Edited Press Release
More than 70 stunning hunters took to Hunter 1 on a picturesque sunny Florida Friday for the first Hunter Derby Friday of the 2023 USEF Winter Spectacular Show Series at World Equestrian Center – Ocala. The day brought the best-of-the-best to the hunter arena to compete for the ultimate prize in the $20,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby, $15,000 UF Health Veterinary Hospital 3’ Open Hunter Derby and $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby. The gorgeous tracks for the classes were designed by Tom Hern of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and featured breathtaking natural obstacles including lush hedges and stone walls enveloped in greenery.
Fifteen talented combinations vied for the top prize in the $20,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby, with scores soaring into the high 90s. The spectacular tracks gave competitors numerous options for striding and handy turns, allowing riders to show off their horse’s individual style, but it was Samantha Schaefer and her tried-and-true mount, In The Know (Arkansas x Cavelle) that wowed the judges.
Schaefer and the 13-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Madeline Schaefer secured a high score of 93 for a flawless first round.
“When I was first learning the course, I was a tad stressed because there was a lot to remember. The ring looked stunning,” Schaefer commented. “They really put a lot of effort into the course today and it rode very nicely. I am not much of a course walker, but today, I had to go out there or else I would have gotten lost in this beautiful sea of greenery.
“It was a nice first course. The jumps were filled out well to impress the horses and I enjoyed the long lines. It was a perfect course that flowed, and everything came right up out of stride,” she added.
Schaefer and In The Know were the final pair to attempt the handy track.
“Sometimes with ‘Spyder’ I go a little crazy,” Schaefer admitted. “He can do some amazing things when you need him too, but I try not to ask those things too often. We always say, ‘What would Bill [Ellis] do?’ He would always tell me not to blow it and take my time, so I thought of him today. I was still very efficient, but I remembered to not rush anything.”
Schaefer and In The Know floated around the handy track, jumping each fence in stellar form to earn a 98, the highest score of the day and an overall score of 191 for the victory.
“Spyder is the absolute best. He’s my best friend and I am so thrilled to start the 2023 Winter Spectacular on such an incredible note,” she lauded. “He knows when it is his time to shine and that’s every derby.”
The $15,000 UF Health Veterinary Hospital 3’ Open Hunter Derby saw a competitive field of 22 horse-and-rider combinations, but none could best Hillary Johnson and Stephanie Battershall’s Blue Monday (Bornet Obolen x Hewa).
Johnson and the stunning 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding laid down a foot-by-foot perfect first round to earn a high score of 94 from the judges.
Johnson and Blue Monday yielded a lovely handy round while jumping all four high options to earn a score of 88.5 for a two-round total of 182.5 for the victory.
“Blue Monday is perfect. He’s like a giant marshmallow,” Johnson said. “He does cross poles with his mom and does derbies with me every so often. He knows his job and he’s always so eager to perform well.”
Thirty-four gorgeous hunters gathered to compete for the top prize in the $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby. Augusta Iwasaki secured the victory aboard Chris Iwasaki and Liz Reilly’s Small Moments (Cascadello I x Alcina) after delivering two beautiful rounds to yield a pair of scores in the high 80s.
Iwasaki and the 6-year-old Hanoverian mare laid down a flowing first round to earn a score of 89.75. Iwasaki piloted Small Moments to an effortless handy round that earned a score of 89 for an overall score of 178.5 for the blue ribbon.
“We have had her for almost a year now. We actually got her at this horse show last year. We have been doing a lot of national derbies and 3’3” green classes. She’s been incredible,” Iwasaki said. “This is a lot to ask of any young horse, but she has always stepped up to the plate.”
$20,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby Results:
1 In The Know, Samantha Schaefer, Madeline Schaefer: 93 | 98 | 191
2 MTM Nabilli, Jenny Miller, Erica Prockow: 90 | 95 | 185
3 Attendu De Lannois Z, Augusta Iwasaki, Ashland Farms: 88 | 92.5 | 180.5
4 Tybee, Holly Shepherd, Debbie Holland: 85 | 91 | 176
5 My Time, Kate Conover, R&R Sport Horses, LLC: 86 | 88 | 174
6 Small Kingdom, Augusta Iwasaki, Chris Iwasaki & Liz Reilly: 72.25 | 89 | 164.25
7 Troubador, William Dow, Suzanne Deuel: 80 | 75 | 155
8 Formindable, Sam Pegg, Phyllis Harlow: 75 | 79 | 154
9 Quentino, Brianna Davis, Heather Chenault: 74 | 78 | 152
10 Malibu Ken, Tiffany Cambria, KYM K Smith: 51 | 91 | 142
$15,000 UF Health Veterinary Hospital 3’ Open Hunter Derby Results:
1 Blue Monday, Hillary Johnson, Stephanie Battershall: 94 | 88.5 | 182.5
2 Filibuster, Jennifer Jones, Daphne Markcrow: 91 | 90.5 | 181.5
3 Aladdin, Jenny Miller, Jenny Miller: 92 | 89 | 181
4 Aquitaine, Fifi Schmidt, Valerie Peltier: 83 | 90 | 173
5 Daruka’s Treasure, Clair Kellner, Angela Devlen: 86 | 85 | 171
6 Inspiration, Clair Kellner, Mindy Carreja: 82 | 86 | 168
7 MTM Ahoy, Dorothy Douglas, Nina Koloseike: 85 | 81 | 166
8 Marseille, Adrianne Gamboa, Margaret Snyder: 86.5 | 79 | 165.5
9 Royal Balou, Jake Evans, Opening Bell Sporthorses, LLC: 89.5 | 73 | 162.5
$15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby Results:
1 Small Moments, Augusta Iwasaki, Chris Iwasaki & Liz Reilly: 89.75 | 89 | 178.75
2 Prado, Katalena Prusso, Falcon Ridge Stables: 89.5 | 88 | 177.5
3 Ocorden, Dawson Amick, Peggy McElveen: 91 | 84 | 175
4 Etiquette, Elise Iafrate, Elise Iafrate: 88 | 78 | 166
5 Zest, Ann Marie Cowdrey, Ann Marie Cowdrey: 78 | 86 | 164
6 Golden Ticket, Addison McQuaker, Addison McQuaker: 81 | 81 | 162
7 Consanto, Lily Toensing, Lily Teonsing: 85.5 | 76 | 161.5
8 Summer Song, Hampton Baker, Hampton Baker: 86 | 72 | 158
9 PS Comic Chrome, Alexa Riccio, PS Riverstone: 87 | 68 | 155
10 Unlimited, Augusta Iwasaki, Fabrizi Equine, LLC: 88 | 59 | 147
This post brought to you by
Alexis first spent her childhood playing behind her parents’ shop cases in the Jewelers Building of Boston, where the stories and people she observed inspired her to dream of her own business where she would make and sell beautiful things. Guided by her intuition, Alexis designed her first piece of jewelry in 2011 and has since become an award-winning designer and destination for good luck charms, talismans, personal power objects, and Luxuries for your Soul™. In addition, my coveted shields have grown a community of worldwide collectors, motivated by my trademarked mantra SHIELD YOURSELF®.
The pieces created by Alexis Kletjian are influenced by the lore and magic of bygone eras and designed for the modern world. Gemstones are hand-selected and Alexis cultivates relationships for meaningful exchange by aligning herself with souls of similar beliefs.