July 6, 2014--Catherine Wachtell of Chatham, NJ, won the $10,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame High Junior/Amateur-Owner Classic to wrap up week one of the Vermont Summer Festival. The six-week equestrian competition runs through August 10 at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.
Three riders advanced to the jump-off over the track set by Irish course designer, Alan Wade. Two of those mounts belonged to Wachtell. First to challenge the shortened jump-off track was Wachtell and VDL Zedaldine, a flashy bay Dutch Warmblood mare by Voltaire. The pair made handy work of the jump-off, including executing a quick turn back to an imposing wall, for a time of 37.34 seconds, but, unfortunately, at the expense of a rail.
Samantha Schaefer, 21, of Westminster, Maryland, was next to challenge with Canute. Turning in a clear round in a time of 40.82 seconds, Schaefer moved into the lead. It proved to be short-lived, however, as Wachtell was back next with her second entry, VDL Theresa Lady. This time, the 19-year-old left all the rails in the cups and crossed the timers in 38.40 seconds to claim victory.
“I just let her do her thing; she will win any day I don’t cheat her out of winning,” said Wachtell, whose parents were in attendance to cheer her on to victory. “I tried not to get in her way, showed her the right jumps, and she had my back. I got her in 2013 and won the first class I did with her, but then I hurt my collarbone and then she got hurt. We started back showing less than a month ago, and it’s really good to come here and have a win!”
Wachtell described her 12-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood mare (Corland x Nimmerdor) by saying, “She’s so sweet, and she’s so docile. Nothing bothers her.”
Of her third placed mount, VDL Zedaldine, Wachtell said, “She’s an absolute lamb. She thinks she’s beautiful and loves to get dressed up and come and show and have everyone looking at her. She’s a really foodie, too. She warms my heart.”
Of how she came to ride VDL Zedaldine, Wachtell explained, “We got her as a sale horse about a year and half ago and everything is for sale in the barn, but I pulled my dad’s teeth out and begged him to let me keep her. I have to thank my parents for being so supportive.”
Coached by Amanda Flint, Wachtell followed her trainer’s footsteps into the winner’s circle. On Thursday, Flint placed first and second in the $10,000 Open Welcome, presented by Manchester Designer Outlets, before riding Superbad to the win in Saturday’s $30,000 Vermont Summer Special Grand Prix, presented by Johnson Horse Transportation.
Wachtell has been training with Flint for seven years, and has been coming to the Vermont Summer Festival for the past five years.
“I really like the horse show, it’s very relaxed, and it’s in a really beautiful town,” said Wachtell. “It’s very scenic, and the horses really like it.”