Hunters Shine During WCHR Week at Vermont Summer Festival

Roland Park, ridden by Dudley Macfarlane, was champion of the week three Amateur-Owner Hunter division during WCHR competition at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

East Dorset, Vermont – World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) events for competitors hoping to qualify for WCHR Finals, held at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, highlighted the third week of competition at the Vermont Summer Festival, running through August 11 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.

In WCHR competition for 3’6″ amateur-owner hunter riders, Dudley Macfarlane of Crozet, VA, guided Roland Park to a championship. The duo earned three wins over fences and finished second in the under saddle to take the division title.

“Two years ago we won the WCHR Mid-Atlantic region in the amateur-owners and my goal this year is to qualify again and try to win the final,” said Macfarlane, who currently sits third in the WCHR Mid-Atlantic standings and 10th nationally. “We have come close, but never won, so hopefully this year can be our year.”

The WCHR program was founded in 1992 to recognize and celebrate the hunter rider. Since the inaugural WCHR Professional Finals in 1992, the WCHR program has expanded to include coveted year-end awards for professional, developing professional, amateur-owner, adult amateur, junior, children, and pony riders. Each year, after earning points at member horse shows across the nation, including the Vermont Summer Festival, the top 10 nationally ranked riders and top six regionally ranked riders in each category go head to head in the WCHR Finals at the Capital Challenge Horse Show, taking place this year from September 27 through October 6 in Upper Marlboro, MD.

“It’s always more difficult to compete during WCHR week, but Roland Park was great this week,” said Macfarlane of the 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding she has owned for six years. “We know each other so well and get along perfectly. I thought the footing this year has been amazing, and I love being in Manchester. I’m very pleased with the improvements they have made, and the horses all seem very happy. It’s great to be here!”

Gabriel, ridden by Megan Young and Ellen Toon, claimed the championship of the week three Green Hunter and Amateur-Owner Hunter 36 and over divisions during WCHR competition at the Vermont Summer Festival in East Dorset, VT. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

In the professional ranks, Megan Young of Jacksonville, FL, piloted Gabriel to a tricolor ribbon as a catch ride in the Green Hunter 3’6″/3’9″ division. The eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding also was named champion in the 3’3″ Amateur-Owner Hunter 36 and over division with owner Ellen Toon in the irons.

“WCHR week is always a fun week with really good competition,” said Young, who is ranked fifth in the WCHR Mid-Atlantic standings and in the top 40 nationally. “It’s always nice to reward the hunters and hunter riders. We get to be in the spotlight for a week with good prize money, which is always a nice thing for the hunters.

“I have competed in the Professional Challenge twice and the Developing Professional Challenge before that,” continued Young. “It’s a really nice program and I am eager to qualify again this year.”

Now in its 26th year, the Vermont Summer Festival offers a dynamic competition schedule while also giving competitors an opportunity to enjoy the wide variety of entertainment, recreation, shopping, and dining options offered in Dorset, Manchester, and the surrounding area. A recent study conducted by the Center for Rural Studies at the University of Vermont cited that the total direct spending of visitors frequenting Vermont for equine-related activities is estimated at nearly $15.5 million annually.

Competition at the 2019 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $5 for adults and children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children with 100 percent of all gate proceeds benefiting Dorset Equine Rescue, The Dorset School, and Manchester Community Library.

The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For more information on the Vermont Summer Festival, please e-mail or visit Like Vermont Summer Festival Horse Show on Facebook and follow @vtsummerfestival on Instagram.