Tag Archives: Samantha Schaefer

Schaefer Sisters Rule the Day with Grand Hunter Championships at National Horse Show

Samantha Schaefer and Trademark.

Lexington, KY – October 28, 2020 – Following Tuesday’s start to hunter divisions at the 137th National Horse Show, the first round of championship honors were awarded Wednesday within the Alltech Arena, which saw a series of awards go to the Schaefer sisters from Shadow Ridge Equestrian. Thanks to a series of winning performances that topped the field of talented contenders in the High Performance, Conformation and Green Hunter divisions, Samantha Schaefer and Take 3 LLC’S Trademark were honored with the title of Meralex Farm Grand Champion Professional Hunter, presented by Bryan Baldwin. Additionally, the Meralex Farm Leading Hunter Rider Award was also presented to Schaefer, for which she earned the Leading Hunter Rider Challenge Trophy presented by Bryan Baldwin, following her standout performances aboard both Trademark and In The Know over the initial days of the competition. In the Amateur-Owner 3’6” ranks, owner-rider Madeline Schaefer and Sutton Place received the “Ruxton & Scot To Do” Challenge Trophy for their Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter title.

The first set of major awards saw Samantha staying in the ring for one accolade after the next, starting with the championship honors in the Judith Murch High Performance Hunters. She and sister Madeline’s In The Know earned the tricolor ribbon thanks to first-place trips over fences and in the handy, as well as third position in the stake and fourth place under saddle. Though the horses swapped, Samantha maintained her place in the winner’s circle, now with Trademark, to accept the Meralex Farm Grand Champion Professional Hunter Award, presented by Bryan Baldwin. The flashy gelding carried his rider to a perfect score in the Goshen Hill Green 3’6” Hunters with four first-place results, as well as top-five placings in all five of the classes in the Mrs. Kenneth Garber Green Conformation Hunters. Considering her lengthy list of standout results, it came as no surprise that Samantha’s list of achievements culminated with her being named the Meralex Farm Leading Hunter Rider.

Samantha’s trophies are the culmination of a successful year for the rider that is based out of Maryland and Florida, who rode to success at Tryon, Kentucky Horse Shows, Traverse City Horse Shows, American Gold Cup, and Capital Challenge Horse Show during 2020. Aboard her two main hunter mounts In The Know and Trademark, the trainer from Shadow Ridge Equestrian topped scorecards all around the country, both in divisional competition as well as derbies.

The Schaefer family name continued to be represented well thanks to Madeline and Sutton Place, the partnership that competed in the Hunt LTD Amateur-Owner Hunters for the Under 35 age group. Much like their familial counterparts, Madeline and the chromey chestnut gelding impressively garnered the division championship due to a perfect 40-point score following four winning rides, which also propelled them to the head of the leaderboard for the overall Amateur-Owner honors as the best-performing Amateur-Owner partnership over the 3’6” fences. Though Madeline and Sutton Place have only been paired together since the summer, the duo has made quick work of show rings around the U.S. beginning with their first event together at Traverse City Horse Shows.

To learn more about the 2020 National Horse Show, click here.

Michael Britt-Leon, Samantha Schaefer, and Dorli Burke Ride to Early Hunters Leads at NHS

Michael Britt-Leon on Private I.

Lexington, KY – October 27, 2020 – Hunter competition commenced Tuesday at the 2020 National Horse Show, which is celebrating its 137th year, at its home in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. Professionals and amateurs vied for the leading positions in their respective divisions throughout the initial day of the competition, which concluded with the first set of frontrunners that will try to defend their status Wednesday. In the Green 3’9” Hunters, Michael Britt-Leon and Kelly Sims’ Private I jumped to the top of the overall scorecard, while Samantha Schaefer piloted Take 3 LLC’S Trademark to the head of the leaderboard in the Goshen Hill Green 3’6” Hunters. In the amateur-owner ranks, Charming carried owner-rider Dorli Burke to the early lead in the Suzanne Thoben Marquard Amateur-Owner Over 35 Hunters.

