East Dorset, Vermont — Riders looking for world-class equitation competition during the summer months need not look any further than the Vermont Summer Festival. Held at the Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT, the six-week competition runs July 9 through August 17 and hosts a slew of equitation classes from maiden to Maclay.
The most renowned trainers in the United States bring avid students to the Vermont Summer Festival each year. Among the most popular and esteemed classes offered include the Pessoa/USEF National Hunter Seat Medal, Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, Washington International Horse Show equitation classes, and ASPCA Horsemanship classes.
Bobby Braswell and Christina Schlusemeyer of Quiet Hill Farm in Ocala, FL, bring their most promising riders to the Vermont Summer Festival year after year for top-notch equitation competition.
“We come here mostly for the equitation,” Braswell said. “I think it’s a good measuring stick for the riders to judge where they stand. It makes them battle-tough for the finals in the fall.”
Braswell estimated that between Quiet Hill Farm and Missy Clark’s North Run Stables, based in Warren, VT, a student from either camp has won at least one of the three prestigious national equitation finals for the past fifteen years. Those include the USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Finals, and the ASPCA Maclay Medal Finals held at the National Horse Show. “I’d say we’ve had about 14 or 15 champions from our barn,” Braswell noted.
In recent years, Quiet Hill Farm’s Megan Young earned championships in the USEF/Pessoa Medal Finals, and the Maclay Medal Finals in 2004. In 2005, North Run’s Julie Welles, a Vermont Summer Festival regular who is now building a career in the grand prix ring, won the Washington International Horse Show Equitation Finals. Jack “Harden” Towell, another Clark graduate, followed suit in 2006. Last year, North Run’s Kimberly McCormack won the USEF/Pessoa Medal Finals and the Maclay Medal Finals.
The Quiet Hill Farm riders have measured up well again this year at the Vermont Summer Festival and promise to bring big talent back to the finals this fall. Sara Green’s resume includes blue ribbons from overall WIHS equitation performances during weeks two, three, and four. Not to be outdone by her barnmate, Molly Braswell also won the overall WIHS equitation title weeks two and four after the sizable classes were divided.
Also from the Quiet Hill Farm party, Chase Boggio raked in blue ribbons during week one including the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search. He was ultimately crowned Best Child Rider on a Horse for that week. Taylor Brown joined her fellow Quiet Hill Farm riders with blue ribbon performances in the ASPCA Horsemanship class during week two and the USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Medal class of week three.
Braswell said these young riders have one critical quality in common: “Hard work. That goes for any sport. You can have all the natural talent and the best help in the world, but if you’re not willing to work for it and put yourself among the best competition, you won’t reach the top of your game.”
In addition to superlative competition, “The judges, footing, and courses are all good, and the whole show is very well organized,” Braswell noted. “And with the variety of classes offered, I’d have to agree that this is a destination for world-class equitation.”
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.