Samantha Schaefer Owns Week 4’s Derby Friday at the WEC — Ocala Winter Spectacular

Samantha Schaefer and In The Know top their second $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3'6"-3'9" during Week 4 of the WEC - Ocala Winter Spectacular. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Derby Friday took over the Stadium again for the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″ – 3’9″, the $15,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3′ Open and the $15,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3′ Non Pro. Samantha Schaefer owned the day, taking 1st place in both the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″ – 3’9″ and the $15,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3′ Open, while Isabel Harbour topped the $15,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3′ Non Pro.

The Style of Riding Award, generously donated by Bill Rube was presented in the $15,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3′ Non Pro this week. Today, we introduced the Shapley’s Champion Groom Award, which was also presented in the $15,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3′ Non Pro.

$20,000 WEC HUNTER DERBY 3’6″-3’9″

Samantha Schaefer and In The Know top the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″-3’9″ for the second week in a row.

The $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″-3’9″ saw 14 highly competitive entries. For the second week in a row, Samantha Schaefer and Madeline Schaefer’s In The Know (Arkansas x Cavelle) took the blue ribbon.

Schaefer and In The Know topped last week’s class with a pair of scores in the 90s. She returned to the Stadium this afternoon in hopes of claiming another victory. Schaefer and the 11-year-old Warmblood gelding laid down a flawless first round for a score of 92. The pair returned last in the handy round, taking inside turns and demonstrating their technical skills, earning a second score of 92 for a total score of 184 for the win.

Amanda Steege and Cheryl Olsten’s Lafitte De Muze (Darco x Everlychin De La Pomme) finished just behind Schaefer. Steege and the 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding compete in the High Performance Hunters and have a lengthy resume of top placings in hunter derbies along with wins in the $50,000 WCHR Pro Challenge at the Capital Challenge Horse Show and the $50,000 National Horse Show Hunter Classic. The duo navigated a lovely, consistent first round for a score of 88, then returned for a stylish handy round, earning a score of 94 for a total of 182, taking 2nd place.

Grace Debney and Temple Equestrian’s Quimby (Q Verdi x Zanna I) rounded out the top three placings in the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″-3’9″. Debney and the 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding earned top placings at the Winter Equestrian Festival earlier this month and were well prepared for today’s class. The pair were impressive in the first round, earning a score of 86. They returned in the handy round with a foot-perfect effort that earned a score of 91, bringing their overall total to 177 for 3rd place.

Schaefer stuck around after the class to chat with us about her win, “It was a little bit of a different environment this week with the class going during daylight hours. I thought he felt even more relaxed in the ring today. I thought that the handy was really good. I ended up going inside after the oxer option. I hadn’t planned that, but that was just the way that the jump happened because he’s so adjustable and handy. There’s never a turn that he can’t do. He’s really rideable and pretty programmed to me, so we’re always on the same wavelength. I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s a horse that I’ve had for about five years, now. He started as my sister’s horse and transitioned to doing the USHJA International Derbies and really seemed to like that. That’s really his niche, now.”

Schaefer also commented, “Grace Debney is a student of mine and Kate Conover. It was great watching her have a very beautiful handy round and take 3rd place in such a competitive class. She’s a 16-year-old junior, so it was fun to watch her be successful in this class.”

$15,000 WEC DERBY 3′ OPEN

Samantha Schaefer and Caristo take the win in the $15,000 WEC Derby 3′ Open.

Samantha Schaefer also found success in today’s $15,000 WEC Derby 3′ Open aboard R&R Hunter Horses, LLC’s Caristo (Casall x Bordeaux), taking 1st place against 25 entries. Schaefer and the 7-year-old Holsteiner gelding earned ribbons at the Winter Equestrian Festival in the Green Hunters this month and were on their game for this morning’s class. The pair delivered a lovely first round for a score of 92, then wowed the judges with a spectacular performance in the handy round, earning a score of 94, totaling 186 for the win. Schaefer also took 6th place in the class aboard her own Checkmate (Cassini II x Cornancer) with scores of 86 and 87.5.

Hillary Johnson and Copper Fox LLC’s Moonwalk (Quasimodo Z x Olavsca-F) were first in the order and set a high standard for the class. The 13-year-old KWPN gelding took top placings in the Amateur Owner Hunters at the National Horse Show in 2020 with Kendall Meijer and on his game this morning. Johnson and Moonwalk started off the class with an impressive score of 94, then returned in the handy, navigating a second beautiful round for a score of 86.5, totaling 180.5 for 2nd place.

Holly Shepherd and Triompf (Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve x Etriompf), whom she owns with Loretta Patterson, returned to the Stadium again this week in hopes of another top placing. The duo took 3rd in the $15,000 WEC Derby 3′ Open during Week 2 of the World Equestrian Center — Ocala Winter Spectacular 2021 and earned scores of 87 and 89 for another 3rd place finish today.

Samantha Schaefer notes Caristo as a fun, brave horse.

Schaefer took a moment to chat with us about her win, “Caristo is a horse that I’ve been riding for about two months, now. He is owned by Meghan, Doug and Beverly Rohrbaugh. He does the 3’6″ greens with me and shows with Megan in the 3’3″ amateurs. He is a really fun, brave horse. He has probably never been in a ring this size or in an atmosphere like this, so this was a good test for him. He’s going to compete in the amateurs tomorrow and Sunday. We’re going to do WCHR week in Palm Beach next week, so this was good for him to gear up for that. I think he performed really well.”

When asked about her plan on course, Schaefer replied, “Hillary Johnson was on one of my all-time favorite horses and had an early lead in the class, so I was trying to chase that. In his first round I thought he was great and I was able to do some daring things in the handy. He was really game. He’s a super horse.”

$20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″-3’9″ Results

  1. In The Know, Samantha Schaefer – 92 | 92 | 184
  2. Lafitte De Muze, Amanda Steege – 88 | 94 | 182
  3. Quimby, Grace Debney – 86 | 91 | 177
  4. Cypress, Morgan Ward – 79 | 88 | 167
  5. Carsten S, Jennifer Tate – 83 | 83 | 166
  6. Corlando 49, Melissa Donnelly – 75 | 85 | 160
  7. Carpedi, Morgan Ward – 77 | 82 | 159
  8. Levland, Christina Fisher – 80 | 76.5 | 156.5
  9. Ruby Tuesday, Hunter Holloway – 76 | 80 | 156
  10. Chatham, Jake Parker Wymard – 81 | 74 | 155

$15,000 WEC Derby 3′ Open Results

  1. Caristo, Samantha Schaefer – 92 | 94 | 186
  2. Moonwalk, Hillary Johnson – 94 | 86.5 | 180.5
  3. Triompf, Holly Shepherd – 87 | 89 | 176
  4. Persuasive, Tamara Provost – 86.5 | 88 | 174.5
  5. Point Blank, Kate Conover – 83 | 91 | 174
  6. Checkmate, Samantha Schaefer – 86 | 87.5 | 173.5
  7. Santana, Belynda Bond – 88 | 85 | 173
  8. Denmark, Morgan Ward – 85 | 82 | 167
  9. Calinaro, Grace O’Connell – 79 | 87 | 166
  10. Hula Hoop, Jeannie Savegnago – 76 | 78 | 154

Photos by Andrew Ryback Photography