Traverse City, Mich. – Aug. 30, 2020 – Derby contenders took to the Polk Family Main Hunter Ring on Sunday morning at the Traverse City Fall Horse Show CSI3*, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, for a shot at the top prize in the $7,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby. The last major hunter contest of the week, the class featured 34 horse-and-rider combinations, all of which were topped by Samantha Schaefer and Take 3 LLC’s Trademark, who led from start to finish to add another derby victory to their growing list of accomplishments. Trademark also carried Schaefer to first place in back-to-back $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derbies in June during the spring installment of the horse show in Traverse City.
Course designer Andy Christiansen was at the helm for the two-round class, and produced a 12-effort track for the classic phase that served to weed out the elite contenders from the rest of the field. Eighth in the order, Trademark carried Schaefer to a high-earning precedent, rewarded by the judges panel with a score of 94 following the pair’s effortless classic trip. Schaefer and Trademark’s tally still sat atop the scorecard at the end of the round, followed by Megan Ghere and Carluca with a score of 89.50 in second position. Tiffany Morrissey and On Your Mark were just a half-point back with marks of 89 for third place headed into the handy, and Alliy Moyer piloted Hero to fourth in the rankings another half-point off the pace with 88.50. Exhibitors collectively put on a good show, with the cut-off score for the top 12 sitting at a lofty 84 points.
For the handy phase, Christiansen’s 9-fence pattern offered a trot fence, four high-low fence options and plenty of rollbacks and changes of direction for returning duos to show off their skills. Returning to the ring in reverse order, Kate Conover and Small Social were the midway pair in sixth position, and the partnership improved upon their earlier score of 87 with a 92-point score to emerge as the frontrunners with five left to tackle the track. Ultimately, it came down to the final entry though, as Schaefer directed the 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding with a distinctive white spot around the course to the tune of 90 points, plus four high options bonus points, to earn a cumulative handy score of 94, only the third time the 90-point threshold had been hit during the class, to finish on a total tally of 188 and claim the tricolors.
Conover and Small Social, owned by Iwasaki & Reilly, maintained their status near the top of the scorecard with a second-place finish thanks to a total score of 179, and Morrissey rounded out the podium in third place aboard On your Mark, owned by Lisa Berger, with 178.50 points, just fractions behind the runner-up combination.
Hunter riding at the Traverse City Fall Horse Show CSI3*, presented by Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, came to a close Sunday. Riding will resume Wednesday at Flintfields Horse Park for the 50th American Gold Cup, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors LLC and featuring the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament.
Samantha Schaefer – $7,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby winner
“I think he’s just kind of the perfect hunter. He’s really pretty across the ground and he has great technique and presence in the ring. Even when he trots in the ring, he really catches your eye. Whether it be his movement or his white markings, I think he just really stands out from start to finish. He’s been quite a process to bring along but I think now that it’s all coming together he really stands out, especially in these events.”
On future plans with Trademark:
“This year, obviously, has been tricky. He competes in the 3’6’’ Green Hunter division, and I was hoping to go to Devon this year and indoors, and with that being canceled I’ve just been trying to bring him along and expose him to some of the national derbies that I compete in throughout the year. Hopefully we will start some international derbies eventually, then also compete in the second year 3’9’’ Green Hunter next year.”
On the handy round:
“The first round I thought he was really nice. There were maybe a few places where I felt him get a little bit green, which were probably not noticeable if you’re watching but I know him so well. My plan, before anyone went in the second round, was to just try to be smooth and emphasize him. I didn’t need to try to go too crazy and end up making a silly mistake. I obviously saw some people go inside to the first jump and I went back and forth a little bit, but typically when I change plans it doesn’t work out so I just tried to stick with my plan. I thought he was really good in the second round.”
On Traverse City Horse Shows:
“The plan is to show him next, I’m not sure if we will show during the week but definitely in the derby, and then again the following week. I love it here. This year, while it’s been a little bit crazy up and down, I feel like they’ve created a great atmosphere here to compete and it actually allowed us to learn about Traverse City and come up here. I think all of our clients are loving it. We will be back next year. We normally show at some more local shows on the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic region throughout the year, shows much closer to us. With those shows all getting moved and canceled, we decided to come here and it was a great decision. We’ve enjoyed it.”
$7,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score / Total
1. Trademark / Samantha Schaefer / Take 3 LLC / 94 / 94 / 188
2. Small Social / Kate Conover / Reilly & Iwasaki / 87 / 92 / 179
3. On Your Mark / Tiffany Morrissey / Lisa Berger / 89 / 89 / 178.5
4. Hero / Alliy Moyer / Moyer Farm Llc / 88.5 / 89 / 177.5
5. Carluca / Megan Ghere / Donald Stewart / 89.5 / 86 / 175.5
6. Suede / Hillary Johnson / Copper Fox LLC / 84 / 88/ 172
7. Arabesque / Steven Gregorio / Bill Schaub / 85 / 86 / 171
8. Hannes / Tiffany Morrissey / East Wind Farms LLC / 85.5 / 85 / 170.5
9. Seaside / Juliette Joseph / Reilly & Iwasaki / 88 / 79 / 167
10. Aviator / Roger Turner / Denise Short / 84 / 75 / 159
11. Jordan / Marisa Metzger / Gentry Beresford / 84.5 / 71 / 155.5
12. Leo 626 / Juliette Joseph / Sharn Wordley / 86.5 / 68 / 154.5