Nicolas Gamboa and NKH Mr. Darcy Master $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix at Lamplight Summertime II
Competition at the Vermont Summer Festival resumed Thursday morning under the picturesque mountains. Over 40 combinations kicked off the day with the $5,000 Seesaw Lodge USHJA National Hunter Derby, one of several during Week II. Garnering an impressive total score of 179 across both rounds of the class under the Hunt & Go format, Vermont native Geoffery Hesslink piloted Chivalry to the winning honors. Hesslink also took home this week’s Style Award, presented by Morgan Ward and the Everleigh Collection.
While Hesslink has never competed in a class where you cross into another ring, you would never have known. “I have done a few more Hunt & Go style classes this year, so I am a bit familiar with the format now, but I have never done a derby or class like this where you have to go in and out of a ring like that,” he noted. “I was a little bit nervous about going through the opening – but I rode him through it in the morning before the class and he was great!”
In a Hunt & Go style derby, every horse and rider combination completes their first-round classic round, and immediately continues on the handy round by cantering directly into the connected Hunter Ring 2. Across the first round, riders were presented with a classic style round of jumping that included two high-option jumps and a two-stride combination. The handy included a bending line to the third high option, followed by two rollbacks and a final high-option jump. The trot fence was the last test on course and showed a great deal of handiness as riders landed off the fourth high-option and trotted straight to the final jump, before exiting at a walk.