Inaugual $5,000 AHJF WCHR Handy Hunter Classic an Overwhelming Success

Samantha Schaefer and Bishonen Take First Victory Gallop

Tampa, FL – The inaugural $5,000 WCHR Handy Hunter Classic was well received and was a highlight event on April 3rd at the Tampa Bay Classic held at the Florida State Fairgrounds.  Samantha Schaefer and Bishonen, owned by Mariana Wade, led the field from start to finish winning out of a field of the top professional, emerging professional, amateur-owner, and junior hunter riders with her two round total of 171.

In her first round Schaefer finished with a score of 86 for a course that she focused on being "smooth and calm" with a goal of letting “the horse jump well,” she explained. The second round was “where we had to be handy."  She opted to be more aggressive in her final round by skillfully negotiating two pretty tight turns.  Their second round score of 85 clinched the victory.

Samantha now has a chance to be one of the top 30 riders invited to compete in the WCHR Handy Hunter Challenge Class which will be held at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in October.  Points will be based on scores from each rider’s top four Handy Hunter results.

“The WCHR Handy Hunter Classics are a great way for pro, junior and amateur riders to compete head-to-head and really showcase their horses,” commented Keeley Gogul, AHJF President.  “They offer course designers and show managers an opportunity to bring some sparkle to the hunter ring.  We're pleased to be able to offer these classes as part of the WCHR awards program.”

The Handy Hunter Classic series was developed by the American Hunter-Jumper Foundation to add some spice to the hunters.  It includes both a National and Regional Awards series.  Both the obstacles the horses jump and the tests asked throughout the course create a challenge for both horse and rider where skill, handiness and bold riding come into play.  Courses can include such tests as a hand gallop, trot fence, rollback turn and more, emphasizing the goal of keeping both horse and rider alert and challenged.  

The Handy Hunter Classic is part of the World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR), an awards program started by the American Hunter-Jumper Foundation. The awards are presented on a national and regional level to Pony, Junior, Amateur, Professional, Adult and Children's hunter riders who accumulate the most points at WCHR designated horse shows throughout the year.

Photo Caption:  Samantha Schaefer riding Travino in the AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular on February 20, 2010 at the Palm Beach International in Wellington, FL.  The pair earned a 7th place in this prestigious competition.  On Bishonin she won the inaugural WCHR Handy Hunter Classic on April 3rd in Tampa, FL. ©Diana De Rosa Photos
Keeley Gogul, president of the American Hunter-Jumper Foundation. ©Diana De Rosa Photos