- Colin Syquia Claims Victory in $5,000 Hunter Derby at Vermont Summer Festival July 21, 2017
East Dorset, Vermont – Colin Syquia of Forest Hills, NY, won the $5,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay, on Thursday, July 20, during week three of the six-week Vermont Summer Festival, running through August 13 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Course designer Gerry Briggs of Smyrna, TN, designed the derby track, which spanned two competition rings and utilized both hunter-style fences as well as traditional derby jumps. From an original starting field of 40 entries, the top 12 horse-rider combinations in the standings following the opening round judged by Marylisa Leffler of Brookeville, MD, returned for the handy round. Syquia and Sandro Rouge, owned by River Run Farm, received a score of 84 in the opening round, and returned to earn the handy round’s highest score of 86. With a total of 170, Syquia and the eight-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding sired by Couleur Rouge earned the win.
“I’m ecstatic!” said Syquia, 42, who operates Eurasia, Inc. in Millbrook, NY, and Wellington, FL. “I think this class is such a great experience. A real challenge for some of these horses that we may want to do international derbies with in the future is the length of the course. It takes a lot of concentration to do 12 obstacles and then come back an hour or two hours later and jump another ten. I think that’s something that is very difficult, and this gives them really good experience.”
Amanda Steege of Ocala, FL, qualified two horses for the handy round, placing second riding Maitre D’ with scores of 82.5 and 85 for a total of 167.5 and fifth aboard Surreal after earning 81 and 83 for a final score of 164.
Having enjoyed a second-place finish during week two, Cassandra Orpen of Westport, CT, remained consistent to place third with scores of 82 and 83.75 for a total of 165.75 riding Major Key. Jennifer Wright of Coscob, CT, rode Zapata to a fourth-place finish on scores of 81.5 and 83.5 for a 165 total, also earning the high-point amateur award.
Sydney Degrazia, 15, of Rochester, NY, was presented as the high-point junior competitor after finishing sixth with Reveille Z.
Of his winning mount Sandro Rouge, who he just began riding this spring, Syquia noted, “I was really impressed with this horse. I had never ridden him in a derby environment, but he rose to the occasion. He’s a spectacular jumper and he has proven here to be brave. I think I have a good rapport with him, so I’m looking forward to the future with him.”
Syquia won the $15,000 Hunter Derby during the final week of the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival but has rarely been seen competing in the weekly feature since.
“I haven’t had any horses in the derbies recently, so it was fun to be able get back in the ring,” said Syquia. “I really enjoy going to shows run by Billy Glass, and appreciate what he does. We go to a lot of really big shows and you can get lost in the shuffle. Here, people are friendly and want to work with you. It’s a family atmosphere and the clients enjoy that because they feel like they are part of the show rather than being number 1,269 out of 2,000.”
In addition to his share of the prize money and a monogrammed winner’s scrim from Mona’s Monograms, Syquia was presented with a Land Rover Experience Driving School off-road excursion by class sponsor, Eastern Hay.
Thursday’s $5,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby took place during World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week at the Vermont Summer Festival. The United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) World Championship Hunter Rider Program was founded in 1992 to recognize and celebrate the hunter rider. WCHR Program Members qualify for national and regional awards by earning points at member events held across the country. The top-ranked riders come together each year to compete in the WCHR Finals at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, held this year from September 29 through October 8 in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Competition continues throughout the weekend at the Vermont Summer Festival, highlighted by the spectator-friendly $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 22.
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont for great competition in an ideal summer setting. Offering more than $750,000 in prize money over the course of its six-week run, the Vermont Summer Festival is New England’s largest hunter/jumper competition as well as the state’s richest sporting event based on purse. Outside the show ring, exhibitors are immersed in the charm of Vermont’s shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2017 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting the Manchester Community Library, Meals on Wheels of Bennington County, and the Rotary Club of Manchester.
For more information on the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$5,000 3’3″ NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay
Thursday, July 20
Rider Hometown Horse Scores
1. Colin Syquia Forest Hills, NY Sandro Rouge 84/86=170
2. Amanda Steege Ocala, FL Maitre D’ 82.5/85=167.5
3. Cassandra Orpen Westport, CT Major Key 82/83.75=165.75
4. Jennifer Wright Coscob, CT Zapata 81.5/83.5=165
5. Amanda Steege Ocala, FL Surreal 81/83=164
6. Sydney Degrazia Rochester, NY Reveille Z 79/84=163
7. Robbie Burroughs Hackensack, NJ Allure 79.5/81=160.5
8. Keirstin Johnsen North Salem, NY Hundred Acre 86/74=160
9. Kristen Bumpus Concord, MA Carington 79.75/79=158.5
10. Brooke Baldwin-Degrazia North Salem, NY Galaxy 80/78=158
11. Sarah Hyde Scituate, MA Algarve 80.5/76=156.5
12. Sarah Barge Bloomfield, NY Guess B 84.5/68=152.5
- Desperately In Need Of A Database March 28, 2016
After reading “The Information Vacuum in U.S. Breeding,” (March 7 & 14, p.26) I’d like to say, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all go to the U.S. Equestrian Federation competition results column, search a stallion or mare, and find the show record of the progeny? In this day and age that shouldn’t be hard to do.
