It’s Taylor Time! Katie Taylor and L’Con Reyes Claim USHJA International Hunter Derby Victory

Jun 15, 2019 | Featured, Press Releases

Katie Taylor aboard L’Con Reyes

San Juan Capistrano, CA – June 15, 2019 –  Katie Taylor started her Saturday morning with a win in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby aboard Bravado Farms’ entry, L’Con Reyes. Taylor came into the handy round in fourth place, but a beautiful ride that received nine handy bonus points from both judging panels, moved the pair into the winner’s circle. Jenny Karazissis and Really took the reserve champion spot, following their win last week in the WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular. Taylor also rounded out the podium with Noteworthy Horses LLC’s entry, Cajeton.

The Taylor family has certainly been on a winning streak this past week. With Katie finishing in second place with L’Con Reyes in the WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular last weekend, a win in today’s USHJA International Hunter Derby, and in between those two high performance hunter victories, Taylor’s dad, who works as the Vice President of Hockey Operations for the St. Louis Blues, held the Stanley Cup high with a victory in game six of the series. This was the first Stanley Cup win for Dave Taylor, and the first time in fifty years that the team had played in the series.

Katie Taylor aboard L’Con Reyes with the team from Bravado Farms, LLC, Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports and Traci Brooks of Balmoral

Today’s victory was not on the ice but on the grass of the Pacific Hunter Field, where course designer Jasen Shelley dressed up the field beautifully, including four high options, bending lines, a combination, and a log fence. The two judging panels consisted of Panel 1: Scott Williamson and George Wallace with Panel 2: Diane Carney and Constance Hunt.

Twenty-eight horse and rider combinations took to the track, and after a competitive first round of competition, the cut off to make the handy round was 168 points.

VIDEO: Watch Winning Handy Round and Interview with Katie Taylor and Valerie Welker

The handy round included opportunities for inside turns and rollbacks, as well as a trot jump and four high options. Taylor and L’Con Reyes had a flawless handy round, making smooth inside turns, jumping all four high options, and keeping a forward pace throughout the entire course. Karazissis and Really also had a lovely handy round, taking all four high options and a tidy track, to move up from third into the second place spot.

Jenny Karazissis with Really

Colorado’s Michael Dennehy aboard Hulla-Balou and junior rider Augusta Iwasaki on Vanderpump, who also earned high scores and handy bonus points, were rewarded for their handy efforts. Dennehy moved up from eighth in Round One to fourth overall and Iwasaki jumped from twelfth to a fifth place finish.

Taylor takes home a USHJA cooler and boot bag, a pewter Blenheim EquiSports trophy and a pair of Roeckl Sports gloves for her victory.

Valerie Welker of Bravado Farms LLC received the Balmoral Winning Owner Award, a HE Tex Sutton Forwarding Company equine travel voucher, a trophy, and a USHJA embroidered cooler. The Blue Ribbon Blankets Winning Trainer Award went to Taylor who rides for Durango Farms and David Bustillos.

Augusta Iwasaki on Vanderpump with Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports

The awards didn’t end there, however. Iwasaki was awarded the barnstyle High Scoring Junior Award. And Dennehy’s young hunter, Hulla-Balou, was awarded the Best Turned Out Award, sponsored by Makoto Farms. Grooms Emily Eichler and Dago Hernandez were given the prize for their excellent work and for keeping Hulla-Balou looking and feeling his best.

Although the pair didn’t qualify for the second round of competition, Morgan Garnet and C’est La Vie were awarded The Plaid Horse Leading Amateur Rider Award.

Grooms Emily Eichler and Dago Hernandez with Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports and Liz Riley of Makoto Farms

Morgan Garnett with Melissa Brandes of Blenheim EquiSports

Highlights from the June Classic II include Saturday afternoon’s $25,000 Markel Insurance 1.45m Grand Prix and Blenheim U25 Jumper Classic. And competition is heating up for June Classic III, which includes The American Tradition of Equitation Excellence, presented by Whitethorne early in the week, the West Coast Pony Challenge, presented by USHJA Zone 10, two USHJA Derbies and much more. 


$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Place – Entry – Horse – Rider – Owner – Rd 1 Score / Rd 2 Score = Total

1. 172 – L’Con Reyes – Katie Taylor – Bravado Farms LLC – 177 / 202 = 379

2. 338 – Really – Jenny Karazissis – Michelle Cobb – 178 / 190.5 = 368.5

3. 848 – Cajeton – Katie Taylor – Noteworthy Horses – 178.25 / 189.7 = 368

4. 242 – Hulla-Balou – Michael Dennehy – Renee Rainey-Howard – 170.5 / 196 = 366.5

5. 443- Vanderpump – Augusta Iwasaki – Ashland Farms – 168 / 193 = 361

6. 860 – Cornelensky – Jamie Taylor – Spyglass Hill- 171.25 / 184 = 355.25

7. 273 – Hopeful – Jamie Sailor – Astrid Van Leeuwen – 170 / 183 = 353

8. 258 – Shadowfax – Erin Duffy – Raphaelle Cassens – 170.5 / 180 = 350.5

9. 213 – Beach Boy – Emily Williams – Emily Williams – 169.25 / 179 = 348.25

10. 441 – Small Occasion – Nick Haness – Iwasaki & Reilly – 179 / 160 = 339

11. 442 – Small Kingdom – Augusta Iwasaki – Iwasaki & Reilly – 175.5 / 113 = 288.5

12. 444 – Lord Calador – Nick Haness – Melissa Bilodeau – 171 / 93 = 264


Photos by McCool Photography

Blenheim EquiSports, an equestrian event management company based in San Juan Capistrano, CA, produces events in three locations: San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar and Las Vegas, NV. The events include 19 USEF “Premier” rated hunter-jumper shows featuring five FEI CSI events, including a Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League event; the Markel Insurance 1.45m Jumper Series & Final, Developing Jumper Qualifiers & Championships, USHJA International & National Hunter Derbies, Pony Derby Finals, the Whitethorne Equitation Challenge, Medal Finals and more.