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First Time’s a Charm for Lyman T. Whitehead and Carabello in Vermont Derby

Lyman T. Whitehead and Carabello found their way to the winner’s circle on Thursday evening, July 25, in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.

 

Lyman T. Whitehead guided Carabello to the first derby win of his career in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby. Photo by David Mullinix PhotographyCarabello is usually ridden by owner Rosie Powers in the Children’s Hunter divisions, but Whitehead decided to take a chance on the derby class to see how the eight-year-old gelding would fair.  It was the first time Carabello had ever competed in a derby class, proving he was more than up to the task.

“We figured we would play around a little bit while we were up here and he took to it really well,” said Whitehead, based out of Eight Fences, LLC, in North Salem, NY.  “He was great.  Derbies suit him.  He’s big and he’s very brave so he would be a good derby horse.  We didn’t expect him to win, but we’ll take it!”

Carabello fit right in among the other seasoned derby competitors, placing in the top three after the first round with a score of 84.  Whitehead piloted Carabello to a second round high score of 85 to win the class with a combined total of 169.

“He has all of the qualities you would want in a derby horse,” said Whitehead.  “He’s very brave, he has a big stride and he’s very scopey.  He started his life as a jumper in Europe, so he’ll jump any jump you put in front of him.”

Carabello may have all the makings of a perfect derby mount, but it doesn’t come at the expense of rideability for his young owner.

“I think he’ll actually be better (as a result of competing in the derbies) because jumping is very easy for him,” Whitehead said.  “I think with the spookier jumps and the bigger track, it gets his attention a little brighter and improves his jump.  I think it’ll benefit him and he’ll be a better horse for it.”

Whitehead admits that they’ve been lucky with Carabello, who was bought almost “out of desperation” when neither of Powers’ horses were sound during the peak of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.

“We were at a loss for horses,” explained Whitehead. “We needed a horse quickly and we were lucky to get him.  He came with very good credentials as a seasoned horse.  That’s what my rider needed; a horse that would jump from anywhere and take care of her.  He was billed as that and he has not let us down.”

Referring to the Vermont Summer Festival’s large blue and white spectator’s tent, Whitehead joked, “I could send him to that tent and he’d jump it!  That’s what’s great about him for his owner. He would never say no.  If she makes little mistakes, he just says, ‘Okay, come on, we’re still going.’”

Whitehead also finished sixth in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby with Elizabeth Monaco’s Tidal Wave.  He describes the hunter derby classes at the Vermont Summer Festival as the perfect confidence builder for young horses starting their show careers.

“They’re great classes for young horses that you want to give some experience,” said Whitehead.  “The courses are good derby courses but the jumps aren’t huge.  The classes are good stepping stones to get a green horse into that environment.  It’s enough without overdoing it for them.”

Hunter derby classes are also valuable at a horse show because of the challenge they present for riders.  Whitehead feels the heightened competition fosters improvement for riders and horses alike.

“The jumps are different from what you normally see and I love that they use two rings.  It’s not often you get a track that big and it’s nice to be able to switch it up (with more demanding courses).  It makes better horses and it makes better riders,” he explained.

Competition for the fourth week of the Vermont Summer Festival, hosted at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT, continues Saturday, July 26, with the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix 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 admission proceeds 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

 

Rider 

Horse 

Owner 

Round 1

Round 2

Total

1.

Lyman T. Whitehead

Carabello  

Rosie Powers

84

85

169

2.

McKayla Langmeier

Czar-Z

Linda Langmeier

86

81

167

3.

Marylisa Leffler

Zivago

Kiana Fiore

79

86

165

4.

Amanda Steege

Surreal

Katharine Vonholstein

85

79

164

5.

Jean Sheptoff

Alavanta

Jean Sheptoff

82

80

162

6.

Lyman T. Whitehead

Tidal Wave

Elizabeth Monaco

78

82

160

7.

Donald Bourque

7th Heaven

Lisa Hankin

77

75

152

8.

Hugh Dollard

McKinley

Steeple Chase Farm

80

71

151

9.

Sandra Epstein

Catamount

Sandra Epstein

77.5

70

147.5

10.

Cory Hardy

Le Chasseur

Mary Chase

81

61

142

11.

Meredith Combs

Preston

Jennifer Combs

74

60

134

12.

Alessandra DeLucia

Say Goodnight

Olivia Graham

75

55

130