East Dorset, Vermont — The 2014 Vermont Summer Festival opened at Harold Beebe Farm, marking the beginning of another spectacular six weeks of equestrian competition in East Dorset, VT. The Vermont Summer Festival runs through August 10 and awards over $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont.
The unique combination of outstanding competition, world-class sponsors and a family-friendly fun atmosphere has continued to attract top equestrian athletes to the Vermont Summer Festival for more than 20 years.
Competition opened with the popular equitation classes, and saw Sophia Pilla claim the first blue ribbon of the 2014 Vermont Summer Festival. Riding Piccolino Farm’s Pop Rocks, Pilla topped the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) Children’s Medal. The Vermont Summer Festival initiated ‘Equitation Tuesdays’, an entire show day devoted to equitation divisions, to provide extra opportunities for riders to earn points toward year-end finals. Having made a highly successful debut in 2013 that earned rave reviews from riders and trainers alike, ‘Equitation Tuesdays’ return to the Vermont Summer Festival in 2014.
The Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal was next to award top honors, with Thea Chaffee taking victory aboard her own Future Fiddler. Katie Eppinger won the ASPCA Horsemanship Medal aboard Vox Retto, owned by Lauren Fabiano. The NEHC Junior Hunt Seat Medal wrapped up competition for the day with a win for Jillian Schelzi and her horse, Van Gogh.
“As in prior years, the excitement of the beginning of the circuit lies in not only seeing our returning exhibitors, but also welcoming new ones,” said Ruth Lacey, Marketing Director for the Vermont Summer Festival. “Since we opened on Canada Day this year, we’re especially happy to see so many Canadian riders joining us this year.”
Canada’s Christi McQuaker had lots to celebrate, after she won the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumper competition riding Brisbane, a seven-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare. McQuaker and her stable, Gryphon Farms of Schomberg, ON, are regular competitors at the Vermont Sumer Festival.
The first of six exhibitor parties was held Wednesday, July 2, at The Chantecleer Restaurant, helping to celebrate the beginning of another fantastic summer of showing at the Vermont Summer Festival. Exhibitors were treated to an evening of fine dining at The Chantecleer, one of five stunning local venues to host exhibitor parties this summer.
The Vermont Summer Festival offers a full schedule of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition for the first week of the Vermont Summer Festival. The $10,000 Open Welcome Stake Series, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, will be held Thursday, July 3, with the week’s feature event, the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, taking place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 5. The $5,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby series also kicks off on opening week, with the first hunter derby taking place on Thursday, July 3.
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.
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont. Known for its wide variety of area amenities including restaurants, outdoor activities, and lots and lots of shopping, Manchester-area businesses warmly welcome horse show competitors to the area each summer.
The first five Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival will 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 9. The hugely popular $5,000 3’3” Hunter Derby will also be held each Thursday for the first five weeks, with week six featuring the $15,000 Hunter Derby. The Vermont Summer Festival awards more than $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state.
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.