East Dorset, Vermont — The six-week Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show opened on Wednesday, July 1, in East Dorset, Vermont.
Attracting competitors from across the nation, from California to Connecticut and from Florida to Maine, the Vermont Summer Festival is the summer home of many of the nation’s top riders, including numerous Olympic medalists. Running through to August 9, 2009, the 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.
The first five Sundays at the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix, culminating with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 9. The $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, held each Friday is also a popular spectator event.
What sets the Vermont Summer Festival apart from other horse shows, and keeps competitors coming back year after year, is the hospitality extended by show organizers John and Dotty Ammerman. Each Wednesday, the Ammerman’s host an exhibitor party at various locations, highlighting the wide variety of activities and amenities available in the Manchester area.
“This is our 16th year running the Vermont Summer Festival at Harold Bebee Farm in East Dorset, and it is gratifying to welcome back the same smiling faces year after year,” said Dotty Ammerman. “Each year, we assess what we can do to make the horse show experience more enjoyable for our exhibitors, and strive to make changes that enhance our horse show.”
Such enhancements for 2009 include the addition of a sixth competition ring, as well as new washroom lounges which feature changing rooms and hot and cold running water. The attention to detail does not go unnoticed by the competitors, and the warm welcome riders receive is part of the charm of competing at the Vermont Summer Festival.
Canadian competitor Danica Ellis is making her first visit to the Vermont Summer Festival and, fittingly, enjoyed her first day of competition on Canada Day, a national holiday north of the border.
“We had heard how nice the show was, and that they are very welcoming to Canadians, and we thought it would be a good place to spend two weeks,” said Ellis who operates Horseplay Stables in Brookfield, Nova Scotia.
Ellis made the 12-hour drive from Nova Scotia to the Vermont Summer Festival with five horses, which will compete in the hunter and jumper divisions with herself and her clients. “What is nice is that it is a six-week circuit, so we could pick the weeks that were most convenient for our schedule. We are already impressed with how laid-back the atmosphere is. It is going to be fun!”
Rewarding those exhibitors who consistently enjoy success while making Manchester their ‘home away from home’, the Vermont Summer Festival will once again offer the $10,000 Open Jumper High Score Award, sponsored by Sir Ruly, Inc. In recognition of the large number of Canadian competitors that visit Vermont each year, there is the $10,000 Canadian Circuit Championship, presented by Ariat, Int’l. Both awards are based on points earned throughout the six-week Vermont Summer Festival. Additional sponsors such as Johnson Horse Transportation, Devoucoux, The Equinox, Hand Motors and Essex Classic Shirts help make the Vermont Summer Festival a worthwhile experience. The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL).
The Vermont Summer Festival operates daily from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. and running until approximately 4 p.m. every day. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children, Wednesday through Saturday, and $7 for adults and $5 for children on Grand Prix Sunday. All gate receipts are donated to the Friends Foundation for MEMS, benefiting programs in the local Elementary & Middle School.