July 22, 2009
For Immediate Release
Lauren Fisher for Starting Gate Communications
MEDIA CONTACT: 802-362-9023 www.startinggate.ca
Christi McQuaker and Darragh Kenny Lead Circuit Award Standings in Vermont
“Christi McQuaker, shown here riding Allura, currently leads the hunter division of the $10,000 Canadian Circuit Awards, sponsored by Ariat International, Inc., at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT..” Photo credit – David Mullinix Photography. Photograph may be used one time only in relation to the above news item. For high resolution photograph, please email Jennifer Ward at Starting Gate Communications.
East Dorset, Vermont — For the fourth consecutive year, the Vermont Summer Festival proudly offers $10,000 in bonus prize money to Canadian riders who travel south to show at the six-week hunter-jumper competition held from July 1 to August 9 at the Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
The $10,000 Canadian Circuit Awards, sponsored by Ariat International, Inc., are presented to the top Canadian jumper and hunter competitors. Cash bonuses go to the top two Canadian hunter competitors and the top two Canadian show jumping riders based on points tabulated throughout the six-week horse show. Introduced in 2006, the Canadian Circuit Awards were designed to thank Canadian competitors for choosing to spend their summer show season at the Vermont Summer Festival.
Christi McQuaker of Schomberg, ON, is currently leading in the hunter division with 132 points garnered in several divisions with multiple horses. Westmalle, owned by Gryphon Farms, has won numerous classes in the Schooling and Baby Green Hunter divisions while Allura has been spectacular in the Regular Working Hunter division.
Lily Russell of Bolton, ON, who trains with McQuaker, is standing second in the hunter rankings with 22 points. She also competes with Allura, her nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, in the Amateur Owner Hunter division.
McQuaker, who operates Gryphon Farms with her husband and fellow competitor, Mac McQuaker, noted that, “Allura can be a temperamental mare at times but when she is good, she is great.”
Catherine Locker of Hamilton, ON, another of the McQuaker’s students, is leading the standings in the show jumping division of the $10,000 Canadian Circuit Awards at the half-way mark. Locker has ridden Paddington, owned by Iron Horse Farm, to multiple victories in the Children’s Jumper division to earn a total of 42 points.
Christi McQuaker is 12 points behind her student in the show jumping standings, having earned points with both Paddington and Jackson Park for a total of 30.
The McQuaker’s have become regular competitors at the Vermont Summer Festival and, this year, brought seven clients and eight horses to compete.
“It is a fun town, a fun horse show, the scenery is beautiful, and the people here are super nice,” said Christi McQuaker. The couple’s two children, Kieley, 6, and Addison, 2, also made the trip to Vermont with their parents.
The McQuaker’s are hoping to improve on last year’s success in the $10,000 Canadian Circuit Awards, sponsored by Ariat International, Inc., when Christi McQuaker was the Reserve Hunter Champion while Mac McQuaker was the Reserve Jumper Champion.
Points, which are based on rider performance only, are given for any top six placing in hunter and jumper classes. Riders must be Canadian citizens and hold a valid Equine Canada membership card to be eligible.
“This is the third year we’ve offered the Canadian Circuit Awards,” said Ruth Lacey, Director of Marketing for the Vermont Summer Festival. “Since its inception, it’s become a fun way for Canadian riders to earn cash bonuses and enjoy some friendly international competition. We’re very happy to see it gaining popularity, especially given that Ariat has made a generous three-year commitment to sponsoring the Canadian Circuit Awards.”
Ariat International distributor, Oak Manor Saddlery, is on-site throughout the six-week Vermont Summer Festival to assist exhibitors with all of their clothing and apparel needs. Ariat was founded with one simple objective: to provide the most technologically advanced riding boots for the world's top equestrian athletes. Today, Ariat is the leading performance footwear and apparel brand for equestrian athletes around the world and is the official apparel supplier to the United States Equestrian Federation.
At the half-way point in this year’s six-week Vermont Summer Festival, Darragh Kenny of Ireland is dominating the race for the $10,000 Open Jumper High Score Awards, sponsored by Sir Ruly, Inc. The Vermont Summer Festival Leading Open Jumper High Score Award winner will take home a cash bonus of $5,000. Second place earns $3,000 and third place receives $2,000.
With an impressive 186 points to his credit, Kenny is on track to claim the $5,000 bonus at the conclusion of this year’s Vermont Summer Festival. The winner since its 2007 inception, Jimmy Torano of Fort Lauderdale, FL, stands in second place with 132 points while Kate Levy of Wellington, FL, is in third position with 91 points.
Riders earn points by placing in the top eight of Level 7 Open Speed classes, Level 8 Open Jumper classes, and the Open Jumper Welcome Stake classes. Points are awarded to the top 12 finishers in Sunday Grand Prix classes. Each of these classes is held weekly with 20 points going to the winner.
“It’s always nice to have the bonus,” said Torano. “Since the owners usually get the day-to-day prize money, it’s great to have that extra incentive for the riders.”
The Vermont Summer Festival continues with the fourth week of competition, the Valley Classic Horse Show, held July 22-26 and highlighted by the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, Presented by Hand Motors, on Sunday, July 26.
Running through to August 9, 2009, the six-week Vermont Summer Festival is the largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show in New England, as well as the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont, offering more than $750,000 in prize money. Visit our website for more information on the 2009 Vermont Summer Festival, e-mail or call (802) 362-9023.
$10,000 Sir Ruly Inc. Open Jumper High Score Awards
||Fort Lauderdale, FL
||Long Valley, NJ