The Race Is On!
East Dorset, Vermont — The First Year Green Working Hunters got the competition underway for the third of six weeks comprising the Vermont Summer Festival, held at the Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
The Race Is On!
Seasoned competitor Ken Berkley of Flemington, NJ, piloted Sanzibar to victory not once, not twice, but three times in the First Year Green Working Hunter division, jumping fences set at a height of 3’6”. Sanzibar, a seven-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Barbara Ridder Irwin and Karen Long Dwight, might be small, standing only 15.3hh, but he has placed Berkley in top contention for the World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) Award, which is being contested during week three of the Vermont Summer Festival.
Berkley can often be found splitting his time between both the hunter and jumper rings, but on Wednesday his focus was on racking up the points needed to get to the top of the leaderboard in this WCHR qualifier. WCHR qualifying events are held at various competitions throughout the show season, and riders may count their best four results towards qualifying for the final event, hosted by the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, MD, from October 4-10, 2010.
Hot on Berkley’s heels is T. Lyman Whitehead who claimed two wins in the Regular Working Hunter Division. Avalon, owned by Visse Wedell of North Salem, NY, is no stranger to the winner’s circle. The 10 year-old bay Belgian-bred gelding has been a consistent winner in this demanding division all season long.
The Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show, held from July 7 to August 15 in East Dorset, VT, was selected by the American Hunter Jumper Federation (AHJF) to host a World Championship Hunter Rider Event (WCHR) during the third week of competition. Divisions offered include Professional, Emerging Professional, Junior, Amateur-Owner, Adult-Amateur and Pony.
Each year, the American Hunter Jumper Foundation (AHJF) Board of Directors vote for WCHR qualifying events based on a set of almost 20 rigorous criteria. 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.
“We were thrilled to be chosen to host one of the WCHR qualifying events,” said William Glass, Technical Coordinator of the Vermont Summer Festival. “For this event, we have attracted top competitors vying for a chance to compete in the Final.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
Photo: Sanzibar gave rider Ken Berkley a leg up on the competition towards the World Championship Hunter Rider Award at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography