More than 75 entries contested Week 10’s Derby Friday, featuring the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″-3’9″, $15,000 WEC Derby 3′ Open and $15,000 WEC Derby 3′ Non Pro. Courses for the classes were designed by Scott Alder of Michigan and featured a track of inviting natural obstacles. Handy rounds in each class offered several opportunities for inside turns, allowing entries to show off their own unique style.
The $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″-3’9″ saw a field of 16 entries compete for the win over Alder’s course. Scores soared into the high 80s and low 90s, but none could best Samantha Schaefer and Madeline Schaefer’s In The Know (Arkansas x Cavelle), who notched their third victory in the class this circuit. Schaefer and the 11-year-old Warmblood gelding have topped the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″-3’9″ twice this winter, and have also taken 2nd place twice. The unstoppable duo was on fire again this afternoon, navigating a foot-perfect first round with all four high options for a score of 89. Schaefer and In The Know returned last in the handy round, laying down a second flawless course with tidy inside turns to fences 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8. They were rewarded with a score of 91, bringing their two-round total to 180 to top the class, marking their third win in the $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″-3’9″.
Morgan Ward also delivered fantastic rounds in the class aboard Bruce Green’s Cypress (Quidam De Revel SF x Kassini). Ward and the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding earned 3rd place in last week’s $20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″-3’9″ and delivered again this afternoon. The pair earned scores of 86 and 90, totaling 176 for second place.
Timothy Maddrix and Jacob Brupbacher’s Aiden (Cassini II x Clerece) were also impressive this afternoon. The 9-year-old Warmblood gelding has ribboned in the Children’s Hunter with owner Jacob Brupbacher throughout the season and stepped up to the 3’6″ height with Maddrix today. The duo earned scores of 81.5 and 89, totaling 170.5 for 3rd place.
“In The Know, or Spider in the barn, is my quarterback, I can always count on him. He had last week off, so he was nice and fresh for this week,” Schaefer said. “He’s only been doing these classes and has really enjoyed that plan. He’s a show horse, I just ride him to keep him fit at home. He knows when a class is important and he is the best version of himself in those moments. He’s a special horse, he’s crazy smart and we have a very special partnership.”
She added, “I really liked the handy course today, there were some turns where I felt like he could really show off a bit. He’s going to take next week off, then come back for Week 12 to hopefully have a shot at the final big derby. I can’t say enough good things about him, he’s truly a family member and the barn mascot. He has even had the same groom for the entire time we’ve owned him, and they are inseparable. He’s a really important horse in my riding and he’s my rock.”
Schaefer and her family’s Shadow Ridge Farm dominated the day, with Schaefer also riding to the win in the $15,000 WEC Derby 3′ Open. In fact, Schaefer and Shadow Ridge Farm trainer Kate Conover claimed the top three spots in the class.
Schaefer and Ava Berman’s Emilio (Embassy I x Pirouette) nabbed the blue ribbon. The 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding typically competes in the Children’s Hunters with owner Ava Berman, but Schaefer had the ride on him today. The pair earned the highest score of the first round, finding each fence perfectly in stride and jumping all four high options for a score of 94. They returned for the handy round, flowing seamlessly through tidy inside turns to fences 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and 9. They were rewarded for their efforts with a second score of 94, totaling 188 for 1st place.
Conover and Take 3 LLC’s Point Blank (Cascari x Hallig VI) earned the red ribbon in the class. Conover and the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding have consistently earned ribbons in the $15,000 WEC Derby 3′ Open this season and returned today in hopes of another top placing. The pair earned scores of 92 and 92.5, totaling 184.5 for 2nd place.
Schaefer also found success aboard Madeline Schaefer’s Sutton Place (Valentino x Argrepina). Schaefer and the 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding earned 2nd place in the $15,000 WEC Derby 3′ Open during Week 3 of the World Equestrian Center – Ocala Winter Spectacular and brought their A-game again today. The duo earned scores of 90 and 92, totaling 182 for 3rd place.
“It was a good day for Shadow Ridge Farm,” Schaefer said. “Kate and I went to get coffee this morning and I was joking that we should go 1-2-3 in the derby, so that was a success! Emilio belongs to Ava Berman and she rides him in the Children’s Hunters, and her goal is to move up to the 3’3″ Juniors. She purchased Emilio in the fall through Claiborne Bishop from Kim Hopkins. He was a horse that I saw a few years ago competing in the amateur divisions that I really liked. He’s a really fun horse. We did the class today to gear up for the $75,000 WEC Hunter Derby at the end of the circuit and this was his first time in this ring. Overall, I think he performed well.”
She also commented on 2nd and 3rd place, “Point Blank is owned by my mom and my step father, along with the Take 3 LLC group. Kate has been riding him for years, that’s her main man. I thought she put in two really strong rounds today. Sutton Place is owned by my sister, Madeline. She shows him in the amateurs, but she is busy competing with school in NCAA and can’t make it to Florida, so we’ve been using these classes as a way to keep him in the ring. I thought he was great today.”
$20,000 WEC Hunter Derby 3’6″-3’9″ Results
- In The Know, Samantha Schaefer – 89 | 91 | 180
- Cypress, Morgan Ward – 86 | 90 | 176
- Aiden, Timothy Maddrix – 81.5 | 89 | 170.5
- Elliot, Hillary Johnson – 88 | 77 | 165
- Caspari, Jennifer Tate – 80 | 83 | 163
- Cartel, Jeffery Ayers – 84 | 76 | 160
- Stellar, David Beisel – 79 | 80 | 159
- Bonita, Matt Martin – 78.5 | 78 | 156.5
- Corlando 49, Melissa Donnelly – 83 | 72 | 155
- S L Lion King, Dorrie Douglas – 66 | 88 | 154
- Spartan, Ethan Maye – 74 | 79.5 | 153.5
- Dreamland, Addison Reed – 76 | 66 | 142
$15,000 WEC Derby 3′ Open Results
- Emilio, Samantha Schaefer – 94 | 94 | 188
- Point Blank, Kate Conover – 92 | 92.5 | 184.5
- Sutton Place, Samantha Schaefer – 90 | 92 | 182
- Justified, Kathleen Caya – 87 | 88 | 175
- Norderney, Belynda Bond – 89 | 85 | 174
- Biarritz, Jeffery Ayers – 91 | 82 | 173
- MTM Scrabble, Macy Royal – 83 | 86 | 169
- MTM Self Made, Amanda Steege – 84 | 84 | 168
- Hamilton, Kathleen Caya – 82 | 85 | 167
- Diolita, Jordan Shaffer – 86 | 79 | 165
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.