Over the lofty 3’9” fences, Geoffrey Hesslink and Shadowfax Equestrian LLC’s Bond nabbed the first win of the Green 3’9” Hunter division in the classic over fences round, which saw a pack of skilled partnerships tackle the track. Hot on their heels were Britt-Leon and Private I, who earned the red ribbon in the first class and were eager to show off their skills in the handy round in an attempt to overtake the early leaders. One-upping themselves, the duo of Britt-Leon and Private I put in a swift and effortless trip for which they were awarded first place in the second portion of the competition, pushing them to the top of the standings thanks to two top-two finishes. Britt-Leon and Sims’ 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding entered the National Horse Show hot off recent success at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, where they won the $10,000 World Champion Hunter Rider Professional Finals during their debut in the competition, and the pair will try to maintain momentum Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, a talented field that featured the likes of Daisy Farish, Greg Crolick, and Schaefer competed head-to-head over two jumping rounds, one of which was a handy, in the Goshen Hill Green 3’6” Hunter division. Taking home the first blue ribbon of the division was Schaefer aboard Trademark, a pair that has consistently turned in winning rounds at horse shows around the country. Well known for his striking markings and eye-catching way of going, the 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding returned for the handy round to again best the field of 17 horses, earning the lead headed into day two of competition.

Unlike their earlier Green counterparts, the Amateur-Owner competitors had three chances to demonstrate their abilities in front of the judges Tuesday, once over fences and in the handy, as well as under saddle. The first class was won by Burke on her own Charming, and the handy phase saw owner-rider Lynn Seithel at the top of the ranks with Walk The Moon, with Burke and Charming close behind in second position. Returning to the ring for the flat phase, Burke and Charming solidified their ranking as the frontrunners thanks to another top finish, claiming second place behind Michelle Gauchat and her own Le Diplomate.

To learn more about the 2020 National Horse Show, click here.

Samantha Schaefer Dominates Amateur Division Taking WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’6” Challenge

Samantha Schaefer and Classified. Photos: ©ShawnMcMillenPhotography.

Danhakl and Quest Win WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’3”Challenge, Maida and Moran Collect Grand Champion Honors, Reisman Finishes on Top in $10,000 Children’s/Adult Amateur Jumper Challenge

Upper Marlboro, MD – Amateur riders were the highlight on the sixth day of competition at the 2015 Capital Challenge Horse Show (CCHS) presented by Well Placed Smile, as a number of divisions crowned their champions and gifted prestigious awards. Local superstar and homegrown talent Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD continued to add to her successful career at CCHS, amassing two more major championship wins as she earned Grand Champion Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter honors and topped the $2,500 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’6” Challenge aboard Classified. Competition at CCHS will continue through Sunday, October 4.

Caroline Moran of Wellington, FL and Bacardi picked up the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 36 and Over division and earned Grand Champion Amateur-Owner 3’3” presented by Will and Lindsay Roberts. Stephanie Danhakl of Pacific Palisades, CA rode Quest, a former mount of Scott Stewart, to victory in the $2,500 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’3” Challenge presented by Milestone LLC and Havens Schatt. Alexis Maida, traveling from Danville, CA piloted Tolstoy to the Grand Adult Amateur Hunter title presented by Steve Martines, while Micki Reisman dominated the $10,000 Children’s Adult/Amateur Jumper Challenge presented by Equis Boutique.

Schaefer, who earned Grand Champion Pony Hunter and Grand Champion Junior Hunter accolades early on in her storied junior career and has risen through the ranks of the WCHR program, felt the toll of taking time away from the saddle. A senior at Baylor University, she will complete her Communications degree this December, which put a hiatus of sorts on her competition schedule this year.

“I went to Saugerties in September and I don’t think I felt very in the groove or in practice, which for me, someone who is used to riding multiple horses every day, was hard,” Schaefer honestly revealed. “He’s absolutely amazing and can make about anything look great though. He’s an easy horse to come in on and have fun and that’s why we have him, you know, to have one nice one that we can always count on.”

Before capturing the $2,500 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’6” Challenge, Schaefer was also awarded with the CCHS Grand Champion Amateur-Owner 3’6” title presented by Troy Hendricks and Kimberview Stables, as well as the Dr. Harold M. S. Smith Trophy awarded by Dr. Suzanne Smith. The duo received top ribbons in each major class in the division including a win in the under saddle. Aboard 2005 Hanoverian gelding Classified (Lordanos x St. Pt. Hauptstutbuch) Schaefer capitalized on her consistency as the first combination to ride in The Show Place Arena for the WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’6” Challenge. Laying down a near perfect round, Schaefer remained unbeaten throughout the class as 21 entries attempted to catch her averaged score of 87.50.

“The first day I felt like he was doing really well but maybe not at our absolute best. We rubbed a rail twice which left us in third both times and then we won the hack, but in the Challenge today he was just incredible and we had a little bit of luck work in our favor,” she continued. “That was the round where it really felt like it all came together and that is what it’s supposed to feel like. It was smooth and I’m really happy with it. He’s done now till Florida and the winter season so he’ll get a really good rest.”

In an effort to preserve her horses for the winter season ahead, Schaefer decided to forgo the heavy indoor season this fall and looked to have a solid outing this week before returning to school to enjoy her last semester of college. “I wanted to have a successful Capital Challenge and then let the horses be done for the year. Now that I’ll be in Florida consistently this winter, I think we’ll be asking a lot more of them than in the past and I want them to hit the ground running and still feel fresh.”

The duo has only been together for a year and Schaefer is excited to see what lies ahead, as Capital Challenge marked the year anniversary of his purchase, which she noted, has brought them truly full circle, as the duo competed in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” division a year ago. After only a single trial ride, Classified switched hands to Schaefer with the help of Kate Conover, who dotes upon the inquisitive chestnut gelding as much as Schaefer. Schaefer said with a smile, “I like to say that we have joint custody. Kate loves him as much as I do and he’s really like her baby.”

The gelding’s expression and consistency continue to earn him top marks from judging panels in the hunter ring and Schaefer will look to extend that success into the competitive winter season, as the gelding checks all of the right boxes in her eyes.

“I would say that one of the biggest things that I love about that horse is that he doesn’t ever look to lose. He’s never going to try to lose and I think that’s a really important quality,” continued Schaefer. “There are a lot of horses with talent but they don’t have that will to win. He always is trying his best and has a great attitude and is just a fun horse with a lot of character.”

Stephanie Danhakl captured reserve honors behind Schaefer in the division, piloting her own Golden Rule.

Krista Weisman of Sherborn, MA and Reality finished just behind Schaefer, receiving an 87.00 to take second place honors in the Challenge class. Elizabeth Faraci of Annapolis, MD rounded out the top three placings, receiving an 85.66 aboard Chamonix.

Schaefer also collected the honors for Best Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Rider presented by Betty and Ernie Oare.

Becky Gochman and Last Call, owned by David Gochman, earned a tricolor in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” 36 & Over presented by Betty and Ernie Oare, while Ellen Toon and Mirror Image followed in reserve.

The EMO Best Amateur-Owner 3’6” Trip of the Show was presented to Ellen Toon and Mirror Image for their score of 89.25, awarded by Sue Bopp and EMO Agency.

Danhakl and Quest Win WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’3” Challenge

Stephanie Danhakl of Pacific Palisades, CA and Quest captured the $2,500 WCHR Amateur-Owner 3’3” Challenge in fine fashion, as the duo received a total score of87.50 to nudge out Becky Gochman of New York, NY and Touchdown for the top prize, as they followed in second with an 86.50 while Lisa Arena Davis of Penfield, NY and Balou finished in third place with an 84.33.

Stephanie Danhakl and Quest
Stephanie Danhakl and Quest

Danhakl piloted Quest, a 2007 Warmblood gelding, to top honors after concluding a solid week of competition at CCHS. Danhakl purchased Quest from trainer Scott Stewart almost two years ago after he was campaigned through the First Year Green Hunter classes with Stewart. Once she took over the ride, the duo excelled in the Amateur-Owner division before the gelding developed a chronic foot condition that led to nearly a year off.

“I’ve really only shown him six or seven times in total even though I’ve owned him for a while. He’s an amazing horse and he’s a beautiful jumper. I love his rhythm and I’m really happy to have him back,” she explained.

Alongside her other top mounts, Enough Said and Golden Rule, who have both found success at Capital Challenge in past years, Danhakl was excited to bring Quest out this week with the hopes of continuing to develop their partnership for the future.

“Every time he goes into the ring he gives his all and he’s truly a sweet horse. I feel like this is his time to shine because he is an amazing horse and has never really had a chance to prove how good he is,” she continued. “He hasn’t gotten the name he deserves yet.”

The gelding’s swift and steady movement makes him an ideal hunter for Danhakl, as she believes the gelding’s jump is a true highlight and ultimately sets him apart. “He tries so hard over every jump and it’s just a great feeling. He’s so round and he gets a ton of height. I think he excels at everything and he’s really easy to ride. He did everything perfectly.”

With a busy work schedule, Danhakl took a short break from competing this summer, as she prepares to move to Boston, MA to work for the Museum of Fine Arts as a Graduate Research Associate and prepare for the journey to receive her PhD. Even with a strict agenda, Danhakl was excited to make it to Capital Challenge this year as she prepares to balance both of her passions. She will compete through the rest of the indoor series, while adjusting to life in a new city.

“To be with the horses I love and go around the ring and have the trips we did, it’s really just icing on the cake for me to win this class and overall I’m feeling really excited,” she remarked.

The pair also collected champion honors in the Amateur-Owner 3’3’ 18-35 division presented by Cindy Cruciotti, Serenity Farm and Endeavor Farm. Hannah Goodson-Cutt and Prime Time followed with reserve champion honors.

Maida Collects Grand Champion Adult Amateur Hunter

The Adult Amateur classes at Capital Challenge Horse Show draw a generous number of dedicated competitors each year. Hailing from the west coast, Alexis Maida and Tolstoy, owned by Ashley Weiman, dominated the Adult Amateur 18-35 division presented by Lainie Wimberly and Brigadoon Show Stables, Inc., capturing divisional champion honors before being named as the 2015 Grand Champion Adult Amateur Hunter presented by Steve Martines. Maida also was awarded with the Best Adult Amateur Hunter Rider sponsored by Phoebe Weseley and River Run Farm and the Best EMO Adult Amateur Trip of the Show presented by Sue Bopp and EMO Agency with a high score of 86.5. Her trainer Nicolas Haness received the Leading Adult Amateur Trainer award.

Alexis Maida and Tolstoy
Alexis Maida and Tolstoy

“I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to ride him and I can’t thank Ashley enough for allowing me to compete him. He’s a great horse all around,” said Maida. “This means everything to me to be Grand Champion here. It’s a dream come true to be honest. I never thought that I would ever have the opportunity to ride a horse like him, let alone be champion or best adult rider.”

With an equestrian-immersed childhood, Maida began riding at the age of 3 and worked with a number of trainers on the west coast, soon becoming a regular of the indoor series, competing in the Maclay and Medal Finals and WIHS Equitation Finals several times. After finishing her junior career in the big equitation divisions, Maida decided to focus on her career before returning to the sport a year ago.

“I’ve competed at Capital Challenge before, but this is the first time back in like ten years for me. Being on the East Coast to compete is on a whole new level. The competition here is unreal and to get a prize here let alone to win just feels amazing,” she smiled. Taylor Willever of Pen Argyl, PA, and Short Stop, owned by Troy Hendricks, earned reserve champion honors behind Maida.

Kimberly Jungherr of Williston, FL and Shock Top owned by Brook Run Farm LLC earned champion honors in the Adult Amateur Hunter 36-50 presented by Gina Badagnani and JOD’s. Lisa Cox of Richmond, VA and Castleton, owned by the Barracks, followed with reserve honors.

Laurie Stevens of Boca Raton, FL and her own Santiago captured a divisional championship in the Adult Amateur Hunter 51 & Over while Gina Day, of Boulder, CO, and Premier, owned by Day, earned reserve champion.

Moran and Bacardi Make Mark at CCHS

Caroline Moran and Bacardi, a veteran of the Future Hunter program at CCHS collecting Grand Future Hunter Champion honors in 2011, Future Hunter Championship awards in 2012, and Grand First Year Green Hunter in 2013, were back in the winner’s presentation again in 2015, as they earned Grand Champion Amateur-Owner 3’3” honors presented by Will and Lindsay Roberts, after a phenomenal week, in which they swept the over fences classes in the Adult Amateur-Owner 3’3” 36 & Over division presented by Margaret O’Meara and Paige Tredennick.

Bacardi has continued to build confidence through the years with Moran’s and trainer Havens Schatt’s guidance and a highlight of the pair’s week this year, was their recognition for the EMO Best Amateur-Owner 3’3” Trip of the Show presented by Sue Bopp and EMO Agency, as they averaged a score of 93.00 in one of their over fences classes.

“My horse just loves this horse show. He absolutely does. I think from when he did so well in the Future Hunters a few years ago right on through the First Years, he just loves this horse show, as do I,” commented Moran. “We love the footing and the jumps. He definitely lets you know when you get somewhere if he feels comfortable or not. Havens [Schatt] said when she got on him here that he just felt comfortable right off the get go.”

Blessed with an incredible jump and knack for leaving the judges wanting more, Bacardi continues to impress with scores now consistently reaching the upper 80s and low 90s. Moran, who was even surprised with their consistency this week, commented on the gelding’s skill for the hunter ring, “I’m thrilled but still surprised. When I went the first day outside I was overly critical of myself and then we got an amazing marker of a score, I said maybe I shouldn’t be so critical. He was definitely on his game. I can tell from the moment I pick up his trot if he is.”

The pair has grown together and their bond is obvious and Moran feels the pressure when she knows the 2006 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Casco x Varilla R) has brought his game face to the ring. Moran bought Bacardi as a five-year-old and has worked with Havens Schatt to continue molding his talent and consistency.

“He’s consistent when he wants to be, but if he doesn’t like something he’ll let you know. When he is on and good he’s really good,” she said. “There is a sense of pressure though because when you know you’re on a horse that can score in the 90s it falls more on you, but at this show I feel like I don’t even need to be here. He knows exactly what he’s doing and I’m just here to enjoy the ride.”

The duo captured divisional champion honors in the Amateur-Owner 3’3” 36 & Over division presented by Margaret O’Meara and Paige Tredennick, while Dawn Fogel of Louisville, KY and Summer Catch earned reserve champion recognition.

Reisman Finishes on Top in $10,000 Children’s/Adult Amateur Jumper Challenge

At the young age of 16, Micki Reisman of Cleveland, OH captured her first major jumper victory at CCHS, as she and the feisty chestnut mare Za Zou raced to victory, besting a class of more than 70 entries. The duo crossed the timers in 38.558 seconds in the jump-off to seal their win. Will Kennedy of Brookeville, MD and Ontario finished in second with a time of 41.363 seconds, while Phoebe Alwine of Delray Beach, FL and Zenith Dance rounded out the top three with a time of 41.381 seconds.

The immediate jump-off format proved nerve-wracking for competitors slated to compete in the middle of the order such as Reisman, who didn’t think her jump-off time would outlast the vast number of entries in the class.

“I went in the middle of the class, I think about 29th, and tried to think to myself that I wanted to go double clear. I had a rail yesterday and I wasn’t planning on going that fast,” she explained. “When I went double clear and that fast I was just ecstatic. She’s a new mare for me; we only purchased her in August, so this is a huge win for us.”

“I’ve never had a win like this before and I’ve just been waiting for it to happen. We competed her locally after we took her to Kentucky this summer and she really loved this show,” said Reisman. “I’m so excited and ecstatic. There was some really good competition in the class and I’m really proud that we were able to maintain our lead.”

The Best Presented Model Horse sponsored by Equis Boutique was awarded to John French and Laura Wasserman’s Boss, who is cared for by Carlos Soriano and Alex García of Brookway Stables, in the Green Conformation Model, while Scott Stewart with Dr. Betsee Parker’s Lucador was awarded in the Regular Conformation Model and is prepared by the River’s Edge Farm team.

Capital Challenge Horse Show continues tomorrow with the highlight class of the week, the $5,000 WCHR Pro Finals, beginning at 7pm in The Show Place Arena at Prince George’s Equestrian Center. The day will also include the beginning of Junior and Pony competition, which will conclude on Sunday, October 4.

For more information on Capital Challenge Horse Show and to view a full show schedule, please visit www.capitalchallenge.org. The entire show will be live streamed via EquestrianCounsel.com CCHS Live Webcast, which can be found at www.capitalchallenge.org.

About Capital Challenge Horse Show
In its 22nd year, the Capital Challenge Horse Show sets itself apart with a distinct and unique focus on preeminent hunter competition. Held each autumn at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, MD, this year’s show will take place on September 26 – October 4. In addition to several prestigious equitation events, the Capital Challenge Horse Show will once again host the World Champion Hunter Rider Finals and will assemble the country’s best horses and riders to compete in junior, amateur, and professional hunter classes.

Contact: Carly Weilminster
Jump Media LLC
Cell: (410)-245-7441

Samantha Schaefer Scores Vermont Hunter Derby Victory

Samantha Schaefer guided Per Se to victory in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby. Photo by David Mullinix Photography.

East Dorset, Vermont — Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, Maryland, celebrated the Fourth of July by winning the first $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby of the six-week Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.  Offering over $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival runs July 2 through August 11 at Harold Beebe Farm.

