Canada’s Alexanne Thibault won the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame (SJHOF) High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic on Sunday, July 7, to close out opening week of the Vermont Summer Festival, which runs for six weeks through August 11 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
The 21-year-old rider was the faster of only two double-clear performances from a 12-horse field over tracks designed by Paul Jewell of Ewing, NJ. She and her mount Sanjay were neat and quick to stop the timers at 38.11 seconds, more than a second faster than runner-up Kevin McCarthy (IRL) riding Catch A Star HSS, who stopped the clock in 39.86 seconds.
Alexanne Thibault of Boucherville, QC, won the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic riding Sanjay on Sunday, July 7, at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography
Thibault hails from Boucherville, QC, and is utilizing the Vermont Summer Festival as preparation for a summer of international-level competition. After spending three weeks in southern Vermont, she will head north again for CSI3* competition in Bromont, QC. While on the road, she is accompanied by her parents, Frederick Thibault and Suzanne Gosselin, and attends college online through Cégep à distance.
“This is our second year coming here, and we really enjoy the atmosphere,” said Thibault, who also utilized the Vermont Summer Festival as a prelude to representing Canada at the Adequan®/FEI North American Youth Championships in 2018, where she helped the Canadian Young Rider team to a fourth-placed finish. “It’s a friendly place for both the riders and the horses where you don’t feel as much stress as at other shows. Today, I could hear the crowd cheering for me in the jump-off and it was so much fun.”
Sanjay, an 11-year-old Slovakian Warmblood gelding (Canturo x Accord II), joined Thibault’s string a year ago and has a contrasting style to her other mount, Chacco Prime, the horse that carried her to second in the $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix on Saturday.
“This horse is so different than what I am used to because he is big and has a slower motion [than Chacco Prime],” said Thibault. “I have to really think about keeping my position in front of the jumps, but if I bring him to the right distance he will jump anything. His scope is incredible, and he has a huge heart, which is what makes him so much fun in the jump-off. I can practically do anything and I know he will be there for me.”
Of Jewel’s track, Thibault noted, “It was not the height that really mattered that much, but you had to be really efficient in the turns. To win today really proves that all the work we did with this horse over the last year has finally paid off.”
From a four-horse jump-off, Catherine Kubiak of Lake Forest, IL, piloted Somerset to the third-place ribbon with a four-fault round in 37.41 seconds, and also took fourth aboard Huntington with two poles down in 39.32 seconds. Donovan Ross of Westport, CT, rounded out the top five with the fastest four-fault ride over the first-round course riding Jasper III, owned by Halo Capital.
$10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic
Rider Hometown Horse Faults/Time
1 Alexanne Thibault Canada Sanjay 0/0/38.11
2 Kevin McCarthy Ireland Catch A Star HSS 0/0/39.86
3 Catherine Kubiak Lake Forest, IL Somerset 0/4/37.41
4 Catherine Kubiak Lake Forest, IL Huntington 0/8/39.32
5 Donovan Ross Westport, CT Jasper III 4/69.18
6 Chelsea McCarthy Wellington, FL J-ataime 4/69.29
7 Elizabeth Stroh Ocala, FL Canoso 4/71.41
8 Lanie Thomas Canada Mauna Lani 4/71.77