East Dorset, Vermont — Julie Welles of Wellington, FL, and Twan triumphed in the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on August 9 during the final week of the Vermont Summer Festival horse show in East Dorset, VT. The six-week equestrian competition runs July 2 through August 10 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
A total of 10 entries found their way to a clear round over the track set by U.S. course designer Eric Hasbrouck, giving the crowd an opportunity to enjoy a thrilling jump-off. The first clear round in the tie-breaker belonged to Henrik Gundersen of Denmark, who stopped the timers in 44.53 seconds to take the early lead with his 14-year-old Hanoverian stallion, Adlanteur.
Four horses later, Bryn Sadler galloped to the top of the leader board, crossing the timers in 44.12 seconds with Bon Giorno, a 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Showcase 81, LLC. Her time at the top would be short-lived, however, as Julie Welles was next to challenge with Twan. The pair made easy work of the course, slicing and dicing their way around the track in 42.55 seconds.
When Gundersen had an unplanned dismount from his second jump-off contender, Ahaveros, and Catherine Tyree incurred eight faults with Wetter, Welles was still in the lead with Twan when she entered the grand prix ring with the final jump-off entry, Ramses du Lavillon. Welles guided the nine-year-old selle francais gelding owned by her employer, Missy Clark and North Run, to a clear round, but their time of 44.14 seconds left them just behind Sadler in third place.
“Eric did a great job, he always does,” said Welles in praise of the course. “The jump-off was a lot of fun. You could go fast, there were nice turns; it was great!
“Twan is super-fast, so sometimes in the jump-off I try to go too fast!” continued Welles of the Dutch Warmblood that Missy Clark owns in partnership with Stephex Stables of Belgium. “I have to keep my mind under control and remember that he is already fast enough. He’s a horse that we’ve had since the beginning of April; he’s a 14 year old gelding with a lot of experience over in Europe. We’ve had lots of good results throughout the spring and the summer. He’s been knocking on the door for a big win; we have been second numerous times, so I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Of the 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood’s personality, Welles noted, “He’s a sassy little thing and I think that’s what makes him so good. He’s a little horse with a big personality. He goes in there and always tries to do his best. As long as I don’t get in his way, he’ll fight for it.”
Her third place mount, Ramses du Lavillon, also came to Missy Clark and John Brennan’s North Run, based in Warren, VT, in April.
“Ramses is nine, so he’s still learning how to jump clear, how to go fast, and where his balance is,” said Welles. “He surprised me today with how great he was in the jump-off. Before I went in, John, Missy and I looked at each other and said ‘let’s try to be first and second!’ I gave it a go, and he was so good! He just kept jumping higher and higher the faster I went.”
It was a great finish for the 26-year-old Welles. In addition to winning with Twan and taking third with Ramses du Lavillon, she also posted the fastest four fault effort in the opening round to place eleventh with Bazooka de Muze.
For the win, Welles received a crystal trophy and a Vermont Summer Festival custom scrim from Mona’s Monograms. Twan’s groom, Ulises Gonzalez, was presented with a display cooler and a jacket from Glenn Geary’s Horse Watch.
For Welles, who spent her junior career riding with Missy Clark, competing at the Vermont Summer Festival is a homecoming of sorts.
“When I first came to the Vermont Summer Festival, I was doing the Equitation 11 and Under division,” laughed Welles, 26, who is now a professional rider and trainer with North Run. “I hadn’t been here for four or five years and when I came back last summer, it was like I had never left. It’s come full circle, I’m back at home. I have nice horses to show and I love helping the kids. I couldn’t ask for anything else right now.”
North Run brought approximately 40 horses to this year’s Vermont Summer Festival, competing for three weeks of the circuit.
“I like that it’s so laid-back, everyone is friendly, and they all work with you,” said Welles. “We have our busy days, of course, but it’s a nice downtime in the summer. You know what you are going to get here.”
The Vermont Summer Festival offers a full schedule of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition. The 2014 Vermont Summer Festival wraps up on Sunday, August 10, with competition beginning at 8 a.m. Admission prices on Sunday are $7 for adults, $5 for children. 100% of the gate proceeds benefit area libraries, including Manchester Community Library.
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.
$50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix
|2||Bryn Sadler||Bon Giorno||0:0||44.12|
|3||Julie Welles||Ramses du Lavillon||0:0||44.14|
|5||Lauren Fischer||Offenbach du Granit||0:0||46.56|
|7||Katie Tyler||Kroner Z||0:4||43.78|
|11.||Julie Welles||Bazooka de Muze||4|