East Dorset, Vermont — Jimmy and Danielle Torano, both grand prix riders, are regular competitors at the Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show running July 9 to August 17 at the Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT. For six weeks each summer, the Florida-based couple calls Vermont home.
Jimmy Torano, 43, has been coming to East Dorset for the past 15 years to compete at the Vermont Summer Festival. It is not only the world-class equestrian competition, but also a family connection that brings Jimmy to Vermont each summer. His uncle, Ruly Torano, lives in Ormsby Hill in Manchester. Ruly owns several of Jimmy and Danielle’s grand prix horses, and also sponsors the $10,000 Open Jumper High Score Award, now in its second year, at the Vermont Summer Festival horse show.
“My uncle started coming to the Vermont Summer Festival to watch us compete and he liked it so much that he decided to build a house here,” explains Jimmy. “We love coming to Vermont each summer. It is a great area with great restaurants. The horse show is laid-back, you can step young horses up to the grand prix level. It is one of the few horse shows where we can do that.”
Between the two of them, Jimmy and Danielle have eight horses that will compete in the Sunday Grand Prix events at the Vermont Summer Festival. Jimmy will be riding Aguila, Caldam’Or, Magic Cruise, Morgan, and Tampa while Danielle will show Ormsby Hill, Sea Coast Cantona Z and Vancouver d’Auvray. Of those, four are owned by Ruly Torano.
“It kind of happened over Thanksgiving dinner,” laughs Jimmy, recalling how his uncle first got involved with buying horses for him 12 years ago. “I was telling him about the horses, and he decided to buy a young one. One day, we were showing in Palm Beach and he came to watch his horse, and it just happened to be Grand Prix Sunday. He started watching the Grand Prix, and he said, “I want one of those horses!” We flew to Europe the next week and bought Lancier. He has been supportive ever since.”
Lancier IV was the horse that earned Jimmy a place on the United States Equestrian Team, competing at the 1999 World Cup Final in Goteborg, Sweden, the 2000 World Cup Final in Las Vegas, and as a member of the U.S. Nations’ Cup Team in Aachen, Germany, also in 2000.
Danielle, 34, recently made her U.S. Equestrian Team debut. She rode Vancouver d’Auvray at the 2008 World Cup Final in Goteborg, Sweden, and was a member of the winning American team in the Nations’ Cup competition in Wellington, FL, riding Marlo. Ironically, Marlo was sold to Hillary Dobbs at the end of June and, with her new rider, Marlo won the first Grand Prix of the 2008 Vermont Summer Festival, the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix.
“I like the family environment, and being able to stay at the house,” says Danielle, who has been married to Jimmy for 13 years. “My dad, who lives in Ft. Lauderdale, comes every year for a month.”
With a large training stable based in Ft. Lauderdale, moving the entire operation to Vermont for six weeks is no easy feat. In addition to the 31 horses that the Torano’s and their clients have brought to the Vermont Summer Festival this summer, they also have eight staff to look after the horses. And there is also a new addition to the family – Natalia, 18 months, also travels to the horse show with her parents.
“It is nice to come here and be able to stay in one place instead of having to pack up and move the whole operation each week,” explains Jimmy. “We bring one groom for every four horses. I do the bulk of the riding, training and showing, and I have an assistant that helps me with coaching if I am busy, or showing in another ring.”
In addition to staying in one place for six weeks, another advantage of competing at the Vermont Summer Festival is that the Torano’s have an opportunity to spend time together as a family, especially with Ruly who was not able to attend last year’s event due to illness.
“We are not from here, but it feels like we are hometown competitors because Ruly has a house here and spends a lot of time in Manchester,” says Jimmy. “Ruly invites a lot of his friends to watch the competition, and he is proud when the horses do well. He was not able to come last year, but this year he was here a few weeks ahead of us and he could not wait for us to get here and for the show to start! He loves to see his horses jump.”
Each Sunday of the Vermont Summer Festival, Jimmy and Danielle will be favorites to win the Grand Prix, beginning at 2 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.