East Dorset, Vermont — In only their second week competing in the open jumper division, Louis Jacobs of East Aurora, NY, and Kachina posted their first victory in Friday’s $10,000 Hickey-Freeman/Bobby Jones Open Jumper Welcome Stake, sponsored by Manchester Designer Outlets. The competition was a highlight on the schedule of week three at the Vermont Summer Festival, a six-week hunter/jumper event featuring the world’s top equestrian athletes running until August 19.
The course was designed by 1999 Pan American Games course designer, David Ballard of Canada, and saw riders immediately advance to the jump-off if they had no faults in the first round. Only three riders were able to master the challenging track for a clear round while eight produced a four-fault score, and four riders were eliminated or retired.
The early leader in the class was Timothy Hooker riding Sirius who produced the fastest four-fault trip of the day, 63.917 seconds, which would hold up for fourth place.
The first clear round of the day belonged to Holly Orlando on Great Pleasure owned by Scott Hakim. Orlando was able to successfully guide Great Pleasure through the triple combination and over the tricky verticals that had caught many of the other riders. In the jump-off, however, she could not keep all of the jumps up. A rail at the liverpool vertical and at the last jump added up to eight faults in a time of 39.698 seconds.
The next to attempt the jump-off was Jacobs on Kachina, a nine-year-old selle francais mare that is 18 hands (six feet tall at the top of the shoulder) in height. “She’s every bit of 18 hands, so she’s a real big girl with a real big step,” Jacobs smiled. “Sometimes when the course gets too handy and there is a lot of turning, it’s a challenge for her. She seemed to rise to the occasion today.”
The big mare had no problem with the formidable jumps, and Jacobs pushed for speed in the shortened course. Despite a long distance to an oxer by the in-gate that rattled the back rail, they finished clear with a time of 37.633 seconds.
The only other clear round came seven trips later when Danielle Torano and Ormsby Hill challenged. This marked only the second day that Torano has ridden Ormsby Hill, a mount usually piloted by her husband, Jimmy, who placed fifth in the class riding Aguila. She was also bravely riding with an injured wrist that she hurt earlier in the morning. In the jump-off, Torano had some wider turns, but finished with no faults and crossed the timers in 38.020 seconds for second place.
Of his first win in the open jumper division with Kachina, Jacobs remarked, “You never know until you try the bigger classes. I obviously had my doubts because I hadn’t tried it (before Vermont), but she seems to be fitting in just fine. This is a logical stepping up place to move from the amateurs to the opens.”
Jacobs was fourth in last Sunday’s $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, presented by Hand Motors, and resolved to be faster and go for victory. “Frankly, I was a little mad at myself for Sunday,” he admitted. “I wish I’d gone for it a little bit more, so I was a bit more determined today to make the most of the moment.”
Hunter and jumper competition continues tomorrow in five rings at the Vermont Summer Festival, with divisions including the Adult, Children’s, and Pony Hunters, as well as classes for the Adult and Children’s Jumpers.
Final Results: $10,000 Hickey-Freeman/Bobby Jones Open Jumper Welcome Stake
- Kachina, Louis Jacobs: 0/0/37.633 seconds
- Ormsby Hill, Danielle Torano: 0/0/38.020
- Great Pleasure, Holly Orlando: 0/8/39.698
- Sirius, Timothy Hooker: 4/63.917
- Aguila, Jimmy Torano: 4/68.858
- Souvenir, Kevin Babington: 4/ 69.892
- Caldam Or, Jimmy Torano: 4/71.328
- Corlett, Hillary Dobbs: 4/72.310
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.