East Dorset, Vermont — Chris Ewanouski and Vertigo claimed victory in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, Presented by Hand Motors, on Sunday, August 1, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Ewanouski of West Palm Beach, FL, and Vertigo, a nine-year-old bay gelding owned by Geoff Teal, were competing in only their second Grand Prix event. Their first try during week three garnered them a fourth place finish in the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix. This week, they stepped up their game to emerge victorious in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, presented by Hand Motors.
A starting field of 18 horses attempted the demanding track set by world-renowned course designer Conrad Homfeld. In the end, eight managed to clear all 12 elements within the 80 second time allowed and advance to the jump-off. While five horses managed to again post clear rounds, none could beat Ewanouski and Vertigo’s jump-off time of 39.51 seconds, although Jimmy Torano came very close with a time of 39.76 riding Winsom.
“I am so happy,” said Ewanouski. “I never really thought this was going to happen. I was more nervous after last week, when he jumped double clear. I had no expectations; I was just hoping that it would be a great experience because after jumping those double clears, there was more pressure. He was awesome.
“I really wanted to do well, and I wanted to be competitive, but winning was the farthest thing from my mind,” continued Ewanouski. “I wanted to do the inside turns, I wanted to do the five in the six line, and I wanted to be really fast over to the last, but the time never really entered my mind. I just wanted to go from start to finish leaving all the jumps up and being as neat as I could be. He has really been coming into his own since this winter and I can feel his style changing for the better. It has been like a huge leap forward.”
First back for the jump-off, Torano of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, took second place with the seven-year-old Winsom, owned by Sir Ruly Inc. Winsom’s performance belied his inexperience as Torano asked the little grey gelding for inside turns and roll backs in the jump-off. The disadvantage of going first in the jump-off is that the riders coming behind have a target, and Ewanouski took advantage of the opportunity, beating Torano’s time by a mere 2/10 of a second.
Torano’s wife, Danielle, only began competing again at the Vermont Summer Festival after giving birth to the couple’s second child. Despite her time away from the grand prix ring, Danielle Torano rode Sir Ruly’s second entry in the class, the 16-year-old bay gelding, Capitano, to a clear round to finish in third place behind her husband.
Charlie Jacobs of Boston, MA, and his ever improving Leap Of Joy were also able to complete the jump-off with no penalties to finish in fourth place.
On Friday, Charlie Jacobs continued his family’s domination in the Grand Prix ring with his victory aboard Leap Of Joy in the $10,000 Betsey Johnson Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets.
Jacobs and Leap Of Joy were one of 15 horse and rider combinations who vied for the lead over the course designed by Conrad Homfeld. Only four riders managed to post clear rounds over the technical first round of competition to advance into the jump-off round against the clock. Without ever seeming to push Leap Of Joy, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Jacobs turned in a time of 40.396 seconds over the weaving seven element course to claim victory.
“Louis went home this week, so I suppose it was our turn to step up,” said Jacobs, referring to his brother’s previous wins in the Welcome Stake. “This is only the second show where Leap Of Joy has jumped higher than the High Amateurs, so I am very pleased. I got him last fall, so he is a new horse for me. I showed him in the Amateurs in Lake Placid just to make sure he was comfortable and he was champion there. We came here last week and had an accident, but he came back and he is fine.
“He jumped well and Conrad did a lovely job with the course,” Jacobs continued. “I know that with Conrad’s history, and him being such a lovely rider for so many years, he understands firsthand what the challenges are going to be for the horse and rider, and designs his courses appropriately. It doesn’t mean that he is going to put them to the top of the standards; it means that he is going to ask the right questions. And that is what I love about his courses. I would follow him around the country to jump his courses.”
Jacobs is a principal of his family’s Delaware North Companies, Inc. and the Boston Bruins, and is a true amateur rider, commuting to the horse show from his home in Boston. He says, “My family is up here, and we just have a great time.”
Charles Jacobs, Jr. and his sister Katie were also stellar performers, winning the Championship and Reserve Championship titles, respectively, in the Small/Medium pony Hunter Division with their mounts Aspen Spring and Helicon Take Notice. Not to be left out of the family’s winning ways, William Jacobs was named Reserve Champion in the Short Stirrup division with Tinker Toy.
Alissa Kinsey and her mare Grisset returned to the ring in Vermont and continued her winning ways of 2009, taking the top honors in the Marshall & Sterling Amateur Adult Jumper Classic. In 2009, the pair had a perfect record of six victories in six weeks to clinch the Circuit Championship title in the High Adult Amateur Jumper division. Over six weeks of competition in Vermont, Kinsey and Grisset never even had a rail down in the $2,500 Marshall & Sterling Adult Amateur Jumper Classics.
Sylvia DeToledo, 15, beat out 25 other competitors for the top award in the USEF Medal class. DeToledo of New York, NY, who rides with Jimmy Toon at JT Farm, has been a consistent face in the winner’s circle since her debut on ponies. Despite his young age, her mount, Spock, is no stranger to the equitation ring, having taken riders around the ring in the ASPCA Maclay Finals, the WIHS Finals and the USEF Medal Finals in 2009.
De Toledo also brought home the top ribbon in the Low Junior/Amateur Owner Low Jumper Classic with the six year old mare Tabella. De Toledo was ecstatic with the performance, noting that this was the best result that she has had on the young mare.
Over in the hunter rings, Vivian Yowan and Best Case Scenario were unbeatable in the Large Pony Hunter division. Yowan, 13, from Darien, CT, entered four classes and won every single one. The pair came away with a blue ribbon in all three of the classes in the Large Pony Hunter division as well as a blue ribbon in the Pony Medal class. During her stay in Vermont, Yowan has been named Best Child Rider on a Pony, was Reserve Champion Medium Pony Hunter with Rockette, Reserve Champion Large Pony Hunter with Best Case Scenario, and has won the Pony Medal twice as well as the WIHS Pony Equitation.
“We just got him and we kind of skipped the Green year, we showed in a couple of Green classes, but he didn’t need them,” said Yowan about the six-year-old Best Case Scenario, better known as ‘Casey’ around the barn. “I ride at Fairfield Hunt Club with Jenny Martin-Rudaz, and I just love it. During the school year I go right from school to the barn most days, then do my homework and that’s it.”
Yowan added, “I’ve been riding since I was three. It’s a lot of work but I love it. I have a medium pony that I am going to Pony Finals with and that is great. Knock on Wood, my small pony, was Circuit Champion here last year.”
The fifth of six weeks of competition comprising the Vermont Summer Festival gets underway on Wednesday, August 4. Week five’s featured event is the $30,000 Manchester and the Mountains Grand Prix, beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, August 8. 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 six-week Vermont Summer Festival culminates with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 15. 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). Visit our website for more information on the 2010 Vermont Summer Festival, e-mail or call (802) 362-9023.