Week 7 in the Hunter Ring at WEF

Schatt and Iwasaki are Victorious in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

The $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby took place on Friday morning during week seven of the Winter Equestrian Festival. The derby was held on “Pony Island,” where Rings 11 and 12 were combined to create a larger field. The class had a junior/amateur section, as well as a professional division, and offered $10,000 in prize money to both. There were 38 junior/amateur riders and 34 professionals to complete the first round with 12 riders coming back for the handy round in each section.

Havens Schatt aboard Highlander captured the victory in the professional division, and Augusta Iwasaki rode Sambuca to the top spot in the junior/amateur section.

Havens Schatt and Highlander. Photo © Sportfot

Schatt rode Meredith Mateo’s Highlander to a score of 89 in the first round with four bonus points to put them in second place going into the handy round. After scoring a 95 with four bonus points in the handy, the pair took over the lead with a total score of 192. Highlander has only been with Schatt, of Georgetown, KY, for about three weeks and this is the pair’s first week showing together. After successfully competing in the 3’3” Performance Hunters this week, Schatt decided to enter in the National Hunter Derby.

“Going into the handy, since he is a very big horse I was curious to see if I could really do the inside turns,” Schatt explained. “Actually going to the first jump I was like ‘Am I going to turn inside or am I not?’ But when I decided to try it, he did that one so well and the others amazing.”

Highlander is a nine-year old Zangersheide gelding (Vigo D’Arsouilles x Cruisly Orashi), who is currently for sale. Schatt still plans on continuing to compete him in National Hunter Derbies until he finds a new home.

Havens Schatt and Highlander in their winning presentation with ringmaster Steve Rector. Photo © Sportfot

“I think after doing this class for sure he would be a blast out there on the grass, but ultimately he will find a nice junior or amateur and make them happy!” Schatt said.

Second place in the professional section went to Hannah Isop, of Pawling, NY, and Heidi Tummel’s Sincerely. The pair received a high score of 90 with four bonus points in the first round and an 87 with four bonus points in the handy, for a total score of 192. Keri Kampsen, of Wellington, FL, and her horse San Diego received third place, with a total score of 183. Kampsen and San Diego had a first round score of 86 with four bonus points and a handy score of 89 with four bonus points.

Augusta Iwasaki and Sambuca. Photo © Sportfot

Taking top honors in the junior/amateur section was Augusta Iwasaki riding Sambuca. Iwasaki, of Calabasas, CA, and Sambuca received a first round score of 86 with three bonus points to put them in second place. In the handy round the pair scored a 93 with four bonus points to put them on top with a total score of 186.

“I thought it was a super fun course. I had a great time on both of my horses,” Iwasaki commented.

Iwasaki catch rode the 16-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Lambada Van Berkenbrobeck x Viola) for her friend Ava Peck. The pair got the highest handy round score in the junior/amateur section of the class.

“The handy classes are my favorite classes, I always try to be as handy as I can. Even where you don’t have to be super tight I try to be tidy,” Iwasaki described.

Augusta Iwasaki and Sambuca. Photo © Sportfot

Iwasaki also received second place with Small Occasion, owned by Iwasaki and Reilly. Iwasaki and Small Occasion had a first round score of 84 with four bonus points and a handy score of 91 with four bonus points for a total score of 183. Third place went to Juliette Joseph, of Del Mar, CA, aboard Gabrielle Sokolow’s Socialite. The pair had a total score of 174, with an 81 and four bonus points in the first round and an 85 and four bonus points in the handy round.

John French Pilots Babylon to Top Honors in Pre-Green 3- and 4-Year-Old Hunters

The Rost Ring began on Thursday morning of week seven with the Pre-Green 3- and 4-Year-Old Hunter division. John French rode Babylon to the championship after winning three blue ribbons in the division.

Babylon arrived to the United States from Europe in December, and French began riding and working with the horse in January. The four-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Crumbie x Die Cera) is owned by Kent Farrington LLC. French, of San Juan Bautista, CA, has shown Babylon three times this year, and the duo has been champion every time.

John French and Babylon. Photo © Sportfot

“Before I started working for Kent, he called me and sent me this video and said, ‘I’m thinking of buying this horse, what do you think?’” said French. “He was just jumping around a jumper course, but you could tell how cute and flashy he was. He’s a good mover and a good jumper; he’s got everything that it takes.”

Although Babylon had been showing in the jumpers in Europe, he quickly caught on to being a hunter. The pair won both over fences classes on the first day of the division as well as the under saddle on the second day.

“He has a great expression and is so careful up front. With all of his flash the judges are just drawn to him,” French commented. “I can just tell that one day he is going to be a famous junior or amateur-owner hunter.”

