East Dorset, Vermont – The World Championship Hunter Rider Program (WCHR) has returned to the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival horse show, which runs July 4 through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Hunter competitors will have the opportunity to earn points towards national year-end awards during week three of the Vermont Summer Festival, entitled the Manchester Classic, running July 18 to 22. The WCHR was founded in 1995 to recognize and celebrate hunter riders. The coveted year-end awards include categories for Professionals, Emerging Professionals, Amateur Owners, Amateur Adults, Junior, Children and Pony riders.
Each year, the top 10 nationally ranked riders and top six regionally ranked riders in each category come together to compete in the WCHR Finals at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, MD, taking place this year from October 1-7, 2012.
“Hunter riding is a real art,” said Billy Glass, Technical Director of the Vermont Summer Festival and Show Manager at the Capital Challenge Horse Show. “These riders deserve to be recognized for their talent. It’s a highly competitive event, and the best riders make it look easy.”
He continued, “The Vermont Summer Festival is honored to be chosen to be a recognized WCHR event. It’s a big motivator for us to keep our level of competition high and to provide an atmosphere where hunters can really excel.”
This is the third consecutive year the Vermont Summer Festival has been named a WCHR event. Horse shows are selected to be a part of the WCHR by the exhibitors, with additional recommendations made by the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) WCHR Committee. In order for an event to be considered for inclusion, it must attract top competitors, judges and officials, maintain excellent footing for the equine competitors, and have ample spectator parking and seating.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to show in the hunters in Vermont, so I’m very pleased to be here,” said Scott Stewart of Flemington, NJ, and Wellington, FL, who has won the WCHR Finals a historic four times. “The fences in all of the rings are lovely and I’m really looking forward to competing. I expect the competition to be very strong.”
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 largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show in New England, the festival attracts the best athletes, including Olympic medalists, from across the country and around the globe.
The hugely popular $5,000 3'3" Hunter Derby is held each Thursday of the Vermont Summer Festival for the first five weeks. Based on the tremendous success of the hunter derbies during their inaugural year in 2011, Vermont Summer Festival show organizers have added a $15,000 Hunter Derby for week six, sponsored by Vermont-based equestrian luggage manufacturer, Oughton Limited.
Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children. All of the gate receipts benefit the a number of Manchester area non-profit organizations, including the Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Second Chance Animal Center.
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont. 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).
Photo: Scott Stewart of Wellington, FL, who has won the WCHR Finals a historic four times, is competing at the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival. Photo by David Mullinix Photography