East Dorset, Vermont — Joy Slater of Unionville, PA, and her own Oilean Uno topped a field of 50 to win the $5,000 NAL Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, presented by Summit Performance, on Sunday, August 2, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. The Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks, from June 30 through August 9, at Harold Beebe Farm.
Slater may have been the oldest rider in Sunday's class at 61, but she put years of experience in the tack to good use and bested an 18-horse jump-off over courses set by Gerry Briggs (USA). Second-round contenders returned to a technical track built by Briggs where seven pairs eventually jumped double-clear.
Nineteen-year-old Ashley Foster of Brookeville, MD, and Amon De Diamanté posted the first clear ride in the jump-off in 39.02 seconds. Her lead held for eight rounds until 16-year-old Nicolas Horgan of Charlotte, VT, and Zico T bumped her to second with a clear ride in 38.49 seconds.
Slater and Oilean Uno, a nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Le One x Oilean Carena), entered the ring two trips later and were fast and efficient to cross the timers in 38.36 seconds and win by just over a tenth of a second.
Horgan and Zico T slipped to second for owner Kelly Horgan, while Foster and Amon De Diamanté, owned by Rolling Acres, held on for third.
Canada was well represented in the top five with Lauren Barton of King City, ON, and her own Dorestus finishing fourth on a clear jump-off round in 39.67 seconds. Miranda Travers-Cavill of Claremont, ON, capped the top five clear in 41.30 seconds aboard her own Capri.
Proud to earn her first classic win with Oilean Uno at the Vermont Sumer Festival, Slater discovered the show on a shopping trip with her mother in 2002. “I came the first time the next year and have been coming every year since,” she said.
Slater is back to winning in the amateur jumper ranks after retiring her star mount Shindig two years ago at the age of 19 before finding Oilean Uno in Ireland in December 2014. He was the grand prix mount of Francis Connors and had several top grand prix finishes to his credit before Slater brought him to the U.S.
“I only ask him to jump the low amateurs now because I'm old and get in the way,” laughed Slater. “I had a feeling we were going to jump well and thought 'let's get this done today'. It worked out just the way it's supposed to.”
Usually riding under the direction of her goddaughter Laura Chapot and Neal Shapiro, Slater was her own trainer this week, but could not have been more proud of Oilean Uno.
“He's fast, he can gallop and gets really close to the jumps before leaving the ground. I got the right spot at fence one and rolled back perfectly to start the course,” she said. “He's wonderful. He goes in a snaffle and loves to play the game.”
When asked how it feels to beat a field full of riders many years her junior, Slater said, “I'll be 62 in two weeks. I'm old enough to be their grandmother, but I'm just really lucky to have such nice horses. They are the true stars.”
In addition to her share of the prize money, Slater also earned awards from Certified Sports Coach Sarah Becker of Summit Performance.
Also on Sunday, Megan Winkhaus of Greenwich, CT, took top honors in the $2,500 Marshall & Sterling Adult Amateur Jumper Classic aboard Speedy Chicolina for Round Hill Holdings, LLC. For the win, Winkhaus also received a copy of bestselling suspense novel, The Charity, donated by author Connie Johnson Hambley.
The weekly Horse Sport Canadian Sportsmanship Award was also presented on Sunday. Natalie Smith, who operates Monterra Farms in Claremont, ON, accepted the prize after week five of the Vermont Summer Festival. The new award, sponsored by Horse Sport Magazine, Canada's most respected equestrian magazine, is presented each week during the circuit, with the winners collecting several prizes, including a subscription to Horse Sport magazine.
Competition at the 2015 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults, $5 for children. 100% of the gate proceeds benefit the Manchester Community Library and Dorset Equine Rescue.
The Vermont Summer Festival is New England’s largest hunter/jumper competition, and the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont. It is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For over 20 years, the event has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont for great competition in an ideal summer setting.
$5,000 NAL Low Junior/Amatuer-Owner Jumper Classic
Presented by Summit Performance
Sunday, August 2, 2015
|1||Joy Slater||Unionville, PA||Oilean Uno||0:0||38.36|
|2||Nicolas Horgan||Charlotte, VT||Zico T||0:0||38.49|
|3||Ashley Foster||Brookeville, MD||Amon De Diamanté||0:0||39.02|
|4||Lauren Barton||King City, ON||Dorestus||0:0||39.67|
|5||Miranda Travers-Cavill||Claremont, ON||Capri||0:0||41.30|
|6||Jordyn Rodse Freedman||Longmeadow, MA||Everdeen||0:0||42.75|
|7||Taryn Fall||Madbury, NH||E. V. Armani||0:0||42.85|
|8||Maddy Gastineau||Doylestown, PA||Limited Edition||0:4||37.46|
|9||Addison Gierkink||Harpswell, ME||Castess HBC||0:4||38.94|
|10||Sarah Hubbard||Cornwall, CT||Cristago||0:4||41.32|