Havens Schatt & Happy Thoughts Ride to First Place in $5K USHJA National Derby in Kentucky

Hunter competition in the Stonelea Ring began with the highlight of the day, the $5,000 USHJA National Derby, sponsored by the World Equestrian Center and Kentucky Horse Shows. After taking the win in the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby in the previous week at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, Havens Schatt returned to take another impressive win in the hunter ring, this time with Caroline Moran’s Happy Thoughts. The pair claimed their victory after scoring a total of 185 points.

Havens Schatt and Happy Thoughts. Photo by Phelps Sports

Thirty-three entries tackled Bobby Murphy’s derby course, which featured a total of ten fences including four locations where horse-and-rider combinations could choose either a high or low option. Following the first round of competition, the top 12 athletes who scored above a 83 were asked to return to showcase their horse’s handiness with rollbacks and a trot fence featured halfway through the course.

Schatt completed the first round of competition sitting in the second place position, behind Jeff Gogul and Snowbird, with a score of 90 after taking all of the high option fences. Aboard Happy Thoughts, an 8-year-old Warmblood, Schatt returned to the ring with a plan to utilize her horse’s handiness throughout the duration of the course. Showcasing smooth rollback turns on the adjusted derby course, which now featured eight fences, Schatt and Happy Thoughts delivered a textbook round that would earn them the highest score of the day at 95 points. Schatt plans to continue to work the gelding in the derbies, eventually working him up to the 3’6” international derby level.

“He is 8 years old. I do him in the national derbies because I just didn’t think he was ready for 3’6” height yet,” Schatt said of Happy Thoughts. “The national derbies are great to give them something interesting to do. This horse has really found his niche at this, he really likes it. It gives him the experience to jump bigger jumps, then smaller jumps. They’re always in nice rings so it’s a good atmosphere to get them used to things to come in their future.”

Havens Schatt and Happy Thoughts. Photo by Phelps Sports

She elaborated on Happy Thoughts’ personality, “he has a funny personality. He is a very quiet horse, but he can be opinionated at times. He likes when people watch him.”

Coming in second place was another repeat winner from the previous week of competition at the Kentucky Horse Park, Gogul aboard Snowbird. Owned by Roberts Stables LLC, Snowbird is a regular in national derbies, consistently placing in the top three with Gogul at the World Equestrian Center in Wilmington, Ohio near his home base of Chagrin Falls.

Sunday’s feature class is part of an 15-event USHJA National Hunter Derby series collaboration sponsored by the World Equestrian Center and Kentucky Horse Shows that includes $10,000 in rider bonuses to be awarded at the World Equestrian Invitational in October.