The fourth week of competition at the 25th annual Vermont Summer Festival was one to remember for Mark Jungherr’s Starlite Farm and Kristi Smith’s Cedar Brook Farm with their students collecting championship ribbons and creating moments to remember. Competition at the Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Jungherr owns and operates Starlite Farm out of Amesbury, MA, while Smith is at the helm of Cedar Brook Farm based in Madison, CT. The two join forces at horse shows, including at the Vermont Summer Festival, which they have been attending for many years.
During week four, Jungherr and Smith coached their riders to a long list of accolades highlighted by Alexandra Carlton of Madison, CT, earning her first grand prix victory in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix on Saturday, July 28, riding Cardiograaf.
“She has been riding with me for many years and I feel like I have been raising her around the barn since she was 13,” said Smith of Carlton, now 24. “She has wanted this for a long time so to see her get it was very exciting.”
In addition, Devon Macleod of East Kingston, NH, topped the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay, on Thursday, July 26, aboard Zelina 10, owned by Kasey Noffsinger, while Adelaide Toensing won the $10,000 G.H. Bass Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, July 26, riding Blue.
“Sometimes things go in exactly the right direction that you hope they will,” said Jungherr, who has seen his share of personal success at the Vermont Summer Festival, including a win in the $30,000 Manchester & The Mountains Grand Prix in 2016. “This week, the girls all rode very well. They each had their individual shots and they didn’t let themselves down.”
Victories in the three featured classes were doubly sweet for Jungherr because he was responsible for bringing each of the winning mounts into the Starlite and Cedar Brook Farms strings. He found Cardiograaf, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quasimodo Z, as a young horse in Europe and found riders to produce the horse before Carlton took over the reins.
Jungherr also added Zelina 10 to his barn as a sales horse after the 11-year-old Holsteiner mare was sent to him straight from a field. In addition, he and Toensing selected Blue together and started the nine-year-old warmblood gelding by Chacco Blue in the 1m jumper classes at the beginning of the year, making huge progress and stepping up to the grand prix level in Vermont.
“Blue was a homebred of Emil Spadone’s,” said Jungherr of the gelding they purchased from Spadone’s Redfield Farm in Califon, NJ. “It was a group effort to pick him out and it was really fun for us to see her get this win this week.”
Jungherr has a special talent for selecting just the right horse, according to Smith.
“He brings horses into the program when he sees talent in them and he has better odds than anyone else of picking a horse that is going to go all the way,” she said. “Then he can always bring it along to do what it’s meant to do.
“Everyone rode beautifully this week and it’s a special place for us to win at,” continued Smith. “They make the exhibitors feel important. When a modified adult hunter rider wins a ribbon, they do a presentation in the ring and make them feel special. That’s an important piece of a horse show that we really appreciate for our riders.”
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.