Jacob Pope and J’Adore – Photo by Diana Hadsall Photography
Just as they had done during the opening week of the 2017 GLEF, 22-year-old professional rider, Jacob Pope, and J’Adore rode to their second hunter derby victory during the final week of the circuit on Sunday in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby.
Pope and the 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, owned by Team Rakowsky Equestrian LLC, received the high score of the classic round, earning an 88 from the judging panel, to return in first place as the top 12 competitors came back for the handy phase.
Demonstrating smooth inside turns, effortless adjustability and confidence over the high option fences around the Nick Granat-designed course, Pope and J’Adore scored an impressive 84 in the handy round to hold on to their lead and secure the win with a final tally of 172.
Finishing not far behind Pope was Roger Turner and Aviator, owned by Denise Short, with a final score of 167 for second place honors, while Kathryn Haefner and Endeavour, owned by Kathryn Haefner LLC, rounded out the top three with a final score of 161.
In addition to ribbons and prize money won, Pope’s mount, J’Adore, was also awarded the Week Six Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week.
The 2017 GLEF held national hunter derby competitions each week throughout the six-week event and also featured World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) week during Week Two and a $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during Week Four, which was won by Courtney Calcagnini and Bowie for the second year in a row.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Jacob Pope – $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby winner
On his second hunter derby win during the final week of GLEF:
“This is great. We won the first one during Week One and now the last one. She did a few others [throughout the circuit] too and she was great in all of them. I’m super happy with her. She came out on top and now she’s finishing on top.”
On what set him and J’Adore apart from the rest of the competition:
“There were a couple of bending lines that matched on both sides with nine strides. I think I was really bold down both of those lines. I really galloped up and showed her off and really tried to have a nice derby pace. I think the rest of the jumps were really smooth, but I think taking a shot in both of those lines and doing nine, where some people did 10, set me apart.”
“This season was my first time here, and first time in Michigan even. It’s beautiful country. I love Traverse City and the horse show is also great. I see big things to come for it so I’m definitely looking forward to competing here next year. I hear talk about making the [WCHR] hunter week next year even more special so that’ll be exciting. Hopefully J’Adore is still around with us. I think it’ll be great!”
$5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total Score
1. J’Adore / Jacob Pope / Team Rakowsky Equestrian LLC / 88 / 84 / 172.00%
2. Aviator / Roger Turner / Denise Short / 86 / 81 / 167.00%
3. Endeavour / Kathryn Haefner / Kathryn Haefner LLC / 80 / 81 / 161.00%
4. Czech Mate / Arly Golombek / Pumpkin’s Patch Farms LLC / 78 / 82 / 160.00%
5. Act Of Valor / Olivia Parr / Pinecone Farm LLC / 72 / 86 / 158.00%
6. Arius / Kristen Berian / Coral C Stables LLC / 79 / 74 / 153.00%
7. Black Label B / Owen Gajoch / Owen Gajoch / 74 / 78 / 152.00%
8. Kennedy / Nikko Ritter / Kathryn Haefner LLC / 87 / 49 / 136.00%
9. Marshall / Nikko Ritter / Kathryn Haefner LLC / 84 / 49 / 133.00%
10. Nobel Laureate / Erika Jakobson / Barn Rat LLC / 85 / 46 / 131.00%
11. Concerto / Owen Gajoch / Owen Gajoch / 60 / 68 / 128.00%
12. Charmed Life / Lillie Parr / Pinecone Farm LLC / 66 / 0 / 66.00%