Nicole Bourgeois Finds Way to Top of 7Up Stables USHJA International 3’6” Hunter Derby

Nicole Bourgeois of Wilsonville, Oregon, captured the $25,000 USHJA International 3’6” Hunter Derby with Wayfinder owned by Hilary Sosne. 

Leading from start to finish with an overall score of 348, Bourgeois topped her closest competitor Samantha Smith with Pierre, by a full 22 points.

When asked about her strategy for the two rounds, Bourgeois was quick to praise Wayfinder and their partnership:

“My strategy in the first round was just have a really smooth round,” she commented. “He’s an amazing jumper. As long as I somewhat get him near the jumps, he will do his job. It’s really nice to have a horse that jumps that well. I’m lucky he’s not spooky, so I don’t have to worry about that. I spooked a little bit at the barrels because in the Derby on Thursday the barrels were trouble for some. He’s not spooky, but I was a little spooky at them. He didn’t care at all and he couldn’t have been better. I’m lucky that I have such a nice horse to ride.

“I was a little conservative on my second round. Normally, I kind of go guns blazing in my second round, especially lately coming from California where there are just so many in the class. I was lucky here. There weren’t quite as many in the class, so I had a little bit of more of a conservative approach in the second round. I didn’t jump any of the high options. I just was going for a nice smooth second round, which he gave me.”

Congratulations are also in order as Bourgeois is an aunt to a new pony rider — her sister Kendall had a baby Friday night. The next generation of tbird riders is born just in time for another 50 years.

©tbird/Kady Dane