Edited Press Release
East Dorset, VT – July 8, 2022 – The first weekend of the Vermont Summer Festival series kicked off Friday afternoon with the $10,000 SmartPak Prix. The beautiful Green Mountains and summer breeze created the perfect atmosphere for the day’s highlight event in the Grand Prix Ring. After a demanding first round of competition, five individuals returned with their mounts for the jump-off, with Willie Tynan and his veteran partner Fenise producing the lone double clear of the afternoon to lead the lap of honor.
“We have had Fenise for three years now,” explained Tynan. “We bought him as a 9-year-old, and now he is 12. He’s a funny horse — he is very careful. He actually had a problem with his eye a year ago and lost over 90% of the vision in the right eye. We did surgery, took out the old lens, and put in a new one, so now he’s perfect again and won four grand prix events here last year after the surgery.”
Puerto Rico’s Hector Loyola designed the day’s course, and the first round consisted of 15 jumping efforts. Obstacles included a double combination at the beginning of the course and a triple combination as the last line. Only a quarter of the class made it clear over all the jumps, with several riders having a clear round until the last line with the triple combination. The jump-off included a double combination, tight inside turns, and a long gallop to the final fence. While riders tried to be the most efficient, the tight inside turn and rollback from fence 10 to 7 slowed some riders down and many ultimately had a rail at fence 7.
MGM Equestrian Group LLC’s Fenise and Tynan set the standard in the first round, being the first to go and jump clear. They continued to impress in the second round, boasting a second clear round, the only pair to accomplish that feat on Friday. Even though Tynan’s mount is quite large, the veteran combination took all the inside turns and galloped with the fastest time and zero faults, stopping the timers in a blazing 43 seconds.
“He jumped super in the first round and was clear and easy to ride,” noted Tynan. “As one of the first in the jump-off, I knew there were fast ones behind me, so I had to kind of go as much as I could with him. He’s naturally quick even though he is big – he is 18.2 hands, but very quick on his feet. He covers a lot of ground, so I think he surprises a lot of people. My plan throughout was the same, thankfully. Sometimes it doesn’t work like that, but today it did — so I was happy with that.”
Declan Egan and Maarten Huygens’ Cameron were the third pair to go clear in the first round and brought their momentum back for the jump-off. However, their risks earned them 4-faults and a time right behind Tynan of 45.339 seconds for second place. Marek Leukens and Wynnwood Farm LLC’s Ever D’Hoogpoort laid down a swift jump-off round with a quick pace, taking all the inside turns and galloping to a time of 46.777 seconds, but a heartbreaking rail at the final fence relegated them to third place.
In addition to Friday’s win, Tynan topped Wednesday’s $10,000 Manchester Designer Outlets Open Welcome aboard as one of the last to compete. Earlier in the class, he had the fastest 4-fault round with Fenise for third place, while Grace Parker Gara and Dollar Champeix placed second with the only other fault-free jump-off.