East Dorset, Vermont — Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, NJ, rode Marengo to victory in the $3,000 Open NAL Speed held Thursday, August 14, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
“This horse is naturally quick. Speed classes are his specialty,” said Dobbs, 20, who just returned to the Vermont Summer Festival for the sixth and final week of competition after representing the United States in Nations’ Cup competition in Dublin, Ireland.
The course, designed by Pierre Jolicoeur, offered plenty of options for riders to save time if their horses were willing and able. Marengo, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by The Dobbs Group, certainly answered the challenge.
“It rode as it walked. It was a great course that allowed me to leave out strides and take some inside turns,” Dobbs explained. “It’s nice having a horse I know has no problem doing that. As long as I give him a good ride he’s always one of the fastest. He’s as competitive as I am.”
Holly Orlando of West Palm Beach, FL, finished closest to Dobbs after galloping Pugnax through the finish line in 59.07 seconds without touching a rail. But her time at the top of the leader board was short-lived when, next in the ring, Dobbs and Marengo posted their clean round in a time of 56.62 seconds.
Dobbs is no stranger to the winner’s circle at the Vermont Summer Festival. During week one of competition, she and Marengo claimed victory in the $5,500 Open Speed on Thursday, July 10, and then won the $10,000 Polo Ralph Lauren/Lilly Pulitzer Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, the following day. Dobbs later won the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix the following Sunday aboard Marlo.
“My experience this summer has been a dream come true. It’s been non-stop coming back and forth. The traveling caught up with me after Dublin but I’m so grateful for my trainers who have been traveling with me,” said Dobbs who is coached by Missy Clark at North Run Stables. “I just feel really lucky that I’ve been able to have these experiences.”
This year marked Dobbs’ first time representing the U.S. in international competition. She also took a short leave of absence from the Vermont Summer Festival during week three to contest the Nations’ Cup in Hickstead, England, in late July.
“I’ve really gotten a good taste of international competition and will certainly continue in that direction. It’s why we do it,” Dobbs said. “I love it, but it always feels good to come back home and compete here at a show I know so well.”
Thursday’s $3,000 Open NAL Speed is part of the North American League which offers a year-long Series in six divisions—Children’s Jumper, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper, Open Jumper, Children’s Hunter, and Adult Hunter presented by Practical Horseman. The Series includes classes held at hundreds of horse shows across the United States and Canada. Finals for all divisions are held at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, PA, in October. Riders need not be members of the NAL to compete in the qualifying classes, but only members earn points toward the year-end finals.
Competition at the Vermont Summer Festival is held daily Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. and running until approximately 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children Wednesday through Saturday. On ‘Grand Prix Sunday’, admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children. All gate proceeds are donated to the Friends Foundation for MEMS, benefiting programs in the local Elementary & Middle Schools.
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. Visit the Vermont Summer Festival website for more information, including full results.
$3,000 NAL Open Speed – Final Results
|1||Hillary Dobbs||Sussex, NJ||Marengo||56.62|
|2||Holly Orlando||West Palm Beach, FL||Pugnax||59.07|
|4||Sulu Rose-Reed||Manakin, VA||Leandro||59.85|
|5||Sean Crooks||Snohomish, WA||Mikado||62.25|