Matthew Metell of Wellington, FL, won the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, presented by Johnson Horse Transportation,
for the second year in a row on Saturday, July 7, during the opening week of competition at the 25th annual Vermont Summer Festival, which runs through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
From a starting field of 20 horses, Metell and Donchalant, owned by Wolver Hollow, were one of only two pairs to jump clear over a difficult first-round course designed by Paul Jewell of Ewing, NJ. In the jump-off, Lainie Wimberly of Ridgefield, CT, had a rail down in a time of 50.98 seconds riding RF Quarterman, owned by Brigadoon Show Stables, Inc. The pressure was on Metell when an early rail fell, but the 28-year-old made up for it on the clock with a time of 47.65 seconds to take the win.
Hailey Rogge of Lafayette, LA, finished third with two time faults for exceeding the time allowed aboard Flame van de Dassenloop, owned by Top Line Sporthorse International. Karyn Foley of Wilton, CT, was fourth with the only four-fault effort riding Felix, owned by Orpen Horses, while Colombia’s Mario Garcia rounded out the top five aboard Fabbries.
The Vermont Summer Festival has become hallowed ground for Metell since earning his first career grand prix victory there in 2017. He and Donchalant are also the reigning winners of the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix, which takes place during the sixth and final week of competition.
“There is something about Vermont!” said Metell, who also won Thursday’s $10,000 Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stake and considers the Vermont Summer Festival his favorite horse show. “We have good luck here but I think I do better when I don’t expect a win. I figured that, statistically, there was no way I was going to win again. I can’t believe it happened!”
Of Jewel’s course, Metell noted, “The triple was tight and that was a trouble spot for a lot of horse. I watched Jenny [Kocher] go and her horse has a big stride and it was really hard for him. I actually altered my plan a little after that.
“But it worked out for me and she backed off nicely,” continued Metell of Donchalant, the 10-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood mare (Larino x Amaretto I) he has piloted for just over a year. “It was bigger and wider than it was in the welcome so we had to work a little harder today, but I got lucky.”
In recognition of his victory, Metell was awarded a scrim by Mona's Monograms as well as a crystal trophy. In addition, the Vermont Summer Festival also recognized his grooms, Bulmaro and Rachel Long, with the weekly Grand Prix Groom Award in honor of their hard work preparing Donchalant for grand prix competition. They were presented with a monogrammed jacket and coolerette from sponsor Glenn Geary of Horsewatch.
Week one of 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 8.
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 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix
Saturday, July 7, 2018
Rider Hometown Horse Faults/Time
1. Matthew Metell Wellington, FL Donchalant 0/4/47.65
2. Lainie Wimberly Ridgefield, CT RF Quarterman 0/5/50.98
3. Hailey Rogge Lafayette, LA Flame van de Dassenloop 2
4. Karyn Foley Wilton, CT Felix 4
5. Mario Garcia Colombia Fabbries 6
6. Brenna Doherty Laurel Hollow, NY KM Whatever RV 8
7. David Jennings Franklin, TN Donegue 8
8. Jennifer Kocher Chester, NY Carlos 10
9. Elizabeth Stroh Grosse Pointe Farms, FL Coralina 10
10. Lincoln Russell Columbus, NC Gaverdi Z 12
11. Jill Curtis Deep River, CT E.S. Firobantos 12
12. Cynthia McGrath Hummelstown, PA Caruso 17