Ocala, FL – More than 150 stunning hunters gathered at the WEC Stadium to vie for the top prize in the $20,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby, $15,000 UF Veterinary Hospital 3’ Open Hunter Derby and $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby. Patrick Rodes built the natural tracks that showcased stone and hedge walls that emulated the hunt field.
The $20,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby played host to the nation’s best hunter combinations, but none could best Amanda Steege and Cheryl Olsten’s Laffite De Muze (Darco x Everlychin De La Pomme).
Steege and the 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding navigated a foot perfect first round for a score of 96.
“It was a great first course. Every horse in the class went well. It’s nice when the course designer builds something where all the horses can do well. The first horse got a 92 then there was a 95, 96 and 93. All the horses jumped well and I was very happy with it,” shared Steege.
Steege and Lafitte De Muze were the last pair to return for the handy, “I am trying to work on a few things; riding with pace and landing my leads. I wanted to go in there and do the best I could.”
The pair floated around the handy track to receive another high score of 90.5 for an overall score of 186.5.
A win with Lafitte De Muze is always special for Steege, “Lafitte was the first equine ambassador for the Equus Foundation. His owner Cheryl Olsten generously donates his prize money to their foundation where it gets distributed out to various rescues, therapeutic riding centers and to horses in need. It makes it feel that much more special when he wins a class with significant prize money because I know its going to a good cause.”
$20,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby Results:
1 Lafitte De Muze, Amanda Steege, Cheryl Olsten: 96 | 90.5 | 186.5
2 In The Know, Samantha Schaefer, Madeline Schaefer: 89 | 96 | 185
3 Coltrane, Daniel Geitner, Magnolia Lane Stables, LLC: 93 | 91.5 | 184.5
4 Con L’Anima, Josh Dolan, Christine Gonzalez: 92 | 88.5 | 180.5
5 Ulysses, Maddie Tosh, Betsee Parker: 88 | 92 | 180
6 Ipanema, Josh Dolan, Belle Rolfe: 89.5 | 88 | 177.5
7 Easy Money, Daniel Geitner, Laura Cramer: 85 | 91 | 176
8 Cartel, Jeffrey Ayers, Jeffrey Ayers: 86 | 89 | 175
9 Chatsworth, Olivia Groenewegen, Olivia Groenewegen: 84 | 90 | 174
Kate Conover & Small Love Earn Superior Scores in the $15,000 UF Veterinary Hospital 3’ Open Hunter Derby
Fifty horse-and-rider combinations put forth their best effort in hopes of earning the top honors in the $15,000 UF Veterinary Hospital 3’ Open Hunter Derby. Kate Conover piloted Liz Reilly’s Small Love (Chacco Blue x Wisilvia) to two superior scores in the high 90s to take home the lion’s share of the prize money.
Conover and the ten-year-old Hanoverian mare delivered a stylish first round for a score of 96.
“Small Love is amazing. She is owned by Liz Reilly and Chris Iwasaki. She’s won a ton with Augusta. The horse is an incredible jumper, I just try and stay out of her way. She’s the sweetest animal I’ve ever met. She goes by Honey Pot which is very fitting. I am very lucky to get to ride her when Augusta isn’t here,” said Conover.
The pair came back for the handy sitting on top, “I ended up moving up in the order because Daniel Geitner had three to ride, he works so hard so if I can give him a five minute breathier I will,” shared Conover. “For the handy I had a plan and wasn’t going to change it. She does drift right a bit, I just rode the drift on a right loop which ended up being pretty handy. The mare really tries hard out there and it’s amazing to be able to ride a horse like that.”
Conover and Small Love delivered yet another brilliant round for another score of 96 for a two-round total of 192.
$15,000 UF Veterinary Hospital 3’ Open Hunter Derby Results:
1 Small Love, Kate Conover, Liz Reilly: 96 | 96 | 192
2 Louvre, Kyle Muckler, Fred Kahn: 90.5 | 91.5 | 182
3 Cadoretto, Daniel Geitner, Mia Bakotic: 91.5 | 90 | 181.5
4 Cypress, Timothy Maddirx, Missy Nolen: 88.5 | 92 | 180.5
5 Elated, Sam Meadows, Golden Oaks Farm Inc.: 94 | 86 | 180
6 Aladdin, Jenny Miller, Jenny Miller: 90 | 86 | 180
7 Blue Monday, Hillary Johnson, Stephanie Battershall: 88 | 84 | 172
8 Brooklyn, Daniel Geitner, Martin Schlaeppi: 88.75 | 79 | 167.75
9 Story Hour, Daniel Geitner, Donald Stewart: 92 | 74 | 166
10 Debonair, Jennifer Tate, Barbara Kravetz: 87 | 49 | 136
Addison McQuaker & Golden Ticket Get the Gold in the $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby
The $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby saw a large field of 69 junior and amateur athletes tackle Patrick Rodes’ derby track, but it was Addison McQuaker and her own Golden Ticket (Stakkato Gold x Cindy Crawford) that prevailed with an overall score of 178.5.
McQuaker and the eight-year-old Oldenburg gelding secured a first-round score of 87.5 to earn a spot in the handy round.
McQuaker spoke about the talented young gelding, “We got him when he was five and he was a bit bad, but now he’s a good boy. He’s very sweet and loves treats.”
The pair returned for the handy with the hopes of making up some points. McQuaker and Golden Ticket delivered a stellar performance for a high score of 91 for a two-round total of 178.5.
McQuaker shared her thoughts, “The first round didn’t go as good as I wanted it to be, but the second round was great. We moved up a lot and did some fun inside turns. He was very good and smooth. I’m really proud of him. Next week we are going to do the $75,000 Jr/Am Derby!”
$15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby Results:
1 Golden Ticket, Addison McQuaker, Addison McQuaker: 87.5 | 91 |178.5
2 San Paolo, Claire Walls, Amy Daspit: 88.5 | 89 | 177.5
3 Agave, Isabelle Harbour, IMH Equine, LLC: 86 | 90 | 176
4 Prado, Katalena Prusso, Falcon Ridge Stables: 89.5 | 85.75 | 175.25
5 Gandalf, Samantha Sommers, Crooked Willow Farms: 88 | 87 | 175
6 No Doubt, Elizabeth Phillips, Elizabeth Phillips: 88 | 81 | 169
7 Camelot, Judy Kerr, Judy Kerr: 84.5 | 84 | 168.5
8 Victor, Hayley Waters Wear, Carelyn Moore: 92 | 65.5 | 157.5
9 Tycoon, Kelli Gibson, Kellington LLC: 94 | 63 |157
10 Buckingham, Cawthra Burns, Cawthra Burns: 87 | 69 | 156
‘THE STYLE OF RIDING AWARD’
Before the start of the handy round in the $15,000 UF Veterinary Hosptial 3′ Open Hunter Derby the prestigious Style of Riding Award was presented to Jennifer Tate for her classic style and her sportsmanship. The Style of Riding Award is generously presented by Bill Rube to be awarded to the rider who best displays the American Style of riding in the ring and sportsmanship outside of the competition arena. The recipient serves as a role model for preserving the integrity and tradition of equestrian sport. “This award is very special to me because the recipient of this award pays it forward both in and out of the show ring,” says Rube. Tate received an elegant duffel bag and wore a white rose corsage on her lapel throughout the handy round to signify her achievement.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.
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