French plans on continuing to show Babylon in the Pre-Green Hunter 3- and 4-Year-Old Hunter division more eventually moving up to the 3’ Pre-Green Hunters. If French has Babylon through the summer, he plans to take the gelding to the Pre-Green Incentive Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park in August.

Reserve champion of the division went to Michael Delfiandra and Hopetown, owned by Runaway Holdings, LLC. Delfiandra, of Wellington, FL, and Hopetown received a first, second, fifth, and sixth place ribbon.

Zayna Rizvi and Katherine McCarthy Top the Dover Saddlery USEF Hunter Seat Medal

Equitation competition took place on Sunday in Ring 9 with the Dover Saddlery USEF Hunter Seat Medal Section A and Section B. After the first round was complete, six riders in each section were called back to test. Zayna Rizvi, of Greenwich, CT, aboard Finnick took top honors in Section A of the class.

Rizvi has been riding and leasing “Finn”, owned by Jordyn Rose Freedman, for the past two years. The pair currently trains with North Run and hopes to attend all of the equitation finals this fall. “I love him so much. I’ve done all my first big finals on him and he’s taught me so much,” Rizvi said of the 14-year-old Westphalian gelding (Cayetano L x Landliebe).

Zayna Rizvi and Finnick. Photo © Sportfot

After producing a very solid first round, Rizvi knew that she had to make it count in the test. Rizvi was most proud of how she held the canter lead after the third fence.

“I wanted to play it safe but also show off in certain parts.” Rizvi explained. “He is so trustworthy, I can always rely on him. He trusts me too, which I think is good and makes us a really good pair.”

Second place in Section A went to Kierstin Antaniadis, of Middletown, NY, riding Heritage Farm, Inc.’s Cascadel. Elli Yeager and her mount Copperfield 38 received third place in the class.

The Section B winner was Kathryn McCarthy, of New Canaan, CT, riding Cool de Reve. McCarthy has had the 14-year-old Selle Français gelding (Kashmir Van’t Schuttersho x Krikri des Pres) since November 2019 and the pair moved up to the big equitation last year during WEF. Since it is McCarthy’s last junior year she plans on attending the equitation finals in the fall and hopefully ribboning.

“He knows his job so well and he’s there to help me whenever I need it,” McCarthy described. “I’ve been really close to winning every weekend, and we really wanted to qualify for the Excellence in Equitation class and he really pulled through!”

Kathryn McCarthy and Cool de Reve. Photo © Sportfot

Although McCarthy and Cool de Reve were not called back in first place going into the test, the pair, trained by Michael Delfiandra, were able to put in a solid round and rise to the top.

“My plan was really just to take my time because I feel like everyone was getting a little bit rushed since it’s the end of the day. I was just trying not to get in my head,” McCarthy commented.

Kennedy McCaulley, of St. Charles, IL, rode her horse Chacco Star to a second-place finish in Section B. Third place went to Ellie Ferrigno, of Newtown, CT, aboard FRH Group’s FRH Remarkable.

Claire Stevenson Rides Prem’ Dollar Boy to Win Ariat National Adult Medal

The Ariat National Adult Medal took place on Saturday in Ring 7 with Claire Stevenson piloting Prem’ Dollar Boy to top honors. The pair received a 77 in the first round. The top four horses returned to the ring for a test, where Stevenson and Prem’ Dollar Boy were able to rise to the top of the class.

Stevenson, of Southampton, NY, and her horse Prem’ Dollar Boy have just begun their equitation career together. The 17-year-old Selle Français gelding (Dollars Boy x De Va Hurie) was originally a grand prix horse and only started competing in the equitation during week three of the 2020 WEF. Stevenson describes Prem’ Dollar Boy as her “forever horse” and also one of the sweetest horses she knows.

Claire Stevenson and Prem’ Dollar Boy. Photo © Sportfot

“We take care of him ourselves, so whether it’s doing the stall in the morning or night check, he’s like a lap dog,” Stevenson described. “He’s also so fun to ride, regardless of what I’m doing with him I have a blast. To get to have some success as well is a lot of fun.”

Going into the test, Stevenson and Prem’ Dollar Boy were sitting in third place. Stevenson’s plan was to have a consistent and solid test. After a picture-perfect ride, the pair, trained by Jenny Dunion, climbed three spots to take over the lead.

“That was actually our first trot jump in a test. I was really happy with him and he answered every question. I couldn’t ask for more, he was super,” Stevenson commented.

Not far behind was Kristin McCuin, of Lake Worth, FL, and her horse Fenway. The pair received a score of 78 and kept their second-place spot through the test. Third-place honors went to Macenzie Ingenito and her horse Fascino. Ingenito, of Glastonbury, CT, and Fascino received a first round score of 75 and went from fourth place to third place after the test.