East Dorset, Vermont — Hillary Dobbs of Sussex, NJ, won the $3,000 North American League (NAL) Open Jumper Speed class on Thursday, July 16, during the third week of competition, the Manchester Classic, at the Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show in East Dorset, VT.
Dobbs, 21, has won some of the most prestigious classes in the world over the past few years, and entered the grand prix for her shot at victory in the $3,000 NAL Open Jumper Speed class. A mere 61.42 seconds later, she walked away with the win aboard Marengo, a little bay Holsteiner gelding owned by the Dobbs Group.
It was not an easy win, however, as Dobbs had to watch another speed expert, Jimmy Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, pilot Pandoer, owned by Torano and his wife, fellow grand prix competitor Danielle, around the course. Torano’s time of 61.31 seconds would have given him the win, but the tight turn to the double combination at fence 5 a and b did not work out as planned and Pandoer caught the top rail of the ‘b’ element to add four seconds onto their time. Even with the added four seconds, Torano finished in second place.
“He wants to win,” said Torano. “He thinks fast and sometimes you have to just say ‘hold back’ because he is so fast.”
The NAL Open Speed class was a timed first round format with faults converted into seconds. Olympic Gold Medalist and USEF ‘Course Designer of the Year’ Conrad Homfeld designed a challenging track of 12 numbered elements and 14 obstacles testing the horses and riders. Riders in the class garner points toward qualifying for the North American League Open Speed Final which is held annually at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in October.
Amber Henter beamed as she exited the ring with the blue ribbon in the Platinum Performance USEF Talent Search equitation class. The 17-year-old from St. Petersburg, FL, bested a field of 42 entries to win the class riding Triumph, bay gelding owned by Redfield Farm. Henter is already qualified for the USEF Talent Search Finals to be held in Gladstone, NJ, in October, and this win was yet another feather in her cap and a reaffirmation of her skills. Henter trains with Bob Braswell and Christina Schlusemeyer at Quiet Hill Farm in Ocala, FL, a two-hour commute from her St. Petersburg home. Henter kept her winning streak going by also coming out on top in the WIHS Equitation – Hunter Phase with Triumph.
The highlight of Friday’s competition at the Vermont Summer Festival is the $10,000 Hickey Freeman & Bobby Jones Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets.
Running through to August 9, 2009, the six-week Vermont Summer Festival is the largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show in New England, as well as the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont, offering more than $750,000 in prize money. Visit our website for more information on the 2009 Vermont Summer Festival, e-mail or call (802) 362-9023.