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John French Wins International

e $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Presented by Dr. Daryl K. Homan is one of the
highlights of the Menlo Charity Horse Show. is
year’s Grass Hunter Field transformation included a
beautiful burgundy, gold and black trimmed carriage
as centerpiece. e hunt country inspired fences were
embellished with shrubbery, roses, and trees making
for a classic Derby course that took the audience and
riders back in time. e quick transformation of the
grass eld would not be possible without the volunteers
who joined the course builders to add the nishing
touches and strategically place decorative foliage.
Don DeFranco led the International Derby Committee
for 2019,ere’s no business-like show business”
said Don with a laugh. is year our volunteer who
kindly provides the greenery for the Hunter fences was
let down by his supplier, not his fault, but we had to
scramble to get replacement greens. I put an all alert to
the committee, and we had more than we could handle
in the end.
Winner of the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented
by Dr. Daryl K. Hoffman John French & Center Court
©Alden Corrigan Media
John French and
Center Court Lead the Victory
Gallop in the $25,000 USHJA
International Hunter Derby
Presented by
Dr. Daryl K. Hoffman
Winner of the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Presented by Dr. Daryl K. Hoffman John French & Center Court ©Alden Corrigan Media
It really is great to be involved in this group eort.
What I have learned from doing this is that when you
really need something, people here will step up. I want
to thank all of the volunteers, all of the sponsors and
underwriters for their help and support, something we
could not do without.
e hardest part is that MCHS is a pop-up show,
so I am unsure how many other shows in the nation
are like this. So, it is important to get the enthusiasm
going as it is so very labor intensive. All the volunteers
are wonderful, and work very hard, so I thank them
for their eorts. It really is a group eort. When you
have 150 plants arrive on the morning of the event and
you have 1.5 hours to decorate the jumps and make
it happen, its all hands-on deck. Well over 30 people
dashed onto the course, after it is set, to decorate the
fences. We even had members of the Los Altos Hunt
come to support us in their pink jackets which was a
lot of fun.”
Simultaneously, a champagne reception generously
underwritten by the Whitter Trust took place during
the event. Sponsors and their guests enjoyed this
highlight while they took in the spectacular horses and
riders competing in the Hunter Derby.
John French returned to the Grass Hunter Field after
sitting out the 2018 event due to injury. John had the
ride on friend and client Kristen Hillers Center Court.
It is clear that strong relationship built between horse
and rider remains rmly in tact, as the two have been
separated geographically for nearly a year.
“I am very happy. is is home for us” explained
Kristen, “My parents were able to be here, and they
have not seen Center Court (Billy) go in a while so it
was really nice. I could not be prouder of the team.
We have a huge support team. Pomponio Ranch has
been instrumental in bringing him back, along with
veterinarian Dr. Philippe Benoit and Crystal Glasser.
e horse was really happy which is the main thing for
us. Billy will now have two weeks rest before heading
to Canada to compete. He will then return for another
two weeks of rest before nishing the year in the desert.
John French & The Hiller Family ©Alden Corrigan Media
Billy will return to California where we can keep him
on a regime of preventive treatment with the team.
Something I learned from my ancé who plays Polo
professionally……to be preventative and not reactive.”
John French was happy to return to Menlo with one of
his favorite horses,is is a hometown show for me, I
trained here for twenty-ve years before moving south.
I think this is my 32nd year coming here, Monterey
was my rst show then Menlo was my second before I
even moved here. So, it is special, I see a lot of people
that I have helped and trained twenty, thirty years ago,
I just love the venue and they do a great job decorating
the jumps for the class. It is really pretty, and it was
nice for the owners as they are from Atherton and they
dont get to see their horse show that often. eir entire
family, grandparents, everyone came to see him. I am
really pleased that they came to watch, and we were
able to win. To win again this week is really great.”
Whittier Trust volunteers and Champagne Reception hosts ©Alden Corrigan Media
Results: $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
1st Center Court and John French
2nd Romeo and Erin Duffy
3rd Hopeful and Jamie Sailor
4th Frosted Blue and Lexi Wedemeyer
5th When In Rome and Nick Haness
6th Cavito 2 and Emma Borders
7th Quarter Note and Jamie Sailor
8th Cool Casscord and Liz Hutchinson
9th Shameless and Ilana Halpern
10th Jury Duty and Lexi Wedemeyer
11th Fancyful and Kylee Arbuckle
12th Hendrix and Hugh Mutch
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Photo Credit ©Alden Corrigan Media