Lexington, KY – May 10, 2024 – It was derby day at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show as professional and junior/amateur riders gathered to compete in the $5,000 Open National Hunter Derby and $5,000 Jr/AM National Hunter Derby during World Champion Hunter Rider week. Richard Rinehart showed the way in the $5,000 USHJA Open National Hunter Derby with MTM Favored, while Elise Stephens and Chronicle scored the top honors in the $5,000 USHJA Junior/Amateur National Hunter Derby.

The courses for Friday’s highlight events were designed by Joseph Carnicom. The welcoming first round allowed riders to showcase their horses’ brilliance over the fences, while the handy course offered more dynamic options with a trot fence and two very different options for the last oxer, as well as four high options for additional points.

Erin Rittmueller and Primus Rex

The $5,000 USHJA Open National Hunter Derby got underway first and Rinehart led from start to finish aboard MTM Favored. The duo earned a first round score of 91 and followed it with a handy round score of 90 for a combined score of 181. Erin Rittmueller took home the second place prize with scores of 86 and 87 riding Primus Rex, while Meagan Murray-Tenuta and Alejandro Z rounded out the top three with scores of 87 and 81.

Meagan Murray-Tenuta and Alejandro Z

With a strong lead, Rinehart opted for a conservative handy round, and was thrilled with MTM Favored’s performance. “We had a pretty good lead and I felt like he was jumping well, so I didn’t take any real big risk and he was right there,” smiled Rinehart. “Clifford [MTM Favored] came out today being really a good boy. He’s been a really fun horse. He seems to like the big arenas and he’s not spooky – very easy to ride. I’m really proud of him.”

Richard Rinehart and MTM Favored

MTM Favored is a 7-year-old warmblood gelding that Rinehart began riding just over a year ago for owner Alexander Adkins after purchasing him from MTM Farm. “Alex does the 3’3” Junior Hunters with him,” explained Rinehart. “He’s a very sensitive horse, but he surprises you because he’s so quiet. Generally, nothing really phases him, but he is kind of sensitive. Special thanks to Alex, I’m really excited for him to show Clifford over the weekend!”

Lily Epstein & Kings Gambit

The next event in the Stonelea Ring was the $5,000 USHJA Junior/Amateur National Hunter Derby where riders competed over the same courses. Elise Stephens also had a wire-to-wire win, piloting Chronicle to scores of 93 and 90.25, for a total score of 183.25. Lily Epstein was close behind her for second place with Kings Gambit, receiving scores of 90 and 91.5. The third place award went to Luke Rinehart and No Secret De La Pomme after they earned scores of 88.50 and 90.

Luke Rinehart and No Secret De La Pomme

Stephens has been riding Chronicle for six years, and they have formed an unbreakable bond. “He’s my favorite horse of all time,” she expressed after her victory. “He’s my baby, so it’s really special to win it with him. We are playing around with the classes that he loves the most and so I think we kind of found his sweet spot here. I know him pretty well and he came out today and was great!”

Stephens was thrilled to earn the top prize at the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows concluding, “This is probably my favorite show to come to. The horses love it. The field is great, all the jumps are always built so well, the courses are really well designed and the show is always very well run.”

Elise Stephens & Chronicle

As World Champion Hunter Rider week continues at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show, Sunday’s main event will be the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, presented by All Bizness Insurance. Junior riders will also have an opportunity to showcase their mounts during Saturday’s $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby.

For more information on Kentucky Horse Shows LLC and the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows, please visit

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