Lexington, Kentucky, USA – Aug. 1, 2019 – It was a competitive contingency of athletes entered in Thursday evening’s $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic with 26 entries from eight different countries. With the only double-clear performance of the evening, Samantha Shaefer (USA) and Zarina de Vidau rode away with the victory. The rider currently sitting on top of the Hagyard Challenge Series Rider rankings, Brian Moggre (USA), blazed through the jump-off on MTM Flutterby but brought down a rail in the final oxer to finish in second place. Liza Finsness (USA) rounded out the top three on Shiver.
Designed by Bobby Murphy, the 1.45m course during the Kentucky Summer Classic featured 16 jumping efforts including a triple combination and a triple bar. Only six horse-and-rider combinations navigated the first course without jumping or time faults, qualifying for the jump-off consisting of eight jumps.
Samantha Shaefer (USA) & Zarina de Vidau
First in the order of go for the jump-off, Samantha Schaefer (USA) rode Temple Equestrian LLC’s Zarina de Vidau. It was her first grand prix under the lights in the Rolex Stadium, but Schaefer did not let her nerves get to her — she has been dreaming about this day since her pony riding days at the Kentucky Horse Park. Schaefer confidently steered the 8-year-old Spanish Sport Horse mare (Diamant de Semilly x Carina) through the jump-off, finishing double-clear in 43.01 seconds.
Schaefer first laid eyes on Zarina de Vidau when Schaefer began training with Olympian McLain Ward during the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida. The young bay mare was previously owned by Reed Kessler (USA) and Ward had the mare in the barn to market her to be sold. Ward recognized Schaefer’s talent and gave her the opportunity to compete with Zarina de Vidau in a handful of 1.40m classes at WEF. Ward picked up the ride again to show her in the $100,000 Longines Speed Challenge at the Longines Masters of New York in April, before handing the reins over to Schaefer again at Old Salem. A month ago, one of Schaefer’s students, Grace Debney and her family, purchased Zarina de Vidau for Schaefer to campaign and develop her as a partner for Grace next year for the High Junior Jumpers.
Brian Moggre (USA) & MTM Flutterby
Moggre on MTM Flutterby, a 12-year-old KWPN mare (C-Indoctro x Grace) owned by Major Wager LLC, was the second athlete in the jump-off. The young rider currently is sitting on top of the Hagyard Challenge Series Leading Rider rankings due to earning multiple top placings in the series so far this year, including his win in the $36,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI 3* during the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, the first event in the series. During Thursday’s leg of the series, Moggre blazed through the jump-off on MTM Flutterby in an impressively speedy time of 39.184 seconds, shaving four seconds off Schaefer’s time, but the final oxer caused him trouble with a rail down to finish in second place.
Liza Finsness (USA) & Shiver
Rounding out the top three in the class was Liza Finsness (USA) with Shiver, her 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Stakkato x Grannus) with a four-penalty finish, stopping the timers in 40.22 seconds. Finsness has been partnered with the talented gelding for about eight years and the pair are also no strangers to the winner’s circle, racking up many grand prix victories throughout their career. Most recently, Finsness and Shiver won the $25,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix this year at Country Heir II.
The Hagyard Challenge Series consists of seven grand prix classes to be held during the 2019 show series at the Kentucky Horse Park. The series concludes with the $65,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic held during the Kentucky National Horse Show. Following that exciting competition, the winner of the $50,000 Leading Rider Bonus will be announced and presented with a cash prize by the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. This year’s Leading Rider title for the 2019 Hagyard Challenge Series is still up for grabs, but young rider Moggre still retains a solid lead.
Hagyard Equine Medical Institute is one of the oldest and largest equine veterinary practices in the world. Founded in 1876, the institute offers a staff with qualifications unparalleled by any single non-university veterinary group in the equine industry. Hagyard veterinarians have dedicated themselves to the health and well being of the horse. The institute has practiced veterinary medicine since 1876 and is currently composed of over 50 experience veterinarians, with 13 board certifications in specialty areas of Medicine, Surgery, Critical Care and Theriogenology.
Show jumping competition will resume in the Rolex Stadium tomorrow with the $50,000 Kentucky Summer Grand Prix, starting at 7 p.m. following the Leadline class.
Samantha Shaefer (USA) & Zarina de Vidau
Winner’s Circle – Samantha Schaefer
On Zarina de Vidau:
“I’m feeling great! I was working for McLain Ward this winter and I competed her a little bit in Florida in the 1.40m for him. I really grew to like her and I got to show her again at Old Salem. I love her. She’s got the biggest heart and it finally came together for us to have a buyer for her. She was second in the Princeton grand prix last week – all to my fault. I pulled a little bit so coming back today and having a better result is great. McLain always told me to kick through the timers — I was a few fractions off the time at Princeton and I didn’t kick through the timers. Each time, I step up and she jumps a little bit bigger and I can ask a little bit more of her. I have to remember she is 8 [years old], so I have to be smart. She’s all blood and has the biggest heart. I don’t even wear spurs. She goes in a twisted snaffle. She’s lovely, totally game and has so much heart — there’s no jump she doesn’t think she can jump. She tries every time you walk in the ring. It doesn’t matter if it’s the 1.30m or the grand prix – she always gives it her all.”
