East Dorset, Vermont – David Jennings of Franklin, TN, won the $15,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Land Rover Experience, on Thursday, August 9, during the final week of competition at the six-week, 25th annual Vermont Summer Festival, which continues through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Twenty-eight entries contested the first round of the derby, with the top 12 horse-and-rider combinations returning in reverse order of their standings for a second, handy round. Jennings and Cesar de Lison Z, owned by Belle Rolfe, sat in third place with a score of 83 following the opening round, but a handy round score of 88 would quickly shoot them to the top of the leaderboard with a total score of 171.
As the front-runners with a score of 86 following the opening round, Kristen Bumpus of Concord, MA, and Carington, owned by Cassie Gerrity, were the last to return for the handy. However, their second-round score of 83 would not be quite enough to catch Jennings and Cesar de Lison Z, securing the win for Jennings and giving Bumpus and Carington the second-place honor with a 169 total score. Rounding out the top three were Lindsey Demont of Littleton, MA, and Cassius T, who shot up from eighth place after coupling an 86 handy round score with a first-round score of 81 for a 167 total.
“The first round was a lot of fun. I’ve done a few derbies in my day, and the way they lay it out here having two rings – the one being a basic hunter course and the other more derby jumps with all the logs – is great,” said Jennings, referencing the course set by designer Gerry Briggs to span two connecting competition rings with riders going from one to the next. “For the handy round, I just stay out of his way and let him do his thing! He knows what he’s doing.”
Thursday marked one of only a handful of times that Jennings has shown Cesar de Lison Z, an eight-year-old grey warmblood gelding. Holly Shepherd is his usual rider in United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby events by Holly Shepherd and the horse is trained by Micaela Kennedy.
“I’m just very grateful for everybody, Micaela and the owners, for allowing me to do a catch ride,” said Jennings. “It was a lot of fun. These guys have him prepared perfectly, so I come and go in the ring, and hopefully don’t mess him up for Holly, because he goes on from here to do [the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championships] in Kentucky next week with her!”
Jennings was presented with the winning honors by Chrystyna Young of Land Rover Experience. Also during the presentation of awards, Abigail Lefkowitz of Scarsdale, NY, was presented with the High Point Junior Award, following a seventh-place finish with Top Saint Aubin.
The Vermont Summer Festival is New England’s largest hunter/jumper competition and the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont with more than $750,000 in prize money. The event is also a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). Outside the show ring, exhibitors are immersed in the charm of Vermont’s shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2018 Vermont Summer Festival continues through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100 percent of all gate proceeds benefiting The Dorset School, Manchester Community Library, and the Rotary Club of Manchester.
$15,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Land Rover Experience Thursday, August 9, 2018
Rider/ Hometown/ Horse/ Scores
1. David Jennings/ Franklin, TN/ Cesar de Lison Z / 83+88=171
2. Kristen Bumpus/ Concord, MA/ Carington/ 86+83=169
3. Lindsey Demont/ Littleton, MA/ Cassius T/ 81+86=167
4. Shane Powell/ Sterling, MA/ Atticus/ 82+81=163
5. Marylisa Leffler/ Brookeville, MD/ Incognito / 78+84=162
6. Joanne Kovacs/ Westport, CT/ Something Good/ 84+77.5=161.5
7. Abigail Lefkowitz/ Scarsdale, NY/ Top Saint Aubin/ 79+81=161
8. Mia Boemio/ White Plains, NY/ Ovation de Revel/ 80+80=160
9. Abigail Lefkowitz/ Scarsdale, NY/ Continental/ 76.5+79=155.5
10. Cory Hardy/ Littleton, MA/ Teddy/ 76+77=153
11. Johanna Hyyppa/ Charlotte, VT/ Upcountry Fernando/ 77+65=142
12. Matt Martin/ Petersburg, TN/ Berlini Z/ 81.5+60=141.5