Top Names Course Design at 2012 Vermont Summer Festival

East Dorset, Vermont – Six of the best course designers in the sport of show jumping will be showcasing their work in the grand prix ring during the Vermont Summer Festival running July 4 through August 12, 2012, in East Dorset, Vermont.

New England’s largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show, the Vermont Summer Festival offers more than $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont.  The competition attracts the best athletes, including Olympic medalists, from across the country and around the globe to vie for top honors.

The Vermont Summer Festival prides itself on using the best course designers in the sport.  Popular Chris Brandt and Olympic Individual Silver Medalist Michel Vaillancourt, both of Canada, will return to Vermont in 2012, as will Alan Wade of Ireland.  American course designers Eric Hasbrouck, Ken Krome and Steve Stephens will also each have a week in the grand prix ring.

For Ken Krome, the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival represents a homecoming of sorts.  Rated a 3* course designer by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), Krome has been challenging competitors in Vermont for the past 15 years.

“They have really supported and advanced my course designing skills,” said Krome, who will be setting the tracks in the grand prix ring during the fourth week of the Vermont Summer Festival.  “I love the show because I get to work with a great management team and their top notch staff.  Everyone is so fun and friendly, yet the competition is still very keen.”

Competitors in the grand prix ring can look forward to some tough courses by Krome, who was an assistant course designer for the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY, and has also designed for the Winter Equestrian Festival, HITS Ocala and Kentucky Horse Shows.

“Each course is uniquely designed for a given class on a given day,” explained Krome, who is based in Westminster, MD.  “I try to challenge the horse and rider in such a way that they can improve and get better.  Each day the courses will get a little bit more difficult.”

New to Vermont this year is veteran course designer Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL.  Stephens was the co-course designer at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela.

“I’m really looking forward to traveling to a new venue,” said Stephens, who is an FEI 4* rated designer.  “It’s always nice to work in different parts of the country and is really fun getting to design with jumps that may have a different look to them.  I’ve also heard the weather can be wonderful.”

Stephens will be designing for the grand prix ring during the third week of competition.  Alan Wade, Chris Brandt, Michel Vaillancourt and Eric Hasbrouck will be setting the tracks during weeks one, two, five and six, respectively.

All of the designers will be taking on the challenge of creating tough yet fair questions for competitors throughout their assigned week in the all-weather grand prix ring.  New for 2012, the first five Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival will feature a $30,000 Grand Prix.  During week six, the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held on Saturday, August 11.  The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, will now be held each Thursday.

For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont.  Known for its wide variety of area amenities including a large range of lodging options, restaurants to suit every taste, outdoor activities, and lots and lots of shopping, Manchester-area businesses warmly welcome horse show competitors to the area each summer.

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: or visit

Photo: Steve Stephens, co-course designer at the 2008 Olympic Games, will be one of six featured grand prix course designers during the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.