The first time proved to be the charm as the Vermont Summer Festival marked Schaefer’s first competition riding Per Se, owned by Iron Horse Farm of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.  In the opening week of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival, Schaefer and Per Se claimed the Pre-Green 3’3” Championship title, having won four out of five classes in the division.  Based on their success, Schaefer decided to enter Per Se in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby.  The event is a qualifier for the $15,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby Final to be held at Fieldstone Show Park in Halifax, MA, on August 22.

A total of 31 entries contested the first $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby of the six-week Vermont Summer Festival.  Schaefer and Per Se received the highest score from the judges in the opening round, an 85, and therefore were the last to go of the 12 competitors that qualified to return for the handy round.  A score of 84 added to her first round score gave Schaefer a two-round total of 169 for the win.

“The course was nice, I thought it flowed really well, and I liked the handy, too,” said Schaefer of the course designed by Doug Russell, which spanned two rings.  “There were definitely lots of places to be handy.  I think the derbies here are really fun, and you get a different group of horses.  They make it special.  The natural jumps are beautiful.”

Although it was only Schaefer’s first competition with Per Se, she could not have been happier with the horse’s performance.

“He was brave and jumped around like he had been jumping those jumps his whole life,” said Schaefer, handling the ride for Kate Conover who is away in Europe.  “I could ride him right up to the naturals and he made a really beautiful jump out of it.  He understands the game.  You have horses with a lot of talent, but they struggle because they don’t know how to win.  They have to want to fight for you and be on your side.  This one always wants to please you.  You really appreciate a horse with that type of character.

“He is one of the easiest horses I’ve ever had to ride,” continued Schafer.  “We don’t lunge – he is literally stall to the ring.  He really wants to be good.  He goes in a plain snaffle without a martingale, which says a lot about a horse’s character.”

In addition to her success during opening week with Per Se, Schaefer also showed Kaskade to the reserve championship title in the 3’ Pre-Green division.

A successful junior competitor, Schaefer won the WIHS in 2009 and the USET in 2011.  She currently attends Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where she is entering her junior year and rides on the NCAA team.

“I like that the NCAA program gives you the opportunity to go to school on a scholarship, and it’s neat to bring the sport to that level,” said Schaefer, 20.

When not at school, Schaefer is based at her family’s Shadow Ridge Farm in Westminster, MD, training alongside her mother, Stacey Schaefer, and her 12-year-old sister, Madeline.  They are competing during the first three weeks of the Vermont Summer Festival.

“It’s exciting to be able to show together,” said Schaefer, who is also contesting the High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper division with Sugar Ray.  “Now we shift and it’s Maddy’s turn for the weekend!  She’ll be competing in the small and medium pony hunter divisions.”

The featured event of the weekend is the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 6.  The gates open at 8 a.m. and admission prices on Saturday are $7 for adults, $5 for children.  100% of the gate receipts benefit the Manchester area non-profit organizations Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Community Sharing Project.

The Vermont Summer Festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary in its current Manchester location, offers more than $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont.

The first five Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix.  The $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held during the sixth and final week on Saturday, August 10.  The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, is held each Thursday.  The hugely popular $5,000 3’3” Hunter Derby is also held each Thursday for the first five weeks, with week six featuring the $15,000 Hunter Derby.

The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL).  For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail info@vt-summerfestival.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.

Contact:  Jennifer Ward
Starting Gate Communications
Cell: (613) 292-5439

Samantha Schaefer Triumphs in 2011 USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East

Samantha Schaefer (Parker/Russell- The Book LLC)

Gladstone, NJ – The 2011 Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East concluded on Sunday afternoon with an exciting victory for 18-year-old Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD. Showing over two beautiful autumn days at the USET Foundation Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ, eighty-four hopefuls came out to show this weekend in the 30th annual competition. Schaefer earned the win with high scores across the board in a head-to-head final four jump-off.

Judges Jimmy Lee and George Morris scored riders through three phases of competition this weekend, including flat work, gymnastics and jumping. Riders cumulative scores were totaled through each phase and the top four riders were then brought back for a final ride-off, competing on their own horses as well as the three other competitor’s horses. Riders returned for the final round with a clean slate, earning new scores for each individual ride.

