Ireland’s Kevin McCarthy claimed victory in the $5,000 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic on Sunday, July 14, to close out the second week of show jumping competition at the Vermont Summer Festival, runs through August 11 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Seven horse-and-rider combinations produced double-clear performances, but none could catch McCarthy and Gwen MC 1 over tracks set by Irish course designer Alan Wade. Stopping the clock at 32.21 seconds in the jump-off, McCarthy won by more than two full seconds over runner-up Christina Couper of Savannah, GA, who was clear in a time of 34.46 seconds riding Cora.
McCarthy brought Gwen MC 1 to the U.S. after the mare enjoyed a very successful career as a young horse in Ireland. With speed to spare, he calls the mount his “diesel pony.”
“Every time she sets foot in the show ring it feels like we put diesel fuel in her tank,” said McCarthy, who has had the ride on the nine-year-old Irish-bred mare sired by Quidam for a year and a half. “She had a great round today. She’s a little red head; a fighter that loves the job. Once she goes in the ring, she wants to try her best, and it’s always fun to ride a horse like that.”
After switching to ride as an amateur within the last year, McCarthy is new to the Junior/Amateur-Owner ranks and finds he is facing stiff competition.
“This is new territory for me, but I think sometimes the amateurs are faster than the professionals!” he said. “Today’s class was very fast. Alan’s courses were fair, but I knew with 12 horses in the jump-off that there wasn’t going to be anything easy about it.”
After two successful weeks at the six-week Vermont Summer Festival, McCarthy will compete during week three before giving his horses a well-deserved break.
“I really enjoy my time here, so we will definitely be back later in the season,” he said. “Every one of my horses has been jumping so well here, and they deserve a little bit of time off.”
Ana Bertozzi of Leesburg, VA, piloted High Tide to third place in 35.08 seconds while Amy Shafmaster of Portsmouth, NH, took fourth in 35.10 seconds riding Basje, owned by Terrapin Hill Farm. Jenny Swanson of Dover, MA, rounded out the top five aboard Chuck Blue with a time of 35.85. seconds.
Earlier in the day, Katie Carson of Moodus, CT, won the $2,500 Marshall & Sterling Adult Amateur Jumper Classic riding Aburhal while Lily Toensing of Charlotte, VT, topped the $1,500 Marshall & Sterling Children’s Jumper Classic riding Cassius Clay. Canada’s Alexanne Thibault closed out Sunday’s competition in the Grand Prix Ring with a victory in the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame (SJHOF) High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic for the second week in a row riding Sanjay.
Now in its 26th year, the Vermont Summer Festival offers a dynamic competition schedule while also giving competitors an opportunity to enjoy the wide variety of entertainment, recreation, shopping, and dining options offered in Dorset, Manchester, and the surrounding area. A recent study conducted by the Center for Rural Studies at the University of Vermont cited that the total direct spending of visitors frequenting Vermont for equine-related activities is estimated at nearly $15.5 million annually.
Competition at the 2019 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $5 for adults and children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children with 100 percent of all gate proceeds benefiting Dorset Equine Rescue, The Dorset School, and Manchester Community Library.
The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For more information on the Vermont Summer Festival, please visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.
$5,000 Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic
Sunday, July 14, 2019
Rider Hometown Horse Faults/Time
1. Kevin McCarthy Ireland Gwen MC 1 0/0/32.21
2. Christina Couper Savannah, GA Cora 0/0/34.46
3. Ana Bertozzi Leesburg, VA High Tide 0/0/35.08
4. Amy Shafmaster Portsmouth, NH Basje 0/0/35.10
5. Jenny Swanson Dover, MA Chuck Blue 0/0/35.85
6. Madison Rauschenbach Newburgh, NY Goldenbridge B 0/0/36.31
7. Wendy Wood South Hamilton, MA City Life 0/0/39.32
8. Isabelle Song Charlotte, NC Eminem 0/4/34.90