Show-Stopping Sunday for Samantha Schaefer at Traverse City

Samantha Schaefer and In The Know. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Edited Press Release

No day in a professional equestrian’s life is boring, but Samantha Schaefer had a particularly exciting few hours as she bounced between the grand prix and the $10,000 Traverse City Pro Hunter Derby, presented by The Ingram Family. After her first round on her grand prix mount, she returned to the Main Hunter Ring, sitting in second place aboard Madeline Schaefer’s In The Know, and eventually captured the win during World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week.

After scoring a second-place finish the week prior, Schaefer was determined to take all the necessary risks to secure the win during Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) II, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. Sitting ahead of her after round one, the victor during GLEF I, was Jacob Pope and Don Stewart’s San Pedro 15 on a score of 93. “Last week, Jacob [Pope] and I came in pretty close [after round one],” she explained. “I ran over from the grand prix and noticed we were just half a point apart. I was really determined.”

Schaefer’s strategy involved a risky inside turn that no one else attempted, but she knew her partner, the 13-year-old Warmblood gelding by Arkansas, would be up for the task. “I saw there was an inside turn to the oxer,” she continued. “It was tight but I surveyed the crowd to see if anyone had done anything crazy, and they said no. He landed super soft and just went inside. Everything was smooth and came up nicely. The slice to the oxer on the rail probably impressed [the judges] the most.”

Her second-round score of 98 proved the judges were adequately impressed. Combined with her first-round score, she totaled 191 for the victory by over five points. Pope captured second with a 185.5 total and Jamie Sailor took third with a 182.5 total score aboard Meadowgrove Farm’s Charisto.

Samantha Schaefer and In The Know stand for presentation. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“I think they play into each other,” Schaefer said about excelling in both the hunters and jumpers. “‘Spyder’ is a horse I’ve had for seven years now and I’d say his specialty is the handy. He’s so with me and I can ask pretty much anything of him. The jumpers definitely help me in the hunters, and vice versa. They go hand in hand.”

Switching gears with a group of horses heading home, Schaefer and her team look forward to the rest of the season in Traverse City. “This is my summer vacation, but we work long days,” she continued. “I love it here. This is definitely something we look forward to every year. We look forward to Torch [Lake] tomorrow and a fun week again with a variety of different horses. We do ponies, grand prixs, derbies, and a little bit of everything.”

With the win, In The Know earned the title of Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week.

Stella Wasserman and G. Eleven. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Stella Wasserman Saves the Best for Last 

An impressive 61 horse-and-rider combinations kicked off the final morning of WCHR week in the $10,000 Traverse City Non-Pro Hunter Derby, presented by Luxe EQ on Sunday. After tough competition, the top-12 entries with the highest scores were invited back to the Main Hunter Ring to contest for the lead over the shortened handy track. Ultimately, the win went to Stella Wasserman with Don Stewart’s G. Eleven as they added a score of 91.5 to their first-round score of 92 for a winning total of 183.5.

As the handy round dwindled down to the final few entries, Wasserman was feeling the heat from fellow competitor Augusta Iwasaki as she sat in both second and third place after round one with Elizabeth Reilly’s Small Moments and Ashland Farms’ Attendu De Lannois Z, respectively. Wasserman was the final rider to enter the arena after taking the early lead aboard the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. 

“This is actually a catch ride for me and a horse I’ve only shown twice before this,” Wasserman said of G. Eleven. “He’s a really special horse who knows his job and loves to win. He is very competitive and goes into the ring every time with his game face on.” 

Eleven’s game face was enough to secure the win as Wasserman piloted him to another impressive performance and produced the highest total score for the blue. The victory also earned the gelding the title of the Platinum Performance Hunter Horse of the Week for the non-pro divisions. 

“It’s always great to have a win like this, especially during such a special week,” Wasserman added. “This horse has really been a match made in heaven for me, and I am so grateful for the ride on him. I have had a great time here in Traverse City so far, and this is another high note to add to my time.” 

Iwasaki acquired several more top hunter derby ribbons as she claimed the runner-up position aboard Small Moments with a total score of 181.5, and slid into the third place position with Attendu De Lannois Z claiming the high score in round two and on a finishing score of 181. 

Final Results: $10,000 Traverse City Hunter Derby Pro, presented by The Ingram Family

  1. In The Know / Samantha Schaefer / Madeline Schaefer / 93 + 98 = 191
  2. San Pedro 15 / Jacob Pope / Donald Stewart / 93 + 92 = 185.5
  3. Charisto / Jamie Sailor / Meadowgrove Farm / 93 + 89.5 = 182.5
  4. On Your Mark / Tiffany Morrissey / Lisa Berger / 91 + 90.5 = 181.5
  5. Didgereedoo VDL / Kelsey Epperson / Lashier Properties LLC / 88.5 + 91 = 179.5
  6. Baron Z / Tiffany Morrissey / Heidi Chase / 89 + 89.5 = 178.5
  7. Royal Balou / Jacob Pope / Opening Bell Sporthorses LLC / 87 + 90 = 177
  8. Whisper / Caroline Weeden / Charlotte Harris / 87 + 88.5 = 175.5
  9. Cedric / Caroline Weeden / Santa Burke / 86 + 87 = 173
  10. Apparently / Tamara Provost / Elliott Hodge / 88 + 84 = 172
  11. Book Of Eli / Katie Uloth / Chance Arakelian / 82 + 88 = 170
  12. Petit Ami / Meagan Murray-Tenuta / Heidi Avedisian / 82 + 84 = 166

Final Results: $10,000 Traverse City Non-Pro Hunter Derby, presented by Luxe EQ

  1. G. Eleven / Stella Wasserman / Donald Stewart / 92 + 91.5 = 183.5
  2. Small Moments / Augusta Iwasaki / Elizabeth Reilly / 91 + 90.5 = 181.5
  3. Attendu De Lannois Z / Augusta Iwasaki / Ashland Farms / 89 + 92 = 181
  4. Jarabel K Z / Jordan Allen / Ashland Farms / 88.5 + 91 = 179.5
  5. Black Label B / Owen Gajoch / Owen Gajoch / 87.5 + 91 = 178.5
  6. Coppertone / Olivia Sweetnam / Sweet Oak Farm / 88 + 90 = 178
  7. Game On / Charlotte Harris / Stephanie Harris / 82.5 + 169.5
  8. Herr Drosselmeyer / Anneliese Kolaska / Anneliese Kolaska / 83.5 + 83 = 166.5
  9. Kingmaker / Cyndi Lewis / Cyndi Lewis / 84 + 82 = 166
  10. Constantin / Anna Koenig / Ashland Farms / 82 + 83 = 165
  11. Westeros / Owen Gajoch / Samantha Gajoch / 87 + 48 = 135
  12. Honor Roll / Margaret Pulte / Margaret Pulte / 83 + 43 = 126