East Dorset, Vermont — In perfect weather at the scenic Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, Vermont, the Vermont Summer Festival held its first $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets. The Vermont Summer Festival is a six-week hunter/jumper competition that runs until August 19 and features the world’s top equestrian athletes competing amid the picturesque Green Mountains.
New Zealander Sharn Wordley who is based in Ocala, FL, placed first and second in the Welcome Stake, while Hillary Dobbs finished third.
Twenty-seven entries went to post in Friday’s class, which was designed by Olympic Silver Medalist Michel Vaillancourt of Canada. As the very first entry in the class, Wordley riding Epson Pierreville, a 15-year-old French-bred gelding, were clean in the first round. They advanced immediately to their jump-off round where they put in another quick, efficient trip. Wordley was clean in a time of 35.993 seconds, which would prove unbeatable. Wordley has had Epson Pierreville for two years and co-owns him with Filip Amran.
“He’s a great horse, and he wins a lot for me. He gives 150% every time he jumps,” he remarked.
Wordley noted that he will also compete in Sunday’s $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix.
“I didn’t go that fast with him today,” he revealed. “He’s still got two or three seconds faster than that. I kept it a little reserved for the grand prix on Sunday.”
The next horse to advance to the jump-off was Hillary Dobbs on Corlett, owned by The Dobbs Group. They were clear in the jump-off even after Dobbs lost a stirrup, but were slower in 37.351 seconds.
Wordley and his second mount Rockville, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood, rode out of the 17th position in the starting order. They finished double clear in a speedy time of 36.220 seconds, which slotted them into second place. Wordley was very pleased with the young horse’s ability.
“Normally, I have to do a few classes with him before the grand prix. That was big enough, and he went straight in and jumped it,” he said with a smile.
The only other entry to complete the jump-off was Sydney, ridden by Ramiro Quintana and owned by Kathryn Quirk of Chalfont, PA. They crossed the timers in 38.020 seconds with eight faults.
For his top placings today, Wordley has a head start in the run for the grand circuit championship. Points earned go towards the $10,000 Open Jumper High Score Award, presented by Sir Ruly, Inc.
Wordley is competing at the Vermont Summer Festival for the first time this year, and was quite pleased to have such a good start. He plans to stay for the entire six weeks and has proven early on that he will be a top competitor in coming weeks.
Final Results – $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
1. Epson Pierreville, Sharn Wordley (FL/NZL): 0/0/35.993 seconds
2. Rockville, Sharn Wordley (FL/NZL): 0/0/36.220
3. Corlett, Hillary Dobbs (NJ): 0/0/37.351
4. Sydney, Ramiro Quintana (ARG): 0/8/38.020
5. Marengo, Hillary Dobbs (NJ): 4/69.250
6. Sorbette, Erynn Ballard (CAN): 4/69.332
7. Ormsby Hill, Jimmy Torano (FL): 4/70.883
8. Magdaline, Beth Underhill (CAN): 4/73.661
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.