In The Know and Samantha Schaefer Rise to the Occasion in $20,000 Golden Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby

Samantha Schaefer and In The Know in the $20,000 Golden Ocala 3’6″-3’9″ Hunter Derby. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Edited Press Release

Ocala, FL – The inaugural World Champion Hunter Rider week of the 2024 Winter Spectacular Show Series attracted the nation’s best hunter athletes to vie for top honors. During this special edition of Hunter Derby Friday, nearly 150 stunning combinations competed in four derbies: the $15,000 UF Veterinary Hospital USHJA National 3’ Open Hunter Derby, $15,000 USHJA National 3’ Junior Hunter Derby, $15,000 USHJA National 3’ Amateur Hunter Derby, and the $20,000 Golden Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby, held under the lights of the WEC Grand Arena.

In the $20,000 Golden Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby, Joe Carnicom (USA) designed the challenging course for a sizable field of 52 horse-and-rider pairs. Among them, Samantha Schaefer, a familiar face in the winner’s circle with her beloved mount In The Know, delivered two flawless rounds to claim the victory.

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

Schaefer guided the 15-year-old Warmblood gelding by Arkansas x Cavelle, to an outstanding first round, earning a leading score of 93 from the judges. Reflecting on her strategy, Schaefer shared, “I watched two or three rounds. I asked a couple of my friends what they thought, but I really just rode the horse that I know. I think I sometimes tend to put a little bit more pressure on myself for classes like this, especially when they are at night, because it feels a bit different and more important. I just reminded myself, I know my horse, and I just need to ride the course out there that would best suit him.” 

Before the start of the handy, several competitors asked Schaefer if she was going to attempt the tight inside turn from fence one to fence two, “Everyone in the schooling area was like are you going to do it, are you going to do it, and I really didn’t know,” laughed Schaefer. “I know I would attempt it if I felt like I needed to seal the deal. So, I practiced the turn in the schooling arena, just in case, and of course, when I was walking down the ramp, I saw Daniel [Geitner] do the turn, and I said okay, here we go. But, I knew I had the best horse to be able to do it.”

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

Schaefer and In The Know executed the challenging turn effortlessly and continued flawlessly through the rest of the course, earning another impressive score of 94 from the judges.

“I think ‘Spyder’ came out tonight, and knew it was a special, and he rose to the occasion,” shared Schaefer.

Daniel Geitner and Coltrane. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Daniel Geitner and Magnolia Lane Stables, LLC’s Coltrane (Casall x Carano) secured second place with a first-round score of 92 and a handy score of 93, totaling 185 across both rounds.

Jordan Lubow and Wisely. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography.

Jordan Lubow, riding Opening Bell Sporthorses, LLC’s Wisely (Casiro I x Hauptstutbuch Fabaletta), rounded out the top three with a first-round score of 91.5 and a second-round score of 91, for an overall score of 182.5.

Watch Samantha Schaefer’s winning handy round from the $20,000 Golden Ocala 3’6″-3’9″ Hunter Derby.

$20,000 Golden Ocala 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby Results: 

1 In The Know, Samantha Schaefer, Madeline Schaefer: 93 | 94 | 187
2 Coltrane, Daniel Geitner, Magnolia Lane Stables, LLC: 92 | 93 | 185
3 Wisely, Jordan Lubow, Opening Bell Sporthorses, LLC: 91.5 | 91 | 182.5
4 Valentino, Ava Barnes, Rivers Edge: 91 | 90 | 181
5 Cascatero, Joey Roman, Joey Roman: 89 | 86 | 175
6 Lafitte De Muze, Amanda Steege, Cheryl Olsten: 83.5 | 91 | 174.5
7 Chivalrous, Jennifer Jones, Firstlee Farm: 90 | 84 | 174
8 Cent 15, Jordan Gibbs, Mountain King Ranch LLC: 86 | 84 | 168
9 Goyard, Sydney Raidy, Sydney Raidy: 84 | 84 | 168
10 Chacco Ricco, Erika Moore, Noble Steeds LLC: 84.5 | 82 | 166.5 

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