East Dorset, Vermont — The first of six weeks of competition in the 2007 Vermont Summer Festival is underway at the scenic Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, Vermont. The hunter/jumper equestrian competition runs until August 19 and features the world’s top equestrian athletes competing amid the picturesque Green Mountains.
During Thursday’s competition, which included hunters, jumpers and equitation, the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search class was a big draw. Over 50 riders contested the class, which included a first round over fences and a flat phase.
The winner of the class was 16-year-old Sara Green of Sherborne, MA. Green rode Why Not Jack, a 14-year-old former grand prix jumper that she has owned for a year. “I thought there were a lot of good rounds,” she said of the class. “They didn’t build [the course] too big, which was nice for the first week. There were a lot of long, bending lines, so it was good to practice that.”
Green trains with Christina Schlusemeyer and Bob Braswell of Quiet Hill Farm and has shown multiple times at the Vermont Summer Festival. She noted that, “every year, there are improvements.” She added, “This year they have shade for the horses and an extra schooling ring. They fixed the slope on the grand prix schooling ring too.”
In addition to her win in the Talent Search, Green also won the hunter phase of the WIHS Equitation Classic. The jumper phase will be held on Friday to determine the overall winner of the class.
In the grand prix ring, the NAL Open Jumper Speed class offered $3,000 in prize money. The first place check went to 19-year-old Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, NJ, on Marengo. Dobbs was clear over the course in a scorching fast time of 52.366 seconds. Dobbs was more than two seconds faster than the second place competitor, Gene Frank on Barnabee. Third place went to Canadian Show Jumping Team member Erynn Ballard riding Sorbette.
Marengo, a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding, is Dobbs’ newest mount. Her trainers, Missy Clark and John Brennan who are based in Vermont, found him with Olympic medalist Norman Dello Joio. “He’s electric, careful and very fast,” Dobbs described. “I’m really confident on him. I can go fast around the course and know he’s going to take good care of me.” The pair has shown in the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers since this winter, but Vermont marked only their second time competing in an NAL Open Speed class.
“Today’s course was nice. There were a lot of fast riders (in the class), so I knew I had to go pretty fast,” Dobbs said. “I had a plan for him, and we stuck with it. He’s very fast across the ground. I knew if I gave him a good ride, we’d put in a good time.”
Final Results – $3,000 NAL Open Speed
1. Marengo, Hillary Dobbs (NJ): 0/52.366
2. Barnabee, Gene Frank (PA): 0/54.555
3. Sorbette, Erynn Ballard (CAN): 0/55.089
4. Sitah, Kirk Webby (NJ): 0/55.184
5. Rocketman, Alan Korotkin (FL): 0/55.495
6. Gentle R, Erynn Ballard (CAN): 0/57.012
7. Cajun, Amanda Flint (NJ): 0/58.574
8. Sir, Julie Welles (CT): 0/59.792
Those who placed in the NAL Open Speed earned points towards the circuit championship, the $10,000 Open Jumper High Score Award, sponsored by Sir Ruly, Inc.
On Friday, the highlighted class will be the $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome Stake, sponsored 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.
New England’s largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show, the Vermont Summer Festival offers over $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event in the state of Vermont. For more information on the 2007 Vermont Summer Festival including complete results, please visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.