East Dorset, Vermont — Samantha Perlman, 13, of Garrison, NY, is dominating the Vermont Summer Festival Circuit Championship standings in the Children’s Hunter Pony division going into the sixth and final week of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival, held at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Perlman has been claiming ribbons left, right and center catch riding Dressed For Rain, a 14.2hh chestnut Welsh/thoroughbred-cross mare owned by Rebecca Zimble. Together, they have had an amazing run in Vermont with numerous championships in the Modified Children’s Hunter Pony division, and have also earned ribbons in the Pony Hunter Classics, the Pony Medal and the WIHS Pony Equitation.
In addition to her success with Dressed For Rain, Perlman rode Pinkini, owned by Country Lane Farm, to Champion and Reserve Champion titles in the Children’s Hunter Pony division and the Small/Medium Pony Hunter division during the Vermont Summer Festival. Completing Perlman’s triple crown is a pony named Rock Star, owned by Isabel O’Connor, who enjoyed success in the Medium Pony Hunter Division.
Dressed For Rain, Pinkini and Rock Star have kept Perlman, who is based at her family’s Riverstone farm in Garrison, NY, very busy at this year’s Vermont Summer Festival.
“Dressed For Rain was sent to us in June to be sold,” said Perlman, who is the daughter of well-known trainer Kim Perlman. “She has been so good. I have been up here since week one, and my mom and dad got here week two. I ride with my uncle David; my dad really doesn’t train me. It’s a lot easier to ride with my uncle than my dad. I really like to travel to the shows with my family. It’s like being away from home, but not, and I have friends here that I get to see and that is great.
“I started riding when I was really little but when I was seven, I fell of my pony and stopped riding for about a year,” recounted Perlman. “With all the traveling, I go to a school in Ocala which is the HITS Education Station, so that is what I do when we are there because that is what works. Riding has its hard side and its fun side, but I really like it and want to stick with it.”
Having been born into a family that trains horses for a living, Perlman has had an insider’s view into the sport.
“I see how hard my family works, the early mornings and late nights, all the things that have to get done every day, and yes, there is a small part of me that thinks, ‘maybe not,’ but then I get on the pony and I forget all the bad parts,” she said.
Perlman’s father, Kim, noted of his daughter’s success, “She has done so well, and all of it has been on catch rides. I don’t train her; I leave that to my brother. It makes the family dynamic a little easier. This way I am not on her about her riding. We can have a conversation about it if she wants, but I am not anything but dad.”
Another Samantha, Samantha Kasowitz, 12, of New York, NY, has also been winning with her ponies, Cloud Nine and Sham’s Huckleberry. Cloud Nine, a large pony, won the Pony Hunter Classic while Sham’s Huckleberry, a medium pony, won the Pony Medal for Kasowitz.
“I rode for a little bit when I was about six or seven, then I stopped for a while and then picked it up again,” said Kasowitz. “I have been riding with James North in Greenwich, Connecticut, for two years, but I’ve only been riding competitively for a year. I love doing this. It gets a little tough in the winter because I go to Wellington, Florida, so I get to skip school on Friday and I take all my homework with me on the plane and come back Sunday night. It is 45 minutes to the barn, so I don’t get to ride during the week, it is just too hard.”
Of her inspiration, Kasowitz said, “I love Beezie Madden. I would love to continue on, go to the big equitation finals, and then follow in her footsteps to the Olympics, but right now it is the pony division. Cloud Nine, who we call ‘Merlin,’ is my large pony and is very sweet and just amazing. I got him right before Vermont last year. And then I have ‘Huck,’ and he was my first actual show pony. I’ve had him for about a year and a half now. He is gorgeous and so full of himself. My dad is just a spectator, but my mom has gotten into the horses. In fact, she just showed in the Long Stirrup division here.”
The sixth and final week of the Vermont Summer Festival is now underway, and culminates with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 15. Located at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, 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 benefit Manchester Elementary-Middle School (MEMS).
Running July 7 through August 15, 2010, the Vermont Summer Festival offers more than $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state. 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). Please e-mail us or visit our website for more information about the Vermont Summer Festival.