East Dorset, Vermont — Lisa Zimmer of Wycoff, NJ, won the $1,500 Marshall & Sterling Children’s Jumper Classic during week four, the Valley Classic Horse Show, of the six-week Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Zimmer, 15, took top honors riding her Belgian-bred horse, Kaniny H. A student at Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes, NJ, Zimmer has enjoyed a whirlwind of success so far in 2009 with numerous wins in the Children’s Jumper divisions at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, the Kentucky Spring Classic Horse Show in Lexington, KY, and the recent Lake Placid Horse Show in New York, just to name a few. Zimmer’s win Wellington, FL, gave her the opportunity to ride in a Cavalor clinic with current World Champion Jos Lansink of Belgium, who is sponsored by the Belgian-based nutrition and feed company.
Although course designer Kenny Krome of Westminister, MD, set a track with some difficult twists and turns, 13 members of the original 23-horse starting field managed to jump clear in the first round.
“There were a lot of bending lines and the trick was to measure them so you knew how to jump in,” said Zimmer, who trains with Leslie Ward and Joe Sorce at Top of the Line Stable in Chestnut Ridge, NY. “At the end of the course, they started to get a little easy so you really had to commit to the number of strides you were doing. I thought that the course designer built the oxers pretty big so you had to stay behind your horse.”
In the thrilling 13-horse jump-off, only four managed to navigate the shortened course with no penalties. Katherine Strauss of Southampton, NY, blazed around the course with Fardela in a time of 36.00 seconds to take second place.
The slightest of margins made the difference between third and fourth place. Third place went to Jenny Swanson of Needham, MA, riding Jolie Dame du Marais who stopped the timers in 38.384 seconds. Melissa Jacobs of East Aurora, NY, who immediately followed Swanson into the ring, missed beating her time by 1/1,000 of a second, stopping the clock in 38.385 seconds riding Lacoretto.
Zimmer and Kaniny H entered the ring with speed and only got faster as they powered their way through the course, making tight turns in order to shave seconds off the clock. Their final time of 33.36 seconds was inarguably the best of the day, almost three seconds faster than the second-placed finisher.
“I was near the end of the jump-off but there weren’t that many clean,” said Zimmer. “The last two girls are really good so I thought it was better to go a little faster. Kaniny felt really good today, he was actually a little lazy. He can get a little wired and, you might not believe it, but he has another gear. No matter what, he is always dependable.”
Zimmer’s trainer, Leslie Ward, added, “Going faster is not a problem for Lisa. Usually we are trying to get her to slow down. She definitely is a speed demon.”
Zimmer hopes to do as well on Sunday in the North American League Children’s Jumper Classic, where she stands second on the qualifying list for the Final to be held at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
The fourth week of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival concludes Sunday, July 26, with the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, Presented by Hand Motors. On Grand Prix Sunday, admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children. All gate receipts are donated to the Friends Foundation for MEMS, benefiting programs in the local Elementary & Middle School (MEMS).
Running through to August 9, 2009, the six-week Vermont Summer Festival is the largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show in New England, as well as the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont, offering more than $750,000 in prize money. Visit our website for more information on the 2009 Vermont Summer Festival, e-mail or call (802) 362-9023.