EAST DORSET, Vermont--Returning to compete at the Vermont Summer Festival for the first time in nine years, Candice King of Long Valley, N.J., rode Calisto 26 to win the $10,000 Welcome Stake on Thursday, July 19, during the 25th annual competition running through Aug. 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, Vt.
Four horses made it to the jump-off over courses set by Manuel Esparza of Mexico, who was part of the course building team at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Setting the pace early with tight inside turn to the second fence of the jump-off, King and Calisto 26 were the first to jump double-clear in 40.39 seconds.
Agatha D’Ambra of Clifton Park, N.Y.,, was unable to catch King’s time, but finished clear in 47.80 seconds to take second place riding Ça Va Bien, and with four faults in the jump-off, Brenna Doherty of Laurel Hollow, N.Y.,, finished third riding KM Whatever RV, with Angelo Danza of Brewster, N.Y., placing fourth on Euphoria with 20 faults.
“I LOVE it here,” said King, who last competed at the Vermont Summer Festival in 2009. “I have always been a fan of this show, and I know they put a lot of effort into the footing this year. I had a customer who was interested in showing here, so that’s what brought us back. There are a lot of good shows going on right now with a lot of options, but it is beautiful here, and I really appreciate the management.”
King has had the ride on Calisto 26 for one year.
“He is the easiest grand prix horse I have ever had," said King. "He goes on trail rides and does lessons with my daughter. My whole career I have done a lot of diverse training with my horses. Overall, he just wants to be there for you, and to have a partnership like that is special.”
King, who represented the United States at three FEI World Cup Finals, recently took a step back from full-time competition to found Alamar Equine, a training business for both jumpers and western cow horses that she runs with her partner Cliff Schadt.
“I don’t go from hunter/jumper show to hunter/jumper show anymore, but I have a passion for being a horseman with a mixed group of horses that brought me back to my roots,” said King, 48, who grew up with quarter horses in her backyard. “My father did cutting and as soon as I could walk I was showing in halter classes, then I was competing in western pleasure equitation and trail classes when I was 6. I was too little to show in the cutting shows, and I got bored, so my dad let me take his top cutting horse and have my first English lesson. The rest is history.”
KATIE McVEIGH of Mount Kisco, N.Y.,, won the $5,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby on Thursday, July 19, during rhe World Championship Hunter Rider week.
Spanning two competition rings, the derby courses were designed by Joe Carnicom of Toledo, Ohio, with traditional hunter jumps and derby-style fences.
McVeigh had the highest score over the opening round to return last and combined an 82 with an 83 for a total score of 165 riding Goyard for their first derby win together.
Keirstin Johnsen of North Salem, N.Y., on Upset de Talma scored 82 and 77 to finish second on a score of 159, Megan Young of Jacksonville, Fla.,, was third on Varekai with scores of 75 and 83 for 158 total, and Jennifer Wright of Coscob, Conn., placed both fourth and fifth on Cosa Nostra scoring 157 and Cordially Yours scoring 155.5.
McVeigh’s was also the high-point amateur, while 17-year-old Ally Archer of Katonah, N.Y., was the high-point junior on Prophet.
“I really can’t believe it,” said McVeigh, who was planning to use the derby as preparation for the Amateur-Owner Hunter division over the weekend. “She was perfect in the first round, and then I felt the pressure going into the second round. She was a little spooky in the derbies here last year, so I was prepared for that, but she went right in and jumped around so well.”
McVeigh has had the ride on Goyard, an 8-year-old warmblood mare, for a year.
“She’s a horse that will do anything for you from any distance, and she always comes out the same," said McVeigh. "She’s my favorite.”
After competing in Vermont for the next two weeks, McVeigh will shift her focus to school.
She begins her freshman year studying biomedical engineering at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., at the end of August.