East Dorset, Vermont — The introduction of ‘Equitation Tuesdays’ at the Vermont Summer Festival kicked off July 2 to much success at Harold Beebe farm. Fifteen-year-old John Porter of North Kingstown, RI, captured three equitation titles during the first two weeks of competition in East Dorset, VT.
Porter and Kennebec, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Rebecca Clawson, took home blue ribbons in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) National Children’s Medal during both weeks one and two in addition to earning top honors in the Pessoa/USEF National Hunter Seat Medal during Equitation Tuesday.
“It was a boost of confidence because I knew that I needed more points in those classes and I finally started stepping up and getting what I needed to get done,” Porter said of his winning streak. “It made me feel like, ‘yeah, I can do this!’”
Kennebec has been Porter’s trusted equitation mount since January of this year. “He has a big, forward stride and he’s nice to flow down the lines. He can come back to me super easily and jumps the height well, so he’s really good for the equitations,” Porter described.
Porter appreciated the extra chances that Equitation Tuesdays provide to qualify for year-end finals. “I think it’s so nice because you get two chances to try to qualify for [finals]. If you don’t do well Tuesday, you have another chance during the week. If you do well both days, then it’s perfect! I think it’s a really great idea.”
The first year of Equitation Tuesdays was also Porter’s first year competing at the Vermont Summer Festival. The close-knit atmosphere and convenient lay-out of the showgrounds stood out as Porter’s favorite part of the show.
“I really like how the rings and everything are so close together. I never have to go back and rush to get ready because I’m always right there. It’s just a two minute walk compared to fifteen minutes or more, which is so nice,” Porter commented.
Tegan Treacy also rode to multiple equitation wins. Treacy won the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship on Tuesday and followed that performance with a victory in the THIS National Children’s Medal during Saturday of week one of competition. Mark Holman’s Patriot, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, was Treacy’s winning partner.
Patriot and Treacy have only been together for two or three months, but the experienced gelding has proven to be a valuable partner for Treacy in the equitation ring.
“He helps me out a lot. If I go for a long distance, he’s pretty willing to leave it out, or if I want to get a short distance he’s willing to do what I want. He also knows his job and goes in and knows what he needs to do, which is helpful,” Treacy explained.
Treacy is returning to East Dorset for her fifth year at the Vermont Summer Festival. She looks forward to the show’s competitive yet laid-back atmosphere as well as the local charm of East Dorset and neighboring Manchester.
“[The show] is in a nice area; it’s not in the middle of nowhere!” Treacy laughed. “It’s also a nice facility and it’s competitive, but not over the top.”
Sunny Drescher was the final victor of the first Equitation Tuesday, winning the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search aboard her own Sting.
Regular competition for the first week of competition began Wednesday July 3. Wendy Collins was among the riders who emerged victorious from equitation classes during the week. Collins rode her horse Delorean to first place in the Pessoa/USEF National Hunter Seat Medal.
First place in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship was awarded to Thea Chafee. Chafee piloted her own Galliard to the top finish. Abby Bertelson and Eclypso was another owner-rider pair to earn top honors. The duo won the WIHS Overall after sweeping the hunter and jumper phases of competition.
Junior riders weren’t the only ones racking up points in the equitation ring. Haleigh Landrigan finished first in the Ariat National Adult Medal aboard Acovibu, owned by Nancy Vinal.
Equitation Tuesday II kicked off the second week of the Vermont Summer Festival. In addition to Porter’s second THIS National Children’s Medal victory, Jillian Schelzi and Kate Ross also earned top placings. Schelzi won the Pessoa/USEF National Hunter Seat Medal on her own Van Gogh, and Ross piloted Katherine Joseph’s Sancho to the blue ribbon finish in the ASPCA Horsemanship.
The second week of the Vermont Summer Festival continues Thursday, highlighted by the $10,000 Vineyard Vines Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, at Harold Beebe Farm.
The Vermont Summer Festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary in its current Manchester location, offers more than $750,000 in prize money, making it 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 10. The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, is held each Thursday. The hugely popular $5,000 3’3” Hunter Derby is also held each Thursday for the first five weeks, with week six featuring the $15,000 Hunter Derby.
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.