Marylisa Leffler and Ufonia P Win $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby in Vermont

Marylisa Leffler and Ufonia P jump to victory in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby on August 1 at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.  Photo by David Mullinix Photography
Marylisa Leffler and Ufonia P jump to victory in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby on August 1 at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo by David Mullinix Photography

East Dorset, Vermont — Marylisa Leffler of Brookeville, MD, took home her second hunter derby win in as many weeks at the Vermont Summer Festival, riding Ufonia P to the top finish in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby on Friday, August, 1. After finishing fourth with Ufonia P in the previous week’s derby, Leffler jumped to the top of the class this Thursday with scores of 86 and 88 for an overall high score of 174 from judges Lucie McKinney and Kim Williams. Ufonia P is a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Onze Fons, owned by Paulexi LLC and bred by H.J. Praas.

Leffler has had Ufonia P in her barn for the last two years, where she’s made an excellent adult amateur hunter mount for Leffler’s brother-in-law. She only began campaigning Ufonia P in the hunter derbies since the beginning of the year in an effort to make the horse more attractive to potential buyers. Prior to her success as a hunter mount, Ufonia P could be found galloping through the timers in grand prix classes.

“She’s a little older now, so we decided to move her down a level,” Leffler explained. “She took the transition (from jumpers to hunters) really easily. When we got her, she’d never done anything like this before. Over the last year and a half, she’s caught on very quickly and figured it out.”

The only adjustment Leffler had to make was to try to contain her own excitement during the handy round, which she thought Ufonia P may have mistaken for the speedy jump-off rounds she used to lay down during her jumper days. The loveable grey mare has quickly taken to the hunter ring and has made herself a barn favorite.  “She’s such a blast,” Leffler beamed. “She really takes her time in the air over the jumps. And she’s got these really big ears; when she looks at the jump they pop right up. She’s one of the sweetest horses. She tries to give you 100%, and she has a special place in her heart for me.”

Leffler was pleased with Ufonia P’s rounds on Friday evening, noting that the addition of bright yellow kayaks to the first round course didn’t faze her horse at all.  “In the handy round, she turned back really tightly everywhere and went really well,” Leffler noted. “She gets from place to place very smoothly, so once you get that good flow it works out pretty well.”

While Leffler leaves East Dorset to judge the USEF Pony Finals in Lexington, KY, her Rolling Acres Farm clients will return for the sixth and final week of the Vermont Summer Festival, which runs from August 5 – 10 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT. Competition for week five continues Saturday, August 2, with the week’s feature event, the $30,000 Manchester & the Mountains Grand Prix.

Marylisa Leffler and Ufonia P, pictured with groom Ishmael Fuentes, celebrate their win in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby on August 1 at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.  Photo by David Mullinix Photography
Marylisa Leffler and Ufonia P, pictured with groom Ishmael Fuentes, celebrate their win in the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby on August 1 at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo by David Mullinix Photography

The Vermont Summer Festival hosts a full schedule of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition for six weeks at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT. Each Thursday, the $10,000 Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, takes place in the grand prix ring. The week’s feature event, the $30,000 grand prix, takes place every Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Competition culminates with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Saturday, August 9.

Highlighting the hunter competitors, the weekly $5,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby series takes place on Thursday evening, concluding with the $15,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Land Rover Driving Experience, in week six.

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 NEHJA Hunter Derby - August 1, 2014
Rider   Horse   Owner   Round 1   Round 2   Total
1.  Marylisa Leffler     Ufonia P     Paulexi     86  88  174
2.  McKayla Langmeier   Maraschino   Linda Langmeier  82.5  87  169.5
3.  Natlie D'Elia   Fanfare   Natalie D'Elia  85  79  164
4.  Melissa Dander     Hannah     Matt Couzens  83  80  163
5.  McKayla Langmeier  Valencia  Olivia Rosenberg  77.5  78  155.5
6.  Lauren Schweppe  Sandrimo  Meadowood Farm LLC  77     75  152
7.  Julie Coles   Cobalt   Julie Coles  82     69.5  151.5
8.  Victoria Imbriglio  Counting Stars  Dragonfly Stables Inc.     81  69  150
9.  Hayley Anderson  Calico Blue  Hayley Anderson  79  66  145
10.  Victoria Imbriglio  Raziel de Cor  Tara Francis  76  78  143




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