One of my favorite assignments of the year is the United States Hunter Jumper Association International Hunter Derby Championships, held each August at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
This year I had the pleasure of watching close friends take the victory. Liza Towell Boyd and Brunello, a 15-year-old Hanoverian gelding, performed beautifully over two challenging Derby courses to win the most prestigious hunter competition of the year.
I met Liza and her family back in 1991, when she won the USEF Pony Finals. Over the years, she’s added other major accolades to her résumé, and I’ve been fortunate to be there for many of them, from the WCHR Hunter Classic Spectacular in Florida to the National Horse Show in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Liza is now a well-established professional rider and trainer with her father Jack and brother Hardin. I’ve had the opportunity to train and show with the Towells in the past at their facility in South Carolina, where I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie of their Finally Farm family.
As I was preparing this year’s USHJA In Stride print and digital magazines, I pulled out a few images that caught my eye from the 4,000+ photos I shot. With my deadlines just winding down today, I finally had a moment to breathe. It will still take me several weeks to fully edit the galleries, but it’s always an enjoyable task.
For my fellow camera geeks, these images were taken with the Nikon D800E and the AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f4 ED VR Lens and an AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 ED VR II Lens. The ISO ranged from 320-6400.