Rosalita and Ryan Sassmannshausen Continue as Reigning Champions
Updated: Aug 8
In $10,000 Alltech USHJA Hunter National Hunter Derby Final
Ryan Sassmannshausen and Rosalita in the winner's circle with owner Doris Donovan and trainer Janet Sassmannshausen. Alltech's Cory Douglas presented the awards. Photo Andrew Ryback Photography
Roscoe, IL - September 10, 2022- Showplace Productions set the scene for the $10,000 Alltech USHJA National Hunter Derby Final at Ledges Sporting Horses in Roscoe, Illinois. The event was the crown jewel in the series which offered over $30,000 in prize money throughout the National Hunter Derby series. The derby final kicks off a weekend of top local competition which includes the USEF National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) Hunter Seat Medal Finals Midwest, and the Illinois Hunter Jumper Association Finals (IHJA) A Circuit Medal Finals.
Show manager Patrick Boyle magically transformed the spacious Grand Prix ring into the perfect setting for the weekend’s competition with freshly painted jumps, new footing, and gorgeous landscape with lush ferns, trees, and flowers with attention to every detail. Thirty-four entries gave it their best shot in round one to grab a spot in the top twelve for the chance at the big paycheck.
Kathleen Caya [Oconomowoc, WI] and Jaromir, owned by Susan Winchester, took the top spot in round one with a score of 89 from judges Rob Bielefeld [Wellington, FL] and Irving Evans [Freemont, NH]. Right behind with an 88 was Haylie Rolfe [Elgin, IL] and Daydream followed by the reigning champion for 2021, Ryan Sassmannshausen [St. Charles, IL] and Rosalita, owned by Doris Donovan.
The handy round course allowed riders to show off their style with inside turn options, a trot jump, and a hand gallop to the last Showplace jump. Attempting to move up from the third place spot, Sassmannshausen executed inside turns and a smooth gallop to the last jump to impress the judges, who handed out a score of 90 to move the pair up the ladder with a total score of 177.
Haylie Rolfe and Michigan ODF earned the highest score in the handy round to finish in third place. Photo Andrew Ryback Photography
Rolfe and Daydream had an 88 going into the handy round but had an unfortunate circle which knocked them out of the top ribbons. Rolfe however, kicked it into high gear on Michigan ODF to earn the highest handy round score of 92, moving them up from ninth place into third.
Trying to hold the lead in the class, veteran rider Caya and Jaromir chose the safer route, landing the pair a score of 87 and a total 176, one point behind Sassmannshausen for second place.
Gillian O'Conner was the Highest Scoring Junior Rider.
Gillian O'Conner received the award for the Highest Scoring Junior Rider with her horse Fortune Favors. The pair finished in seventh place.
Rosalita and Ryan Sassmannshausen jump to the top spot in the $10,000 Alltech USHJA National Hunter Derby Finals. Photo Andrew Ryback Photography
Rosalita is a 2013 Dutch Warmblood mare that Sassmannshausen has taken great care to bring along slowly and consistently. Last year, Rosalita showed in the 3’3” Green Hunters and did some National Hunter Derbies. The mare spent the winter at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) showing in the 3’6” Green Hunters and some Green Conformation classes. She was champion at Hits Chicago in the spring and reserve numerous times.
“Going into last year, this was our biggest derby to date,” said Sassmannshausen. “Now we’ve done a few international derbies and she won one, so this year we had more under our belt. The horse has come along
fairly quickly, we got her as a younger horse with no hunter experience and hardly any show experience, but the owner has let us take our time.
I think it’s paid off in the long run to get her consistent. She has developed nicely, I personally think I’ve improved my skills, which has helped a lot.”
Sassmannshausen credits his success to a great owner, the staff that keeps their Kinvarra Farm running while they are on the road, and everyone who has supported and helped along the way and those who continue to encourage him, luckily it has paid off.
The team plans to head to the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in October.
“Harrisburg has so much history and has meant a lot to me. I’ve been there from ponies to junior hunters to equitation. This year they have more divisions thanks to Pat [Boyle] so we’re going to take advantage of that and give the horse some good experience,” added the derby winner. (Inset photo Andrew Ryback Photography)
Kathleen Caya and Jaromir took the early lead in round one, finishing in second place. Photo Andrew Ryback Photography
Caya’s mount, Jaromir, is a 2014 Dutch Warmblood gelding they purchased in December. Winchester, his owner, shows him sometimes in the modified adult hunters. He showed in the Chicago area during the season and placed second in an international hunter derby. Caya says the horse is easy going and always game to jump whatever is put in front of him.
Caya is a regular at Showplace Productions shows in Chicago. She raves about how easy the shows are since they are run so well.
“Pat [Boyle] always does a nice job. The jumps are beautiful, the courses are great, he always does a great job with the awards and the presentations, and the office staff is super friendly. It’s fun to be here,” said Caya.
Caya runs Integrity Farm in Oconomowoc, WI, and in addition to training and showing has a selection of horses for sale. Their location makes it easy to get to Ledges to show especially during the school year and for adults with work schedules. They can show up for the weekend and come more often since the show schedule accommodates juniors and adult riders and the travel is simple.
Alltech's Lifeforce products.
Cory Douglas from Alltech was on hand for the presentations. Alltech has created Lifeforce, a line of premium equine supplements to assist equine athletes in staying healthy and capable of superior performance. The Lifeforce product line includes Joint, Digestion, Calming, Elite Performance, Hoof, and Weight Booster supplements. Visit Alltech.com for more information on the numerous products available.
A fantastic exhibitor's party followed the event with live music by Diamondback. The festivities continue at Ledges Sporting Horses with the IHJA Medal Finals. Tune in next weekend for the IHJA B Medal Finals and the Marketing4Equestrians Derby Final.
$10,000 Alltech USHJA National Hunter Derby Final Results
These photos only to be used in relation to this release.
See more great photos by Andrew Ryback Photography online and purchase your championship photos!