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Patience pays off for Amanda Derbyshire with WEF Challenge Cup win

Friday, 22 March 2019
Winter Equestrian Festival 2019 – Week 11

Photo © Sportfot. Amanda Derbyshire and Luibanta BH. Photo © Sportfot.


Press release from Equestrian Sport Productions by Summer Grace and Emily Riden for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. 


Fresh off a win in Saturday night’s $134,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3*, Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire claimed another major victory on Thursday, March 21, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), this time topping the $72,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI 4* aboard Luibanta BH.

Jumper, hunter, and equitation competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL, continues for one more week, with the 12-week WEF circuit concluding on March 31, 2019. Featured events of Week 11, sponsored by Wellington Agricultural Services, include the George Morris Excellence in Equitation Championship on Friday, March 22, at 5 p.m.; the $209,000 Wellington Agricultural Services Grand Prix CSI 4* beginning at 11 a.m. and the $134,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Jumper Series Final beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 23; and the $50,000 Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix Series Final on Sunday, March 24, at 11 a.m.

In Thursday’s featured class, 69 entries tried their hand at the track, set in the International Ring of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) showgrounds by Germany’s Olaf Petersen, Jr. Of those starters, 12 qualified for the jump-off round, and 10 elected to return to face off over the short course.

Derbyshire and her mount Luibanta BH, owned by Gochman Sport Horses, LLC, were the final combination to jump off, and when they entered the ring, the time to beat had been set at 42.72 seconds by the sixth entry to return, Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs riding Chica BZ (Canturano x Berlin).

As she crossed the finish line, Derbyshire herself did not think she had done enough to best Fuchs’s time, but the timers would prove otherwise, with her finish time clocking in at 41.81 seconds for the win. Fuchs and Chica BZ, owned by Juri Adolfo, would take second, while third place with a time of 49.78 seconds went to the only other rider to produce a double clear effort, Canada’s Susan Horn aboard Balintore, owned by Kingsfield Farm.

“I actually didn’t think that I was faster than Martin because I did 10 [strides] in the last line, and I know he did nine,” explained Derbyshire. “I was clear up until that point, so I just tried to not get too greedy. I did the number I planned, and it just happened that I was a little faster.

“I did walk the course thinking, ‘Wow! It’s big today,’ but it rode nice for everyone,” continued Derbyshire. “Obviously in a tighter ring, it’s pretty important to stick to the plan and the track when there are a lot of options on all the bending lines to do different numbers. So I walked my plan this morning, went away for a little bit and did some stuff up at WEF, and came back 20 out, watched a couple, and rode the track that I walked this morning, and it happened to work out well!”

Throughout the 2019 WEF season, Derbyshire’s plan was to give her horses – including Thursday’s winning mount, Luibanta BH, and Saturday’s grand prix winner, Roulette BH – a lighter, easier schedule, building them up to these final weeks and to summer show plans following WEF. Now that plan, and Derbyshire’s patience, is paying off.

“It feels incredible,” said Derbyshire of her two consecutive major victories. “I was missing out on showing a little bit, but finally it paid off that I saved them for the right classes! The horses feel great, and they jumped absolutely fantastic.

“With this horse, she’s always going to jump the jumps, and she’s so agile and light,” continued Derbyshire of Luibanta BH, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Luidam x Abantos) that Derbyshire rode in the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG). “She’s always going to look to that next jump, and she’s always going to back herself off; that’s the beauty of her. She is simply the nicest horse you could ever be around or work around. She’s very happy go lucky. After WEG, she’s kind of taken it easy, and we’ve got big plans for the summer – hopefully some Nations Cups.”

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