Friday, July 27, 2012

Jimmy Toon and Tigger Win $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby in Vermont

Jimmy Toon and Tigger won the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby on Thursday, July 26, during week four of the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Photo by David Mullinix Photography

 East Dorset, Vermont – Jimmy Toon of South Salem, NY, rode Jane Clark’s Tigger to victory in the $5,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby on Thursday, July 26, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.  The six-week Vermont Summer Festival continues in East Dorset, VT, through August 12, 2012.

The $5,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby is a qualifier for the $15,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, which will be held on Thursday, August 9, during week six of the Vermont Summer Festival.  In order to qualify for the $15,000 Hunter Derby, a rider or owner must have competed in a Hunter Derby during weeks one through five of the 2012 competition.  The $15,000 Hunter Derby is generously sponsored by Oughton Limited, a Vermont-based equestrian luggage manufacturer that is also presenting a beautiful ‘Wellie’ barn tote to the weekly derby winner.

A total of 22 entries competed over the week four Hunter Derby course designed by Gerry Briggs, which spanned two rings and featured beautiful natural obstacles at the rural show grounds of Harold Beebe Farm.  Jimmy Toon and Tigger won the class with a total score of 170 after coming out on top in round one with a score of 88 and then scoring 82 in the handy round.

Mary Lisa Leffler of Brookeville, MD, rode Rolling Acres’ Gerona 92 to a second place finish with scores of 83 and 84 for a two-round total of 167.  Penny Lombardo, of Loxahatchee, FL, guided Kelly Cartwright’s Big Girl Don’t Cry to third place with scores of 82 and 83 for a total score of 165.  Fourth place honors were awarded to Darren Graziano of Wellington, FL, riding Paula Kennedy’s Monte Cristo to scores of 80 and 81 for a 161 total.  Cory Hardy of Waltham, MA, had a great finish with Connor, owned by Mary Chase, to earn fifth place.  The pair scored a 73 in the first round and then jumped to an impressive score of 87 in round two for a 160 point total.

Toon’s winning mount, Tigger, is a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Jimtown x Ramiro Z.  Having formerly competed in the show jumping divisions, Tigger began his hunter career with Toon less than two years ago.  The pair has done very well in the High Performance Hunter divisions, and recently began competing in the derby classes together.

Commenting on their win, Toon stated, “This is only the second derby I have done with him, but I think he will be good at them in time.  I think he needs to forget about the jumper career a little bit, but he is getting better and better about that.  He is a good horse; he wants to be a good horse.  He is making a lot of good efforts."

“The class was nice,” Toon continued.  “The first round was better than the second.  I have to work on a few things for the second round.  Maybe I lost my concentration a little bit, but it wasn’t bad.  In the first round, he was quite smooth and the second round, there were just tiny things.  Maybe he got a little antsy, but there were parts that he was very good at.  He is quite good at the handy and quite competitive; I think it is just both of us being smoother.  It is me being smoother with him and him being smoother with me.  He is doing nicely though, he is a sweet horse and I am lucky to have the opportunity to ride him.”

Toon showed in Vermont last year as well and has also judged at the show for the last two years.  He is a big fan of the competition and picturesque setting.

“Vermont is beautiful; the weather’s great and the scenery is fabulous,” he declared.  “We love the stores in town and the restaurants.  They do a very nice job here.  They keep it very clean and the management is very easy to get along with.  They are super people; we can’t say enough nice things about them. Billy (Glass) is a great manager and his crew is great, and John and Dotty (Ammerman) have done a great job for everybody.”

Now qualified, Toon plans to compete with Tigger in the $15,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby, sponsored by Oughton Limited, on August 9.

Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont.  The first five Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix.  The $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held during the sixth and final week on Saturday, August 11.  The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, are now held each Thursday.

Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday.  Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children.  All of the gate receipts benefit the a number of Manchester area non-profit organizations, including the Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Second Chance Animal Center.

For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont.  The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL).  For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: or visit
PRESS RELEASE: Starting Gate Communications. 

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