Mary Lisa Leffler and Basalt Top $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Virginia Festival of Champions

Mary Lisa Leffler and Basalt. Photo by Teresa Ramsay

Thirty seven horse and rider teams took to the hunt in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by The Heisley Family Foundation Friday morning over a course designed by Paul Jewell of Windsor, New Jersey.

Basalt, owned by Allison Mills and ridden by Mary Lisa Leffler of Brookeville, Maryland scored a total of 176 to take the blue ribbon.

“I thought my hand gallop was pretty good,” commented Leffler. “By watching the other rounds, I knew I just needed to be consistent.”

“The course was designed pretty free-flowing and I thought you could ride it off your eye and just keep going. You didn’t need to overthink it. I just tried to keep a good flow and kept it smooth,” she said.

“This was only my second show with Basalt,” said Leffler. “His owner just bought him in Florida from Dan Geitner. I showed him once in two 2’6″ classes before his owner got him in the ring and now, here at the Virginia Horse Center. He was Champion in the 3’6″ Performance Hunter this week and today he won the Derby. We’re planning on showing him here next week,” she added.

Porto Rico, owned by Isabel Sotomayor of and ridden by Jocelyn Martin of Louisa, Virginia, earned second place honors with their combined score of 174.5.

Lavida Loco, owned by Emily Cyrway and ridden by Brooke Kemper of Keswick, Virginia, earned a combined score of 174 and the third place ribbon.

Sweet Briar College’s Dorado, ridden by Lily Peterson of Ashland, Virginia, earned a fourth place finish with their combined score of 165.5 and Gable Stone, owned by Diane Semer and ridden by Erin Dombroski of Grimesland, North Carolina, placed fifth with their combined score of 163.

Lemieux, owned by Mary Shearin and ridden by Taylor Shearin of Virginia Beach, Virginia, finished in sixth with their combined score of 162 and Candidate, owned and ridden by Katie Triantos of Mclean, Virginia, took home a seventh with their score of 158.

Ashley De Woolfson of Warrenton, Virginia, piloted her own Cinderella to an eighth place finish for their combined score of 153.75 and Leo’s Lucky Star, owned and ridden by Kelsey Lambert of Chevy Chase, Maryland, finished in ninth with a score of 144.5.

Zeus, owned by Sophia Strahan and ridden by Savannah Welch of Elon, North Carolina, placed tenth and Mahalo, owned and ridden by Kathryn Kranking of New Market, Maryland, finished in eleventh place. Atlas, owned by Missy Luczak-Smith and ridden by Winn Alden of Bristow, Virginia, wrapped the class up with a twelfth place finish. 

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