East Dorset, Vermont — Colombia’s Mark Bluman, 22, closed out the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT, on a high note after winning the $10,000 Sir Ruly, Inc., Open Jumper Awards with 137 points. As the leading rider at this year’s event, Bluman was awarded a $5,000 bonus.
The Sir Ruly, Inc., Open Jumper Awards reward the show jumping riders who consistently place at the top of the three open jumper classes held each week of the Vermont Summer Festival: the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper, the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, and the $30,000/$50,000 Grand Prix. Riders accumulate points by placing in any of the three classes, with the $10,000 in bonus money awarded to the top three finishers at the end of the six-week circuit.
Bluman campaigned three horses, G&C Blue, G&C Lagran and G&C Carla, in the Open Jumper division during four of the six weeks of competition comprising the Vermont Summer Festival to earn 137 points. Penny Brennan of Ocala, FL, finished second to Bluman by only two points to claim a $3,000 bonus while Ft. Lauderdale’s Jimmy Torano, nephew of the awards’ namesake, Raul “Ruly” Torano, rounded out the top three for a $2,000 bonus.
The race was tight heading into the final week of competition. In the end, Bluman edged out Brennan for top spot in the standings after winning the $10,000 Theory Open Welcome Stake on Thursday, August 8, aboard G&C Blue. Bluman also won the first $10,000 Open Welcome Stake during week one with G&C Lagran, and week five’s $10,000 Not Your Daughter’s Jeans Open Welcome Stake with G&C Blue for the second year in a row.
Bluman, who rides for Gustavo Mirabal’s G&C Farm and trains with Helio and Rodrigo Pessoa, acknowledged that the team from G&C Farm came to Vermont with their eyes on the awards.
“We have been focusing on this award for the whole show,” smiled Bluman. “We worked hard to get it and it’s a really nice feeling. Everything has worked perfectly for me this season in Vermont.”
2013 marked the second year that Bluman and G&C Farm have attended the Vermont Summer Festival, hosted at Harold Beebe Farm. While contesting more weeks of the show this year certainly helped him rack up points, Bluman felt that the biggest factor in his win was the relationship that he has developed with his horses and trainers.
“I’m riding better and I know the horses better this year,” Bluman commented. “I think I’m riding better this year because I am more focused on winning. I trust my horses now and they’re all jumping really well.”
He continued, “Last year, we had just started with Helio and Rodrigo Pessoa. We didn’t really know their system that well and now we do. We’re paying attention and following directions and it’s working out really well. Flatwork is everything!”
Maria Teresa Torano was on hand to present the award in her late husband’s honor. She and the rest of the Torano family feel strongly about continuing Ruly Torano’s legacy.
“It is very fulfilling,” said Maria Teresa Torano. “Vermont was a big part of his life. It’s not the same without him here, but we want to keep the tradition going.”
Maria Teresa Torano looks forward to each summer, when Jimmy Torano and his family make their annual trip north for the Vermont Summer Festival.
“Being able to share the show with my family still is perfect,” said Maria Teresa Torano. “The whole year, I look forward to the horse show because I get to spend time with Jimmy and (his wife) Danielle. We all live together as a big family. The rest of the year, everybody is busy doing their own thing. Ruly loved Vermont so much, and I love having all of us together here.”
The Vermont Summer Festival will return next year, running for six weeks from July 1 through August 10, 2014. The Vermont Summer Festival offers more than $750,000 in prize money in total, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of 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.
$10,000 Open Jumper High Score Award, presented by Sir Ruly, Inc.