International Hunter Derby riders took over the StoneLea Ring Sunday morning to vie for top honors in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby during the final day of the Kentucky Spring Horse Show. A total of 17 talented pairs showcased their skills in the decorated arena to impress the judges. Making his return to International Hunter Derby competition after nearly four years, seasoned professional rider Scott Stewart piloted two of his newer, greener mounts to dominate the class, earning first place aboard Dr. Betsee Parker’s Nottingham and second place with Dr. Betsee Parker’s Hudson.
Kentucky’s very own Bobby Murphy laid out a forward galloping 10-obstacle course for the first round that allowed riders to open up their horses’ steps and show off their powerful jumps and beautiful form. Many horse-and-rider combinations found difficulty in the forward pace and continuation needed to meet each jump and combination with ease. Topping the leaderboard at the conclusion of the first round was Stewart aboard Nottingham after earning a score of 191. Sitting in the second place position was Havens Schatt riding Cascartini on a score of 184, with Stewart claiming the third place position with his other mount Hudson for their score of 182.
The top 12 horse-and-rider pairs were invited back for the handy round in no particular order, where they were met with a nine-obstacle course that consisted of several handy turns, a trot jump that proved to be an issue for many, and a final forward galloping eight-stride bending line. After watching the handiness of a few riders before him, Stewart knew he had to take advantage of the handiness and forward pace of both of his young horses to remain at the top of the leaderboard. As one of the earlier pairs on the handy course, Stewart and Hudson, a 9-year-old Westphalian stallion, set the standard high for those to follow, earning a score of 205 to finish on a total of 387 to take over the top spot.
In an effort to best his own leading score, Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding Nottingham navigated Murphy’s winding handy track with ease. They proved to be the pair to watch as they received an impressive score of 209 for their efforts, notching a total score of 400 and taking the first place spot from his earlier ride aboard Hudson. Though his fellow competitors would try, none could match his textbook round, ultimately lending him the tricolor honors with Nottingham and the second place finish riding Hudson. Stewart spoke highly of the future of his two young mounts, and looking ahead he hopes to continue competing in derby competitions with both in the future.
Schatt and Ken and Amy Wexler LLC’s Cascartini, a Holsteiner gelding, would ultimately round out the top three. This longtime pair is no stranger to success as they had an unbelievable season at the 2021 World Equestrian Festival, earning top honors several weeks in the Performance and Green Hunter divisions. The pair continued to showcase their talents in Sunday’s derby and impressed judges with their handiness and fluidity during the second round, helping them secure a combined total score of 382, just 5 points away from Stewart and Hudson’s second-place finish.
Hunter competitors will kick-off the Kentucky Spring Classic Wednesday, May 19, in the StoneLea Ring beginning at 8:00am with the Green Conformation Hunter division.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Scott Stewart – $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Winner
On his first round:
“I thought it was a great course. It was well laid out and allowed the horses to gallop around and the jumps were beautiful, as they always are here.”
On Nottingham and Hudson:
“This was both of my horses’ first time doing the derby classes. They are both new. I got them at the end of [the Winter Equestrian Festival]. I thought the course was great.”
On the handy round:
“I did not find anything too tricky when initially looking at the handy course, which was actually refreshing because you could be handy without worrying about any traps. You were able to go for it without worrying, and all of the horses jumped well so I thought it was a great handy course.”
On his upcoming plans:
“The horses will go home now; they have three weeks off. Then we will head to Upperville and my plan was to do the derby there and then they will have off until they come back for the [Bluegrass Festival Horse Show] and maybe the Derby Finals, we will see how things go. I think they will be okay but they are still first-year horses.”
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“It has been great to be back. It has been a while since I did a derby, I believe it has been almost four years now. So, it feels great to be back doing the derby classes at the Kentucky Horse Park.”
$10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score | Total
1. Nottingham / Scott Stewart / Dr. Betsee Parker / 191 / 209 | 400
2. Hudson / Scott Stewart / Dr. Betsee Parker / 182 / 205 | 387
3. Cascartini / Havens Schatt / Ken & Amy Wexler LLC / 184 / 198 / 382
4. Prodigy / Kelley Farmer / David Glefke & Oakmont Stables LLC / 176 / 192 | 368
5. Gratitude / Christopher Payne / Still Water Farm LLC / 168 / 191 | 359
6. Konfessions / Sofia Cady Brookside Pine Farms LLC / 169 / 183 | 352
7. Monique / Christina Kelly / Donna Struve / 158 / 187 | 345
8. Golden Rule / Stephanie Danhakl / Stephanie Danhakl / 156 / 185 | 341
9. Not To Worry / Sarah Hellman Sabrina Hellman / 162 / 176 | 338
10. No Doubt / Jeff Gogul / Roaring Brook LLC / 169 / 166 | 330
11. Reign / Christopher Payne / Still Water Farm LLC / 157 / 173| 169
12. Gauguin / Sophie Verges / TFS LLC / 143 / 170 | 143