Kaitlin Campbell Dominates at Vermont Summer Festival

[East Dorset, VT] Kaitlin Campbell of Brookeville, MD, proved you don’t have to be a professional in order to perform like one. The 20-year-old amateur competitor took first and second in the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix on Saturday, July 7, at the 2012 Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT.

Kaitlin Campbell and Rocky W. Photo ©David Mullinix Photography

Her victory with Rocky W comes just two days after winning the $10,000 Overland Sheepskin Co. Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, on Thursday, July 5.

Nine entries from the 21-horse starting field advanced to the jump-off having successfully navigated the first round track set by course designer Alan Wade of Ireland. Campbell was second back for the jump-off with Grand Pleasure, an eight-year-old chestnut Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by her trainer, Rachel Kennedy, of ESP Farm. The pair laid down the first double clear performance of the class, finishing in 44.31 seconds.

Five more riders would enter the ring before anyone put in another clear round, which came courtesy of Eric Thompson of Pine Plains, NY, aboard Vamos, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Stella Farm LLP. Their time of 48.11 seconds just wasn’t fast enough to catch Campbell. They finished third in the final standings.

Campbell then returned aboard Rocky W, her 14-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood gelding and winning partner in the $10,000 Overland Sheepskin Co. Open Welcome Stake. Shaving more than half a second off her earlier time, Campbell guided Rocky W to their second win of the week, stopping the jump-off clock in 43.65 seconds.

“Rocky is a lot more experienced than my other horse,” explained Campbell, who is a student at American University in Washington, D.C. and was one of the few amateur competitors contesting the Grand Prix. “I know where we can go fast and still be able to make the tighter turns.”

She continued, “Both horses were great in the Grand Prix. Grand Pleasure really stepped up to the plate and put on a great performance. It’s nice to know he has it in him.”

This grand prix marked the second one ever for Grand Pleasure, who will be accompanying Campbell to the North American Young Riders’ Championships in Lexington, KY, from July 17 to 22. This year will mark Campbell’s third appearance at the championship event, having placed fourth individually in 2011 with Rocky W.

The Vermont Summer Festival offers more than $750,000 in prize money, making it the richest sporting event based on purse in the state. The largest “AA” rated hunter/jumper horse show in New England, the festival attracts the best athletes, including Olympic medalists, from across the country and around the globe.

New for 2012, the first five Saturdays of the Vermont Summer Festival will feature a $30,000 Grand Prix. During week six, the $50,000 Vermont Summer Celebration Grand Prix will be held on Saturday, August 11. The weekly $10,000 Open Welcome Stake, Presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, will now be held each Thursday.

The hugely popular $5,000 3'3" Hunter Derby will also be held each Thursday for the first five weeks. Based on the tremendous success of the hunter derbies during their inaugural year in 2011, Vermont Summer Festival show organizers have added a $15,000 Hunter Derby for week six, sponsored by Vermont-based equestrian luggage manufacturer, Oughton Limited.

Competition begins at 8 a.m. daily, Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children. All of the gate receipts benefit the a number of Manchester area non-profit organizations, including the Mark Skinner Library, Friends Foundation for MEMS, Community Food Cupboard, and Second Chance Animal Center.

For over 20 years, the Vermont Summer Festival has attracted exhibitors and their families to the Manchester region in southern Vermont. The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member event of the Show Jumping Hall Of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL).

For more information about the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail: info@vt-summerfestival.com or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.

Top Ten - $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix

Rider | Horse | Round 1 faults | Round 2 faults | jumpoff time

  1. Kaitlin Campbell | Rocky W | 0 | 0 | 43.650
  2. Kaitlin Campbell | Grand Pleasure | 0 | 0 | 44.312
  3. Eric Thompson | Vamos | 0 | 0 | 48.113
  4. Peter Lutz | Indiana 127 | 0 | 4 | 42.237
  5. Theodore Demetriou | Pelham Bay | 0 | 8 | 46.215
  6. Bryn Sadler | Bon Giorno | 0 | 8 | 46.934
  7. Pablo Mejia | RL Cheenook | 0 | 8 | 47.300
  8. Amanda Flint | Superbad | 0 | 8 | 49.204
  9. James Gillam | Chanel | 0 | 12 | 52.809
  10. Vivian Yowan | Coral Z | 2