On her jump-off strategy:
“My plan was to be very efficient in the beginning of the jump-off and give her a little bit of a minute to think about the double [combination]. Towards the end of the course, coming off the right lead, she has a little bit of a right drift and I wanted to make sure I didn’t rush her there. After I jumped that clear, my strategy was to go a little bit in to the last jump and it showed up a bit quiet, so I stayed relaxed and rode it for the double clear. Brian came behind me and I thought for sure he got me and then luck was on my side. He’s a good friend of mine and my sister’s, he’s always one of the best competitors. It actually helped me going first. I had my plan and I didn’t alter it based on anyone else’s round. It was a good strategy for me and my horse today.”
On what’s next for Zarina De Vidau:
“I’ll enter Saturday night’s grand prix and my strategy for her is if I ever feel like it’s too hard or too technical for an 8 year-old, I won’t compete, so I’ll enter Saturday and see what happens. She’ll be here for Pony Finals for a week off and then I’ll show her again the following week [at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show].”
On competing at the Kentucky Summer Classic:
“I love it! Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to jump under the lights in the Rolex Stadium. This is my first grand prix here, so this has been really fun. I always used to stay in the campers and we would drive up for the grand prixs as a kid and would think ‘Oh I want to do that someday!’ so it’s a good start!”
On training with McLain Ward:
“He’s my next phone call! He’s helped me so much. I would never have this horse or any of the other opportunities I’ve had all summer without him. Aside from the knowledge he gave me this winter, I think the best part is having him tell me what’s best for me and guide me. I called him before this class and asked what he thought and he said ‘the worst thing she is going to do is knock one down. She’s always going to keep going. Go for it – give it a shot!’. That whole crew there, the McKeevers and McLain have been amazing while I was there. It was an awesome experience. I definitely learned a lot and I’m so happy to have this horse in my barn!”
Brian Moggre (USA) & MTM Flutterby
Brian Moggre – Second place in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
On Thursday night’s class:
“Both of my horses were very, very good! The mare was spectacular. Going second in the jump-off, granted there were only six but I wanted to win. She was great, so fast. I actually should have realized I was going that fast because I could have taken half of a second longer to that last jump. It didn’t quite show up right for me and I was a little deep, but she put in a great effort. She was quick to end up second and I thought they both put in spectacular efforts today.”
On his strategy in the jump-off:
“My plan was to keep it simple. She has very fast footwork so she can make up the time anywhere. Where a horse can do eight strides, she can do nine just as fast. She’s really good in that sense and I knew the jump-off rode more like a foot race so I knew she was going to excel in those straight lines and galloping.”
On MTM Flutterby:
“We’ve had a long time partnership. I know her like the back of my hand at this point. She’s very crazy in the best way. She’s a hot blooded chestnut mare and quick off her feet. She’s going to answer any question you ask her – whether it’s the answer you want or you don’t want! But that’s what makes her great.”
On the course:
“I thought the course was nice as a part of the [Hagyard] Challenge Series. Ultimately, there’s the class on Saturday so it’s nice for the horses that are planning to jump on Saturday to do this class but I thought it was technical enough to make it competitive for the Hagyard [Challenge] Series and make people want to do it and want to win.”
On showing at the Kentucky Summer Classic:
“I think it’s great! I love this venue and I think the horses like it a lot. This summer, it’s felt like home. Being here in May and being back here now, it’s a nice place to come relax and the horses really enjoy it. It’s treated me well, that’s for sure! I’m eager for the rest of the Hagyard [Challenge] Series and it seems like the horses are too!”
Samantha Shaefer (USA) & Zarina de Vidau during the awards ceremony
Results – $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / R1 Penalties | Time / Jump-off Penalties | Time
1. Samantha Schaefer (USA) & Zarina de Vidau – 78.967 / 0 | 43.010
2. Brian Moggre (USA) & MTM Flutterby – 0 | 75.053 / 4 | 39.184
3. Liza Finsness (USA) & Shiver – 0 | 76.935 / 4 | 40.220
4. Pablo Barrios (VEN) & Le Vio – 0 | 80.672 / 4 | 41.908
5. Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Any – 0 | 79.362 / 4 | 42.493
6. Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Condor C – 0 | 79.519 / 6 | 49.358
7. Kady Abrahamson (USA) & Boudika Ideal Home – USA / 2 | 83.330
8. Nicky Galligan (IRL) & Javas Miss Jordan – IRL / 4 | 79.576
9. Diego Perez Bilbao (ESP) & Helios – ESP / 4| 79.693
10. Jimmy Torano (USA) & Glasgow de Muze – USA / 4 | 80.280
11. Robert Mendoza (USA) & United M – 4 | 81.146
12. Carlos Quiñones (ARG) & Satoyama – 4| 85.025
Source: Press release by Annan Hepner / Phelps Media Group for Kentucky Horse Shows
Photos: © Phelps Media Group / Annan Hepner