Catherine Tyree, 22, of Chicago, IL, riding Don't Go claimed the $50,000 Summer Celebration Grand Prix on Saturday, August 13, during the final week of the Vermont Summer Festival. The Vermont Summer Festival runs for six consecutive weeks from July 5 through August 14, 2016, at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
From a starting field of 25, Tyree and her own Don't Go were one of 12 combinations to jump clear over the first-round track designed by Gerry Briggs of Smyrna, TN. In the jump-off, eight left the rails up to go double-clear.
When asked about Briggs' courses, Tyree responded, “The horses all jumped really well and there were rails down at most jumps, which is the sign of a good course. There were no traps for anybody and [Don't Go] jumped great – I could not have asked for more from him.”
Don't Go, a 14-year-old Oldenburg stallion (Come On x Raphael), crossed the jump-off timers in 40.46 seconds for the win. He and Tyree did not come by it easily, however, as their North Run barn mates Addison Gierkink of Harpswell, ME, and S & L Slingback, owned by Kadley Holdings, LLC, were only fractions off the pace in 40.48 seconds for second place. Michael Hughes of Morristown, NJ, riding Sans Soucis Z, owned by Caroline Lloyd, finished third with a time 41.28 seconds to clinch a hat trick for North Run.
Jimmy Torano of Wellington, FL, aboard Day Dream, who he owns in partnership with Chip and Debbie Perkins and Isalou Inc. (Daryl Portela), were fourth in 41.57 seconds. Rounding out the top five, was 14-year-old Canadian rider Sam Walker riding Acardi du Houssoit Z, owned by Richard Spooner, in a time of 42.05 seconds.
Tyree has a storied history with Don't Go, a horse she has owned for three and a half years and calls Tom around the barn. Saturday’s win was their first grand prix victory together after also winning the $10,000 Overland Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, the week before.
“He's my pride and joy,” she said. “I call him my war horse. He comes out and looks like a big, chunky pony, but he's always great. We have done a lot of things together and he never disappoints.
“It is nice to come back [to Vermont] and have things come full circle,” continued Tyree, who won her first grand prix at the Vermont Summer Festival in 2013.
Tyree maintains that her partnership with Don't Go gives the pair an advantage in the ring, and their bond was obvious on Saturday.
“He was great in the jump-off,” said Tyree. “We got a little lucky in one line and I really trusted him. The last four or five jumps I just galloped and never really touched the reins, and he was right there with me the whole time. That's where our great partnership really comes into play.”
Tyree has been competing at the Vermont Summer Festival for two weeks with trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run. After her win to start week five, she and Don't Go struggled to find their place at the top again.
“I had one down [in the grand prix] last week and earlier this week in the Welcome,” she said. “When I have rails, it is my fault. [Don't Go] always comes out wanting to jump clear, so I really wanted to pull it together for him and he gave me his all.”
For the win, Tyree was presented with her share of the $50,000 in prize money, a crystal trophy, a cooler from Mona's Monograms, and an equestrian-themed belt from Oughton Limited. She was also named the Kastel Denmark Ladies Style of Riding Award winner.
Tyree's groom, Cathal Bennett, was honored with the weekly Grand Prix Groom Award in recognition of his hard work to prepare Don't Go for Saturday's grand prix. He was presented with a monogrammed jacket and coolerette from sponsor Glenn Geary of Horsewatch.
“He takes incredible care of Tom,” said Tyree. “He's a stallion, so we have to be extra careful in the barn, and Bennett is always ten steps ahead. He comes out looking and feeling great every time, and I could not be more thankful.”
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. Outside the show ring, exhibitors enjoy the charm of Vermont's shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.
The 2016 Vermont Summer Festival concludes on Sunday, August 14. The gates open at 8 a.m. and weekend admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting the Manchester Community Library, Dorset Equine Rescue, and Meals on Wheels.
Please e-mail or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com for more information about the Vermont Summer Festival.
$50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix – August 13, 2016
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Catherine Tyree Chicago, IL Don't Go 0:0 40.46
2. Addison Gierkink Harpswell, ME S & L Slingback 0:0 40.48
3. Michael Hughes Morristown, NJ Sans Soucis Z 0:0 41.28
4. Jimmy Torano Wellington, FL Day Dream 0:0 41.57
5. Sam Walker CAN Acardi du Houssoit Z 0:0 42.05
6. Catherine Tyree Chicago, IL Corleone 0:0 42.19
7. Cormac Hanley IRL Twan 0:0 43.66
8. Eliza Month Scarsdale, NY Calumpi 0:0 44.78
9. Addison Gierkink Harpswell, ME Denver van't Goemanshof 0:4 40.24
10. Cormac Hanley IRL Captain Caruso 0:4 41.03
11. Amanda Strain Deep River, CT Casino Royale 0:10 48.36
12. Amy Momrow Wellington, FL Baldino du'Rouet 0:Ret.