Matt Cyphert and Ritz Garner $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Lamplight Summertime I

Wayne, Ill. – July 7, 2023 –
Spectators gathered at the Main Hunter Ring on Saturday afternoon to watch some of the top horse and rider combinations vie for the winning honors in the $5,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at HITS Chicago. Matt Cyphert and Ritz captured the attention of the judges as soon as they stepped in the ring, and with two flawless rounds they earned impressive scores of 90 and 92 to take home the winning title. Cyphert’s colleague at Woodhill Farm, Audrey Norrell, took the second spot on October Hill’s Cuatro with a score of 88 in each round.

Matt Cyphert and Ritz

“We're very lucky. These are two very good horses and good clients own them. Their owners just happened to not be showing this week so we really just entered them in this class just to give them something to do,” explained Cyphert about the two winning mounts. “Both horses were fantastic. Cuatro, who was second with Audrey, just came from Michigan, with his rider Meghann Harmon. Next week, Ritz, will be doing the amateur hunters with his owner Katie McDonnell.” 

Audrey Norrell with October Hill’s Cuatro, Matt Cyphert and Ritz

The format for this derby was a Hunt-and-Go where riders started their classic round in one ring before cantering directly to the other ring for the handy round. Ritz was brilliant over each fence and topped the standings with a combined score of 182. Audrey Norrell and October Hill’s Cuatro took home the second-place award, earning a score of 176. Danielle Urban garnered the third place prize with her mount, Gabrielli, earning a total score of 170.

“These hunt and go format, it's almost like the power and speed and the jumpers and you have to change your mindset quickly from the classic round mentality to a little bigger pace and the inside turns for the handy. I think it was a great course and it gave you options in the handy. Some people did inside turns and there were places to open your horses up!”

Audrey Norrell with October Hill’s Cuatro

Cyphert concluded by expressing his love for HITS Chicago stating, “We love Lamplight, it's really something that's on our schedule that we protect quite a bit. We love the staff, it's a great group of people to work with. They're very kind, they're very accommodating. There's not a prettier showgrounds in the country. It is just a wonderful place to be and the horses love it. Great towns and restaurants with lots of things to do.”

Competition during the Lamplight Summertime I will continue throughout the weekend as part of the HITS Chicago Series. Junior and amateur athletes will showcase their skills during their respective hunter classics to close out the first week of the horse show.

Danielle Urban and Gabrielli