Sarah Tyndall and Huckleberry Finn Claim $5,000 Hunter Derby at Vermont Summer Festival

July 8, 2016 - East Dorset, Vermont

Sarah Tyndall and Huckleberry Finn won the $5,000 3'3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay, during opening week of the Vermont Summer Festival.
Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Sarah Tyndall aboard Huckleberry Finn, pictured with Stoneymeade Farm representatives Josselyn Mersereau, Joyce Mersereau, Marsha Tyndall, and Ann Sharpe, is presented as the winner of the $5,000 3'3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay, on July 7 at the Vermont Summer Festival.
Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Sarah Tyndall of Acton, MA, rode Huckleberry Finn to top honors in the $5,000 3'3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay, on July 7 at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.  The Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks from July 5 through August 14 at Harold Beebe Farm.

Tyndall’s combined scores of 83 and 87 saw her finish with a 170 to top a starting field of 37 entries aboard Huckleberry Finn, a 15-year-old German Warmblood gelding owned by Anne Keesler.  Joe Carnicom of Toledo, OH, set the courses for the $5,000 Hunter Derby.

With single points separating the top five riders, Amy Momrow of Wellington, FL, jumped into second place on Aeroplane for owner Monty Kelly.  The pair’s first-round score of 84 combined with an 85 over the handy course saw them settle on 169.

Samantha Schaefer of Westminster, MD, collected the highest score of the first round with an 85 riding her own Classified.  They returned to score an 83 and finished third on 168.  Schaefer was also presented with the Kastel Denmark Ladies Style of Riding Award for her performance.

Fifteen-year-old Isabella Russekoff of Greenwich, CT, claimed fourth place in the irons of Chinchilla, owned by Suave Pony, LLC.  Her scores of 81 and 86 gave her a combined total of 167.

Rounding out the top five was Momrow on another Monty Kelly-owned ride.  She and Belfast earned scores of 82 and 84 to finish on a total of 166.

Tyndall, who is a trainer at Stoneymeade Farm in Concord, MA, piloted Huckleberry Finn to his first derby win at the Vermont Summer Festival in 2015 and will return during Week 3 for the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) competition.  Tyndall has had the ride on Huckleberry Finn since he entered the show ring as a first year horse in 2009 and has brought him up the ranks.

“I have been lucky enough to have the ride on ‘Huck’ for many years,” said Tyndall.  “We know each other quite well; sometimes almost too well!

“He is a great horse to ride and I am very fortunate to have Anne Keesler as an owner,” she continued.

While Tyndall and Huckleberry Finn have found their groove in the derby ring, they also compete in the 3'6” performance hunters, while Keesler takes over the reins in the older adult amateur division.

“I love coming to Vermont,” said Tyndall.  “It's so beautiful here and we are hoping to have another good outing during WCHR week.  Then the plan is to head to Kentucky for International Derby Finals.”

Tyndall and Huckleberry Finn carried the third highest score into the second round, but Tyndall knew the handy was where her horse would shine.

“The courses were very nice and smooth, but the handy gave some nice options for inside turns and ‘Huck’ is very handy,” she said.  “We have a lot of rounds under our belts, so I knew I could make some really neat turns without losing the quality of the jump.  He jumps so well out of any spot, from any angle.”

As planned, Tyndall excelled in the handy and held Momrow and Schaefer at bay to take the win.  In addition to her share of the prize money, Tyndall was presented with a Land Rover Experience Driving School off-road excursion from class sponsor, Eastern Hay.

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.  Outside the show ring, exhibitors enjoy the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.

Competition at the 2016 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, Dorset Equine Rescue, Meals on Wheels.

Please e-mail or visit for more information about the Vermont Summer Festival.

$5,000 3'3" NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay - Thursday, July 7

Rider Hometown Horse Scores

1. Sarah Tyndall Acton, MA Huckleberry Finn 83/87 = 170

2. Amy Momrow Wellington, FL Aeroplane 84/85 = 169

3. Samantha Schaefer Westminster, MD Classified 85/83 = 168

4. Isabella Russekoff Greenwich, CT Chinchilla 81/86 = 167

5. Amy Momrow Wellington, FL Belfast 82/84 = 166

6. Carly Corbacho Boston, MA Magnetic 80/82 = 162

7. Marguerite Heberle Rochester, NY Eastwood 82.5/76 = 158.5

8. Sarah Barge Bloomfield, NY Danturano 76/81 = 157

9. Kirsten Malacarne Wakefield, RI Kalifornia Dreamin' 78.5/78 = 156.5

10. Robbie Burroughs Hackensack, NJ Valentine 77/77 = 154

11. Amy Momrow Wellington, FL Curb Appeal 79/70 = 149

12. Robert Lee Ocala, FL Eurostar 78/44 = 122