East Dorset, Vermont — Elizabeth Kirby of Wellington, FL, and her own Reservation were the ones to beat in the 3'3” Amateur-Owner Hunter Divisions at the Skidmore College Saratoga Classic Horse Shows and the Vermont Summer Festival to claim the Adirondack-Green Mountain Challenge trophy. The Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks, from July 5 through August 14, at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
The Adirondack-Green Mountain Challenge counts points for horse and rider combinations competing during the two-week Skidmore College Saratoga Classic Horse Shows in June and the first two weeks of the Vermont Summer Festival in July. The overall high-point winner is awarded the Adirondack-Green Mountain Challenge Perpetual Trophy.
During Week 2 at the Vermont Summer Festival, Kirby and Reservation earned two second-place ribbons over fences, and also collected third and seventh before taking fifth under saddle. These results, combined with reserve championship honors in Saratoga, allowed Kirby to clinch the Adirondack-Green Mountain Challenge perpetual trophy.
“I have always wanted to do this and try to win the challenge,” said Kirby, 25. “I don't know of any other award that spreads across two horse shows like this one does, and that is something really special.”
Reservation, a 12-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding, has been Kirby's amateur-owner mount since he arrived at her barn two years ago.
“I chose to compete him in this challenge because I thought he would have the overall best chance,” said Kirby, noting that Reservation is the most consistent horse in her string. “He was good in Saratoga, but he loves Vermont and really stepped up to the plate here.”
Kirby presented Reservation also competed in the $5,000 3'3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay, at the Vermont Summer Festival, placing tenth during Week 1 and taking fifth during Week 2.
“He was amazing,” said Kirby. “He likes something different, so he got excited about the derby. I think that's what made the amateurs so good for us this week; he was happy to go do his job.”
Kirby says that her partnership with Reservation has grown a lot over the past two years, but admits that she lets him control most situations in the show ring.
“He's the boss no matter what,” she said. “Even if you think you're right, just let him do his thing and he's normally right.”
Kirby is competing at the Vermont Summer Festival with trainer, Kristen Montevecchio, and claims that her horses seem to enjoy it.
“My horses go the best at this horse show,” said Kirby, who has been coming so Southern Vermont each summer for roughly seven years. “Everything runs smoothly, the surroundings are beautiful, and the management really care about the riders and the horses.”
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont for great competition in an ideal summer setting. Outside the show ring, exhibitors enjoy the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2016 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 and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting the Manchester Community Library, Dorset Equine Rescue, and Meals on Wheels.