Keirstin Scott and Her Horses Sweep the Top Three Places in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Saratoga Classic I

Keirstin Scott and Aster de la Cense took the top spot in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Photo by Jess Windhurst Photography

Stillwater, NY – Keirstin Scott made it a day to remember on Friday, June 14, 2024, at the Saratoga Classic I Horse Show at White Hollow Farm when she took the top three spots in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby out of a field of 29 competitors. The Saratoga Classic I continues through Sunday, June 16, with World Championship Hunter Rider competition, while the Saratoga Classic II Horse Show will run the following week on June 19-23.

Scott piloted Aster de la Cense, owned by Kimberly Witherspoon, to victory in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. They finished the first round in second place with a base score of 88 plus four bonus points. Scott led the first round with Copper Canyon, owned by Adele Einhorn, who had an overall score of 94 after going first in the class. Scott and MTM Promises Fulfilled, owned by Denise Di Nozzi, sat in fourth place with a first-round score of 88.

Scott and Copper Canyon scored a 94 out of the gate in round one and finished in second place. Photo by Jess Windhurst Photography

In the second handy round, the top 12 returned, and Scott went first on MTM Promises Fulfilled to space out her three rides in the second round. They put down an incredible handy trip and were rewarded with an overall score of 93 for a total of 181, which would hold up for third place.

“He’s my handy horse,” confirmed Scott of the 14-year-old Westphalian gelding by Balou du Rouet. “He’s really brave, and he’ll go through any gap. He’s definitely the horse that you want to be going all in for the handy. It’s almost more fun to not be on top, because then I don’t second guess. We focus on the national derbies with him because it seems to be the place he shines.”

With Copper Canyon, Scott had a second-round score of 87.5 and a total of 181.5, just squeaking past for second place.

The seven-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Irish Wiskey Z took home two firsts, along with second and third places, in USHJA National Hunter Derbies this winter at World Equestrian Center – Ocala with rider Jenny Jones, but this was the first time that Scott has competed with him.

“He is really, really fun to ride,” said Scott. “He’s so scopey and jumps so high. I think if I had known him a little better, I could have navigated him in the handy in the one gap, but otherwise he’s a really special horse. It was nice to have the opportunity to ride him.”

MTM Promises Fulfilled stepped up with a 93 in the handy to take third place with Scott. Photo by Jess Windhurst Photography

With Aster de la Cense, who sat in second place after round one, Scott received a second-round score of 92 for a total of 183 and victory.

Scott knows Aster de la Cense well, having competed with the horse in previous years; they had success in the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship before Witherspoon began competing with “Aster” in the adult hunters.

“I haven’t shown him in a derby in five years,” said Scott. “At the last minute, Kim said, ‘I would really love it if you did it today instead of me.’ He’s the type of horse that always delivers.

“There’s nothing that he doesn’t excel at,” continued Scott of the 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Mylord Carthago. “He’s a very sassy guy. You have to do everything by his rules, but if you follow the recipe, he will never let you down.”

Keirstin Scott and Aster de la Cense in their winning presentation. Photo by Jess Windhurst Photography

Scott, who stands in fifth place in the USHJA National Hunter Derby Rider Standings, said of her remarkable finish, “I’ve not gotten all three places before in one class. I’ve gotten top three ribbons, but to have the top three at one time is pretty special, especially with three really great, really fun derby horses.”

Scott makes the Saratoga Horse Shows a regular stop on her show calendar every year.

“We love coming up here,” she affirmed. “The footing is so nice, and I feel like they very much care about the exhibitors and try to cater to what helps us and makes us happy. It’s nice to feel cared about. I think other horse shows try to do that, but it really shows here. The town is great, so the clients have fun after the show. These feature classes are so nice, and they make them special. They have the VIP tent where everyone can come and watch, and it dresses it up quite a bit.”

Scott’s top three rides gathered for a photo following the awards presentation. Photo by Jess Windhurst Photography

Scott started her own business, Trademark Farm, in October 2023 after working for Brooke Baldwin for 12 years. “She and I are actually still in the same barn, which is a cool thing,” she said. “I’m always grateful for that opportunity and everything she has helped me do up until this point because it definitely takes a village.”

For more information on the Saratoga Horse Shows, visit www.saratogahorseshows.com.


About Saratoga Horse Shows

Now in its 26th year, Saratoga Horse Shows will offer nine USEF-rated competitions on the 2024 show calendar, along with an additional seven schooling show dates. Managed by Southbound Saratoga Management Group and held at White Hollow Farm in Stillwater, New York, Saratoga Horse Shows is situated on more than 100 acres and located eight miles from downtown Saratoga Springs. With eight large arenas featuring state-of-the-art drainage and all-weather performance footing, permanent and tented stabling, and turnout paddocks, it is the ideal place to show during the spring and summer months. Visit www.saratogahorseshows.com to learn more.