East Dorset, Vermont — Thirteen-year-old McKayla Langmeier, of East Granby, CT, and Czar-Z added another hunter derby win to their record after topping the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby at the Vermont Summer Festival on Thursday evening, August 1. The pair collected the first hunter derby victory of their career during the 2011 Vermont Summer Festival.
Having earned a score of 85.5 in the first round, Langmeier and her nine-year-old Warmblood gelding returned second to last in the second round behind Kristy Herrera and Fifty Shades. With a second round score of 91, Langmeier and Czar-Z proved impossible to beat, as a missed distance in the second round saw Herrara drop to 12th place in the final standings.
Langmeier’s achievement was even more impressive considering the 13-year-old topped a starting field of 30 horse-rider combinations, comprised of many seasoned professionals and veteran derby mounts.
“It feels good to win again!” smiled Langmeier. “(Beating the professionals) just makes it more exciting!”
The seemingly daunting task of competing against riders several years her senior, including her former babysitter and current grand prix rider Julie Welles, didn’t intimidate Langmeier. At her young age, Langmeier already has developed nerves of steel after suffering from plenty of pre-competition butterflies early on in her riding career.
“I don’t get nervous anymore,” said Langmeier. “Last time I got nervous it didn’t go well! I just didn’t ride well at all and (showing) wasn’t fun. It’s helped me to get in the ring a lot. The more I’ve done it, the more relaxed I’ve gotten.”
Langmeier has gotten plenty of mileage aboard Czar-Z, who she also competes with in the Small Junior Hunter division. They spent the winter at the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida before heading to the Old Salem Farm spring shows and Lake Placid.
“He’s done super,” said Langmeier of her mount. “We’ve had really good placings this year. We’ve had him since he’s five and I have a really good relationship with him.”
Langmeier can always count on Czar-Z to take care of her in the ring and describes him as an easy and forgiving ride, noting, “I’ve had to work on my release (over the jumps with him). Sometimes I can catch him (in the mouth), but he’s very forgiving. He’s very brave and he has a big stride that’s smooth and easy to ride.”
Czar-Z’s bravery is one of his best attributes for derby classes, which Langmeier enjoys competing in because of the unique and challenging jumps. Langmeier is quick to credit her talented mount for their success in Thursday’s $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby.
“He’s does it all! I didn’t even have to touch the reins,” she remarked.
Also playing a huge role in Langmeier’s success was her trainer and mother, Linda Langmeier, who operates Kelianda Farm. McKayla, who has aspirations of also becoming a trainer like her mother, enjoys having her mother ringside to give her sound advice.
“My mom suggested I do an inside turn to the hand gallop jump (in the second round),” said Langmeier. “That worked out really well! I like having her at the ingate with me.”
Langmeier has also frequented the jumper and equitation rings during her stay at the Vermont Summer Festival, giving her an appreciation of all the various disciplines.
“I like them all equally,” Langmeier explained. “They’re very different but still have many similarities. I used to struggle with hunters and jumpers, because I’d ride too aggressively in the hunters after being in the jumper ring.”
After enjoying plenty of success this season at the Vermont Summer Festival, Langmeier has set her sights on the 2013 USEF Pony Finals in Kentucky, which she has qualified for in the Large Green Pony Hunter division.
Competition for the fifth week of the Vermont Summer Festival, hosted at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT, continues on Saturday, August 3, with the $30,000 Manchester and the Mountains Grand Prix, presented by Purina Horse Feed, beginning at 1 p.m. Admission prices on Saturdays are $7 for adults and $5 for children. 100% of admissions will benefit the Manchester area non-profit organizations Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Community Sharing Project.
The Vermont Summer Festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary in its current Manchester location, offers more than $750,000 in prize money, making it 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 10. The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, is held each Thursday. The hugely popular $5,000 3’3” Hunter Derby is also held each Thursday for the first five weeks, with week six featuring the $15,000 Hunter Derby.
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). Please e-mail us or visit our website for more information about the Vermont Summer Festival.
$5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby Qualifier
|Rider||Horse||Owner||Round 1||Round 2||Total|
|1||McKayla Langmeier||Czar-Z||Linda Langmeier||85.5||91||176.5|
|2||Marylisa Leffler||Zivago||Kiana Fiore||85||89||174|
|3||Julie Welles||Advance||Sara Nordstrom||84.5||88||172.5|
|4||Lauren Schweppe||Tucandu||Hanna Whiting||84||82||166|
|5||Linda Orton||MTM Off The Cuff||Daphne Markcrow||79||86||165|
|6||Jeffrey Ayers||Karla||Roberta Previ||83||81.5||164.5|
|8||Jenna Santi||Cartoon||Anna Feldman||80||79||159|
|9||Joanna Seaver||Maraschino||Linda Langmeier||81||77||158|
|10||Anna Pavlov||Adalente||Anna Pavlov||77||80||157|
|11||Lisa Rex||Overhead||Erin Brennan||78||76||154|
|12||Kristy Herrera||Fifty Shades||Meredith Lipke||86||65||151|