Canadians Rewarded at the Vermont Summer Festival

Monday, August 23, 2010
Posted by Jennifer Ward, Starting Gate Communications


East Dorset, VT – For the fifth year, the Vermont Summer Festival proudly offered $10,000 in bonus prize money to its neighbors from the north through the $10,000 Canadian Circuit Awards, presented by Ariat International, Inc. The six-week Vermont Summer Festival was held from July 7 to August 15, 2010, at the Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
The $10,000 Canadian Circuit Awards, presented by Ariat International, Inc., are awarded to the top-ranked Canadian jumper and hunter competitors throughout the circuit. This year, Lily Russell of Bolton, Ontario, topped the Hunter Award standings following her outstanding performances riding Allura in the Amateur-Owner and Regular Working Hunter divisions during the first two weeks of competition to earn the $3,000 bonus.

To claim the Canadian Circuit Hunter Award, Allura, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Bob Russell, earned ribbons in every class they entered in the Amateur Owner 18-35 and Regular Working Hunter divisions, and were named Reserve Champion in the Amateur-Owner Division both weeks. Russell amassed a total of 81 points.

“The Canadian Circuit Awards are one of the main reasons we choose the Vermont Summer Festival when we are planning our show schedule,” said Russell, who trains with Christi McQuaker in Schomberg, Ontario. “Last year, Allura helped my trainer win the award, so it was really nice to come back and do it again. It is so wonderful that Ariat made this kind of award possible, and we plan to be back next year.”

The Reserve Canadian Circuit Hunter Award, along with a $2,000 bonus, went to Rebecca Marshall of Beeton, Ontario, who earned 44 points riding Platini in the Amateur Owner 18-35 division.

“The Canadian Circuit Awards are definitely an incentive,” said Marshall, who trains with Marni Von Schalburg. “We loved the show; everyone is so nice. The atmosphere at the show is great, and Manchester has so much to offer outside of the horse show. I think it is great that the show organizers, John and Dotty Ammerman, recognize the effort that Canadians make to come to their show.”

Peter Gisborn of Erin, Ontario, earned 42.5 points in the first two weeks of competition to top the Jumper Awards and earn a $3,000 bonus. This year marked Gisborn’s second trip to the Vermont Summer Festival, having also attended several years ago.

“I had heard that people like Christi McQuaker and Angela Covert-Lawrence had done well in the Canadian Awards in the past,” said Gisborn, a fourth generation horseman who operates his PJG Enterprises training business from Someday Farm in Erin, Ontario. “I love the horse show, as well as the shopping and the restaurants. The clients have a good time, and we thoroughly enjoy it. The bonus money makes it even nicer!”

Gisborn came to Vermont with eight horses, plus he catch rode Zilona in the 1.20m and 1.30m divisions at the request of fellow Canadian, Chris Delia. With Sir R, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Janet Faloney of Ancaster, Ontario, Gisborn contested the Open Welcome and Grand Prix competitions during weeks one and two.

“We had done the Talent Squad and some of the smaller grand prix classes at home, and Vermont was a good place for both of us to get some experience jumping the grand prix,” explained Gisborn. “It was tough, and it was great exposure.”

With Eminence, also owned by Faloney, Gisborn competed in the 1.10m and 1.15m classes, enjoying first, second and third place finishes.

“He has been a bit of a slow developer, but he won a couple of classes in the 1.15m and we moved him up to the 1.20m in Vermont, so he got some great miles,” said Gisborn of the seven-year-old Hannoverian gelding.

Overall, he commented, “I thought the ring was wonderful and the footing was great. The course designers the two weeks we were there, Michel Vaillancourt and Anthony D’Ambrosio, both did a beautiful job. All the courses were great, and all of my horses had a positive experience. They all came away with a definite, positive education. Vermont was a nice change of scenery, with new faces and new business contacts.”

Gisborn also trains the Reserve Jumper Champion, Aimee Deluce of Campbellville, Ontario, who earned a $2,000 bonus. Having taken a break from showing while attending Wilfrid Laurier University, Deluce began training with Gisborn in May.

“She had her comeback in Vermont, and enjoyed a stellar show,” said Gisborn of his student, who contested the Adult Amateur and Child/Adult Jumpers with Unbelievable ter Wilgen. “She did well in the ring, and was quite consistent and in the ribbons.”

Riders earned points throughout the circuit ranging from 10 to 0.5 for first through sixth-place finishes in hunter and jumper classes. Points were based on rider performance only, not horse and rider combination.

“This is the fifth year that we’ve offered the Canadian Circuit Award,” said Ruth Lacey, Marketing Director of the Vermont Summer Festival. “It’s been very gratifying to see our Canadian competitors returning year after year. We’re very happy to see the award gaining popularity as Ariat has generously made a three-year commitment to sponsoring the award.”

The 20010 Vermont Summer Festival, held for the 18th year at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, offered more than $750,000 in prize money throughout the six weeks of competition, making it the richest sporting event in the state. In 2011, the Vermont Summer Festival will again offer six weeks of competition from July 6 to August 14. For more information, including full results, please visit

$10,000 Canadian Circuit Awards, Presented by Ariat International, Inc.

1  Lily Russell  Bolton, Ontario   $3,000
2  Rebecca Marshall  Beeton, Ontario   $2,000


1.  Peter Gisborn  Erin, Ontario  $3,000
2.  Aimee Deluce  Campbellville, Ontario  $2,000

Photos: Lily Russell, shown here riding Allura, was the Hunter winner in the $10,000 Canadian Circuit Awards, Presented by Ariat International, Inc., at the 2010 Vermont Summer Festival.
Peter Gisborn, shown here riding Sir R, was the Jumper winner in the $10,000 Canadian Circuit Awards, Presented by Ariat International, Inc., at the 2010 Vermont Summer Festival.  Photo credit - David Mullinix Photography