Indianapolis, Indiana – July 23, 2011 – The Pepsi Coliseum was full Friday evening as some of the country’s top hunter riders took center stage in the $15,000 USHJA Hunter Derby. The night’s main event was the hunter highlight of the two-week Circle City Equestrian Horse Show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The first round consisted of numerous bending lines and options, including four high option jumps. The second round took the top twelve entries from the first round back for a handy course that still offered riders with numerous high options to demonstrate their horses abilities.

Amanda Thomas and Kapalua with horse show chairman Craig Dobbs and competition manager Tom Blankenship

Amanda Thomas of Brentwood, Missouri rode the Hadley Graham entry Kapalua, a nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Goethe, and took the top prize in the first round of competition. They held onto their lead through the second round.

“I thought it was a good course,” said Thomas. “I think it rode a little tougher than it looked on paper. There were some lines that were a little challenging.” The course not only offered high option jumps, but offered an option line. After jumping a vertical option set in the center of the ring, riders could choose a left hand turn to a smaller option bending line, or a right hand turn which took them to a different bending line of higher option jumps. “I took all the high option jumps,” explained Thomas.

Kapalua has been in the same barn with Thomas since he was three years old. Owner Hadley Graham has also spent plenty of time showing Kapalua over the years as well. Thomas explained that she was not aiming to go to Hunter Derby Finals this year. “I won’t do Derby Finals this year because this is only the second derby he has ever done,” said Thomas. “He was doing the Junior Hunters with Hadley, so I didn’t do the derbies before, but now she is in college.”

Lauren Sogard and Concerto wtih Craig Dobbs

Second place in the Circle City Equestrian Horse Show $15,000 USHJA Hunter Derby was awarded to Lauren Sogard aboard her own mount Concerto. Sogard and Concerto, a familiar face among the derby standings, also took the high options in both rounds of competition. Third place was awarded to Lizzie Stickney aboard the Wendy Hofmeister entry Contemporary. Stickney and Contemporary have had a successful two weeks in Indianapolis. The pair won the IHJA Junior Medal Finals last weekend as well.

Lizzie Stickney and Contemporary with Craig Dobbs

After the USHJA Hunter Derby last night, junior riders returned to the hunter ring early this morning in the Pepsi Coliseum. Alliy Moyer of Carmel, Indiana rode her own mount Momentus to the overall victory in the division.

Moyer has owned Momentus, a nine-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding by Crelido, since he came from Europe as a four-year-old. “He’s kind of a strange horse,” smiled Moyer. “He took a little while to bring up, but now he’s perfect.”

Alliy Moyer and Momentus with Jim Farmer

Coming indoors after being outside the entire summer can present a challenge for some horse and rider combinations, but Momentus and Moyer had no problem. “It’s really nice to be inside in the air conditioning while it is so hot outside,” said Moyer.

Over the past two weeks of horse showing in the Pepsi Coliseum, there has been one common statement from riders and spectators alike; the jumps and courses are beautiful. Moyer was no exception. “The courses were really nice today,” beamed Moyer. “The handy course was a little hard yesterday, but I think it challenged them enough.”

The Circle City Equestrian Horse Show was especially good practice for Moyer and Momentus as they prepare for indoor finals this fall. “We should be qualified for the hunters at Harrisburg,” explained Moyer. “We will also go to Capital Challenge.”

Stay tuned for more results from the Circle City Equestrian Horse Show. As the hunters take center stage during the day in the Pepsi Coliseum, the $40,000 Circle City Equestrian Grand Prix will be the highlight this evening.

For more information regarding the Circle City Equestrian Horse Show please visit their website at or find them on Facebook.