Week 9 in the Hunter Ring at WEF

Havens Schatt Rides Highlander to Equitan Performance Hunter 3’6” Championship

Havens Schatt and Highlander were crowned champions of the Performance Hunter 3’6” sponsored by Equitan on Thursday afternoon, March 5, in the Grand Hunter Ring. The pair earned two seconds and three third place ribbons in the division.

Havens Schatt on Highlander. Photo by Sportfot.

Schatt has been partnered with Meredith Mateo’s Highlander for only one month, but the duo has already proven to be very successful. The nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Vigo D’Arsouilles was sent to Schatt by Archie Cox in order to sell. Schatt showed Highlander for the first time during Week 7, when they won the USHJA National Derby.

“This week I decided to try the 3’6” and he was perfect,” Schatt, of Georgetown, KY, explained. “I really hadn’t jumped him in a main hunter ring with the solid jumps and everything, but he jumps those jumps the same as [three-feet], so smooth and easy and always the same style.”

The pair remained consistent and did not receive a score of less than 86 points over fences. Schatt describes Highlander as a great confidence builder and appreciates how easy and brave he is to show.

“I have so many horses that I start from so young and to get a nine-year-old that’s already been through that stuff and you can just get on and go, it’s like, ‘Wow this is nice!’” Schatt described. “He’s got a huge stride so it’s nice to just cruise around on him.”

Havens Schatt and Highlander in their championship presentation with Bobbi Rottman of Equitan. Photo by Sportfot.

Highlander is currently for sale, but Schatt hopefully plans to compete him in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby taking place on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village on Saturday.

Victoria Colvin and Aristocrat claimed reserve champion in the Performance Hunter 3’6” division. Colvin, of Loxahatchee, FL, rode John and Stephanie Ingram’s Aristocrat to two firsts and a third place.

Havens Schatt and Anneliese Kolaska Ride to Top Honors in the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Hunter competition continued at the Derby Field at Equestrian Village on Saturday, March 7 with the $10,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby. Ninety-one professional, amateur, and junior riders took their turn on the grass field hoping to earn the blue ribbon. The class was split into two sections, one for 48 professionals and a second for the 43 junior/amateur riders. Havens Schatt rode Highlander to victory in the professional division, while Anneliese Kolaska rode Herr Drosselmeyer to the top of the junior/amateur section.

After a competitive first round, the top 12 riders from each division returned to impress the judges one more time in the handy round. Horses and riders were tested with a trot jump and four high options on the grass field.

Havens Schatt on Highlander. Photo by Sportfot.

Schatt, of Georgetown, KY, returned to the handy with a first round score of 92.5, which put her in third place. After scoring a 93 in the handy, Schatt and Highlander rose to the top of the leaderboard with a total score of 185.5. Schatt went into the handy wanting to have a consistent round, knowing that there were two top horse and rider combinations ahead of her.

“I wanted to be as smooth as I could. I just wanted to have a solid round and have a top five finish,” Schatt explained. “He was a true professional like he has shown himself to be since I’ve had him.”

Havens Schatt on Highlander in their winning presentation. Photo by Sportfot.

Schatt has only had Meredith Mateo’s nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Vigo D’Arsouilles for one month, but the pair has already proven to be winners. Schatt and Highlander won the USHJA National Derby during Week 7 and also earned the Performance Hunter 3’6” championship earlier this week. Schatt did not expect a win in this class, since she did not know how her mount would act on the derby field, but Highlander rose to the challenge.

“Everything I’ve asked him to do he’s won,” Schatt said of Highlander. “I guess maybe I should ride that streak for as long as I can! That’s what the jumper people say, ‘When you’re on a roll, keep it rolling!’”

Schatt’s future plans with Highlander change from week to week, since the gelding is currently for sale. Her current plans are to gear up for the hunter derbies taking place Week 12 of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival.  “He’s trying as hard as he can to find a new family! He’s always in there and he’s always consistent and tries to please,” Schatt commented.

Second place in the professional section by only half a point went to Geoffrey Hesslink and Sabrina Hellman’s Luminosity. Hesslink, of Shelbourne, VT, and Luminosity received a first round score of 90 and the highest handy round score of a 95 for a total score of 185. Keri Kampsen, of Wellington, FL, and Ocean Road earned a third place finish in the class. Kampsen and Ocean Road, owned by Kampsen and Lexy Reed, earned a 90.5 in the first round and a 92 in the handy for a total score of 182.5.

Kolaska returned to the handy round in third place with a first round score of 87. Kolaska and her horse Herr Drosselmeyer earned a high score of 90 in the second round for a total score of 177.

Anneliese Kolaska on Herr Drosselmeyer. Photo by Sportfot.

Kolaska has been partnered with the 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Cevin Costner for three years and trains with Ed Copeland. Herr Drosselmeyer was originally purchased as Kolaska’s 3’6” equitation horse that could also do the hunters.

“I got him for the equitation so I could jump around and say I did it, but the hunters are our thing!” Kolaska explained. “He’s perfect! He’s such a nice ride and he loves the derbies!”

After having an unfortunate rail with her first horse, Kolaska went in on Herr Drosselmeyer hoping for a consistent round. “I went into my first round on him wanting to have a nice smooth round and hopefully make the second round,” said Kolaska.

Going into the handy, Kolaska knew that she would have to step up her game in order to move up three spots into first place. She remarked, “In my handy I was considering playing safe, but I decided to go all out and it paid off!”

Anneliese Kolaska on Herr Drosselmeyer in their winning presentation. Photo by Sportfot.

Second place honors in the junior/amateur section went to Sterling Malnik, of Ocean Ridge, FL, and her horse Charlie. The pair received scores of 88 and 85 for a total round score of 173. Sydney Degrazia rode her horse Cadmo Van De Pluum to third place. Degrazia, of Rochester, NY, and Cadmo Van De Pluum earned consistent scores of 85.5 and 86 for a total of 171.5.

Sterling Malnik and Prestige Claim the Large Pony Hunter Championship

The Large Pony Hunter division came to a close on Sunday, March 8 with Sterling Malnik riding Prestige to the tricolor ribbon. Malnik, of Ocean Ridge, FL, rode Prestige to three first place ribbons as well as a fourth and eighth place.

Malnik has only owned Prestige since late August, but the pair, trained by Bill Schaub, has already proven to be a successful match in the show ring. Malnik describes the nine-year-old Belgian Riding Pony gelding by Ive Van De Delthoeve as one of the kindest ponies, both on the ground and to ride.

“He is very sweet, and he’s like a puppy dog. He will lick anything. I’ll stand by his stall and he will just lick my back for hours!” Malnik said of Prestige.

Malnik and Prestige impressed the judges on the second day of the division winning both over fences classes and the Large Pony Hunter Classic round with a score of 86. The pair also won the under saddle on the first day of competition.

Sterling Malnik on Prestige. Photo by Sportfot.

“He is so magical to be on. He’s completely different from any other pony and rides just like a horse,” Malnik explained. “He has a huge stride and a nice big canter, so the jumps just come right up and he really makes the best out of it.”

Malnik is looking forward to the rest of the 2020 Winter Equestrian Festival with Prestige as well as a successful summer and fall show season.  The pair plans to attend USEF Pony Finals, presented by Collecting Gaits Farm, along with The Devon Horse Show and indoors. “We’ve had a bunch of success, and I can’t wait for more!” said Malnik.

Reserve champion in the Large Pony Hunter division went to Ellie Sadrian aboard her pony Daventry’s Davinci. Sadrian, of Summit, NJ, and Daventry’s Davinci earned a first and two second place ribbons.