Grace Loughlin and Briljant Z Shine in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, Presented by Perfect Products
Following an equitation championship Saturday, Grace Loughlin took another big win Sunday in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Perfect Products, aboard Briljant Z.
“I bought ‘Billy’ about a year ago,” Loughlin said of the 15-year-old Warmblood gelding. “I needed a junior hunter for Junior Hunter Finals, and he worked well with me. It took a while for me to figure him out but now that we’re on a roll we’ve got it. He’s a little older, but he hasn’t gotten tired yet!”
Loughlin’s consistency was what sealed the deal in Sunday’s derby, making Briljant Z the Platinum Performance Hunter of the Week. The duo scored back-to-back scores of 90 for a combined total of 180 and the top call.
“I just wanted it to be slick while also fairly slow and smooth,” Loughlin continued. “I felt like he jumped great. I think he’s very flashy with a pretty jump. He’s very striking in the ring. Something I really love about him is his demeanor. He always has his ears up, he’s always looking forward. I feel like he deeply enjoys his job and that makes it a lot easier.”
Riley Hogan claimed second-place honors with Double Fantasy, just one point off Loughlin’s score with a 179. Elise Stephens and Chronicle, owned by Rendezvous Farm, captured third place on a score of 174.
Loughlin has enjoyed her time showing in Northern Michigan, and plans to spend one more week in Michigan before heading home for a break.
“I’m going to have one more week of showing at GLEF 6, and then I’m going to give him some time off before indoors so we can prepare for that,” she explained.
Hunters resume Wednesday for the final week of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival.