East Dorset, Vermont — The 24th annual Vermont Summer Festival horse show officially opened on Wednesday, July 5, with six weeks of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
The Vermont Summer Festival offers innovative competition for riders ranging from early beginnings in the leadline all the way to the Olympic-level of grand prix show jumping. Highlighting top show jumping competition, the first five Saturdays of the 2017 Vermont Summer Festival feature a spectator-friendly $30,000 Grand Prix. The $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix closes out the season during the sixth and final week of competition on Saturday, August 12. The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, is held each Thursday.
All courses in the grand prix ring are built by prominent course designers, including Ireland’s Alan Wade, who was the course designer at the 2017 World Cup Final in Omaha, NE, and has been selected to set the tracks at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC.
“We are thrilled to start another year at the Vermont Summer Festival,” said Ruth Lacey, Marketing Director for the Vermont Summer Festival. “Welcoming exhibitors, both new and returning, to the showgrounds is a highlight of the season and our team is extremely pleased that the show continues to attract star riders and their families, world-renowned course designers, and exciting competition year after year.”
The 2017 Vermont Summer Festival also offers stiff equitation competition through its weekly ‘Equitation Tuesday’ events. Each Tuesday, the Vermont Summer Festival hosts some of the country's top equitation riders under the direction of their well-respected trainers, including the likes of North Run's Missy Clark of Warren, VT, and Frank Madden of Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY.
For hunter competitors, the $5,000 3’3” NEHJA Hunter Derby qualifiers return each Thursday for the first five weeks, culminating with a $15,000 offering on Thursday, August 10. In addition, week three of the Vermont Summer Festival is highlighted by World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) qualifying opportunities for competitors hoping to make an appearance at the 2017 WCHR Finals held from September 29 through October 8 at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, MD.
Competition at the 2017 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, Meals on Wheels of Bennington County, and the Rotary Club of Manchester.
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. Offering more than $750,000 in prize money over the course of its six-week run, the Vermont Summer Festival is New England’s largest hunter/jumper competition as well as the state’s richest sporting event based on purse. Outside the show ring, exhibitors are immersed in the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.