East Dorset, Vermont – Amy Momrow of Albany, NY, won the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay, on Thursday evening, July 18, during the Vermont Summer Festival running through August 11 in East Dorset, VT.
A competitive starting field of 39 horses contested the NEHJA Hunter Derby featuring courses set by Joe Carnicom of Toledo, OH. Utilizing two competition rings with both traditional hunter jumps and derby-style fences, the top 12 horses from the opening round returned in reverse order of standing to compete over a handy track. Emerging victorious was Momrow riding G. Eleven, owned by Kara Hagler. They led both rounds with scores of 86 and 87 to earn the highest total of 173 for the win.
“It takes a special horse to do this,” noted Momrow of the innovative derby format at the Vermont Summer Festival. “Crossing the rings is something new for the horses, and there is a lot of atmosphere around this ring for this class. I like that, because it helps develop the horses to have international-level experience. The beginning with the nice hunter jumps lets them settle in, and then the second half really tests them.”
Momrow got the ride on G. Eleven during the spring of 2018 when Hagler imported the eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding from Europe. Together, Momrow and G. Eleven have won all three of the national hunter derbies they have entered this year.
“He is one of the kindest horses in the barn,” said Momrow, who trains alongside Monty Kelly and Shaine Brooks at Stepping Stone Farm in Albany, NY. “The goal is to get him up to the international level and head to [the United States Hunter Jumper Association International Hunter Derby Championship].”
“He has so much scope and, as you could see from the course today, a lot of bravery,” continued Momrow of G. Eleven, who also competes with Hagler in the equitation and junior hunter divisions. “He was very handy and he has a very willing attitude; he wants to be a winner and try hard for you.”
Momrow and Stepping Stone Farm have made their annual pilgrimage to Vermont and are competing for three weeks at the base of the Green Mountains with a range of riders from their barn.
“We have brought everything from crossrail riders to equitation, junior and adult hunters, and some young hunters that I am bringing along,” she said. “It’s a nice show for us because we can bring every single rider in the barn here.”
Chelsea Kasper of Keene, NH, finished runner-up in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby riding Miss Mo. The pair’s scores of 83.5 and 86 combined for a 169.5 total to give Kasper the high-point amateur title. Jennifer Wright of Greenwich, CT, claimed third aboard Cosa Nostra, owned by Wright Start Outsourcing, with scores of 83 and 85 for a 168 total.
Fourth-place when to Keirstin Johnsen of North Salem, NY, and Upset de Talma, owned by Lynne Schwartz, with a final tally of 163. Brenna Doherty of Laurel Hollow, NY, rounded out the top five with a 161 riding Double Take, owned by Colleen Kerwin.
At only 13 years old, Tessia Soja of Bedford Corners, NY, earned the high-point junior award after riding Co Pilot, owned by Nevergreen Farm, LLC, to seventh with a score of 152.
The third grand prix of the Vermont Summer Festival will highlight competition for spectators on Saturday, July 20. Beginning at 1 p.m., the $30,000 Otter Creek Special Grand Prix, presented by Purina Horse Feed, will take center stage.
Now in its 26th year, the Vermont Summer Festival offers a dynamic competition schedule while also giving competitors an opportunity to enjoy the wide variety of entertainment, recreation, shopping, and dining options offered in Dorset, Manchester, and the surrounding area. A recent study conducted by the Center for Rural Studies at the University of Vermont cited that the total direct spending of visitors frequenting Vermont for equine-related activities is estimated at nearly $15.5 million annually.
Competition at the 2019 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $5 for adults and children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children with 100 percent of all gate proceeds benefiting Dorset Equine Rescue, The Dorset School, and Manchester Community Library.
The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For more information on the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com. Like Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show on Facebook and follow @vtsummerfestival on Instagram.