One year prior, Teddi Mellencamp’s mount Totally wasn’t even jumping around the .80m, and on Friday of Desert Circuit 2, presented by Adequan®, he took a major win in an international hunter derby.

In the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Adequan®, Simon Schroeder took the reins aboard Totally, as he did one year before, and proved just how far the 10-year-old Westphalian gelding has come, taking the win.

Simon Schroeder and Totally. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“Teddi Mellencamp asked me last year during this show if I could ride him and if I could find a way to [make him] have fun again at the shows,” Schroeder said of his task when asked to pilot Totally. “He was a little bit sad. We started here last year. I believed in him the whole time. He was a skeptic and was worried about going to the fences, so I just started with him in the .80m. We trotted over the first fences and then kept cantering, so that’s how we started our career actually.”

Schroeder himself rides quite a few jumpers, but dabbles a bit in the hunters when he knows he has a special one. With a jumper-focused brain – even asking while learning Friday’s derby course at what point the “jump-off” starts – he stuck to his jumper roots to help bring the horse along.

Simon Schroeder and Totally in their winning presentation, pictured with Chelsea Buttermore of Adequan®. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“I treated him more and more like a jumper,” Schroeder explained. “I also included cavaletti in the training, and went over it with him every day with a liverpool. He’s a special horse and I treat him special.”

Even though Schroeder and Mellencamp knew the horse was special, the win still came as a very pleasant surprise and they celebrated accordingly.

“It was an amazing feeling,” Schroeder said of his handy round with Totally. “He was a little bit peeking at the [first jump in the handy round], and he did the trot jump really really good. I was a bit worried he might spook at the vertical-vertical [double combination] but he did it really well, totally straight and smooth. He’s the prettiest jumper.”

His total score of 184 was enough to take the lead at the time, and it held through the rest of the class. Jenny Karazissis, who took an early lead with Dulcie Lou Morris’ Big Shot, held onto second with a score of 181, while Halie Robinson and Tangled Up In Blue, owned by 3P Equine Partners LLC, snagged third as one of the last paris to go. Skylar Wireman earned the Butet U25 bonus for fourth place overall aboard Boston, owned by Alison Stocker.

Simon Schroeder and Totally. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

There are still big things ahead for Totally, according to Schroeder and the whole team behind the horse.

“Teddi and I never stopped believing in him,” Schroeder said. “I gave him my whole trust and my whole heart, and he feels it. I think that’s why he’s on my side and is doing everything for me. Maybe we’ll go do Derby Finals. It’s definitely a long term partnership. Teddi doesn’t want to sell him and he’s like a family pet already.”

It’s a family affair every week at DIHP for the Schroeders, with Karli also taking top ribbons in the class aboard Get Rowdy and Coastal. Their daughter, Lena, cheered from the sidelines and joined in for all the awards photos and celebrations.

“I love it; we love to compete together,” Schroeder said of getting to be at the shows alongside his family. “[Karli and I] fight to the last. But it makes it special. This family, we work so hard and it’s just a fun thing to experience with all of us. It’s just amazing.”

See full results from the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by Adequan®, here.

Simon Schroeder Steals the Show in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open

Simon Schroeder and Four Point Oh. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Simon Schroeder didn’t stop with the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, he had several mounts in the afternoon’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Open, sponsored by Whittier Trust, and took the win again.

Up against top hunter pros, Schroeder translated his power and speed skills to hunt and go, and he rode to a score of 176 with Four Point Oh, a horse owned by See Jane Edit LLC. Despite running back and forth between hunter and jumper rings, he switched gears well and mastered the hunter derby sphere during Friday of Desert Circuit 2

Taking second place was Halie Robinson with Crowd Pleaser, owned by 3P Equine Partners LLC, while Nina Alario and While Away, owned by Middlepath Farm LLC, claimed third.

Miss Magnolia Finds her Sweet Spot in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Jr/Am

Parris Cozart Collins and Miss Magnolia. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

Miss Magnolia has had a few identities since Parris Cozart Collins acquired the ride on her a few years ago. She has gone from hunter to jumper to back to hunter again, and Collins has enjoyed every step of the ride. Still early in her newfound hunter career, Miss Magnolia stole the show with Collins aboard in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby – Jr/Am, sponsored by Whittier Trust.

“I got her a couple years ago to be a hunter but she was telling us she wanted to be a jumper at the time,” Collins, of Ojai, CA, explained. “So I did a year with her in the jumpers and she was great. But then she started to tell us no it’s hunter time. So we just listened to her and she’s making the transition beautifully. She won one of her very first derbies. I’m super excited and very happy with her.”

In the three hunter derbies Miss Magnolia and Collins have competed in, they’ve won twice, and come up fifth once, but that was in an Open category, up against the professionals. Their seamless partnership is really showing through, and it was apparent in the scores today, with double scores of 88 for a combined total of 176 for the win.

In second was Madison Wu with Santorini with a 173 score, while Kate Parker and Simply Irresistible took third with a score of 172.5.

Parris Cozart Collins and Miss Magnolia. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

“She’s so brave and adjustable,” Collins continued of what makes her 10-year-old Holsteiner mare stand out in the crowd of hunters. “I can make the angles or do tighter turns. It was a fun course today and really my biggest strategy was trying to make tighter and tidier turns. There weren’t a ton of opportunities to show off. For example after the trot jump I did a nice tight turn and then angled the jump in the middle nicely. Again at the last two jumps I just made it tidy. I’m so happy with my horse. She just tries to please.”

Whether in the winner’s circle or not, Collins enjoys being at DIHP and taking advantage of all it has to offer, for both horses and humans.

“I love coming here to the desert,” she said. “They have done such a beautiful job. I was here for their first show and they have just done a lovely job and everything looks beautiful. The hospitality is so good. The facilities are nice for the horses and I love that you can take them out on the trail or out grazing. I can’t say enough good things about this place.”

A Tie for Top Dog in the Adequan® Dog Puissance!

Zeno clearing 4’4″. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo

The dogs were out to play tonight! Nearly 40 dogs partook in the $1,000 Adequan® Dog Puissance to Benefit USHJA, and we had a tie at the top. Zeno and Louie took the win, both clearing 4’4″ in height with over one foot in width. Runner-up honors went to Daisy who was just shy of clearing the final fence. Molly won the small dog category, clearing a fence over 3′ in height! All winning dogs were given prizes for their efforts in this fan-favorite class.

Louie clearing 4’4″. Photo by High Desert Sport Photo