East Dorset, Vermont — Although she changed horses from last week, the result was still the same for Susannah Wise, as she piloted her mount Grace to victory in the $2,500 NAL/WIHS Adult Jumper Classic, on Saturday, July 23, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Wise took top honors in the same class last week with Tanzanite. The six-week equestrian competition is running at Harold Beebe Farm from July 6 through August 14, 2011.
Wise of Princeton, New Jersey, and Grace, a 10-year-old Dutch-bred mare, were the first in the ring and the first to go clear. Four other horse and rider combinations managed to navigate designer Kenny Krome’s tract to vie for the awards and prize money.
Wise entered the ring for the jump-off with instructions from her husband and trainer, Andrew Philbrick, resonating in her ears.
“He told me to go fast,” she said with a laugh. “I do what he tells me or I don’t get dinner.”
Wise followed his instructions to the letter and, in a short 36.19 seconds, emerged from the arena with a beaming smile and a fault-free performance which earned her the win.
“A lot of husbands can’t train their wives, but this works out well for us,” said Wise, a full-time surgeon. “I won last week on my other horse, Tanzanite. They are really different horses, so it has been really fun. Grace seeks out the jump and will take you there, whereas Tanzanite is a very light and bouncy horse and never looks at the jumps. Grace looks at the jumps. She jumped a couple really nice slices, oblique angles where she still sighted on it today. It was a great class. The fun part of riding is the strategy, planning the course out. I’ve ridden enough that that is the exciting part.
“I love doing the Classics,” she continued. “I went and bought new white pants today because you can never have enough white pants.”
Wise was more than happy to make the commute to the Vermont Summer Festival, noting, “New Jersey was so miserable; I could not wait to get up here yesterday. Getting up early this morning to ride with the sun coming up over the mountains and 70 degrees, there is nothing better.”
McKayla Langmeier, at 11 years old, is turning out to be one of the most prolific riders on the Vermont Summer Festival show grounds. Victories in all three divisions of pony hunters, as well as equitation and children’s jumpers, set her up for an impressive win in the $1,500 NAL/WIHS Children’s Jumper Classic.
Langmeier of East Granby, Connecticut, guided Denmark, a 16-year-old Dutch-bred gelding owned by Missy Clark, to victory in the $1,500 NAL/WIHS Children’s Jump Classic with two clear rounds and a jump-off time of 36.17 seconds. Langmeier has only been riding Denmark since June, but the pair has clicked.
“I love riding the jumpers because I get to go fast, but it also teaches me body control, and after being on the hunters it really is fun to go fast,” said Langmeier with a huge smile and a mischievous glint in her eye. “I’ve been doing the lows with him and I just moved up to the highs and I am just getting it together. I was fourth last week in the Classic, so we are getting better, except I had a brain fart in the first round and went left instead of right. But we were fast enough that I was within the time.”
The North American League offers year-long Series in six divisions – Children’s Hunter, Adult Hunter, Children’s Jumper, Adult Jumper, Pony Jumper, and Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper. The 2010-2011 season marks the first time that the NAL features two year-end finals. Joining the NAL’s traditional National Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show are new West Coast Finals at the Las Vegas National Horse Show.
The NAL includes classes held at hundreds of horse shows across the United States and Canada. Riders need not be members of the NAL to compete in the qualifying classes, but only members earn points toward the year-end finals. With the annual membership fee only $35, many riders join in hopes of earning points that may qualify them for a trip to Harrisburg or Las Vegas. For more information regarding the NAL series, including series specifications, current standings and a list of upcoming events, please call (717) 867-5643, email NAL@Ryegate.com or visit www.ryegate.com.
Week three of the Vermont Summer Festival concludes with the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, Presented by Devoucoux, on Sunday, July 24, starting at 1 p.m.
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.
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: email@example.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
Photo: Susannah Wise and Grace won the $2,500 NAL/WIHS Adult Jumper Classic on Saturday, July 23, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, Vermont. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography