East Dorset, Vermont — Jennifer Bauersachs guided Seriously to his first hunter derby victory on Thursday evening, July 18, at the Vermont Summer Festival running through August 11 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Bauersachs and Seriously led the field going into the handy round with a score of 85. The pair laid down another strong trip to match their first round score, finishing just ahead of Lyman T. Whitehead and Tidal Wave. Bauersachs and Seriously claimed the win with a final two-round score of 170 while Whitehead finished two points behind with 168.
The $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby marked Seriously’s first hunter derby win. The 10-year-old selle francais gelding owned by Debbie Carey of Meritage Farms only began his hunter career in January at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
“He’s come a long way in a short amount of time,” said Bauersachs who operates Spring Hill Farm in Frenchtown, NJ, with her husband, Rolf Bauersachs. “He likes his job and he likes being a hunter. I think he prefers the derbies rather than just regular hunter-type courses and he really loves the handy rounds.”
Seriously was formerly a show jumping horse, and a stallion. The latter proved to be the biggest adjustment for Seriously, now gelded.
“I think the gelding was the hardest part for him,” Bauersachs explained. “He lost a lot of muscle and that was really the biggest problem, getting his fitness and conditioning back. Other than that, he’s taken to the hunters quite nicely. Hunters are a little less demanding and he’s a quiet horse that wants to be relaxed.”
Seriously has been particularly talented in the derby ring, enjoying the extra challenge not typically seen in normal hunter courses.
“It’s really fun to ride him in the handy rounds. He likes the turns, he likes doing different things and being challenged. The spooky jumps don’t scare him. He’s always going to go the jumps. I know I can trust him and I feel like we’re developing a good partnership,” Bauersachs described.
Bauersachs admits that she’s learning just as much, if not more, than Seriously has learned from her during his transition into a derby mount.
“He’s actually teaching me! He needs a little bit of a different kind of riding style. I like to float the reins and just go around, but he needs to be packaged up. Having to hold him together and ride him in a Pelham isn’t quite my style, but I’m learning how to do it and still make it look hunter-like. I’m always grateful to be learning something new,” Bauersachs remarked.
Bauersachs was especially pleased with Seriously’s performance in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby, which she felt was another step forward in their relationship.
“I think now that we’re developing a partnership, he’s listening and waiting for me to ask him to do things instead of thinking he’s so smart and trying to think ahead of me,” Bauersachs explained. “The train was going by as we were going to the second to last jump (in the first round). It didn’t really upset him that much, though. He was aware of it, but then settled back down. I was really proud of him.”
Bauersachs is looking forward to competing in week four’s derby class as well, and is especially grateful to Seriously’s owners for providing her with such a talented mount.
“Debbie Carey has been an amazing person for me. She just wanted me to have a derby horse and I really thank her for that. It’s been a lot of fun and I’m very excited,” Bauersachs smiled.
Bauersachs is also in town for World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week, which will continue through the weekend at the Vermont Summer Festival.
“We’re having a nice show and we’re having a lot of fun. It’s always fun when you’re doing well!” Bauersachs laughed.
In addition to hosting the toughest hunter competition of the circuit, week three will also host the featured $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, presented by the Inns at Equinox, on Saturday at 1 p.m. Gates open at 8 a.m. and admission prices on Saturday are $7 for adults and $5 for children. 100% of the gate receipts 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||Jennifer Bauersachs||Seriously||Meritage Stables, LLC||85||85||170|
|2||Lyman Whitehead||Tidal Wave||Elizabeth Monaco||82||86||168|
|3||Tiffany Hammack||Power Talk||Spring Hill Farm, Inc.||84||83||167|
|4||Katharine Von Holstein||Surreal||Katharine Von Holstein||81||84||165|
|5||Jennifer Bliss||Knockout||Julie De Vaulx||78||82||160|
|6||Jennifer Bliss||Poker Face||Harris Hill Farm, LLC||78.75||81||159.75|
|7||Lindsay Schauder||Cassandro 4||Country Lane Farm||76||83||159|
|8||Gwen McMahon||Zidano||Gwen McMahon||80||77||157|
|9||Jennifer Bliss||Extraordinary||Harris Hill Farm, LLC||78.5||78||156.5|
|10||Caitlin Venezia||Comex Gold||Jennifer Combs||79||76||155|
|11||Kristen Lutz||Castlekeep||Lili Halterman||79.5||75||154.4|
|12||Elizabeth Pandich||Cayenne||Suave Pony, LLC||77||77||154|