Colin Syquia and Don Pedro Triumph in $15,000 Oughton Limited NEHJA Hunter Derby

Colin Syquia and Don Pedro won the $15,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby. David Mullinix Photography

East Dorset, Vermont – Colin Syquia, of Ancramdale, NY, rode Perrin Martin’s Don Pedro to victory in the $15,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, sponsored by Oughton Limited, on Thursday, August 9, at the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.  The six-week competition began on July 4 and continues through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm.

The $15,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby was the final derby event of the six-week Vermont circuit.  In order to qualify for the class, a rider or owner must have competed in a hunter derby during weeks one through five of the 2012 competition.  The $15,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby was generously sponsored by Oughton Limited, a Vermont-based equestrian luggage manufacturer that presented a beautiful ‘Wellie’ barn tote to the weekly derby winner. The final winner also received a pair of Ovation Rhona Country Boots.

A total of 20 entries showed in Thursday’s hunter derby, jumping a beautiful course designed by J. P. Godard, of Aiken, SC. The course spanned two rings and featured stunning natural obstacles. The picturesque backdrop of Vermont mountains helped set the tone for a great afternoon of competition.

Bill Ellis and Steve Wall were the judges of the final hunter derby, and pinned Colin Syquia and Don Pedro on top. Syquia and Don Pedro earned scores of 87 and 85 for a two round total of 172. The ten-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, sired by Don Schufro, led the victory gallop in classic style in his first derby win.

Week five hunter derby winner, Jimmy Torano, of Fort Lauderdale, FL, rode James B. Pirtle Ent., Inc.’s Winner to the second place finish with scores of 82.5 and 88 for a 170.5 total. Week four winner Jimmy Toon, of South Salem, NY, piloted Jane Clark’s Tigger to third place with scores of 85 and 84 for a 169 point total. Toon’s wife, Ellen, scored a pair of 83 point scores to total 166 riding Invincible and earned the fourth place prize.

Don Pedro is owned by Perrin Martin, who showed the horse in the hunter derby classes during weeks one and two in order to qualify for this week’s final. Syquia showed Don Pedro for Martin once earlier this year after the rider broke her hand, but this was his first time riding the horse since then.

“Perrin asked me to ride him once in Saugerties and I ended up doing him in the derby there and he was seventh out of 60-something, but then she got better and was showing him all summer,” Syquia explained. “She showed him the first weeks here and then she was about to go on vacation, so she called me and asked if I wanted to take him. I showed him yesterday and he was second in two classes and sixth in the derby warm-up, and then he was awesome today.”

“He is beautiful; he has a beautiful cadence, a lovely canter, a big stride, and good lead changes,” Syquia described. “He is really a lot of fun to ride and he is a very good student because switching riders like this at the last minute and then asking him to perform like that is a lot.”

Commenting on his rounds, Syquia detailed, “The first round he was exceptional. He came right in and he just got better as we went. We just started flowing and he was spectacular. He had a little rub at the wall, but he just kept going and then he was lovely coming down over the last oxer. He was really good.”

Syquia has his own training and sales business called Eurasia, Inc. and does both the hunters and jumpers.  He explained that the busy schedule does not usually allow him to stay in Vermont for the full six-week circuit, but that he tries for a couple of weeks each year.

“I have been coming to this show for quite a few years and I love it here,” he stated. “I usually come at least for week one and then I try to come back for week six. I have other obligations in the Midwest, so I have to go back and forth. It is a lovely event; they try to do a really good job and it is beautiful scenery.”

“It is excellent for them to have this $15,000 derby,” Syquia added. “It is actually my first time riding in it, so this was a good way to kick it off.”

“Maybe I should retire now,” he laughed. “I have not won any others derbies. I haven’t done that many of them, so it is pretty exciting. I think I will start looking for them more.”

Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is 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 11.  The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, are held each Thursday.

Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday.  Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children.  All of the gate receipts benefit the a number of Manchester area non-profit organizations, including the Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Second Chance Animal Center.

For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont.  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).  For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: info@vt-summerfestival.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.

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