East Dorset, Vermont — Callie Seaman of Greenwich, CT, won the Platinum Performance USEF Talent Search on Thursday, August 9, during the fifth week of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival. The largest ‘AA’ rated hunter-jumper horse show held in New England, the Vermont Summer Festival is a six-week competition taking place from July 11 to August 19, 2007, in East Dorset, VT.
The two-phase USEF Talent Search saw 16 riders competing in a jumping phase followed by testing on the flat. Seaman was clear in the jumping phase riding Oleg Cassini, a horse she has owned for the past three years. The competitors were not told of their order of standing before returning for the flat phase, which called for extended trot and canter as well as counter canter, but Seaman said that she had a good feeling.
"I had a really nice round, and my horse was good. I thought I had a solid round and I was hoping to win," said Seaman, 18, who trains with Val Renihan at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY. "Usually when you jump first and know you had a good round, then you come back and fight for it in the flat phase."
As she had hoped, Seaman did win the battle with her closest competition coming from Lauren North of Dalton, MA, who placed second riding Carpe Diem and third place finisher, Jennifer Elrod of Port Murray, NJ, riding Dinard. The victory marked Seaman’s ninth USEF Talent Search win, putting her one away from earning her silver medal.
Giving credit to her mount, Seaman explained that Oleg Cassini pulled through for her, especially considering that the 10-year-old bay gelding had been out sick a week earlier.
"We gave him six days off, and this is him, fresh out of his stall, ready to go with no preparation. He is a superstar," said Seaman who is taking one year off from her studies to concentrate on her riding before attending Duke University. "He’s the sweetest horse. He loves attention and is very spoiled – we give him lots of peppermints. He has the greatest personality, and he is an easy horse to take care of."
Seaman, who is showing weeks four and five, was competing at the Vermont Summer Festival for the first time. Of the experience, she said, "I love it here, I think it is really cute, and the show runs very smoothly. There are so many good restaurants, and there is really good shopping. It is just a nice atmosphere."
Competition continues at the Vermont Summer Festival on Friday with the $10,000 Giorgio Armani Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets. For the first time, the Vermont Summer Festival is pleased to offer live video streaming of all five competition rings for those who cannot attend the horse show in person. Visit www.livebroadcast.tv or www.vt-summerfestival.com for more information.
Now in its 14th year at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, Vermont, the Vermont Summer Festival more than of $750,000 in prize money throughout the six weeks of competition, making it the richest sporting event in the state. Each week features a $10,000 Friday Open Welcome Stake, sponsored by Manchester Designer Outlets, and a $30,000 Sunday Grand Prix. The grand finale of the six-week Vermont Summer Festival is the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 19. For more information on the Vermont Summer Festival, please visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.