When the weather warms and the days lengthen, the North American hunter/jumper community heads to gorgeous summer circuits. Those who venture to the Vermont Summer Festival enjoy the perfect destination for summer horse showing; a relaxed environment with exciting competition, all in a family-friendly environment. The Vermont Summer Festival continually ranks among the most popular in North America shows with hunter, jumper, and equitation riders.
Here are five reasons you need to fall in love with the Vermont Summer Festival, running July 2 through August 11, 2019, at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT:
1. Top Sport
Weekly offerings at the Vermont Summer Festival fit into an all-inclusive schedule that delivers something for every level of rider from the pony ranks to seasoned grand prix competitors.
Each week, the $10,000 Open Jumper Welcome is held on Thursday, and a $30,000 Grand Prix takes place the first five Saturdays of the six-week circuit, before the season culminates with the $50,000 Grand Prix on Saturday, August 10, during the final weekend. Additionally, jumper riders can celebrate the return of a $10,000 Open Jumper Rider Bonus, presented by World Equestrian Center, to be divided among the top-scoring open jumper competitors during the six-week circuit. Hunters will be showcased in the $5,000 3’3″ NEHJA Hunter Derbies each Thursday, highlighted by a $15,000 finale on Thursday, August 8.
When you go: Make it a Saturday outing! Purchase a ticket for one of the weekly grand prix events to benefit The Dorset School, Manchester Community Library, and the Rotary Club of Manchester, and join the conversation by using tags #VSF2018 and #summerinvermont on social media.
2. The Eats
Dining while at the Vermont Summer Festival is a treat. Home to restaurants spanning the gamut of food options, Manchester and its surrounding areas are heaven for the hungry horse show-goer. The perfect opportunity to test drive the options is to attend the weekly exhibitor parties hosted by a different venue each Wednesday throughout the six-week show.
When you go: Dine out! Take a stroll through the streets of Manchester, VT, and indulge in the restaurant options. Also, don’t miss the exhibitor party at Bromley Mountain Adventure Park. While the mountain doesn’t have white peaks during the summer months, it is far from boring during the summer with zip lines, miniature golf, the big splash waterslide, and more.
3. The Shopping
Perhaps one of Manchester’s biggest claims to fame is the Manchester Designer Outlets, which are considered a shopping getaway for locals and visitors alike. Located in the heart of Manchester, the stores at the Manchester Designer Outlets offer boutique shopping opportunities from more than 40 brands, including iconic names like Bass, Overland, Theory, and Vineyard Vines.
When you go: Be sure to pick up a Manchester Designer Outlets coupon book in the horse show office for even better deals!
4. Vermont Living
The Manchester area is rich with flavor, but not just in its food. Area lodging is a claim to fame for southern Vermont with quaint country inns, high-end resort experiences, and cottage-style living. Independently-owned and family-run accommodations contribute to the appeal of the Manchester area, and welcome horse show enthusiasts with open arms and comfortable beds.
When you go: Stay the night! From the historic charm of The Dorset Inn and Barrows House to the luxury of the Kimpton Taconic and Equinox Resort, you will want to stay for all six weeks.
5. Points Palooza
Any rider with year-end finals on their radar can accomplish their qualifying goals at the Vermont Summer Festival. Qualifying opportunities span the disciplines, but the most exciting offerings are served up to hunter and equitation riders by way of a World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week and “Equitation Tuesdays.”
Tuesdays at Vermont see a flurry of young riders and national champion hopefuls focused on qualifying and preparing for year-end finals. Their hope is that the summer competition will land them spots in prestigious year-end equitation finals. The “Equitation Tuesday” schedule, which is held in addition to equitation offerings taking place each week, features classes ranging from the THIS Children’s Medal to USEF National Hunter Seat Medal and ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship qualifiers. The idea for “Equitation Tuesdays” was introduced in 2013 and they have quickly become known among equitation riders and trainers as an “Equitation Bootcamp.”
Some of the country’s top hunter competitors make the pilgrimage to the Vermont Summer Festival for WCHR week, held annually during the third week of competition. After gaining points at member horse shows across the nation, including the Vermont Summer Festival, the top 10 nationally-ranked riders and top six regionally-ranked riders in each category go head-to-head in the WCHR Finals at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, MD.
When you go: Watch hunter riders cash in during the $15,000 NEHJA Hunter Derby on Thursday, August 8.
Want to find out more about the Vermont Summer Festival? Visit www.vt-summerfestival.com, or find it on Facebook and Instagram.