East Dorset, Vermont — Amateur and Junior riders had the opportunity to show their prowess as they competed in several equitation and hunter classes on Saturday, July 18, during the Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show in East Dorset VT.
“I started riding at three because I wanted the pants,” laughed Lucy Needham, winner of the Marshall & Sterling Adult Medal.
At 19, the riding pants don’t thrill Needham as much as winning does. A student at Southern Methodist College in Dallas, TX, Needham hails from Bristol, RI, and, when not in school, commutes 90 minutes to ride at Mystic Valley Hunt Club in Gales Ferry, CT.
“I do the equitation and the jumpers with him,” said Needham of her horse, Vento, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood that stands at a staggering 18.1hh. “The jumpers are easier, but the equitation makes you slow down and think so it is a really good building block. I won a jumper class earlier in the week with him so it was good to settle into the equitation and get it right. It was the longest day, though. I rode him first thing in the morning and then I was the last trip of the day.”
The Ariat Adult Medal was won by Jeanine Cash from Winthrop, MA, aboard San Francisco, owned by Golden Goose Investors. They also placed second in the NEHC Adult Medal class under the expert coaching of trainer Geoff Teall.
The Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under Champion was Savannah, owned and ridden by Casey Green of Westport, CT, who narrowly missed a sweep of all five classes in the division. Currently ranked 28th in the nation in the division, Green’s long string of victories this season include the Michele Arnhold High Score Hunter Award at the Fairfield Horse Show where she scored an impressive 91 to win over some of the top hunter riders in the country, including Scott Stewart and Kirsten Coe, who both scored 89 points.
Alexa Adelson riding Clockwork for Starbit Partners, LLC, captured the division title in the Small Junior Hunters 16-17, turning in three winning trips. The 16 year old from Scarborough, NY, divides her time in the saddle between the hunter and jumper rings, riding Starbit Partners’ Vorst and Nesbit in the Children’s Jumpers.
The Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under title was awarded to Chase Boggio of Canton, GA, with the appropriately named Showgirl. Boggio and Showgirl were the point leaders in the division after winning three classes and coming in second and fourth in the remaining classes in the division. Boggio, 15, also spends time in the jumper ring and, in 2008 while making his jumper debut, won the Welcome Stake at the Atlanta Fall Classic.
Cloud Hill Farm’s Boulevard Dier was the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 Champion under Anna Kluger, 16, of Redding, CT. They amassed enough points with their three wins and one second to take home the tricolor. Kluger has a long history of winning in Vermont. At the age of 12, she won the coveted Pony Medal class and has not slowed down. In fact, on the same day that she won the Junior Hunter Championship, she also won the NEHC Junior Medal on Schubert and the $1,000 Junior Working Hunter Classic, again with Boulevard Dier.
Boulevard Dier is no stranger to the winner’s circle, having won major championships with Kluger’s trainer, Lainie Wimberly, in the saddle. One of the horse’s major wins came last year in the Regular Conformation Hunter division at the prestigious Hampton Classic Horse Show, where he was the undisputed Champion.
The USEF Hunter Seat Medal, a qualifier for the Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, was won by Alexandra Arute of Avon, CT. Arute’s impressive junior career includes qualifying for the 2008 USEF Show Jumping Talent Search and Hunt Seat Medal finals and earning six Junior Jumper wins. She was Circuit Champion in the Small Junior Hunter division at the 2008 Vermont Summer Festival, earning top honors in four of the six shows of competition. In 2007, Arute competed in all four Equitation finals, finishing in the top 25 in all four. She was also named High Junior Jumper champion at the Lake Placid Horse Show and Winter Equestrian Festival Tournament of Championships in addition to being named circuit champion at the 2007 Vermont Summer Festival and reserve champion at the National Horse Show. Arute trains with Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run Stables in Warren, VT, who own her mount, Sander.
The Vermont Summer Festival continues with the third week of competition, the Manchester Classic Horse Show, highlighted by the $30,000 Manchester Classic Grand Prix, Presented by the Equinox Resort, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 19. Admission on Grand Prix Sunday is $7 for adults and $5 for children. All gate receipts are donated to the Friends Foundation for MEMS, benefiting programs in the local Elementary & Middle School (MEMS).
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.