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  • Writer's pictureCatie Staszak

Fleetwood Adds to Legacy in Forest Edge Farm USHJA International Hunter Derby

Rodney Tulloch and Fleetwood. All photos ©tbird/Kim Gaudry

When Rodney Tulloch (CAN) entered the ring aboard Fleetwood for the USHJA International Hunter Derby—the highlight of World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Week at Thunderbird Show Park—he could feel that his mount was dialed in.

When the 13-year-old grey Westphalian gelding known by many as “Mashmallow” is on his game, he’s proven hard to beat. He and Tulloch were commanding winners on this occasion, leading wire-to-wire in the class with a total score of 360.

The podium was well spread out. Tracey Epp (CAN) and her international show jumper turned rising hunter derby star Heartvit ZH finished second (347), with Raymond Texel (USA) and Navigator third (333).

The reigning Canadian Hunter Derby National Champions, Tulloch and Fleetwood did not need to take many risks in the handy to secure a victory, but they still received six points more from the judges than the next-best handy score.

“Our strategy was just to not be too crazy—just be looking for the inside turns that were available, jump the high sides, and make it as smooth as possible,” Tulloch said.

Tulloch has learned to make the most of his opportunities to partner with Marshmallow. Owned by Christine MacLean, the gelding would typically meet up with Tulloch at shows, allowing for little practice time. But this time around, the grey has been stabled with Tulloch since the start of the winter show season.

“Christine MacLean from Kelowna owns him, and she is an amazing owner, [but] I’ve never had him for long periods of time. We’d just show up at a show together, and he’s just such a nice horse that it would come together,” Tulloch shared. “But I’ve had him now since December, so I feel a bit more in sync with him.”

There’s no questioning the gelding’s quality, but what has set Fleetwood apart is his bravery. The gelding is unfazed by spooky fences, his reliability radiating confidence back to his rider.

“He always gets to the other side. Most times, he doesn’t even look where he’s going,” Tulloch gushed. “He just canters forward and will leave the ground. No matter how spooky or big the jump is, he’s going to give it a good shot.”

Tulloch plans to try to defend his Canadian Hunter Derby title with Fleetwood later this year and also hopes to add a start at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair to the horse’s show schedule. But there’s another important job to be done.

“His favourite job would be walk-trot and 2’6″, and that is going to be in his future with Christine’s daughter Asia. He will absolutely be doing that,” Tulloch said. “If they were here this weekend, he would probably have done that already today.”

Can Marshmallow pull double-duty in the walk-trot and the derby?  Tulloch showed no hesitation in his response:

“Oh, heck yeah.”

CSI4* 1.45m

Horse / Rider / Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time

1. Nacara van Berkenbroeck Z / James Chawke / IRL / Alison Locke / 0/0 36.61

2. Coolio 23 / Skylar Wireman / USA / Shayne Wireman / 0/0 38.4

3. Connecticut / Kaitlin Campbell / USA / Makenna Lemstra / 0/0 39.07

4. Mahrees Rock / Gabriela Reutter / CHI / Lumiere Horses Inc / 0/0 40.8

5. Naja vh Dingenshof / Lauren Myers / USA / Myers Group Investments LLC / 0/0 41.37

6. Castelissimo / Shawn Casady / USA / Tiffany Sullivan / 0/0 43.49

7. Vital Chance de la Roque / Conor Swail / IRL / Mannon Farm / 0/4 36.37

8. Macho-Blue PS / Charlie Jones / GBR / Katie Harris / 0/4 37.55

9. Donatello 141 / Ashlee Bond / ISR / Ashlee Bond / 0/4 37.91

10. Com Es Ta / Tiffany Foster / CAN / 5 Roosters / 0/4 39.79


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