Kristen Bumpus stands for presentation. Photo by ESI Photography

The first week of the 2024 HITS-On-The-Hudson series at HITS Hudson Valley in Saugerties, New York, continued Friday morning, May 24, with the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. From the field of 30 top competitors, it was Kristen Bumpus and Casper II that went home with the blue ribbon. 

Bumpus and Casper got off to a strong start, notching an 87 to take the lead in the first round. In the second round, the pair continued to impress, earning a 91 to end with a combined score of 178. 

Kristen Bumpus and Casper II. Photo by ESI Photography

Casper has been in Bumpus’s life for about six years, and has made quite the impression with his huge personality. While he was originally purchased by owner Catherine Mooney of North Wind Farm LLC for the equitation ring, as Mooney progressed from the junior ranks to the amateur classes, the 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Cassini) has proven to be a contender in the hunter arena as well. With Mooney’s busy college schedule, Bumpus got the pleasure of showing the flashy bay for the week and enjoyed their tour around The Ring. 

Emma Callahan and Pantoufles Blanches. Photo by ESI Photography


“They did a beautiful job with the course design,” said Bumpus. “The jumps look beautiful and the tracks around The Ring ride great. It just really makes for a nice atmosphere. 

Luca Buono and Christiano De’ Leau Z. Photo by ESI Photography

“What I really love about showing at HITS, especially now with so many upgrades, is that you can find classes for riders of all levels and experience,” she continued. “It’s a great opportunity where there’s great footing and everybody is nice and trying to do a really good job. No matter what type of horse you have, HITS has something for you here.” 

Celia Sutherland stands for presentation. Photo by ESI Photography

Hunter action on Friday also featured the $750 Bit O’ Straw 2’6″ Hunter Derby. Celia Sutherland, of Amenia, New York, and her 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Van Helsing), Tilloo, claimed the victory with scores of 87 and 88 for a 175 total. In the $750 Tiny Bit O’ 2′ Hunter Derby, Leila Steinberg, of New York, New York, and Just Because, a 23-year-old Welsh Pony Cross gelding (Pengwyn) owned by Demsi Cason, came out on top. For a full list of results, please visit 

Leila Steinberg stands for presentation. Photo by ESI Photography