The new microchipping rule will make it easier for the USEF to track Performance results for stallions’ and broodmares’ progeny in the U.S. hunter and jumper rings. This would go a long way towards helping breeders – both amateur and professional – make informed and educated breeding choices. If the USEF can collect the information, breeders can use it intelligently, not just take uninformed shots in the dark. We need a database resource desperately.
– Phoebe Weseley
The Chronicle of the Horse | March 21 & 28, 2016 Issue
- Answer Me This September 1, 2015
When Phoebe Weseley won the WIHS Adult Hunter Finals on ‘Just Ask Me’ in 2010, and had continued success in that division, she was ready to move up. A new 3’3” Amateur-Owner Division would be underway in 2012, so she set out to find a new hunter. The search started, as many do, in Florida to no avail. Later that spring, Phoebe’s veterinarian Dr. Tiffany Marr showed her a video of a gorgeous five-year-old stallion from Germany. He not only looked the part, he seemed to have the talent and scope to do the increasingly popular Hunter Derbies.
And so the unbelievable story of Coco began. Dr. Marr reviewed the X-rays, gave a thumbs up and Phoebe decided to purchase the horse, who had been gelded the month before. The day she wired the money, Dr. Marr called.
“She said she made an executive decision to not send him. He was swollen in the groin. So we gave him antibiotics and waited,” Phoebe explained. “Of course I had already wired the money!”
The saga continued. He arrived in quarantine and two days later spiked a fever. So Dr. Marr had him sent to Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center, where he had to have a surgical procedure due to a castration gone bad.
“I was a bit freaked out. Of course I said okay, what else could I do?” At this point, Phoebe had not even seen the horse. “So I decided to go see him before the surgery. I spent several hours with him, giving him carrots. We bonded.
I thought that I should check in with my insurance company, Taylor Harris. They were fantastic, as always. Super supportive.”
After the surgeons removed a large abscess and sewed him up, Phoebe was relieved. However, during recovery, the poor horse herniated, the stitches popped open and his intestines were heading for the floor. “Luckily someone was there to catch them,” she remarked. “I was beside myself. I already loved the horse and had never ridden him. He was given a 50% chance of survival.”
Several days passed and Phoebe went to see her new horse, still without a name. Optimistic, she noted that he had on a belly band but from that point forward he looked fantastic. “He looked like he was ready to go the horse show. He was pawing the ground for his carrots. It was amazing. And I thought ‘Wow. This horse is tough. He’s going to make it.’”
Soon afterwards, Answer Me This (known as Coco in the barn) came home. The strong-willed wonder settled in and was ready to show as a six-year-old in Florida the next winter. When he turned seven, Phoebe and Coco met up with Brady Mitchell, who had been looking for a Derby mount. Peter Pletcher had been showing him, but Peter had hurt his back. Brady took him in his first Derby and was 6th.
The rest is hunter history. Coco has a fabulous jump and continues to bring home top prizes in the Amateur classes, with Phoebe in the irons, as well as the Second Years and the Derbies, with Brady Mitchell aboard, from Old Salem to Upperville.
“This year I won at Old Salem in the 3’3” Amateurs. Also at Upperville Coco was 4th, in the Paul & Eve Go-As-You-Please Handy Hunter, under the trees, where you choose your own handy track. It was a really fun class,” Phoebe reported. “Brady and Coco are a great team. They love the Handy, Brady is gutsy and Coco is super brave.”
He takes supplements to help his stomach but has never had another incident. Phoebe calls him her ox. Currently preparing to compete in the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship this August, Answer Me This is going places.
“Next year it’s me and the 3’3” Amateurs – maybe move up to 3’6”,” Phoebe said. “The moral is never give up on your horse – bond and believe.”
Horse Corner | Horse & Style Magazine | Aug/Sep 2015 Issue
Full pdf of article available here.
- Bright Ideas: A Princess Pony, A Pet Pig and A Fabulous Farish August 9, 2014
Put that altogether and what do you have? This week it’s Reserve Champion at the USEF Pony Finals, Green Medium Pony division with over 70 entries. The pony is Brighton Heartbreaker, a 6-year-old Welsh cross, and this was her ninth show ever. The rider was the talented Daisy Farish, a 13-year-old competing in her seventh and last Pony Finals. Heritage Farm trains; Patricia Griffith was on the ground this week. Phoebe Weseley of River Run Farm owns the pony. So where do the princess and the pig fit in?
