East Dorset, Vermont — Seven years ago, Missy Clark and her husband, John Brennan, established North Run Stables in Warren, VT. But even before that, they brought truckloads of horses and students to the Vermont Summer Festival each year, dating back to before the horse show moved to its location of the past 15 years, Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
“It’s such a pleasant place to be, especially at this time of year,” said Clark, who has a well-deserved reputation as one of the nation’s leading trainers. “There’s a class for everybody, everything from novice to ponies to grand prix.”
Clark also commented that the diversity of classes and the quality of the grounds make the Vermont Summer Festival one of the best places to bring up young horses. Clark has young horses entered in every discipline including equitation, hunters, and jumpers. Year after year, she also brings some of the most talented young riders to the Vermont Summer Festival. Names like Julie Welles, Zazou Hoffman, and Kimmy McCormack, are just a few of her recent rising stars.
And then there is Hillary Dobbs. The 20-year-old Harvard student from Sussex, NJ, won the $5,500 Open Speed class during the first week of the Vermont Summer Festival, then, the very next day, took top honors in the $10,000 Polo Ralph Lauren, Lilly Pulitzer Open Welcome Stake, both times aboard Marengo, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding. She nailed the trifecta with another victory in the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix on Sunday aboard her new purchase, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare named Marlo. The daughter of CNN personality Lou Dobbs, Dobbs has trained with Clark for five years.
“It’s been fun to watch her progress,” Clark said. “She didn’t do show jumping before she came to me but she’s always had real talent. She’s been a very hard worker.”
Clark has approximately 50 horses at the Vermont Summer Festival this year and can be seen running back and forth from ring to ring on any given day. North Run Stables also has a staff of 15 working at the Vermont Summer Festival.
“I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s just another day on the job,” she said. “But I love it. We really couldn’t do it without the team.”
Having represented the United States in Nations’ Cup competition last weekend in Hickstead, England, Dobbs returned for week four of the Vermont Summer Festival. After finishing week four, The Valley Classic, Clark and her student will fly to Dublin, Ireland, where Dobbs will once again represent the United States in Nations’ Cup competition. The pair plans to be back for the final week of the Vermont Summer Festival.
On the rare occasions that Clark finds a free moment, she likes to hit the town of Manchester for some top notch shopping and dining, noting, “There are so many great places to eat. One of my favorites has to be The Perfect Wife. We love being here year after year. The organizers and everyone involved do a great job.”
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.