East Dorset, Vermont — Speed was the name of the game in the grand prix ring at the Vermont Summer Festival on Thursday and Jimmy Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, was the fastest to win the $3,000 NAL Open Jumper Speed class riding Marlo. The Vermont Summer Festival, a six-week hunter/jumper competition running until August 19, features the world’s top equestrian athletes competing amid the scenic Green Mountains at Harold Beebe Farm.
A total of 16 entries contested the track set by Canadian David Ballard, who was the course designer of the 1999 Pan American Games. Riders were asked the find the quickest route over 12 numbered obstacles. Faults from rails down were converted into seconds and added to their time for a final score to determine the winner.
The early leader in the class was Richard McGrath on Conterno, who completed the course in 63.173 seconds. His time held until Torano, riding out of the 14th position in the order, entered the ring. Torano made great slices across the jumps and was able to leave strides out throughout the course. This helped him and Marlo, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, stop the timers in 60.832 seconds.
“I left strides out everywhere,” Torano noted. “Even with leaving out the strides, I was still holding up everywhere. People don’t realize it, but her stride is so big, that it makes her so fast. When she wants to, she can win whatever she wants. She’s a mare; she’s just nervous and sensitive. She felt nervous in the schooling area, but she was great in the ring today.”
Torano has owned Marlo for over two years, and has been her rider despite the fact that he originally bought the horse for his wife, Danielle.
Of the course, Torano explained, “There definitely were some option lines. From fence two to three, I think I was actually the only person who did seven strides there. It was nice course,” he confirmed. “We didn’t have everyone showing today that will be in the grand prix on Sunday. He didn’t get too crazy with the size of the course.”
Torano plans to save Marlo for Sunday’s $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, presented by Devoucoux Saddles, noting that the $3,000 NAL Open Jumper Speed victory was a good “prep for Sunday.”
Final Results: $3,000 NAL Open Jumper Speed
- Marlo, Jimmy Torano: 0/60.832
- Conterno, Richard McGrath: 0/63.173
- Quiet Right, Kevin Babington: 0/64.028
- Gael Force, Julie Welles: 0/64.544
- Rocketman, Alan Korotkin: 0/65.088
- Marengo, Hillary Dobbs: 0/65.115
- Ravenno, Tim Malone: 4/63.582=67.582
- Kodachrome, Helen Goddard: 4/63.617=67.617
The North American League (NAL) runs season-long series in six hunter-jumper divisions – Adult Hunter presented by Practical Horseman, Children’s Hunter, Children’s Jumper, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper and Open Jumper Speed. Each series culminates with a championship final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, PA, in October. Riders need not be members of the NAL to compete in any qualifying classes, but only current members earn points toward year-end finals. For more information, including a list of qualifying competitions and results, please see the Ryegate Show Services website.
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.