Lets go back six years when Phoebe got a call from Eric Caleca of Brighton Stud. “He saw my daughter’s pony, Brighton Beam A Bit on the cover of Sidelines magazine and said I should come look at his ponies.”
And Phoebe, thinking it would be fun for she and her then 11-year-old daughter. Carson, to have a pony project, said “Ok.” So up to northern New Jersey they ventured and out in the broodmare field were a group of weanling ponies. Phoebe picked their favorite baby, a bay filly by Romany River Talisman and out of Brighton Heartbreak Run, patiently raised her for six years, and the results proved worthwhile.
A Princess in the Making
Phoebe took the new weanling to her farm and turned her out with a mare that took her in as her own. At age two the pony went to Jenny Thompson’s Pine Haven Farm in Maryland for 60 days of ‘breaking’, was turned out again and returned to Thompson’s at age three for 60 days. Then as a 4 and 5-year-old she went to HITS Ocala and hung out. Known at home as ‘Bettie’, the pony is named for Phoebe’s mother-in-law who is a southern belle. So of course she has to live up to her name.
“In the interim my daughter lost interest, found boys, and so I was riding the pony,” Phoebe explained. Luckily she is only 4’11”. “She is a bit of a princess. If she doesn’t want to do something she will ever so politely say ‘no.’ When she was younger I didn’t insist, but now I do. She is really smart, very balanced and straight forward but still a princess.”
A Pet Pig
Several years ago while Bettie was still growing up, Carson and Phoebe sited an adorable piglet for sale at a horse show. Not able to resist the little swine, ‘Fudgie’ found his way into their hearts and a home at River Run Farm.
Not tiny for long, Fudgie is now good size pot bellied pig with an opinion. He likes the nice horses and has chosen Bettie as his princess. He sleeps in her stall, when she’s home and when she’s not, and hangs out in her paddock.
Pony Finals with A Fabulous Farish
Phoebe also took Bettie to Kentucky as a young pony, and a young Daisy Farish from Lexington tried her. The Farish family wanted to bring her home, but Phoebe, the protective pony mom, thought Bettie was too young.
The very green pony made her debut at WEF this past winter with Daisy riding and was Champion her second show. Next was Old Salem in the spring where she was Reserve Champion the first week and Champion the second week. She then competed at HiTS Saugerties and Brandywine with Isabel Ryan in the irons and her final prep for Pony Finals was one week in Kentucky with Emma Kurtz riding. She kept on winning. The stage was set for Daisy Farish, who had thought last year was her final year at Pony Finals but was happy to make an exception to ride Bettie.
“She has a great rhythm,” explained the accomplished equestrian. “That’s my favorite thing about her.”
“I always thought in the back of my mind that she could go to Pony Finals so bringing her to Lexington was a premeditated move in a way,” said Phoebe smiling. “She’s learning to be a show princess. Heritage knows ponies and they’ve done a great job with her.”
Knowing that Eric Caleca is no longer breeding the Brighton line, Phoebe is determined to see the line continue. Although she expects Bettie will go on to the perfect pony home, she does want to make breeding arrangements for the future.
The smile on everyone’s faces put the icing on the Princess Pony winning at Pony Finals cake.
By Jackie McFarland for ProEquest.com.
- The 52nd Washington International Horse Show Begins Competition With Hunters October 26, 2010
Jennifer Wood Media
Washington, D.C. – The 52nd annual Washington International Horse Show began today with hunter competition for professional and amateur riders, who had the first classes of their divisions and finish for championships tomorrow. In the evening session, children’s and adult hunter riders reigned the ring.
After four years of competing in the $10,000 Adult Hunter Championship, Phoebe Weseley and Just Ask Me finally got their victory. The pair had a first round score of 75 and came back with a vengeance in the second round. They scored 86 for a total of 161 and the win. First round leader Wise Counsel and Jessica Lohman, who rode for Alan Lohman, finished second with a score of 158.5, and Laurie Barna on Laguna placed third with a total of 155.Weseley hails from Bedminster, MD, and has owned Just Ask Me, a 10-year-old Mecklenberg gelding by DeNiro, for more than four years. They placed fourth in last year’s Championship. For this year’s competition, Weseley felt about her rounds, “My first round was good. The five (strides) rode a little tighter than I thought and I had a little rub because I over released in the four to the two. But I fixed it all in the second round,” she remarked.
Weseley gave credit to her horse and her team. She said, “My horse tries; he gives you 110%. His name is Just Ask Me and when you ask him, he does it. He really has a big heart. Eric Salvadore is great, and Patty Foster, Mary Lisa Leffler and my whole team. They make it easy for me.”â€¨
“It feels great,” Weseley said of her victory. “It has been a lot of hard work. (In Harrisburg) he got a ribbon, but not what I expected so this was really great redemption for him.”
View full press release here.