Alexandra Carlton Scores Debut Grand Prix Win at Vermont Summer Festival

Alexandra Carlton won her first grand prix in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, presented by Hampton Inn & Suites Manchester, riding Cardiograaf on Saturday, July 28, at the 25th annual Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

July 28, 2018 – East Dorset, Vermont – Alexandra Carlton of Madison, CT, ended her summer season with her first grand prix victory in the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, presented by Hampton Inn & Suites Manchester, on Saturday, July 28, during the 25th annual Vermont Summer Festival, which runs through August 12 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.

The jump-off over Canadian Olympic individual silver medalist Michel Vaillancourt’s courses was a duel between 24-year-old Carlton and grand prix veteran Marylisa Leffler. Returning first, Leffler of Brookville, MD, led off fault free in 42.18 seconds riding Luminous, owned by Rolling Acres Show Stables, before Carlton shaved nearly three seconds off her leading time. She and Cardiograaf stopped the clock clear in 39.90 seconds.

Carlton purchased a new pair of breeches Saturday morning before the second grand prix start of her career and the fresh attire came with the luck she needed to earn a blue ribbon.

“My mother nicknamed them my farewell breeches,” said Carlton, who will begin some time off from competition next week to focus on her first year of law school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. “It is kind of sad, but really exciting. [Cardiograaf] and I have grown up together. I got him when he was six from Mark Jungherr and we started in the 1.10m before stepping up into the 1.30m and 1.35m over the past year.

“A lot of people have had a hand in his upbringing and now he’s perfect,” continued Carlton of her 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Quasimodo Z, a mount she rides under the direction of Cedar Brook Farm trainer Kristi Smith. “He’s quirky, but amazing. For me to hold it together out there is the big deal. He is a huge confidence builder because he always takes care of me.”

Carlton has been focusing on her riding in the amateur ranks for the past two years after graduating from the University of Vermont with an English degree. She has been competing at the Vermont Summer Festival her whole life saying, “I started riding in the leadline here when I was four and have moved through all the divisions. It’s beautiful; like a vacation and horse show at the same time!”

In recognition of her first grand prix victory, Carlton was awarded a scrim by Mona’s Monograms as well as a crystal trophy. In addition, the Vermont Summer Festival also recognized her groom, Juan Migueles, with the weekly Grand Prix Groom Award in honor of his efforts to prepare Cardiograaf for grand prix competition. He was presented with a monogrammed jacket and coolerette from sponsor Glenn Geary of Horsewatch.

Alexandra Carlton and Cardiograaf are presented as winners of the $30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix, presented by Hampton Inn & Suites Manchester, along with (left to right) trainer Kristi Smith and Carlton’s mother Bernadette Keyes; Steve Nichols, Daniel Deets, Susan Dionne, and her daughter Emilia of Hampton Inn & Suites Manchester; and groom Juan Migueles, at the Vermont Summer Festival on Saturday, July 28, in East Dorset, VT. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Ireland’s Christian Coyle, now based out of Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY, posted the fastest four-fault performance in the opening round to finish third riding Dolce Vita KDW Z for owner Andrew Kocher. Also scoring four faults, David Tromp of Morriston, FL, was fourth aboard Gogo Nabab, and Elizabeth Stroh of Grosse Pointe Farm, FL, rounded out the top five riding Coralina, owned by Cloverly Farm, LLC.

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 29.

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.

For more information on the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail or visit

$30,000 Mount Equinox Grand Prix Presented by Hampton Inn & Suites Manchester Saturday, July 28, 2018

Rider/ Hometown/ Horse/ Faults/Time

1. Alexandra Carlton/ Madison, CT/ Cardiograaf/ 0/0/39.90
2. Marylisa Leffler/ Brookeville, MD/ Luminous/ 0/0/42.18
3. Christian Coyle/ Ireland/ Dolce Vita KDW Z/ 4
4. David Tromp/ Morriston, FL/ Gogo Nabab/ 4
5. Elizabeth Stroh/ Grosse Pointe Farm, FL/ Coralina/ 4
6. Adelaide Toensing/ Charlotte, VT/ Blue/ 4
7. David Jennings/ Franklin, TN/ Donegue/ 4
8. Shoshana Altschuler/ Wilmington, DE/ Oskar253/ 8