East Dorset, Vermont — The third week of the Vermont Summer Festival, a six-week hunter/jumper competition running through August 19, began on Wednesday, July 25, with action in five rings. Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival attracts the world’s top equestrian athletes to its competition grounds set amid the picturesque Green Mountains.
In the grand prix ring, Hillary Simpson of Southern Pines, NC, and Shane were quick and clear to win the $1,000 Level 6 Jumper, Wednesday’s featured show jumping competition. Simpson was the ninth of 13 entries to tackle the course set by Canada’s David Ballard, the course designer at the 1999 Pan American Games. If riders were clear in the first round, they advanced immediately to the jump-off. Six riders managed to advance, with four of those posting double clear scores. Before Simpson, the leading time in the jump-off had been 37.13 seconds set by Kari Martin of Fulshear, TX, on Colette.
Simpson made all of the inside turns in the jump-off and, despite a few playful bucks from her mount, was clear and quick in a time of 35.91 seconds to take the lead. None who followed were able to catch her.
Simpson, who has recently returned to the competition arena following a five-year absence, has been riding Shane, a seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, for three months. She was a very successful junior rider and trained with her mother, Christina Schlusemeyer, of Quiet Hill Farm.
“I’m just starting to go out on my own again. I was an amateur before, and now I’m a professional,” she confirmed. “I’m slowly deciding what I’m doing, and Shane is the common denominator between me and my mother. I’m setting my own pace and deciding what I want to do. It’s nice to come back with that perspective and be able to pick and choose how I want to do things.”
Simpson and Shane have competed in the 7 & 8-Year-Old Young Jumper classes this summer, and she plans to compete in the finals when they are held in Kentucky this September.
“Here in Vermont, I’ve been doing the Level 6, and we’re going to move up to the Open Speed just to challenge him a little bit,” she added.
Of her talented young horse, she said, “He’s got so much heart, and he’s super careful. He’s bouncy, really light and well-balanced, and he always has his ears up. He’s different than any horse I’ve had before. We’re taking it slowly and giving him good, confident rides. Day in and day out, he’s happy to come and do his job. He’s special, and I really, really enjoy him.”
The third week of the Vermont Summer Festival continues on Thursday with the highlight in the grand prix ring being the NAL Open Jumper Speed class.
Final Results: $1,000 Level 6 Jumpers
- Shane, Hillary Simpson: 0/0/35.917
- Colette, Kari Martin: 0/0/37.138
- Perle JRF, Julie Welles: 0/0/37.253
- Great Pleasure, Holly Orlando: 0/0/37.505
- Contino, Juliana Weber: 0/4/35.682
- Vala de Plata, Betsy Joyce: 0/16/53.940
- Salinda, Juliana Weber: 1/78.938
- Quiet Riot, Alex Sherry: 1/78.686
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.