Jennifer Kocher Crowned Grand Prix Winner at Vermont Summer Festival

Jennifer Kocher of Chester, NY, stormed to a victory in the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, presented by The Equinox Resort, riding Carlos on Saturday, July 14, during the 25th annual Vermont Summer Festival, which runs through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.

Jennifer Kocher won the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, presented by The Equinox Resort. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Alan Wade of Tipperary, Ireland, set the courses for a field of 19 with only two horses advancing to the tie-breaking jump-off. Irish rider Kevin Mealiff returned first aboard Goldbreaker, owned by Maarten Huygens, and pulled one rail in 42.36 seconds leaving the door open for Kocher. She and Carlos, owned by her husband Andrew Kocher, also knocked one rail for four faults but had the foot speed to stop the clock at 42.21 seconds for the win.

Mealiff also picked up third riding Itile Horta, owned by Huygens, with just three time faults keeping them from the jump-off. After a banner two weeks at the Vermont Summer Festival, Matthew Metell of Wellington, FL, produced the fastest four-fault trip in the first round to finish fourth riding Donchalant for owner Wolver Hollow. David Jennings of Franklin, TN, rounded out the top five riding Gracieux van Seven Oaks, owned by Mary Katherine Hargreaves, with four faults in the opening round.

“We bought Carlos off a video two years ago,” said Jennifer of the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Carthino Z x Wolfgang) formerly piloted by Dutch rider Peter Geerink. “Andy bought him as a horse for him to ride, but he has turned out to be perfect for this level as well as the high amateurs. I started showing him in Florida this year, and he was really big and strong for me – I didn’t think I was going to be able to ride him.

“I spent a lot of time with him, took my time getting to know him really well, and I think once he realized he didn’t have to jump that big he was a different horse,” continued Jennifer. “The best thing about him is that he is 100 percent brave and will never let you down. I’m getting to know his stride now so he is much easier for me to ride.”

Jennifer Kocher and Carlos were presented as the winners of the $30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, presented by The Equinox Resort, by representatives from The Equinox Resort, including (left to right) General Manager Roger Aberth, Spa Director Susan Wheeler, and Sales Manager Kenny Valenzuela, as well as groom Sara Zeerip at the Vermont Summer Festival on Saturday, July 14, in East Dorset, VT. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

In recognition of her victory, Jennifer was awarded a scrim by Mona’s Monograms as well as a crystal trophy. In addition, the Vermont Summer Festival also recognized her groom, Sara Zeerip, with the weekly Grand Prix Groom Award in honor of her hard work preparing Carlos for grand prix competition. She was presented with a monogrammed jacket and coolerette from sponsor Glenn Geary of Horsewatch.

“Sara started working for me this spring and is one of the most dedicated people to the horses that I have ever met,” said Jennifer. “She rides Carlos for me at home and would spend all day and night with him if she needed to. She knows everything there is to know about him – if he needs something, if he didn’t get enough sleep, and even if he wants one more treat. That’s really important for the team to have somebody like that.”

Jennifer will give her horses a week of rest before moving on to compete in Canada, saying, “I wish I could stay here all summer. The feeling of this show is enjoyable. The footing, in my opinion, is almost perfect; the course designers are great, and the jumps are nice. I have had a really good couple weeks here!”

Show jumping competition continues at the Vermont Summer Festival with Classics for adult, children, and junior-amateur-owner jumper riders in the Grand Prix Ring on Sunday, July 15.

The Vermont Summer Festival is New England’s largest hunter/jumper competition and the richest sporting event based on purse in the state of Vermont with more than $750,000 in prize money. The event is also a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). Outside the show ring, exhibitors are immersed in the charm of Vermont’s shopping, dining, and outdoor activities.

Competition at the 2018 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children with 100% of all gate proceeds benefiting The Dorset School, Manchester Community Library, and the Rotary Club of Manchester.

$30,000 Battenkill Grand Prix, presented by The Equinox Resort
Saturday, July 14, 2018

Rider  Hometown  Horse  Faults/Time
1. Jennifer Kocher Chester, NY Carlos 0/4/42.21
2. Kevin Mealiff Ireland Goldbreaker 0/4/42.36
3. Kevin Mealiff Ireland Itile Horta 3
4. Matthew Metell Wellington, FL Donchalant 4
5. David Jennings Franklin, TN Gracieux van Seven Oaks 4
6. Lincoln Russell Columbus, NC Gaverdi Z 4
7. Christian Coyle Ireland Dolce Vita KDW Z 5
8. Amanda Strain Deep River, CT Casino Royale 7
9. Adelaide Toensing Charlotte, VT Blue 8
10. Mario Garcia Colombia Fabries 8
11. Cynthia McGrath Hummelstown, PA Caruso 9
12. Molly Kenney South Hamilton, MA Etienne 9