East Dorset, Vermont — Hannah Piersiak, 15, of Needham, MA, topped the THIS Children’s Medal as well as the NAL/WIHS Children’s Classic on Saturday, July 10, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Piersiak’s first win of the day came in the THIS Children’s Medal, which is a qualifying event for the THIS National Children’s Medal Finals to be held this fall at Maryland’s Capital Challenge Horse Show. From a large starting field of 42 entries, the judge asked the four riders with the best scores to return for a final test. The judge, Mindy Minetto, tested the riders by asking them to hand-gallop a jump, canter a two-stride, trot another jump, rollback and canter another jump, and then sit trot to the gate and walk out. Piersiak was sitting in second place before executing the final test.
“I thought it went really well,” said Piersiak of her performance in the final test riding Bell Captain. “We landed from the first jump and tripped so I thought we maybe were not going to win, but we had a really good hand gallop.”
Already thrilled with her win in the THIS Children’s Medal, Piersiak and Bell Captain then contested the NAL/WIHS Children’s Classic. This time, Piersiak was among the top 12 riders that were asked to contest a second round of competition. Sitting in third position coming into the second round, Piersiak and Bell Captain impressed the judge sufficiently to take the win.
Riding since the age of eight, Piersiak has trained with Patricia Moss for the duration of her riding career. She has also had a long history with her horse, Bell Captain, having known the big bay gelding for six years as he was previously owned by her cousin.
“He is the best, he is a really good boy,” said Piersiak of the horse that stands at 17.2hh. “He has the best personality. He always whinnies when I come out to get him in the paddock. He is really friendly.”
Two victories made Piersiak’s trip to the Vermont Summer Festival worthwhile, considering that she had not competed at the event for a few years. Winning was just one of the reasons that she enjoyed her return visit.
“I like the food and the shops, and there are a lot of people here from other barns that I get to see, so that is fun,” said Piersiak, who will celebrate her 16th birthday next weekend, during week two of the Vermont Summer Festival. This fall, Piersiak will enter her sophomore year at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, MA.
The first of six weeks of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival concludes on Sunday, July 11, with the $30,000 Vermont Summer Festival Grand Prix, Presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, beginning at 1 p.m. Located at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children Wednesday through Saturday. On Grand Prix Sunday, admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children. All gate proceeds benefit Manchester Elementary-Middle School (MEMS).
Running July 7 through August 15, 2010, the Vermont Summer Festival offers more than $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state. The six-week Vermont Summer Festival culminates with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 15. The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: email@example.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
PHOTO: Hannah Piersiak rode Bell Captain to victories in the THIS Children’s Medal and the NAL/WIHS Children’s Classic, on Saturday, July 10, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography