Lexington, Ky. – Oct. 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.
The National Horse Show will continue Thursday with the crowning of the Grand Champion Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter and the Phelps Media Group $72,900 International Welcome Stake, as well as Friday’s T & R Development $36,600 International Speed and National Horse Show $50,000 Hunter Classic. Saturday’s highlights will include the $213,300 National Horse Show Grand Prix CSI4* and the $25,000 SJHF Amateur-Owner/Junior Jumper Grand Prix, and Sunday will conclude the show with the highly-anticipated ASPCA Maclay National Equitation Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Samantha Schaefer – Grand Champion Professional Hunter & Meralex Farm Leading Hunter Rider Award winner
On Trademark and In The Know:
“The two horses I rode were Trademark, who competed in the Green 3’6” Hunters and the Green 3’6” Conformation divisions and he ended up being Grand Hunter Champion, then In The Know competed in the High Performance and was champion in his division, as well. Those are two horses that I know really well. We bought Trademark in January of 2016 and he was very green. He stayed in Europe for a year and he has been in our stable for four years now. We started in the Baby Greens in 2017 and we really took our time and he has become what he is today! In The Know we bought around the same time. He was purchased to be my sister’s equitation horse and through the derbies and things like that, he became more of a regular working horse for me and he stepped in when I turned professional.”
On being Grand Champion Professional Hunter and Leading Hunter Rider:
“It is very exciting! I feel like this year has been a little disappointing as far as not getting to go to Devon, Incentive Finals or Derby Finals. We had a lot of goals set for this year so it was really rewarding to still be able to come and compete at this prestigious event. It was a great feeling just to be here, and to come out on top was even better!”
On competing at the National Horse Show:
“Overall, having this horse show take place and the show doing such a great job to keep us all safe just makes me happy to be here and happy to be competing. Again, the results were just an added bonus! I think our team at Shadow Ridge has really helped me achieve this result. We work so well together with Kate Connover and Bill Elise has been helping me this week and has always been a mentor of mine. Everybody behind the scenes, you know know the vets and the farriers, everyone that helps this all come full circle, we couldn’t do it without them.”
Madeline Schaefer – Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter
On riding alongside her sister, Samantha Schaefer:
“It is a lot of fun to do it as a family!”
On Sutton Place:
“We got him this summer. We have had him in the barn for a while and then we ended up buying him. I started showing him in Michigan and we have probably done like six horse shows. He doesn’t like me touching the reins too much and I don’t really like to touch the reins, so we are both a little passive in that way and he just does his thing!”
On being Grand Champion Amateur-Owner Hunter:
“It is awesome. It is awesome to have a horse like him and be able to go in knowing that I don’t mess up and we clear the jumps, we can win!”
On competing at the National Horse Show:
“It is a different vibe [to competing in the Maclay]. I have never been here this early in the week and obviously it is all different with COVID. The National has always been a big deal and I went when it was in Syracuse to watch my sister compete in the Maclay. That was really cool when it was there too!”