East Dorset, Vermont – Syona Shah of Lexington, MA, was crowned the winner of the Adirondack-Green Mountain Challenge at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. The six-week equestrian competition is taking place at Harold Beebe Farm from July 4 through August 12, 2012.
The Adirondack-Green Mountain Challenge counts points for horse-rider combinations competing during the two-week Skidmore College Saratoga Classic Horse Shows in June and the first two weeks of the Vermont Summer Festival. The overall high point winner is awarded the Adirondack-Green Mountain Challenge Perpetual Trophy. Shah and her pony, Corhil Andante, topped the point standings after dominating the Large Children’s Pony Hunter division.
Shah, 11, competed during the second week of the Skidmore College Saratoga Classic Horse Show, winning the Marshall and Sterling Children’s Hunter Classic, the Marshall and Sterling Children’s Horse and Pony Medal and the Large Children’s Pony Hunter division.
She continued her winning ways in the Large Children’s Pony Hunter division in Vermont, claiming the championship title the first two weeks of competition. During week two, Shah and Corhil Andante won three out of the four over fences classes and the under saddle class to claim the title.
“Vermont is my favorite show,” said Shah who will be entering grade six this fall. “I love competing here. It’s always so much fun and the views of the mountains are really beautiful.”
Shah’s partner, Corhil Andante, is an 18-year-old bay half-Welsh gelding that she began riding last season.
“He doesn’t always have the best barn manners, but once you get on him, he’s the sweetest pony ever,” explained Shah, who has been training with Patricia Harnois of Holly Hill Farm since October. “He always takes such good care of me in the ring. He’s absolutely amazing.”
She continued, “We started off leasing him, and then ended up buying him in September. I remember the first time I got on him. He was perfect and I just loved him.”
Shah began riding at the age of five, and credits her mother with her passion for horses.
“My mom used to ride and she was the one who first introduced me to the sport,” said Shah. “The first time I got on a pony I knew this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Offering more than $750,000 in prize money, the Vermont Summer Festival is the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont. 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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.vt-summerfestival.com.