East Dorset, Vermont — Kathryn Callaghan of Long Island, NY, and Gentle Red won the $1,500 Marshall & Sterling Children’s Jumper Classic on Sunday, July 27, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Callaghan posted one of four double clear rounds over the track set by Canadian course designer Peter Holmes. Second place finisher Louisa Behnke had posted the early time to beat of 39.42 seconds riding Arthos A. Ria. Rails fell across the jump-off course as riders hustled to catch Behnke’s time, leaving Callaghan and Gentle Red as the final horse and rider combination to challenge the leader.
Callaghan was the only rider to attempt a hard slice across the second jump in the jump-off, allowing her to shave off three tenths of a second off Behnke’s time for the win. With a time of 39.13 seconds, Callaghan and Gentle Red galloped away with the blue ribbon.
“I was surprised no one else tried it,” said Callaghan, 17, of the time-saving maneuver. “When we walked the course, we thought, ‘Maybe we should try it, but probably not.’ And then no one else tried it, and I walked in and saw the turn, I thought it was doable.”
Callaghan was thrilled with Sunday’s victory aboard Gentle Red, known as “James” in the barn, as it marked their first win together since she began riding him at the beginning of the year.
“We took him to Ocala and he did really well there, but this is our first big win,” smiled Callaghan. “It feels great. I just love him. He’s perfect. I like a horse that goes, and he really goes. He’s like a Thoroughbred; he really carries you around the course. He’s super careful and he jumps really great. He’s so much fun.”
Owned by Andrew Keyser, Gentle Red comes by his Thoroughbred-like characteristics rightly; the 12-year-old gelding is a Canadian Warmblood/Thoroughbred-cross by Rouge Clover.
While rails fell around the course on Sunday, several riders suffered from knock-downs coming down the home stretch in the jump-off course.
“The last four stride line was hard for me because my horse has a huge stride,” Callaghan acknowledged. “His stride is really big, so instead of pulling a lot to get four strides, we decided to get him going and hold steady for three. I just stayed back so he wouldn’t get flat and it worked out perfectly.”
While Callaghan only leases Gentle Red at the moment, she hopes to make the good-natured gelding her own at the end of the summer.
“He is perfect,” Callaghan reiterated. “His show name is Gentle Red, which suits him very well. He’s super sweet and laid-back.”
Callaghan and her trainer, Brenna Doherty, now head home after four successful weeks of showing at the Vermont Summer Festival. Callaghan heads off to college in the fall, and Gentle Red and another horse will join her in Rhode Island, where she will be attending Salve Regina University.
“I’m going to miss going to shows all the time, but I’m excited to start school. I’m going to still come home and ride with Brenna, and I’ll go to Ocala for a few weeks,” Callaghan said.
The Vermont Summer Festival offers a full schedule of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition Wednesday through Sunday at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT. 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 begins each day of the show 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.
$1,500 Marshall & Sterling Children's Jumper Classic
|1||Kathryn Callaghan||Gentle Red||0:0||39.126|
|2||Louis Behnke||Arthos A. Ria||0:0||39.424|
|4||Hanna Powers||Wassandra G||0:0||44.843|
|5||Oliver Ritter||Son Quaprice Valette||0:4||37.994|
|6||Gabriella Greco||Ravel D'Anne-Croix||0:4||41.651|
|7||Ariane Le Moine||Cover Girl||0:4||45.703|