Lexington, Ky.—Oct. 30
As Samantha Schaefer picked up a canter on In The Know for the $50,000 National Horse Show Hunter Classic she ran over her plan in her head. The class had plenty of options, and Schaefer knew she could rely on the horse underneath her.
“There were two opportunities to hand gallop, which I love,” said Schaefer. “I actually was going to the first jump and changed my mind about five times. He helped me out for sure with some scope. With him, I never really have an excuse to hold back because he is about as handy and rideable and adjustable as they come. He is kind of known for that. We tried to go for broke a little bit and hope it worked out, and today it did.”
Schaefer has been riding the 11-year-old warmblood (VDL Arkansas—Cavelle) owned by Madeline Schaefer since 2016, and she knows him like the back of her hand. “Spyder” is a bit of a hunter derby specialist, and his success in that arena helped Samantha out there.
“The strategy of the first course was to present him as a nice, fluid hunter horse with brilliant jumping efforts, and to keep everything under wraps,” said Samantha. “The change of speed in the handy, I think they wanted to see you risk it a little bit. I think having the advantage of going early because of the height changes helped. I went in there, and I know that horse really well, so I rode him how I thought he would perform. As always, he came through for me.”
Samantha had two horses in the show’s feature hunter class: In The Know and Trademark, who was the grand hunter champion earlier this week. While In The Know is Mr. Reliable, Trademark is still on the greener side, but he did well enough to finish seventh.
“Those two horses complement each other really well,” Samantha said. “I think Trademark is a superstar, but he has his moments of young, green-ness. Spyder is my seasoned veteran that I can always rely on. Tonight especially, I thought Trademark was very good, and I was really happy with him, but to have In The Know in your back pocket to pull out for these sort of events is nice to be able to count on.”
New Horse, Same Result
The last time Kat Fuqua competed in the Alltech Arena during a championship horse show, she brought home the a cooler for the Marshall & Sterling USEF Pony Medal Final from USEF Pony Finals with her large Prestige in 2019. Fast forward 1½ years and things look a little different. There’s no one sitting in the stands due to COVID-19 regulations and this time 13-year-old Fuqua is on the back of a horse rather than a pony, but the result was the same.
With the striking bay gelding Grand Remo, Fuqua picked up her first National Horse Show championship in the large junior hunters, 15 and under, division. Their result was good enough to also earn them the grand junior hunter title. Fuqua also won the small junior hunter, 15 and under, section with Consent.
“He was really, really well behaved,” Fuqua said of the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood (San Remo—La Molga V). “I think this is his second time showing in an indoor, so the first class we went in we got a 90! That was really exciting. [In the handy] I just wanted to make sure that I did all the inside turns and kept going on a forward pace so that it didn’t get boring.”