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Hillary Dobbs Dominates Derby at Falsterbo in Sweden

US Show Jumper Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, NJ went to Falsterbo Horse Show in Sweden to jump in Europe for the very first time. The 20-year-old Harvard University student may have been looking for some experience, but she ended up winning her first international derby!

Riding Corlett, Dobbs was one of two US riders to jump in the Swedbank Derby, the other being Charlie Jayne. It was her first attempt at a Derby class at her first European show. Coming off three victories at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorsett, VT, the young equestrian flew to Europe to compete on her two mounts Corlett and Quincy B. Topping the 29 seasoned international competitors, Dobbs rode to victory in her first European competition.

“She was just brilliant,” said Chef d'Equipe Melanie Smith Taylor. “She was the youngest winner ever, and the winner automatically gets invited back next year.” 29 horses started the class, having qualified in the two speed classes earlier at the show, plus the 2007 winner.

Dobbs and The Dobbs Group's 11-year-old mare Corlett were the only pair to jump double clear. “Hillary was so focused and determined,” said Smith Taylor. “She is as cool as they come and Corlett was brilliant. Dobbs, who has won 10 Grand Prix in the United States in her first year at this level of competition, will continue to compete in England and Ireland as well as returning to mount up once again on her other mounts at Week IV of the Vermont Summer Festival.

The challenging true derby test included a ditch, a grave and a huge bank which was approached after riders galloped out of the arena, through the crowds and re-entered the ring at the top of the bank. They then made their way down its face and jumped a very airy vertical two strides later. With an optimum time was three minutes, this was a unique competition.

“Hillary had never done a bank like that, or a derby at all,” said Smith Taylor. “She rode like she'd been doing it all her life.”


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