East Dorset, VT - Ramsay Hanson was a double champion in the hunter divisions, taking home the Adult Amateur Hunter and the Adult Amateur Equitation championship titles during opening week of the Vermont Summer Festival running July 6 to August 14 in East Dorset, Vermont.
Hanson, 19, of Centerville, Massachusetts, won all four over fences classes comprising the highly competitive Adult Amateur Hunter 18-35 division to win the championship title. In the Adult Amateur Equitation 18-35 division, Hanson won both classes to again take the championship title. Prizes included a Zephyr Carbon Fiber Z-8 helmet and Aeros Paddock boots, both compliments of Ovation, and an Essex Classics Fine Riding Show Shirt.
If two championship titles weren’t enough, the well-versed Hanson also won the NAL Adult Hunter Classic and the Marshall and Sterling Adult Hunter Classic.
Hanson’s partner for her winning week was Old Fashioned, a nine-year-old bay mare owned by Jennifer Combs. Although Old Fashioned is for sale, Hanson is leasing the horse until she is sold.
“She is really straightforward, she is really scopey, and she loves to jump,” said Hanson, who began riding the mare in during the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida this winter. “She is well-mannered, and she loves peppermints.”
In explaining the pair’s success, Hanson said, “The judges like her because of her classic hunter look; she’s small and slender, not like the big warmbloods. I think a lot of judges like her because she is the very old fashioned, classic hunter type. I think that’s where she got her name from.”
In addition to showing Old Fashioned in the Adult Hunter and Equitation divisions, Hanson also competes in the Amateur-Owner 18-35 Hunter division with her own horse, Intuition, and in the jumper divisions with First Lady. During week one of the Vermont Summer Festival, Hanson placed fourth in the $1,000 1.30m jumper competition as well as fifth in Sunday’s $10,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner High Jumper Classic.
Hanson began training with Holly Hill Farm of Marston Mills, Massachusetts, one year ago.
“I love Patty (Harnois) and all the girls that ride there; we all get along very well,” said Hanson, who previously trained with Linda Langmeier while attending the Ethel Walker School in Connecticut.
Hanson is now a sophomore at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, after being recruited for its National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) equestrian team. Presenting a further opportunity to sharpen her riding skills, NCAA equestrian team riders compete on horses provided by the school. During this time, Hanson’s own horses can stay with her trainers at Holly Hill Farm. In the winter, Hanson’s horses travel with Holly Hill to the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, and, in 2011, Hanson managed to travel to Florida and compete during eight weeks of the 12-week circuit.
The Vermont Summer Festival, where Hanson has been competing for the past five years, is a favorite.
“I like how it is six weeks, so it is a circuit, and there are a lot of different things to show in,” said Hanson. “I also like Manchester, so it is fun to stay here for all six weeks. The town is really nice, and there is a lot to do.”
With a stellar opening week to her credit, there is little doubt that Hanson will continue to excel at this year’s Vermont Summer Festival.
Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont. The first five Sundays of the Vermont Summer Festival feature a $30,000 Grand Prix at 1 p.m., culminating with the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Sunday, August 14. In addition to the $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, held each Friday, the weekly $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Classics are hotly contested. New for 2011, the Vermont Summer Festival will host a $5,000 Hunter Derby each Thursday five of the six weeks.
The second week of the Vermont Summer Festival features the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, Presented by Johnson Horse Transportation, at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 17.
Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children, Wednesday through Saturday. On Grand Prix Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children. As always, 100 percent of the gate proceeds benefit the Friends Foundation for MEMS, (Manchester Elementary and Middle School).
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region each summer. For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
Photo: Ramsay Hanson guided Old Fashioned to the Adult Amateur Hunter and the Adult Amateur Equitation championship titles during opening week of the Vermont Summer Festival.
Old Fashioned with owner Jennifer Combs and rider Ramsay Hanson during the awards presentation. Photo credits - David Mullinix Photography