Ashley Dewoolfson and Corazon Conquer $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby at HITS Culpeper
Culpeper, V.A. – July 15, 2023 – Saturday afternoon’s $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby marked the third national hunter derby of HITS Culpeper’s six-week USEF competition. Twenty-four horse and rider entries showcased their abilities during the classic and handy rounds in the Main Hunter Ring during the exhibitor party, sponsored by Deep Roots. Ashley Dewoolfson and Corazon had two brilliant rounds, earning impressive scores from the judges to garner the winning title.
Ashley Dewoolfson and Corazon. Photo by: Alison Hartwell Photography
“[Corazon] is super simple and straightforward,” commented Dewoolfson. “He’s a really easy horse. Super easy to find a jump on, super quiet, always perks his ears at the jump and looks really cute when he’s jumping!”
The classic round offered four high options throughout the arena. Twelve combinations were invited back for the handy round, which included four high options, several rollbacks, a trot fence and a bending line to the final large oxer across from the gate.
Elizabeth “Lilibet” Motion and Lilibet. Photo by: Alison Hartwell Photography
After obtaining a first-round score of an 88, Dewoolfson’s goal for her and Corazon’s second round was to be as handy as possible. The duo made a tight turn after the first jump, which set the pace for the rest of the course. The risk paid off and led them to victory after earning 90 at the end of the handy round for a combined total score of 178. Second-place recipients Elizabeth “Lilibet” Motion and Lilibet finished in a close second with scores of 84.5 and 90 for a combined 177.5, while Hanna Myrdahl and Clearville received scores of 80 and 87 for a combined 171 to round out the top three.
Hanna Myrdahl and Clearville. Photo by: Alison Hartwell Photography
“I'd say her first round was very well ridden,” noted Dewoolfson’s trainer Danny Mahon. “I thought she started with a good pace and kept the same rhythm throughout the whole thing. There were no major changes in the rhythm. [Corazon] just went around and perked his ears.”
Following a big surgery that saw her take a six-week break from riding to help her recovery process, this victory is extra special for Dewoolfson and her “heart horse” who Mahon mentioned are “just getting back into the swing of showing and the derby ring.” Overall, the trio was thrilled with the results and excited about the Commonwealth Park improvements.
“They're great,” Dewoolfson concluded. “I think all the footing is much nicer to ride on. I like the paths that they put to the ring, the stalls are nice. I also like the mats in the stalls, and I noticed they've been really making the derby course more filled with flowers – it's really pretty!”
Ashley Dewoolfson & Corazon. Photo by: Alison Hartwell Photography
In August, riders will return to HITS Commonwealth Park for the Winst National and the Constitution Classic, scheduled for August 16 – 27, 2023. Each week will feature a $20,000 Open Prix and a $2,500 USHJA National Derby, in addition to a large variety of hunter and jumper classics for riders of all levels. For more information visit www.hitsshows.com.