Kirk Webby Caps Off Week Four in Vermont with a Grand Prix Victory
RELEASE: July 29, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Jennifer Ward
Week four of the Vermont Summer Festival concluded with Kirk Webby of New Zealand winning the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, presented by Hand Motors. The six-week Vermont Summer Festival runs until August 9 in East Dorset, VT.
In Sunday’s featured class, only four riders managed to post clear rounds over the track set by Kenny Krome. First back for the jump-off, Kimberly Mulligan of New Canaan, CT, and Butterfly Rouge were conservative to turn in a clear round in a time of 40.79 seconds. Ireland’s Darragh Kenny, winner of back-to-back grand prix events during weeks two and three, was next into the ring. He turned in his usual fast and clean performance, shaving almost two seconds off of Mulligan’s time to finish in 38.65 seconds with Gael Force. Ken Berkley of Flemington, NJ, and Carlos Boy then took their turn, and successfully took over the lead with a time of 37.93 seconds.
Last to go, Webby and his 2008 Olympic mount, Sitah, surprised everyone by taking an inside cut to the double combination at fence four. The inside cut, which no other rider had attempted, gave Webby the advantage he needed, and he and Sitah stopped the clock in 36.60 seconds to win the class and claim the winner’s check of $9,000.
“I’ve had this mare for three or four years,” said Webby of Sitah, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. “She won a grand prix here two years ago, and she is the horse that I took to the Olympics last year. She is actually coming off a long break. The others in the jump-off were big, scopey gallopers, but she is pretty cunning. We’ve been around the world together, and I really know her.”
While the grand prix win went to New Zealand, victory in Friday’s featured class stayed closer to home. Louis Jacobs of East Aurora, NY, was the winner of the $10,000 Escada & Giorgio Armani Open Welcome Stake, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, riding Kachina.
Jacobs, who last year won the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix at the Vermont Summer Festival with Kachina, was the first of seven horse-and-rider combinations to post a clear round and advance to the jump-off. First to go in the jump-off, Jacobs and his 11-year-old Selle Francais mare, posted a clear round in a time of 31.69 seconds, which would hold up for the win. For his victory, Jacobs was awarded his share of the prize money as well a gift bag from sponsor Escada that contained $1,000 in gift cards.
On Thursday, July 23, Avery Dimmig of Rougemount, NC, was a busy competitor, taking the championship titles in the First Year Green, Second Year Green, and Green Conformation Hunter divisions. In the First Year Green division, Dimmig piloted Oberon around the course for owner Lyn Pedersen, garnering a total of 30 points to take the tri-color. With Smart Pak, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Bross, Dimmig accumulated 38 points to win the Second Year Green Hunter championship title. For her third championship title, Dimmig piloted Perfektionist, owned by Tracey Topping, to win the Green Conformation Hunter division.
Also on Thursday, Lindsay Portella of Southwest Ranches, FL, won the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search. Riding Millesime du Valy, a nine-year-old Selle Francais stallion owned by Gigi Stetler, Portella beat out 35 other horse-rider combinations for top honors. The 18-year-old trains with Fort Lauderdale’s Jimmy Torano, a regular competitor at the Vermont Summer Festival.
On Saturday, Lisa Zimmer of Wycoff, NJ, won the $1,500 Marshall & Sterling Children's Jumper Classic. Zimmer, 15, took top honors riding her Belgian-bred horse, Kaniny H. A student at Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes, NJ, Zimmer has enjoyed a whirlwind of success so far in 2009 with numerous wins in the Children’s Jumper divisions at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, the Kentucky Spring Classic Horse Show in Lexington, KY, and the recent Lake Placid Horse Show in New York, j