Morgan Ward of Milford, NJ, had the speed to claim the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix riding Diacord on Saturday, July 21, during the 25th annual Vermont Summer Festival, which runs through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Eight horses advanced to the jump-off where not a single rail fell over the track set by 2016 Olympic course designer Manuel Esparza of Mexico. The deciding factor was speed and 20-year-old Ward had just that. She used her speed, coupled with several inside turns, to stop the clock at 40.16 seconds riding Diacord. Thursday’s Welcome Stake winner Candice King of Long Valley, NJ, rode Calisto 26 to the runner-up spot with a time of 41.45 seconds for owner Ross Smith.
Colombian rider Mario Garcia piloted Fabries, to third in 42.82 seconds, while Adelaide Toensing of Charlotte, VT, took fourth riding Blue in 43.18 seconds. McKayla Langmeier of East Granby, CT, rounded out the top five riding Iliano van d’Abelendreef, owned by her mother Linda Langmeier, with a time of 43.61 seconds.
A young professional based out of her family’s Willow Brook Farm in Whitehouse, NJ, Ward has been knocking on the door of a top finish throughout the last two weeks.
“Diacord was double-clean in the welcome last week, then a little tired in the grand prix. He had a cheap rail in the welcome this week, and he felt a little tired in the schooling area again today,” said Ward of the nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Diamant de Semilly x Accord II). “But he walked in and after fence one I knew we were fine.”
Diacord joined Ward’s string two years ago as an equitation prospect, but stepped up to the grand prix level at the 2017 Vermont Summer Festival.
“He’s an incredible horse and is always ready to win whenever you walk in the ring,” said Ward of Diacord, formerly piloted by Israel’s Daniel Bluman. “We took our time during the first year and then David [Jennings] started helping me this winter in Ocala and the horse has continued to improve.
“This was a great way to end our time here,” concluded Ward, who will now give her horses a break from competition for two weeks. “It’s always a great time to show here and the footing has been phenomenal this year – they did a great job!”
In recognition of her victory, Ward was awarded a scrim by Mona's Monograms as well as a crystal trophy. In addition, the Vermont Summer Festival also recognized her groom, David Alnoca, with the weekly Grand Prix Groom Award in honor of his hard work preparing Diacord for grand prix competition. He was presented with a monogrammed jacket and coolerette from sponsor Glenn Geary of Horsewatch.
Show jumping competition continues at the Vermont Summer Festival with Classics for adult, children, and junior-amateur-owner jumper riders in the Grand Prix Ring on Sunday, July 22.
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 with more than $750,000 in prize money. The event is also a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). Outside the show ring, exhibitors are immersed in the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2018 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 Dorset School, Manchester Community Library, and the Rotary Club of Manchester.
$30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Rider Hometown Horse Faults/Time
1. Morgan Ward Milford, NJ Diacord 0/0/40.16
2. Candice King Long Valley, NJ Calisto 26 0/0/41.45
3. Mario Garcia Colombia Fabries 0/0/42.82
4. Adelaide Toensing Charlotte, VT Blue 0/0/43.18
5. McKayla Langmeier East Granby, CT Iliano van d’Abelendreef 0/0/43.61
6. Elizabeth Stroh Grosse Pointe Farm, FL Coralina 0/0/43.81
7. Lincoln Russell Columbus, NC Gaverdi Z 0/0/46.43
8. Agatha D’Ambra Clifton Park, NY Exacto LS 0/0/47.93
9. McKayla Langmeier East Granby, CT Laney 4
10. David Jennings Franklin, TN Gracieux van Seven Oaks 4
11. David Jennings Franklin, TN Firestone T 4
12. Brenna Doherty Laurel Hollow, NY KM Whatever RV 4