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Thomas Cervelli and Alissa Kinsey Win NAL Classics in Vermont

July 09, 2012 By: janwest Category: General

East Dorset, Vermont – Thomas Cervelli of Hanover, MA, won the $1,500 NAL/WIHS Children’s Jumper Classic on Saturday, July 7, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. The six-week equestrian competition is running at Harold Beebe Farm from July 4 through August 12, 2012.

Thomas Cervelli and Contino 5 won the $1,500 NAL/WIHS Children’s Jumper Classic on Saturday, July 7, at the Vermont Summer Festival. (Photo by David Mullinix Photography)

No stranger to show jumping, Cervelli has been riding since he was seven. He is coached by his mother, Phyllis Cervelli of Holly Hill Farm, who has been an instructor and rider for more than three decades.

“I first got into the sport through my family,” the 16-year-old explained. “My mom is a trainer, so I was always around horses growing up. It just seemed natural for me to get involved.”

Cervelli rode Contino 5 to double clear rounds to take the blue ribbon. His jump-off time of 30.46 seconds was more than a second faster than second-place finisher Daniella Carissimo riding Lancelot, who also posted a double clear performance.

“I’ve only been riding him for about a month now,” said Cervelli of the 18-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by the 7 Group. “He was a previous grand prix horse and is moving down the levels now, but he still has lots of miles left. He’s very talented and is the best horse I have ever ridden.”

Cervelli also finished sixth aboard his own horse, Universal, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding.

Saturday’s $1,500 NAL/WIHS Children’s Jumper Classic acted as the first qualifying event for children hoping to earn a starting position in the $15,000 Vermont Celebration Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic, which will be held Saturday, August 11, during the final week of competition.

The $2,500 NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Jumper Classic, also held on Saturday, July 7, was the first qualifying event for the adult amateur riders. The win went to Alissa Kinsey of Danville, NH, and her horse Grisset, a 15-year-old Hannoverian mare she purchased five years ago.

Alissa Kinsey and Grisset won the $2,500 NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Jumper Classic during opening week at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. (Photo by David Mullinix Photography)

“She was a little fresh,” said Kinsey of their performance. “She was completely wild in the first round, but it paid off in the jump-off because I was pretty much able to just let her go.”

Go they did, stopping the jump-off clock in 27.08 seconds, more than two-and-a-half seconds faster than Elizabeth Kirby and her horse Amelia, who finished second with a clear round in a time of 29.71 seconds.

Kinsey is a regular face in the Vermont Summer Festival winner’s circle. In 2011, she was the Adult Amateur Jumper High Circuit Champion after winning four out of five NAL/WIHS Adult Amateur Jumper Classics and placing 10th in the $15,000 Vermont Celebration children’s/Adult Jumper Classic.

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. New for 2012, the first five Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival will feature a $30,000 Grand Prix. During week six, the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held on Saturday, August 11. The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, will now be held each Thursday.

The hugely popular $5,000 3’3″ Hunter Derby will also be held each Thursday for the first five weeks. Based on the tremendous success of the hunter derbies during their inaugural year in 2011, Vermont Summer Festival show organizers have added a $15,000 Hunter Derby for week six, sponsored by Vermont-based equestrian luggage manufacturer, Oughton Limited.

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: or visit