Rolling Acres Show Stable riders dominated the 3'3" Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions on Sunday, August 6, to conclude the fifth week of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival, which runs through August 13 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Ashley Foster of Brookeville, MD, took champion in the 18-35 division riding Carlot and Dorli Burke of Salisbury, MD, earned the tri-color in the 36 and Over division riding Classic. Both Foster, 21, and Burke, 57, train with Marylisa Leffler and Patty Foster at Rolling Acres Show Stable based in Brookeville, MD, and were each presented with a $50 gift certificate to Hadfield’s Saddlery in recognition of their championship.
Foster topped the 3’3” Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division after jumping to a third-place ribbon and three wins over fences with Carlot, a 13-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Rolling Acres Show Stable and previously campaigned as Leffler’s grand prix mount.
“I think he loves the change of pace that comes with switching from the jumper to the hunter ring,” said Foster, who will graduate from Auburn University in Auburn, AL, this December with a degree in horticulture. “He always loved going slow and this is a much more relaxed life for him. He really likes the attention and he knows he’s really good at it.”
Leffler piloted Carlot to a win in the $5,000 3'3” NEHJA Hunter Derby, presented by Eastern Hay, during week four of the Vermont Summer Festival, the same week that Foster claimed her first Amateur-Owner Hunter championship on the gelding.
“We want him to end up being a derby horse, but I came home from school and have always loved him, so we thought it would be perfect for me to do him in the amateurs as well,” said Foster. “It gives him a little more practice and I think he likes it. He was great today and he likes the weather at this show, so he has been really consistent.”
Reserve Champion in the 3’3” Amateur-Owner Hunter 18-35 division was presented to Neato, owned and ridden by Stephanie Fabiano, 32, of Mechanicburg, PA.
In the 3’3” Amateur-Owner Hunter 36 and Over division, Burke and her own Classic earned two first and two second-place ribbons over fences and placed second under saddle, which was enough to give them champion honors.
“He hasn’t had a lot of experience, but he is really good at his job and really fun to ride,” said Burke of her nine-year-old Warmblood gelding sired by Fiorenzo. “There were a lot of great horses and riders who rode really well in this division this week. It comes down to what day is your lucky day and I had a lucky day today.”
Burke has owned Classic for three years and has been competing at the Vermont Summer Festival for as long as she can remember, saying, “I have been coming here since I was a kid. I have a home here and would come skiing in the winter, so for me, this show is like coming home.
“Everyone from Rolling Acres looks forward to coming here and loves everything about the people and the beautiful views,” continued Burke who owns and operates an investment advisory business when she isn’t riding. “I love it here and will always make an effort to come show here.”
Reserve Champion in the 3’3” Amateur-Owner Hunter 36 and Over division was awarded to Exakt, owned and ridden by Gerald Camera, 57, of Ottsville, PA.
For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont for great competition in an ideal summer setting. Offering more than $750,000 in prize money over the course of its six-week run, the Vermont Summer Festival is New England’s largest hunter/jumper competition as well as the state’s richest sporting event based on purse. Outside the show ring, exhibitors are immersed in the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
Competition at the 2017 Vermont Summer Festival will run for one more week from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting the Manchester Community Library, Meals on Wheels of Bennington County, and the Rotary Club of Manchester.
For more information on the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.