Ocala, FL – Nearly 100 elegant hunters gathered at the beautifully decorated WEC Stadium for Hunter Derby Friday to contest 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. Competitors raved about the quality of the courses set by Canada’s Peter Grant.
Twenty of the sport’s best hunter athletes put forth their best efforts in the $20,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby with the hopes of taking home the lion’s share of the prize money. Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, Maryland and Madeline Schaefer’s In The Know (Arkansas x Cavelle) prevailed after two stellar rounds that earned scores in the 90s.
Schaefer and the 13-year-old Warmblood gelding produced a lovely first round early in the order for a score of 92, which held atop the leaderboard for the remainder of the first round.
“I loved the unrelated distances in today’s tracks. Out in this big ring, it is very hard to be stuck on a number, you just want to be able to flow and go off of how your horse feels. The jumps looked stunning and everything came up smoothly. It complimented the horses very well,” shared Schaefer.
Schaefer and In The Know were the final pair to attempt Grant’s handy track, “We were all pretty close coming into the second round. I knew what I wanted to do turn wise. Josh Dolan had two incredible rounds and was sitting first and second, so I knew I had to be tidy to stay on top,” said Schaefer.
“I was a little nervous about the one-stride because we don’t often see them in the hunters, but ‘Spyder’ jumped out nicely. I enjoyed the track to fence one. You could gallop and set your pace, then roll through the turns. Off of the trot fence there was a nice slice option to the oxer that invited you to step off your lead, but I was happy that he stayed there for me and jumped well.”
The pair floated through the remainder of the track to earn a score of 93.5 for an overall score of 185.5 securing the top place position on the leaderboard.
$20,000 Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club 3’6”-3’9” Hunter Derby Results:
1 In The Know, Samantha Schaefer, Madeline Schaefer: 92 | 93.5 | 185.5
2 Con L’Anima, Josh Dolan, Christine Gonzalez: 90 | 93 | 183
3 Ipanema, Josh Dolan, Belle Rolfe: 84 | 94 | 178
4 Cartel, Jeffrey Ayers, Jeffrey Ayers: 87 | 90 | 177
5 Coltrane, Daniel Geitner, Magnolia Lane Stables, LLC: 91 | 85.75 | 176.75
6 Pinot Del Sole, Samantha Wolfram, Maya Wyman: 78 | 76.5 | 154.5
7 Hollywood, Erika Moore, Erika Moore: 75 | 79 | 154
8 Thunderbird, Gigi Phillips, Gigi Phillips: 72 | 75 | 147
9 Giviera, Tina Judge-Boyle, Judy Power: 68.5 | 76 | 144.5
10 Talisman, Rebecca St. Onge, Jai Smith Rezac: 69 | 67 | 136
Sam Meadows & UFeelMe Land the $15,000 UF Veterinary Hospital 3’ Open Hunter Derby
Twenty-eight beautifully turned-out hunters gathered at the WEC Stadium this morning to compete over Peter Grant’s flowing tracks, where Sam Meadows of Newport News, Virginia and Price Farms LLC’s UFeelMe (Untouchable x Bric-A-Brac) navigated two seamless rounds to secure the top prize.
UFeelMe is a new mount for Meadows, “UFeelMe is a five turning six-year-old. When I came down in December, his owners from South Carolina called me asking if I would like to take him to sell, and when they sent him to me, I recommended they should keep him because I had a feeling he was going to be something special.”
Meadows and the six-year-old Holsteiner stallion found a beautiful track in the first round for a score of 90.
The pair returned to the handy sitting second. Meadows and UFeelMe floated around the handy to secure a score of 87 for a two-round total of 177.
Meadows enjoyed today’s handy track, “The handy was very fluid. The course designer did an incredible job. It started with a nice easy jump and an oxer. Then he incorporated the famous WEC stone and hedge arch fence which we all love. The rest of the track came up beautifully.”
$15,000 UF Veterinary Hospital 3’ Open Hunter Derby Results:
1 UFeelMe, Sam Meadows, Price Farms LLC: 90 | 87 | 177
2 Eldoret, Josh Dolan, Karen Redding: 91 | 81 | 172
3 Game On, Hillary Rheinheimer, Linda Brill: 88 | 83 | 171
4 Ziggy Stardust, Jordan Lubow, Opening Bell Sporthorses, LLC: 81 | 89 | 170
5 Lavish, Hannah Matts, Phyllis Harlow: 86.5 | 80 | 166.5
6 Auheim’s Cosmo Brown, Jenny Miller, Page Flournoy: 83 | 83 | 166
7 Yellowstone, Hillary Rheinheimer, Lily Peck: 86.75 | 79 | 165.75
8 Lomanske, Molly McAdow, Canterbury Farm: 89 | 76 | 165
9 Figure Of Speech, Guy Cambria, Amy Squier Perez: 86 | 78 | 164
10 Lone Star, Hillary Rheinheimer, Tracy Leahy: 82.5 | 74 | 156.5
Luke Rinehart & Hero Capture the $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Hunter Derby
The $15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby hosted 45 elegant pairs, but none could best Luke Reinhart of Westfield, Indiana and his own Hero (Brainpower x Corini W) with a pair of scores in the 90s.
Rinehart and the 11-year-old KWPN gelding laid down an exceptional first round to collect a soaring 98 from the judges.
“I think I have only received two scores in the 90s before and today I doubled that. I am still a bit shocked. I was a little worried about the wind, but Hero was incredible. It was so much fun to ride out in that ring today, it’s very impressive,” shared Reinhart.
The pair returned for the handy on top, “I knew I had a pretty decent lead, so I wasn’t trying to do anything too radical. I knew the judges liked Hero’s style, so I just tried to put in another good effort.”
A handy with style and brilliance earned the pair a score of 92 for a two-round total of 190.
“Hero is an amazing horse. We got him about a year ago. He’s my mom’s favorite horse in the barn, and debatably her favorite child,” joked Rinehart. “Just recently we moved up to the 3’6” Junior Hunters, so hopefully one day we will make our debut in the big derby.”
$15,000 WEC Ocala 3’ Jr/Am Hunter Derby Results:
1 Hero, Luke Rinehart, Luke Rinehart: 98 | 92 | 190
2 Chablis 162, Elizabeth Rinehart, Luke Rinehart: 92 | 91 | 183
3 Impression, Ava Hartman, Ava Harman: 91 | 85 | 176
4 Balou Label, Molly Braswell, Molly Braswell: 85 | 87 | 172
5 Idolize, Jaime Auletto, Jaime Auletto: 80 | 90 | 170
6 Style, Annabelle Brown, Annabelle Brown: 88 | 81 | 169
7 Corazon, Ashley Dewoolfson, Ashley Dewwoolfson: 84 | 84 | 168
8 Make Way, Camryn Halley, Camryn Halley: 77.25 | 86 | 163.25
9 Latino, Emma Gurley, Emma Gurley: 90 | 68 | 158
10 Star Struck, Anabeth Baker, Vaap LLC: 78 | 78 | 156
‘Style of Riding Award’
Before the start of the handy round in the $15,000 UF Veterinary Hospital 3′ Open Hunter Derby, Jordan Melfi, standing in for Bill Rube, presented the prestigious Style of Riding Award to Hillary Rheinheimer for her classic style and sportsmanship. 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. Rheinheimer received an elegant duffel bag and wore a white rose corsage on her lapel throughout the handy round to signify her achievement.