At the conclusion of the flat and gymnastics phases, rider Lillie Keenan held the lead coming into the final day of competition, followed closely by Hayley Barnhill, Samantha Schaefer, and Schaefer Raposa. Keenan had a disappointing score in the jumping round however, and dropped out of the top four. Michael Murphy on the other hand performed consistently in both phases I and II and excelled in the jumping round to secure a position in the final ride-off. Barnhill, Schaefer, Raposa, and Murphy were the elite four to compete in the final phase of competition.

Continue reading Samantha Schaefer Triumphs in 2011 USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East

Samantha Schaefer and Lyn Pedersen’s Mahalo Win the Inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final

© ESI Photography. Samantha Schaefer and Lyn Pedersen's Mahalo on course during the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (September 13, 2011) – All bets were off Sunday morning as judges’ cards were wiped clean from Saturday’s first two rounds of the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final and the top 25 riders advanced to the final two rounds in the Strongid C 2X Grand Prix Stadium at HITS-on-the-Hudson. With an impressive fourth-round score of 92.33 and a total score of 178.08, junior Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, Maryland piloted Lyn Pedersen’s Mahalo to victory.

Schaefer finished Saturday’s rounds in the top four and was looking forward to “having some fun” on Sunday. Despite the rain that fell throughout most of the Diamond Mills Hunter Prix Final, Schaefer was all smiles when she received her first-place ribbon and $150,000 check.

“I didn’t ride any differently than I usually do, I just did my best,” said Schaefer. “After it was over I saw the check and thought, wow, that’s a lot of money!”

The Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final was developed by HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. The class welcomed professionals, amateurs and juniors to participate on a range of horses from pre-green to seasoned hunters. It has, in turn, revolutionized the Hunter discipline and welcomed all levels of horses and riders from all over the country to compete for serious prize money.

Of the 63 who competed in the class, 25 were chosen to compete in the third round on Sunday, and the top four moved on to the fourth and final round.

Continue reading Samantha Schaefer and Lyn Pedersen’s Mahalo Win the Inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final

Opening Day of USEF National Junior Hunter Championships – East Coast Crowns Winners in ASPCA Maclay, WIHS Equitation Classic and USEF/Pessoa Medals

©ESI Photography. Kendell Adelberger and Redfield Farm’s Werner took home the top honors in Monday's ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Medal.

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (August 2, 2011) — This week, HITS-on-the-Hudson is host to some of the best junior riders in the country as it welcomes the USEF National Junior Hunter Championship – East Coast to the Saugerties show grounds.

Action got underway yesterday with four equitation classes and will continue through Wednesday as Small Juniors 15 and Under, Large Juniors 15 and Under, Small Juniors 16-17, and Large Juniors 16-17 will compete for the National Championship as well as a Wild Card berth in the inaugural Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final at HITS-on-the-Hudson VIII this September.

“The Junior Hunter National Championships have been a highlight of the HITS-on-the-Hudson Summer Series and we are pleased to welcome the event back to Saugerties,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. “We felt strongly that this year’s Champions deserve a spot in the Hunter Prix Final and we hope this will help to contribute some additional excitement and attention to the Junior Hunter Finals.”

ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Medal
Kendell Adelberger of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania kicked off three days of Hunter competition with a win in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Medal, aboard Redfield Farm’s Werner. Adelberger is trained by Emil Spadone and topped a field of 15 to capture the blue. The group faced a technical course in HITS’ Hunter Stadium and then their equitation was put to the test on the flat.

Continue reading Opening Day of USEF National Junior Hunter Championships – East Coast Crowns Winners in ASPCA Maclay, WIHS Equitation Classic and USEF/Pessoa Medals

Katherine Dinan and Samantha Schaefer Jump to Golds at the USHJA NAJYRC

Gold medalist Young Rider Katherine Dinan. Photo: Sportfot.

Lexington, KY – Young Rider Katherine Dinan piloted the 13-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred-cross gelding, Vancouver, quickly and carefully around the Rolex Stadium on Sunday to finish with a score of 10.14 – and a Gold medal.

It was the final day of jumping at the USHJA North American Junior and Young Rider Show Jumping Championship at the 2011 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North.

“I was a little nervous going into the first round [today],” said Dinan, from Zone 2. “Coming in on top, there was definitely some pressure. I thought my horse jumped really well today. I had two verticals down in the first round… but he jumped really well in the second round. I was proud that he pulled it together.

