East Dorset, Vermont — Lainie Wimberly rode Choco Mousse to the first hunter derby victory of the horse’s career, taking home the blue ribbon the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby held Thursday evening, July 10, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Wimberly stood in second place following the first round of competition with a score of 86 riding Choco Mousse. With a second round high score of 84, the pair jumped ahead of first-round leaders Samantha Schaefer and Stallone. Wimberly and Choco Mousse won with an overall score of 170 awarded by judges Carl Hansen and Maryann Distefano while Schaefer and Stallone placed four points behind in second with a total score of 166.
Choco Mousse, a 12-year-old Westphalian gelding by Donnerwind, has been a favorite in Wimberly’s barn for the past two years. New owner Alicia Nisberg, who purchased Choco Mousse this winter, has already enjoyed early success at the Vermont Summer Festival.
“Choco Mousse is a wonderful horse that I’ve had in my barn for two years,” said Wimberly. “He was just bought this winter by Alicia Nisberg, and she shows him in the adult hunters. During the first week of the Vermont Summer Festival, she was champion in the adult hunters, and she won nearly every class she went in, including the classic.”
Wimberly was pleased with Choco Mousse’s derby debut. Nisberg had wanted to see her horse compete with Wimberly in the irons, and the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby seemed to be the perfect fit. Despite Thursday being Choco Mousse’s first derby class with Wimberly, she was confident in the horse’s ability.
“Alicia wanted to see me show him in this class and he was fantastic,” said Wimberly, whose Brigadoon Show Stables is based in North Salem, NY. “I thought he’d be great because he loves the natural jumps. He really jumps them high and round and doesn’t look at them. He’s very dependable. He’s especially handy, so I knew I had a shot.”
Wimberly continued, “He was beautiful in the first round. I thought he was very smooth and covered the distances easily. There was a hard turn from the log jump to the in-and-out going downhill; I thought he was great there. I thought he was supremely handy. He really turned well.”
Wimberly was quick to point out that Choco Mousse will always be Nisberg’s horse first, and the pair has already turned into a highly competitive duo.
“I don’t like to ride him too much myself because he’s such a lovely horse for Alicia,” explained Wimberly. “Every once in a while, I’ll tune him up and do a training ride, or do a special class (like the derby).”
While Choco Mousse’s dark chocolate coloring draws an easy comparison to his name, Wimberly joked that it is particularly apt due to the gelding’s propensity for treats.
“It suits him. He’s like a cookie monster! All he wants to do is eat, so Choco Mousse really suits him since it has food in the name!” she laughed.
The six-week Vermont Summer Festival circuit continues with a full schedule of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition. Week two’s feature event, the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, presented by the Inns at Equinox, takes place on Saturday, July 12, at 1 p.m. The $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held during the sixth and final week on Saturday, August 9.
Competition runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. Admission prices are $5 for adults, $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children. 100% of the gate proceeds benefit area libraries, including Manchester Community Library.
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 3'3" NEHJA Hunter Derby
|Rider||Horse||Owner||Round 1||Round 2||Total|
|1||Lainie Wimberly||Choco Mousse||Alicia Nisberg||86||84||170|
|2||Samantha Schaefer||Stallone||Samantha Schaefer||88||78||166|
|3||Kelsey Landrigan||Magnetic||Radler Equines Inc.||81.5||79||160.5|
|4||Gregory Prince||Cassandro 4||Country Lane Farm||80||78||158|
|5||Kelsey Landrigan||Cabana Boy||Gill Tobias||76||81.5||157.5|
|6||Dyanna Rucco||I-Solstiste AMB||Stephen Morel||77||79||156|
|7||David Wilbur||Silvio Song||Sara O'Connell||74||79||153|
|8||Abby Bertelson||Eclypso||Abby Bertelson||81||71||152|
|9||Linda Orton||MTM Off the Cuff||Daphne Markcrow||75||76||151|
|10||Sydney Smith||Zofia Cor||Kristi Smith||82||68||150|