Jennifer Kocher of Chester, NY, was victorious in the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame (SJHOF) High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic on Sunday, July 8, during opening week of the 25th annual Vermont Summer Festival, which runs through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Paul Jewell of Ewing, NJ, set the courses for Sunday’s Classic with six horses advancing to the jump-off. Kocher bested the field by nearly two seconds with a double-clear effort in 42.65 seconds riding Miss Moneypenny, an entry owned by her husband and international grand prix rider Andrew Kocher. Challenger Elizabeth Stroh of Grosse Pointe Farms, FL, and Canoso, owned by Cloverly Farm, LLC, finished in second with another double-clear performance in 44.44 seconds. Representing Canada, Alexanne Thibault of Boucherville, QC, was clear in in the jump-off riding Sanjay to take third in 46.14 seconds.
Cheryl Scott of Franklin Lakes, NJ, was fourth riding Justify after one rail fell in the jump-off in a time of 48.93 seconds. Sara Sprague of Richmond, MA, rounded out the top five with nine faults and a time of 50.52 seconds riding Nakich Double Dutch for owner Judith Sprague.
Kocher, 35, has had the ride on Miss Moneypenny since the end of the winter circuit. The pair has already proven to be a winning combination with several top finishes to its credit during the spring and summer seasons.
“She’s a winner,” said Kocher of the nine-year-old Holsteiner mare by Monti Bellini that was previously competed by U.S. grand prix rider Tracey Magness. “If she’s on it’s hard to beat her, but she’s sensitive and quirky so she has to do it her own way and that’s the only way.”
Kocher started Miss Moneypenny in the low and medium junior/amateur-owner ranks, but she proved the mare’s capability to jump the bigger height today, saying, “There was one inside turn in the beginning that I didn’t do because she is not great at turning inside, so I risked it going around. Then, I let her go a little faster because she’s naturally really fast and doesn’t spend a lot of time in the air.”
Kocher returned to the Vermont Summer Festival this summer having last competing at the event as a junior in 2002.
“It’s like a vacation and a horse show at the same time,” she said. “The weather and the atmosphere are wonderful and they have done a great job with the new footing.”
Earlier in the day, Anna Whitman Santos of Warwick, RI, won the $2,500 Marshall & Sterling Children’s/Adult Amateur Jumper Classic riding Calino-GZ for owner Mindy Whitman while Madison Rauschenbach of Newburg, NY, claimed top prize in the $5,000 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic riding Donadoni.
The Vermont Summer Festival is New England’s largest hunter/jumper competition and the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont with more than $750,000 in prize money. The event is also a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). Outside the show ring, exhibitors are immersed in the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2018 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting The Dorset School, Manchester Community Library, and the Rotary Club of Manchester.
$10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic
Sunday, July 8, 2018
Rider Hometown Horse Faults/Time
1. Jennifer Kocher Chester, NY Miss Moneypenny 0/0/42.65
2. Elizabeth Stroh Grosse Pointe Farms, FL Canoso 0/0/44.44
3. Alexanne Thibault Boucherville, QC Sanjay 0/0/46.14
4. Cheryl Scott Franklin Lakes, NJ Justify 0/4/48.93
5. Sara Sprague Richmond, MA Nakich Double Dutch 0/9/50.52
6. Anastasia Bezsylko Harrisburg, PA Cakao 2 0/12/45.94
7. Jennifer Kocher Chester, NY Carlos 4
8. Madison Rauschenbach Newburgh, NY Famous-O 8