East Dorset, Vermont — With coats gleaming in the Vermont sunshine and manes and tails braided perfectly, the hunter horses, making up more than half of the 850 horses on the show grounds for week four of the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT, vied for ribbons, glory and prizes.
Avery Dimmig of Rougemount, NC, had a busy morning on Thursday, July 23, taking the championship titles in the First Year Green, Second Year Green, and Green Conformation Hunter divisions.
In the First Year Green division, Dimmig piloted Oberon around the course for owner Lyn Pedersen, garnering a total of 30 points in the division to take the tri-color. As soon as the awards presentation was over, she raced to the schooling area to get on Smart Pak, her ride in the Second Year Green Hunter division owned by Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Bross. Smart Pac completed the division with 38 points, a reflection of his many ribbons.
No sooner were the ribbons awarded for that division and Dimmig was off again, sprinting for her third ride of the day on the aptly named Perfektionist. Owned by Tracey Topping, Perfektionist lived up to his name in the first five classes of the division, taking top place in each. The Handy Hunter course proved to be his only undoing and he had to settle for a fourth place ribbon in that class.
Like Dimming, Grand Prix show jumping rider Jimmy Torano of Fort Lauderdale, FL, could also been seen hustling around the Vermont Summer Festival show grounds. If he was not on a horse in either the hunter or show jumper rings, he was in his golf cart on the way to the equitation ring. His hard work paid off as he coached Lindsay Portella, 18, to victory in the Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search. Aboard Millesime du Valy, a nine-year-old selle francais stallion owned by Gigi Stetler, Portella rode a spectacular course to beat out 35 other horse-rider combinations for top honors.
“I started training with Jimmy this season, but I have known him since I was born and I don’t ride with him in the golf cart because I never know if I can make it there alive,” joked Portella of Southwest Ranches, FL.
Portella has only been riding Millesime du Valy for three weeks and the pair is getting better and better each time out.
“He is such a good boy, especially for a stallion,” said Portella of Millesime du Valy, a popular breeding stallion sired by Verdi. “My horse was injured in Tampa so I’ve been riding whatever is available. I rode him the first week here and he was really good but I missed the skinny – I mean, really missed! Last week it was the first jump. Then this week I finally put it all together.”
Portella continued, “I’m enjoying my time here in Vermont. I go home from here and have three days before I leave for Auburn University. I love this, but I don’t plan on it for a career. I will probably continue on as an amateur, but I know the importance of an education. My parents are really big on that. I’m planning on a career in psychology. Job comes first, and then the horses.”
Ken Berkley of Flemington, NJ, arrived on the scene on Wednesday and immediately started winning. He and Amore Mio not only turned in double clear rounds in Wednesday’s $2,500 Open Jumper class, but did so in a time of 35.06 seconds. Berkley’s exceedingly fast time pushed Jimmy Torano and Pandoer, who had stopped the clock in 36.67 seconds, into second place. Berkley also took third place with Carlos Boy, who was also clear but in a slower time of 37.49 seconds. Kim Mulligan and Butterfly Rouge were also double clear, but Butterfly Rouge’s bucking between the first and second fences cost the pair precious time, resulting in a fourth place finish with a time of 38.24 seconds.
Thursday’s $3,000 NAL Open Speed class was nothing if not interesting. Sarah Wayda of Southampton, NJ, riding Faroukh was the first to go in the class and ended up posting the only clear round. However, as the $3,000 NAL Open Speed is all about time, run in a format that sees dropped rails converted into time penalties, Wayda and Faroukh ended the day in third place with their time of 71.62 seconds.
Jimmy Torano and Pandoer exhibited their speed and passed through the timers in 64.04 seconds with one rail down for a final score of 68.04 seconds to take the victory. New Zealand’s Kirk Webby and Cosmopolite S are always a threat. Like Torano, Webby had one rail down for a final score of 69.11 seconds to place second. Ken Berkley had to settle for fourth place after Amore Mio knocked down two rails. With eight faults added to their time of 66.82, there was no way for him to catch the leaders.
The Vermont Summer Festival continues with the fourth week of competition, the Valley Classic Horse Show, held July 22-26 and highlighted by the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, Presented by Hand Motors, on Sunday, July 26.
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.
$3,000 NAL Open Speed, Table III
|1||Jimmy Torano||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Pandoer||68.074|
|2||Kirk Webby||New Zealand||Cosmopolite S||69.118|
|3||Sara Wayda||Southampton, NJ||Faroukh||71.623|
|4||Ken Berkley||Flemigton, NJ||Amore Mio||74.823|
|5||Blace Pack||Jamieson, PA||Flannigan||75.806|
|6||Danielle Torano||Ft. Lauderdale, FL||Brassica||78.259|
|7||Gabby Slome||Riverdale, NY||Miel D’Amaury||77.650|