East Dorset, Vermont — Alissa Kinsey’s last minute decision to ride in the $2,500 Marshall and Sterling Adult Jumper Classic at the Vermont Summer Festival, held at the Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT, resulted in a victory and a new pair of Veredus jumping boots, courtesy of CM Hadfields Saddlery.
Many of her fellow competitors know Kinsey of Fort Myers, FL, as a “one girl show.” In addition to riding her horses, she also grooms them, transports them, trains them, and sponsors all of her own equestrian endeavors. While it’s not easy, she noted that it does make winning that much sweeter.
She and Grisset, her 11-year-old Holsteiner mare, sauntered into the arena, first in the class as a late entry, and made the course look easy. Only five other horse-rider combinations managed to post clear rounds and only two of those were double-clear efforts. But no one could catch Kinsey and Grisset as hey achieved the fastest jump-off time of 30.14 seconds.
“She’s a jumping machine,” Kinsey said of Grisset. “She’s a sleeper in the ring. She doesn’t look like a horse you’d have to worry about, but she is so fast.”
Grisset also flaunted her scope and good sense throughout the course and excelled through a tricky set of questions that ran in a line from corner to corner toward the in-gate in the first round. This vertical-to-oxer bounce, followed by three strides to an oxer, then three more strides to a vertical-to-vertical bounce, caught many riders.
“You just had to jump it with a plan and stick to it,” Kinsey said. “I didn’t mind going first in the class because if I watch everyone else ride, I start to over-think things and change my plans.”
Ellie Knight of Marlborough, CT, and S & L Rascal almost caught Kinsey and Grisset. With a clear round in a time of 30.70 seconds, they finished in second place. Elizabeth Crabtree of Pound Ridge, NY, and La Fong also finished their jump-off clean in 36.03 seconds for third place.
Kinsey found Grisset in Germany about a year and a half ago. Though the talented mare seemed “unattainable” at first, Kinsey worked a deal with the horse’s previous owner, who is also a friend, and has enjoyed success in the adult amateur jumpers at multiple shows this year.
Kinsey set foot at the Vermont Summer Festival for the first time ever only an hour prior to winning the $2,500 Marshall and Sterling Adult Jumper Classic. She is spending the summer in Lyme, CT, at a friend’s farm with four of her horses and decided at the last minute to drive three and a half hours to the Vermont Summer Festival. Needless to say, she had a positive first impression of the show.
“I really like it here. It’s a lot more people-friendly than a lot of other horse shows I’ve been to,” Kinsey said. “I thought the footing was excellent too and that’s always really important. I’ll definitely come back, and not just because I won!”
During the year, more than 2,400 riders from coast to coast compete at over 800 Marshall & Sterling League member horse shows to earn a spot at the Finals. Since its inception in 1991, the Marshall & Sterling League Finals have provided the goal that has fueled the competitive spirit of child and adult riders at all levels of competition.
Sunday’s $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. 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 School.
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.