East Dorset, Vermont — In Friday’s $10,000 Escada Welcome Stake, Joe Fargis of Middleburg, VA, and Diams III proved that age does not matter in top show jumping competition. The 59-year-old rider and 16-year-old selle francais mare led the victory gallop over 30 other entries. The six-week Vermont Summer Festival hunter/jumper horse show runs until August 19 and features the world’s top equestrian athletes competing amid the picturesque Green Mountains.
Designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio of Red Hook, NY, the course featured 11 numbered obstacles. If riders were successful in leaving all the jumps up and coming home within the time allowed in the first round, they immediately advanced to the timed jump-off. Eleven riders were able to accomplish this feat to move on to the shortened jump-off course, and five of those were again clear.
The early leader was Canada’s Erynn Ballard riding Sorbette. The newly acquainted horse-rider combination completed the jump-off with four faults in a time of 36.436 seconds. The lead changed hands when Hillary Dobbs piloted her first double clear round on Corlett, who was faster as well in a time of 35.770 seconds. Tim Hooker and Sirius then brought the leading time down to 35.088 seconds. Four horses later, Louis Jacobs and Kachina overtook top spot with a time of 35.014 seconds.
Dobbs poised another threat later in the competition riding Marengo with a clear round in 34.817 seconds. But the young rider could not rest easy with Fargis following her into the ring. With Diams III, a horse he has ridden for seven years, Fargis was fault-free to move on to the jump-off. The Olympic gold medalist sliced every turn with exact precision and Diams III was quick in the air to cross the timers over two seconds faster than Dobbs, in 32.671 seconds.
Of his extremely quick horse, Fargis said, “If I can control all the little turns and distances and everything, she’s just naturally faster.”
This is Fargis’ first time showing at the Harold Beebe Farm location of the Vermont Summer Festival, where the show has been held for the past 14 years.
“I’m enjoying everything in Vermont. I didn’t enjoy the rain, but that’s no one’s fault. The rain made the footing better today, so every cloud has a silver lining,” he smiled.
Final Results: $10,000 Escada Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets
- Diams III, Joe Fargis: 0/0/32.671
- Marengo, Hillary Dobbs: 0/0/34.817
- Kachina, Lou Jacobs: 0/0/35.014
- Sirius, Tim Hooker: 0/0/35.088
- Corlett, Hillary Dobbs: 0/0/35.770
- Rockville, Sharn Wordley: 0/4/33.758
- Sorbette, Erynn Ballard: 0/4/36.436
- BMC Chicago, Lauren Sturges: 0/4/37.432
- Sir, Julie Welles: 0/4/37.439
- Mr. Flanagan, Sharn Wordley: 0/8/33.228
- Primo, Jonathan McCrea: 0/8/36.840
- Epson Pierreville, Sharn Wordley: 4/62.315
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.