderio, a member of the family team at Traquillity Farm, in Chester, N.J., also liked Bailey's course.
“It was technical enough but still doable,” said Desiderio who rode Zero Tolerance, owned by Dru Cederberg.
“If you had amateurs or juniors in the class it was rideable for them," said Desiderio. "The professionals got to show what they could do.”
Devon Thomas,16, of Milburn, N.J., trains with the Desiderios at their Tranquillity Farm, and she finished third on her mount of only 60 days, Diabolo.
“I was not planning on doing any of the inside turns, but after Mike’s round, I decided to and it really paid off,” she said.