East Dorset, Vermont — Kelsea Alderman was poised and ready from the start to win the Marshall & Sterling Children’s Jumper Classic, presented by CM Hadfield’s Saddlery, at the Vermont Summer Festival held at the Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT. Along with her 12-year-old Dutch mare, No Nonsense, the pair proved that speed and strategy took top honors.
Of the 46-entries, nine combinations advanced to jump off for a piece of the $1,500 purse and the Veredus jumping boots awarded to the winner. The first round boasted some challenging questions including a skinny vertical fence that caught many horses and riders.
“We saw a lot of people knocking that one down,” said Alderman, 15, who has trained with Darren Graziano for a year. “So I made sure to collect her and get her balanced so we wouldn’t jump flat at that one.”
Alderman’s plan for the jump-off, however, was speed. “I just planned to go fast and turn tight. My horse is really scopey and I knew she would be able to jump from any distance,” Alderman said.
She found No Nonsense in Holland two years ago and instantly discovered their personalities meshed. “She’s like me; very low-key, but when she’s in the ring, she gets feisty,” Alderman explained. “We’ve both become very confident and comfortable together so it makes it easier to take a little risk when we need to go fast.”
The pair posted their second faultless trip in 30.20 seconds. Meg O’Mara, of Rumson, N.J., came close aboard Raya De La Cour finishing in second place with 30.58 seconds. Brittni Raflowitz, Palm City, FL, and her gelding, Allegro By ZYX, also gave good chase posting a clean jump off effort in 31.10 seconds to finish third.
Alderman, Pound Ridge, N.Y., has been competing in the Marshall & Sterling League for a year now and rode with No Nonsense at the finals last year where she placed third in the Children’s Jumpers. “It’s fun but it’s still formal,” Alderman said. “I think it’s a great way to earn some prizes and have a great time.”
This year marks her fifth trip to the Vermont Summer Festival. “There’s so much to do around the area. More than most other horse shows,” Alderman said. After cashing in her piece of the purse, she plans to take her friends and family to dinner in Manchester and shop at the Manchester Designer Outlets.
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.
The $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, presented by Equinox, The Vermont Resort, is scheduled to begin on Sunday 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.