East Dorset, Vermont — Five-time Olympian Manuel Torres of Colombia and Cinderella won the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, presented by Purina Horse Feed, on Saturday, July 26, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Torres and Cinderella, an eight-year-old Westphalian mare by Cayetano L, posted one of only three double clear rounds on Saturday over the challenging track set by Canadian course designer Peter Holmes. The duo had the unenviable position of going first in both rounds, but their jump-off time of 39.50 seconds held up as five other riders attempted to catch them over the shortened jump-off course.
Marylisa Leffler and Carlot finished fractions of a second behind Torres and Cinderella, settling for second place after stopping the timers in 39.95 seconds. Ian Silitch riding Cordovo was the only other rider to jump clear in the jump-off, taking third with a time of 41.04 seconds. Jimmy Torano of Fort Lauderdale, FL, had the time for a first place finish with Bentley, but an unfortunate rail left him in fourth place despite stopping the clock in 38.71 seconds.
Torres has represented Colombia in countless international competitions, including five Olympic Games and four Pan American Games appearances. Torres is now based in Waterford, VA, where he operates his Santa Catalina Farm.
His daughter and her husband, Andrea Torres Guerreiro and Leo Guerreiro, acquired Cinderella as a four-year-old with Torres’ guidance, and Torres has been riding the feisty mare ever since. Torres admitted he had not been sure whether their time on Saturday would hold up for the win, and their first major victory together was a pleasant surprise.
“Cinderella just turned eight, so she is still very young,” said Torres. “We’ve done a few grand prix already, but I wasn’t expecting to win. She is trying hard and tries to win. This year is the first year we’ve been jumping in the open (jumper division), so she’s really coming along.”
Torres’ biggest focus with the mare has been working on her rideability, but he has enjoyed getting to know Cinderella and looks forward to their future together.
“She is difficult, but getting better,” Torres explained. “She’s very scopey and has a super mind, but I have to make her a little easier to ride. She makes me work a lot!”
He continued, “I’ve been doing a lot of dressage, trying to make her into a good horse while keeping her sound in her mind. She’s still young, but she will be a good one someday.”
Cinderella’s competitive streak and zest for show jumping is what Torres enjoys most about her. It is evident that she has the desire to be a winner, and Torres was pleased with how she handled the challenging course set for Saturday’s $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix.
“The course was really well put together,” Torres remarked. “When we walked it, we thought it was going to be tough like it was; that it would create a lot of faults, and that the jumps were going to be big and square.”
He continued, “A triple combination is always really hard. You had to jump a big oxer coming in and the two verticals were really tight. The course designer caught everyone all around the course. The verticals were very big, and the turns were tough. It was technical, but it is supposed to be that way.”
Torres first competed at the Vermont Summer Festival in 2013. He liked the show so much, he made the trip north this year as well, bringing with him 10 horses, several working students, and his family to enjoy the Vermont countryside as much as the competition.
“We love this horse show,” said Torres. “Last year was the first year that we came. Look around you, it’s fantastic! It’s a great horse show for the family, the courses are good, and the prize money is great.”
The Vermont Summer Festival offers a full schedule of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition. The $10,000 Open Welcome Stake Series, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, is held each Thursday while the week’s feature event, the $30,000 Grand Prix, takes place each Saturday at 1 p.m. The $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held during the sixth and final week on Saturday, August 9.
Spotlighting the hunter competitors, the popular $5,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby series is held each Thursday, culminating in the $15,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Land Rover Experience.
Competition runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 8 a.m. Admission prices are $5 for adults, $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $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.
$30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, Presented by Purina Horse Feed
|5||Julie Welles||Bazooka de Muze||0:17||55.87|
|10||Kimberly Mulligan-Mangione||Psalms 23||4|
$10,000 Sir Ruly Open Jumper Award – standings as of Saturday, July 26, 2014
Click here for full current Sir Ruly Open Jumper Award Standings