Jef Lauwers and Calipso Claim Commanding Win in Pin Oak $30,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Jef Lauwers rode Calipso to the win in the $30,000 La Primera Hacienda USHJA International Hunter Derby. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography


Katy, Texas – April 9, 2021 – Jef Lauwers and Calipso earned a commanding victory in the $30,000 La Primera Hacienda United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby on Friday, April 9, at the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show in Katy, TX.

From a field of 23 entries, Lauwers and Calipso led from beginning to end of the two-round class, marking both a winning debut for Calipso in the horse’s first USHJA International Hunter Derby and Lauwers’ first International Derby win.

“It’s amazing. Pin Oak is one of the most special shows that we go to, so it’s always exciting to be here,” said Lauwers, who is based out of PJP Farm in Magnolia, TX. “It’s such a gratification to do well at this horse show.”

With scores in the first round of 85 and 88 from the two judging panels, coupled with four high option points added to each score, Lauwers and Calipso concluded the first round on a total score of 181. Going into the second round, Nada Wise and Vendetta Semilly sat in second place with scores of 86 and 82 plus two high option bonus points for a 172 total.

Jef Lauwers and Calipso. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

While Wise and Vendetta Semilly, owned by Royal Sport Horses, attempted to give Lauwers a run for his money in the handy round, the results would remain the same through to the end.

“I saw Nada going into the ring, and she sliced a jump so well. It was unreal how she did it,” said Lauwers. “I don’t know how she did it! But then I was thinking, ‘Okay, she did the low options. I just have to get the high options done and make it smooth and make it great so it would all work out. I tried to just keep a smooth ride and make him jump the best that he can over those high jumps.”   

While Wise’s handiness would be rewarded, earning her a total second-round score of 185.5 for a 357.5 overall total, it wouldn’t be enough to catch Lauwers and Calipso.

With scores of 88 and 87, coupled with three high option bonus points and six handy bonus points from each judging panel, Lauwers and Calipso finished with a second-round score of 193 and an overall total of 374 for the win.

Finishing in third place with a total score of 356 were Frank Owens and Carrida, owned by DS Holdings LLC.

“[Calipso]’s just been amazing!” said Lauwers of the 7-year-old Holsteiner owned by Johnnie Martin-Carey. “We got him from Europe when he was six years old, and he was a stallion. We went through a lot, but we got better every day. He’s a really sweet boy. He loves his mom.

“Whenever he sees his mom [Johnnie Martin-Carey], he pulls up, and he’s like, ‘where are my bananas?’ said Lauwers. “Johnnie’s such a support and to have her as the owner for this horse is unbelievable.”

Nada Wise and Moonlight Mile. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

While Lauwers may have topped the USHJA International Hunter Derby, Wise did get her own derby win earlier in the day.

From a field of 35 entries, Wise rode Moonlight Mile, owned by Stacey Thompson, to the win in the $15,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Finishing in second place were Carlee McCutcheon and her own Explanation. Third place went to Lauwers and She’s All That, owned by Linda Yarborough.

Running through April 11, the 75th annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show features three weeks of top hunter, jumper and American Saddlebred competition while benefitting the Texas Children’s Hospital. The third and final week continues through Sunday, with the featured $100,000 Pin Oak Charity Grand Prix beginning at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Saturday.

Learn more about the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show by visiting, and find the horse show on Facebook here. To purchase competition photos, visit For additional coverage throughout the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show, follow The Plaid Horse on Facebook and Instagram