Patience paid off Saturday afternoon for Mariah Barisoff, who topped the $3,000 DIHP Canadian Hunter Derby 3’6” Open with her horse Quincy at Thunderbird Show Park’s Odllum Brown BC Open.
The pair finished on a score of 102, just a half-point ahead of runners-up Ashley Arnold and Light My Fire (101.5). Sloane Betker and Crack finished third (101).
Trainer Eliza Hunt of Delta, BC-based Obsidian Hunter Jumper made a clean sweep of the podium, with riders taking first through third, as well as fifth.
The winning pair knows each other well but was light on recent experience. A recent nursing school graduate, Barisoff was making her 3’6” hunter derby debut; it was also her first show back after taking time off for school. She purchased Quincy as a green five-year-old in 2015, but the pair hasn’t competed a full season since 2019, when they ended the year making the trip to Toronto for The Royal Winter Fair and CET Medal Finals.
“This was our first show back at Thunderbird in my hometown, and this derby meant a lot to me,” Barisoff said. “I was quite nervous going in; we’ve been knocking the rust off a bit all week, and I was just hoping for a smooth round.
The pair received a base score of 85 points, adding 10 for taking the high options and an additional seven for handiness.
“I wasn’t going to do the inside option, but he was just behaving so well, and he really feels like a team player right now. So I gave it a go and it came out perfectly,” Barisoff explained.
Hunt attributed Barisoff’s success to extra time the rider had been putting into her preparation, improving the quality of her warm-up and hacking her horse in the mornings before competition.
“He’s a cheeky fella,” laughed Barisoff. “I’d describe him as a bit of a ‘jock.’ He knows he’s good at his job, and he doesn’t really want to practice. And because he’s an exuberant horse, he’s a very good jumper. But he keeps me humble. Even though you have a great round today, tomorrow might not be the same. He keeps me on my toes.”
Riding is in Barisoff’s blood. Her mother is a barrel racer and still competes today.
“My mom has ridden since she was 13,” said Barisoff. “When she got married to my dad, he bought a horse so they could go trail riding together. Once I came along, I kind of stole my dad’s horse and traveled with my mom.
“I have a barn of Quarter Horses at home — Quincy is my only warmblood,” she continued. “So he lives at home with a barn full of rodeo horses! And me and my mom go through it together. We both take our flat lessons, and we go to our separate worlds. I love it.”
$3,000 DIHP Canadian Hunter Derby 3’6” Open
Finish Position / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / Total Score
- Quincy / Mariah Barisoff / CAN / Mariah Barisoff / 102
- Light My Fire / Ashley Arnoldt / CAN / Jennifer Arnoldt / 101.5
- Crack / Sloane Betker / CAN / Sloane Betker / 101
- VDL Iglesias / Quinn Partridge / USA / Effortless Equestrian Farm / 94
- St Martin’s Lane / Chloe Mache / CAN / Chloe Mache / 89
- Lexington 70 / Petra Pinkerton / CAN / Petra Pinkerton / 86
- Talaro PS / Philippa Melski / USA / Mila Anderson / 84
- Old Times LS / Samantha Smith / USA / Red Gate Farm / 83
- Cyclone Z / Elspeth Longridge / CAN / Elspeth Longridge / 72
- Corona OS / Charlotte Reeve / CAN / Charlotte Reeve / 68