East Dorset, Vermont — Devin Ryan of Long Valley, NJ, scored his second consecutive grand prix victory at the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival by winning the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, sponsored by Hand Motors, on Saturday, July 28. The six-week Vermont Summer Festival, held at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT, began on July 4 and continues through August 12.
Hot off his victory one week earlier riding No Worries in the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, Presented by Equinox Resort & Spa, Ryan piloted his athletic gray stallion, Roman Saluut, to the top spot in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix.
A total of 23 horse and rider combinations contested Saturday’s Grand Prix, navigating a technical track set by course designer Ken Krome of Westminster, MD. Seven were able to post first-round clears to advance to the jump-off, where it was the lightning fast round of Devin Ryan and Roman Saluut that earned top prize. Thursday’s $10,000 Welcome Stake winners, Darragh Kenny and Tonic, were forced to settle for second this time out, with Kenny also taking the third place prize aboard Valentino.
Four of the seven jump-off competitors went double clear. Kenny of Ireland was first to clear the short course riding Mavis Spencer’s Valentino, and set the pace at 42.14 seconds to eventually place third. Danielle Torano, of Fort Lauderdale, FL, then guided her 17-year-old veteran mount Capitano, owned by Sir Ruly, Inc., to a clear round in 42.95 seconds to eventually finish in fourth place. Ryan and Roman Saluut followed with a daring gallop through the course in 40.65 seconds to take the lead. Kenny had one last chance with Rachael Barnes’ Tonic and nearly reached the mark, but their time of 40.90 seconds left them in second place.
Much like the 2011 Vermont Summer Festival, Devin Ryan is on a roll, with a win in week three’s $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix aboard Barbara Rowland’s No Worries, and an exciting victory aboard Roman Saluut in week four. Ryan purchased Roman Saluut, a nine-year-old American-bred Holsteiner stallion, as a three-year-old and has brought the horse along himself, making the win especially rewarding for Ryan.
“Roman Saluut just started doing the grand prix’s last year and won one up here last season,” said Ryan after his win. “This was his first win of the 2012 season. We have been second, we have been third, we have been in the ribbons almost every class, but we just have not pulled off a win yet this year. Last week, he had one down but he jumped great and he went great in the Welcome Stake on Thursday. We had the last fence down in the jump-off, but he was really good; he just felt like he was on it.”
“I didn’t think as many people would go clean today,” Ryan said, assessing the grand prix. “I was surprised in the beginning that so many went clean. I thought that, compared to last week, this course was more technical. Last week was just built bigger. I thought the technicality was where it got some of the horses today.”
After six years together, Ryan and Roman Saluut know each other well, and they were able to use that relationship to their advantage for Saturday’s win.
“I think when you have a relationship with a horse for such a long time, you get to know them well and you just feel it,” he said. “I could feel it in the schooling area during the Welcome; I knew he was on. Last week he felt a little bit dull, and this week he just felt like he was ready to play.”
In the jump-off, the pair shaved off time with a long, bold gallop from an oxer to a tall vertical at the end of the course. Ryan explained, “I know him well enough to know he would leave it up. He is one of those types where the more you shock him, the more it wakes him up. I figured that if I just galloped down there, even if I was going to get there a little early or a little late, just the shock of it would wake him up.”
For Ryan, the opportunity to win on his own horse was exciting and he acknowledged his clients and sponsors for their support.
“This one I own myself and the horse that won last week was a client’s horse,” he noted. “This was his first win of the season; the other ones have all won this year except for mine, so it is nice to have him do well. I want to thank my sponsors, CWD and Buckeye Nutrition, and all of the clients and owners up here helping out and supporting me; they are all part of the team.”
Based in New Jersey, Ryan has been showing in Vermont for the last six years and focuses his business on developing young horses.
“For the longest time, all I wanted was a grand prix horse and for the first few years that I came up here, I never had one,” he said. “The third year I got one and then last year I had two and this year I have three, as they are all growing up a little bit. That is one of my things; I believe that if you are going to get top horses, you have to develop them. It’s very hard to go out there and buy them and build a relationship with a horse. That has always sort of been my system. I have a whole string of young horses behind me that are coming up through the levels. This is a good place to show, especially for the ones that you are developing, and the clients really like it here. This is one of their favorite stops on the circuit for the year.”
Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont. The first five Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix. The $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held during the sixth and final week on Saturday, August 11. The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, are held each Thursday.
Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children. All of the gate receipts benefit the a number of Manchester area non-profit organizations, including the Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Second Chance Animal Center.
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont. 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.
$30,000 Mt. Equinox Grand Prix, sponsored by Hand Motors
|1||Devin Ryan||Roman Saluut||0:0||40.653|
|6||Helen Godard||Blue Danube||0:4||44.476|
|8||Mark Leone||Pleasure de Riverland||1||85.415|
|9||Darragh Kenny||Bazooka de Muze||4||78.919|
|10||Jean Sheptoff||Ami des Gemmes||4||83.362|
|11||Paulena Johnson||Quastor Van De Helle Z||4||84.824|
|12||Stella Manship||Louisiana 123||7||87.064|