Geoffrey Hesslink Finds His Rhythm with Drumroll in $100,000 WCHR Central Hunter Spectacular, Presented by Debbie Smith, Ltd.
Geoffrey Hesslink has taken countless major hunter victories in his professional career, and on Saturday of Traverse City Spring III, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, he added the prestigious $100,000 WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular, presented by Debbie Smith, Ltd., to his ever-growing list of accolades. The win came aboard Drumroll, a horse he showed for the first time in Saturday night’s class.
“We quite literally just got this horse,” Hesslink said of Drumroll, owned by Meridian Farm, LLC. “He’s a really special horse I’ve watched and known for a number of years and always thought was really talented.”
The stars aligned for Hesslink and the 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding, as he sat in third after round one over Tommy Brawley’s course with a score of 87. While Kate Conover led with Queen Celeste, owned by Glade Run Farm, LLC, on a 90.5, Hesslink put his best foot forward in the second round and jumped up by just enough points to take victory. Conover claimed second with Queen Celeste after a beautiful handy round, and Greg Crolick and Carole Chase’s Chappy ended up third.
Kelly Mullen was riding Drumroll throughout the winter season, and Hesslink approached her a number of times about purchasing the horse. “I actually rode up to her in an under-saddle at WEF and asked [if she would] sell him. After Devon this year she had a great show so they were willing to part with him. The timing worked out that he got here this week and I wasn’t able to show him in any other classes. So I showed him in this class as my first time ever showing him.”
“He’s just the epitome of a classic hunter; he’s beautiful, has a lot of presence, amazing balance, and he’s really athletic,” Hesslink explained of why he loved Drumroll initially. “He can jump over the standards at every jump and I was really drawn to that.”
Hesslink won the $100,000 WCHR Peter Wetherill Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular in 2022, where he was protecting a lead, whereas in Saturday’s class, he wanted to be bold and make moves up the leaderboard. Inside turns and opening the gelding’s stride were risks he took that led to higher judges scores that he needed.
“I didn’t know the horse that well but I figured I had nothing to lose so I should take all the shots,” Hesslink said. “He answered the questions I asked better than I thought he would. The handy was really nice. I thought there were a few questions where you could leave out a stride or go inside but the fences came up really nicely for us today and I couldn’t be happier.”
The future is bright for the horse and for their partnership, especially since the horse thrives in classes with atmosphere. “One of the only reasons I did this class today is because a class like this is his speciality,” Hesslink continued. “He rises to the occasion every time I’ve watched him. I really wanted to give it a shot so I hope to continue to be successful in derbies and these types of classes. He’ll continue to do Second-Year Greens this year and be a Junior Hunter for his owner, Caroline Signorino.”