“It was definitely challenging with the five classes. He’s the kind of horse that will do two or three classes at a horse show, so I was expecting him to be a little less alert today, but he was really good. I have 100% faith and confidence in him. I know he can jump the world. I’m a very lucky girl.”

Finishing just behind Dinan in Silver-medal position were Zone 4’s Samantha Senft and Early Morning-a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, who amassed a total score of 10.24.

Continue reading Katherine Dinan and Samantha Schaefer Jump to Golds at the USHJA NAJYRC

Junior Rider Samantha Schaefer Dominates at Brandywine Valley Summer Series

Samantha Schaefer won the Best Child Rider on a Horse title, the Style Award for Equitation, and the Grand Champion Junior Hunter prize with Sienna at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.

Devon, PA – July 3, 2011 – Cloudy skies and warm temperatures greeted exhibitors during the final day of competition for the first week of the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services. Junior rider Samantha Schaefer was today’s big winner, claiming the Best Child Rider on a Horse title, the Style Award for Equitation, and the Grand Champion Junior Hunter prize for her ride aboard Sienna. All of today’s Junior Hunter events took place in the Dixon Oval at the historic Devon Show Grounds, where Schaefer piloted her mounts to two of the three championship tricolors.

During the Large Junior 16-17 Hunter division, Schaefer was aboard Sienna and Platinum for owner Lexi Maounis of Jupiter, FL. She scored two first place ribbons and three second place ribbons with Sienna to claim the division’s championship prize, and at the end of the day the impressive duo was awarded the Grand Champion Junior Hunter title. The Large Junior 16-17 Hunter Reserve Championship went to Margaret Oberkircher and Tres Bien, owned by Southfield Farm of Fort Washington, PA, after they earned two first place ribbons, two third place ribbons, and a fourth place ribbon.

“Sienna is a chestnut mare and I am not a mare person at all, so it takes a lot of calmness for me to ride her,” admitted Schaefer. “She’s pretty easy though; she’s a little downhill so you have to keep her balance up, but she really tries to win. She’s smart and brave; she just wants to win every time.”

Earlier in the day, Schaefer also claimed the Small Junior Hunter Championship, this time aboard Photo Shoot, owned by Peake Wood Pharm of Marshall, VA. Throughout the division they earned three first place ribbons, a third place ribbon, and a fourth place ribbon to garner the top honors. Porter Allen of Boerne, TX, piloted Gisele to the reserve championship after earning a first place ribbon, three second place ribbons, and a first place ribbon.

Continue reading Junior Rider Samantha Schaefer Dominates at Brandywine Valley Summer Series

$10,000 Chester County Food Bank Mini Prix Victory Goes to Samantha Schaefer and Trezebees at Brandywine Valley Summer Series

Samantha Schaefer and Trezebees won the $10,000 Chester County Food Bank Mini Prix at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.

Devon, PA – July 1, 2011 – It was a beautiful night at the historic Devon Show Grounds as riders gathered at the Dixon Oval for the $10,000 Chester County Food Bank Mini Prix. A competitive group of horse and rider combinations tackled the challenging course for the highlight event at the first annual Brandywine Valley Summer Series, presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services. The top prize went to Samantha Schaefer and Trezebees after they completed a double clear effort in 25.279 seconds over Tracey Weinberg and Larone, who scored the second place honors.

Jose Gamarra set a challenging first round track for the competitors, which featured a triple bar, a liverpool, a vertical-oxer double combination, and a oxer-vertical-vertical triple combination. Seven of the horse and rider combinations were able to master the first round without fault and advance to the short course. They began over an oxer-vertical bending line before making a sharp turn to the double combination. They then turned to a single vertical before galloping towards the finish line over the final oxer.

Samantha Schaefer was fifth in the return order aboard Trezebees, owned by Addison Phillips of New York, NY, and the duo was ready to win it. They picked up a quick gallop to the first fence and never held back. Schaefer was able to nimbly guide Trezebees through each of the difficult turns and they jumped straight to the top of the leaderboard with a blazing double clear effort in 25.279 seconds.

“Tracey [Weinberg] had set a very quick time so I knew I had to go for it,” explained Schaefer. “Trezebees has a lot of scope so I knew I had to be very quick across the ground. She turned really nicely after the second jump and after the combination.”

Continue reading $10,000 Chester County Food Bank Mini Prix Victory Goes to Samantha Schaefer and Trezebees at Brandywine Valley Summer Series