Amanda Derbyshire rides high in Wellington


Amanda Derbyshire has claimed another major victory at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, USA. Fresh from her win in the $134,000 3* grand prix last Saturday night with Roulette BH, she topped the $72,000 WEF challenge on this occasion riding Luibanta BH.

Sixty-nine originally tackled German course-designer Olaf Petersen Jr’s track with 12 qualifying for the jump-off. Of these, 10 elected to come forward, but the winner wasn’t found until the last to go.

Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs on Chica BZ led the way as Amanda entered the ring, and she wiped almost a sec from the time as she swept through the finish with 0.91 sec to spare.

“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 Amanda. “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,” she continued. “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, Amanda’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 Amanda’s patience, is paying off.

“It feels incredible,” said Amanda 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 Amanda of Luibanta BH, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Luidam x Abantos) that she 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.”

William Whitaker rode RMF Hortensia into 11th in the 97-strong 1.40m with a steady clear more than 11 sec off the pace.

Photos © Sportfot

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