Chicago Equestrian - News, Events, Contacts and Marketing Services

Rachel Kennedy and Timberline Earn Emotional Win in $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby

Rachel Kennedy and Timberline Earn Emotional Win in 
$2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby
For Immediate Release
Mill Spring, NC - July 8, 2016 - Rachel Kennedy of Brookeville, MD, and Timberline, owned by Sarah Brooks, captured an emotional win in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). Kennedy and Timberline earned a two round score of 178 to take the victory ahead of Hayley Iannotti of Wellington, FL, and Vermeer, owned by Pumpkin's Patch Farm, LLC, who finished with a score of 173. Steve Heinecke of Charlotte, NC, piloted Hercules, owned by Freedom Group, to round out the top three finishers and received a 172.5. Competition at TIEC continues tomorrow with the $5,000 Pony Hunter Derby in the George H. Morris Arena before the start of the $130,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 3* at 8:00 p.m.
Rachel Kennedy and Timberline

Kennedy and Timberline collected a score of 89 in the first round of competition, which placed them second behind Heinecke and his mount, Pamina, who earned a 90 moving into the handy. Timberline, who excels in the handy portion of competition, completed an effortless round filled with smooth roll back turns and an athletic and adjustable presence, which ultimately secured the win, as the pair earned a repeat score of 89.
"Andy [Christiansen] does a great job course designing and it was very flowing. Basically all I had to do was find the spots and that horse will do the rest for me," said Kennedy. "Timberline, he's a horse that can do about anything. It's my job to just guide him in the right direction."
Hayley Iannotti and Vermeer
In the final round of competition, Kennedy began to feel the pressure, as there was a strong chance that with a solid ride, the pair would ensure the victory. She added, "I typically just direct him and then stick with my spot or move up and a lot of times, you get so anxious, but I didn't want to make a mistake in there."
Kennedy and Timberline have cultivated an incredible relationship and the duo have accumulated a number of top finishes, but today's win turned into both a memorable and special class, as Timberline will likely move on to a completely amateur-focused career with owner Sarah Brooks.
Steve Heinecke and Hercules
"His first derby win was in 2010 in State College and he's been winning ever since. That's all I do with him is the derbies. His owner Sarah Brooks does the Adult Hunter and he's great for both of us," explained Kennedy.
"I always say that Timberline is like my secret boyfriend," she laughed. "He makes the world better, no matter what, if you sit on that horse the world just becomes a better place," she said, as she reflected on the duo's career together.
It slowly began to hit Kennedy that their win today may have capped an incredible derby career together, which has been a joyous journey for all involved including horse, rider, and owner. 
Rachel Kennedy and Timberline in their presentation ceremony for the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby with Ben Phillips.
"We've thought about doing him in another derby in the fall, but I want him to go out as a winner," said Kennedy, as she began tearing up, reminiscing on the duo's success together. "He's seventeen years old and I want to make sure that he's able to still show for his mother Sarah. The horses always come first for me and this was just a special day."
"He totally knows when we're doing the derby and will jump pretty much anything. That's what makes him so special. He got two scores of 89 and I just don't know if you can top that. If I let him do it forever he would," she concluded.
Competition at TIEC continues tomorrow with the $5,00 Pony Hunter Derby in the George H. Morris Arena, kicking the competition off at 8:00 a.m. The $130,000 Wellington Equestrian Realty Grand Prix CSI 3* will begin at 8:00 p.m. while gates are set to open at 6:00 p.m. For more information about TIEC and to see a full list of results, please visit
Final Results $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby 
Place/Horse/Rider/Owner/First Round/Second Round/Final Score
1. TIMBERLINE, RACHEL KENNEDY, Sarah Brooks: 89/89/178
2. VERMEER, HAYLEY IANNOTTI, Pumpkin's Patch Farm, LLC: 88/85/173
3. HERCULES, STEVE HEINECKE, Freedom Group: 85.5/87/172.5
4. FONDANT, BLYTHE MARANO, Virginia Ingram: 85/83/168
5. DAMOCLES, DANIEL GEITNER, Janet Peterson: 75/88/163
7. LIMOUSINE, MORGANE QUALLS, Julie Burton: 76/81/157
8. DICAPRIO, PAIGE WILSON, Paige Wilson: 84/68/152
9. GERICO, MARISA TOMASSETTI, Equus Show Horses, LLC: 82/69/151
10. SAMBA SENSATION, DANIEL GEITNER, Lindsey Ayres: 86/64/150
11. PAMINA, STEVE HEINECKE, Sarah Laffoday: 90/50/139
12. PIA LENA, SARAH MILLIREN, Virginia Stearns: 78/46/124
Photo Credit ©LizCrawleyPhotography. These photos may only be used once in relation to this press release.