East Dorset, Vermont — The sound of a horn called the riders to the ring for the $2,500 World Championship Hunter Rider Handy Hunter Challenge held July 22 during the third week of competition in the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
The $2,500 WCHR Handy Hunter Challenge, a qualifying event in the annual National WCHR program, consisted of 10 fences set at a height of 3’6” with no related distances. The course did have numerous roll-back turns, a fence that had to be taken at the trot, another fence that had to be jumped from a hand gallop, and an option for the riders - they could either jump a big oxer or they could stop, open a gate, and walk through the gate. The judges were looking for the horse that demonstrated the style, soundness, manner and way of going that typifies hunter competition, but that was also able to navigate tight turns and exhibit promptness to the obstacles.
The top award went to Penny Lombardo of Loxahatchee, FL, and Bring It On, an eight-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Laurie Lewis who hails from Oklahoma City, OK. Their final score over the course was a 90, three full points ahead of the second place finisher.
Lombardo was thrilled with Bring It On's performance, saying, “He is such a good boy. It makes you smile going around the ring. He’s just got a great rhythm and he’s so comfortable.”
Bring It On's connections could not have been more thrilled, commenting that he is the perfect hunter because he is such a laid-back and friendly horse. In fact, at the shows, he has to have a stall and a half as he spends most of his day snoozing in his stall.
Chase Boggio has been coming to the Vermont Summer Festival since 2004, when he was a mere 10 years old. Now 16, Boggio has made the trip to Vermont a summer tradition. And winning ribbons is yet another tradition for Boggio.
In just one morning, Boggio earned top honors in three separate rings, on three different horses, in three different classes. His first win of the day was in the WIHS Equitation competition, a qualifying class for the prestigious Washington International Horse Show. Boggio competed in the two phases of competition, Hunter and Jumper, with his horse Massimo, and handily won each phase to be named the overall winner.
A short time later, Boggio walked out of the jumper ring with a fourth place ribbon for his efforts on Don Stewart’s Rembrandt Z in the Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper division. This was followed quickly by another ribbon, this time in the $2,500 WCHR Handy Hunter Challenge, where he rode Dynasty for Lionshare Farm.
Last year, Boggio of Canton, GA, rose to the top of 87 competitors to win the 2009 North American Equitation Championships. He also placed second in the ASPCA Maclay, was seventh in the USEF Medal Finals, and placed second in the WIHS Equitation Classic Finals. In addition, he was invited to participate in the George H. Morris Horsemastership Training Session that was held in January of 2010 in Wellington, FL.
“I just got a new jumper a few months ago, and I am showing him in a few Grand Prix competitions up here,” said Boggio in between rides. “That is really where I want to concentrate; this is my equitation and jumper year. I think I am qualified for pretty much everything now.”
The third of six weeks of competition is now underway, featuring the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, Presented by Devoucoux, beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 25. 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.
Photos: Penny Lombardo and Bring It On navigate the gate on their way to winning the $2,500 WCHR Handy Hunter Challenge at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Chase Boggio was the winner of the WIHS Equitation competition, topping both the hunter and jumper phases at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo credits - David Mullinix Photography