Led by trainer Caitlyn Shiels, True North Stables kicked off the summer show season with a successful two weeks of horse showing at the Country Heir Horse Shows, held June 5-9 and June 12-16, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY.
Among the headliners of the True North team’s success at Country Heir was Cassius, owned by Durpetti Equestrian LLC. In the High Performance Hunters and with Shiels in the irons, the 10-year-old Warmblood gelding claimed the division reserve championship during Country Heir I and returned the following week to win two of the division’s over fences classes during the show’s World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week.
Cassius’s success continued each weekend in the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby classes, where he claimed impressive, consecutive top six finishes. On Saturday, June 8, Shiels and Cassius finished sixth among 31 entries in the $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, and the following week, they returned to the Kentucky Horse Park’s Rolex Stadium do it again, this time finishing fifth from a field of 30 entries in the Country Heir II $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
“Cassius has been super consistent, and I’m really excited about how he has grown in our program and how really dependable he has become in going out there and putting in great rounds,” said Shiels of the mount that she has competed in the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships (“Derby Finals”) for the past two years and that she plans to compete at Derby Finals again this August at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“For sure part of the reason why I chose to go to Kentucky in June is because we have the opportunity to jump the hunter derby classes in the Rolex Stadium,” continued Shiels. “Derby Finals is in that ring, so it’s great for both horse and rider to have the chance to get in there beforehand and really have a positive experience. Cassius jumped around beautifully both weeks, and, especially given how consistent he’s been, I’m really excited for Derby Finals.”
The Country Heir Horse Shows are also an ideal destination for the True North team thanks to the wide variety of classes and divisions available for all horses and riders.
In the Children’s Jumpers, it was Erica Halstead of Barrington, IL, who turned in the clear rounds for True North, which in turn earned her a fifth-place finish aboard her own Blu Sanvalou in the $750 Children’s Jumpers during Country Heir II.
“This was Erica and Blu’s first show in a while, and Erica came out and worked hard and did a great job,” said Shiels.
Shiels echoed similar sentiments of Marisa Malevitis, who rode her own KT Forest to top 10 finishes in both the Low and Medium Amateur-Owner Jumpers, including a third-place finish in the $800 Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers and a sixth-place finish in the $5,000 Low Amateur-Owner Classic during Country Heir II.
“Marisa and Forest moved up into a Medium A-O class during week two and jumped around double clear!” said Shiels. “I’m super proud of those two and all of their progress and hard work.”
Throughout the two weeks, Shiels also claimed numerous top eight honors with horses owned by Corporate Way LLC, including with With Honors in the WCHR Performance Hunter 3’3” and with CW Incorporated in the 1.40m Jumpers.
True North will head next to the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival in Traverse City, MI, beginning in July. To learn more about True North Stables, visit www.TrueNorthStables.com.
(Click here to read this release within True North's full June newsletter!)