Lisa Rex of Westbury, NY, won the $5,000 3'3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay, on Thursday, July 6, during the first of six weeks of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival, running through August 13 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Spanning two competition rings, the derby courses, which featured both traditional hunter jumps and innovative derby-style fences, were designed by Joe Carnicom of Toledo, OH. In the opening round, Rex riding The Exchange, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Over The Top Stables, LLC, earned the top score of an 86 from judge Scott Hofstetter of Ocala, FL. Returning for the second round, Rex earned a handy score of 81 for a two-round total of 167, clinching the win by more than five points.
Melissa Spadaccini of New Vernon, NJ, piloted Castle, owned by Helaina Beard, to scores of 79.5 and 82 for a total of 161.5 for second place. Third-place was presented to Emma Schauder of Greenwich, CT, riding In The Loop for owner Tracy Hart, with combined scores of 77 and 83 for a total of 160. Schauder was also recognized as the high-point amateur rider in the $5,000 3'3” NEHJA Hunter Derby while ninth-place finisher, Sarah Sardella, 14, of Bow, NH, was named the high-point junior rider with Writtle, owned by Nicole Sardella.
Gregory Prince of Sherborn, MA, finished fourth riding Benicio, owned by Rosalie Giordano, with scores of 79 and 80 for a total of 159. Rounding out the top five was Canadian rider Gavin Moylan, currently based in Middleburg, VA, who rode String Of Pearls, owned by Priscilla Denegre, to scores of 81 and 72.5 for a 153.5 total.
In addition to her share of the prize money, Rex was presented with a Land Rover Experience Driving School off-road excursion by class sponsor, Eastern Hay.
“The presentation was so beautiful and the management here does such a nice job,” said Rex, who has been attending the Vermont Summer Festival for nearly 30 years. “I love these derbies. It is so nice to have the two rings and different styles of jumps. This is a great place to be!”
Of The Exchange, who also competes in the junior hunter divisions with Alexa Schwitzer, Rex noted, “He’s a dream. He is the most lovely horse with the most lovely brain you’ve ever worked with. He’s easy to ride, always gives you his best, and is sweet like a puppy dog. The second-round course really allowed him to do some handy things and it was really fun.”
Rex will compete with 14 horses during this year’s Vermont Summer Festival, noting it is her favorite event of the year.
“It is a beautiful place to be and every time you look past the rings, you can’t help but recognize how magnificent it is,” said Rex, who will be showing for a total of four weeks during the six-week circuit.
The first grand prix of the Vermont Summer Festival will highlight competition on Saturday, July 7. Beginning at 1 p.m., the spectator-friendly $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix will see the top horses and riders facing off for victory.
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont for great competition in an ideal summer setting. Offering more than $750,000 in prize money over the course of its six-week run, the Vermont Summer Festival is New England’s largest hunter/jumper competition as well as the state’s richest sporting event based on purse. Outside the show ring, exhibitors are immersed in the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2017 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting the Manchester Community Library, Meals on Wheels of Bennington County, and the Rotary Club of Manchester.
For more information on the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$5,000 3'3" NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay
Thursday, July 6
1. Lisa Rex Westbury, NY The Exchange 86/81=167
2. Melissa Spadaccini New Vernon, NJ Castle 79.5/82=161.5
3. Emma Schauder Greenwich, CT In The Loop 77/83=160
4. Gregory Prince Sherborn, MA Benicio 79/80=159
5. Gavin Moylan Canada String Of Pearls 81/72.5=153.5
6. Kate Stoffel-Oliver Stamford, CT Pasodoble 76/77=153
7. Katie Cooper Owings Mills, MD Sandlot 75.5/75-150.5
8. Caroline Bower Columbia, SC Chalk Hill 75/71=146
9. Sarah Sardella Bow, NH Writtle 78/64=140
10. Lisa Rex Westbury, NY Overjoyed 74/62=136
11. BJ Ehrhardt Goshen, NY Micah 7:7 80/55=135
12. Rebecca Gibson Mohnton, PA Don Gavi 83/40=123