Junior Riders Find “Equitation Tuesday” Success at Vermont Summer Festival

July 10, 2019 - East Dorset, VT

Ava Strohmeyer topped the THIS Children’s Medal riding Vince during the second week of Equitation Tuesday competition at the 2019 Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Sophia Gianoulis won both the ASPCA Horsemanship Maclay class and Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal riding Triomphe during Equitation Tuesday on July 9, at the 2019 Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.
Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

The race for points is on, and the Vermont Summer Festival has welcomed equitation riders to take center stage during popular Equitation Tuesday competition each week throughout the six-week circuit, which runs through August 11 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.

Every Tuesday at the Vermont Summer Festival, competition features some of the country's top equitation riders and national champion hopefuls by offering unique opportunities to qualify for year-end finals. On Tuesday, July 10, Ava Strohmeyer,16, of Tuxedo Park, NY, kicked off the day with a win in the Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) Children’s Medal. A junior at the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, CT, Strohmeyer is trained by her coaches Linda Langmeier and Joanna Seaver of Kelianda Farm out of East Granby, CT.

With her sights set on qualifying for the 2019 THIS National Children’s Medal Final at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, MD, Strohmeyer piloted Vince, owned by Ashley Denmark, to the blue ribbon on Tuesday.

“Equitation Tuesday was such a great opportunity for me,” she said. “I am working hard to qualify for finals, and I was able to gain a lot of experience and get points as well. My horse was fantastic. I could tell he was super happy to be competing, and he did everything I asked. I walked in the ring for the Taylor Harris and felt great about it before I had even started.”

Strohmeyer’s long-term goal for the impending equitation finals season is to bring home a ribbon.

Later in the day, Sophia Gianoulis, 17, of West Hartford, CT, swept both the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class and Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal. Also trained by Kelianda Farm’s Linda and Kenny Langmeier , Gianoulis returned to the Vermont Summer Festival for the first time since competing there in the children’s pony divisions.

“I really enjoy being here,” said the coming senior at William H. Hall High School. “Equitation Tuesday was a great opportunity for me to get some points and some exposure, but to do so in a very low key and comfortable environment.”

Gianoulis piloted Triomphe, owned by Linda Langmeier, to her blue ribbon and is aiming to qualify for both the 2019 ASPCA Maclay Championship at the National Horse Show in Lexington, KY, and Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Final at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, PA.

“I was very proud of my test in the medal,” said Gianoulis. “It involved cantering directly to the first jump, a trot jump, an inside turn, and lead changes. He nailed all of it right away.

“Last year was my first year qualifying for finals,” she continued. “Honestly, my only goal this year besides qualifying is to go and do the best that I can and have fun while doing it!”

Also taking the spotlight during the second week of Equitation Tuesday competition, Lilly Wolff rode Liandro VZ to win the NEHC Junior Hunt Seat Medal, and Madison Smyth topped the NHS 3'3" Medal riding Encore.

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.