Manchester, Vermont, USA – August 13, 2023 – Sunday afternoon was spent with a crowd of spectators watching the action unfold in the $40,000 Hits Grand Prix, presented by Hampton Inn. Being the final grand prix of the Hits Vermont circuit, multiple riders put forth their best efforts to be crowned the champion. Amidst an exceptionally competitive field of 21 competitors, it was Willie Tynan (IRL) and Seattle, owned by the MDM Equestrian Group, who took the win in the final competition of the Vermont Summer Festival.
Post-triumph, Tynan shared, “Seattle’s been waiting for this one – he’s been due a win. He’s done double clears in the Grand Prix’s, but just hadn’t had the luck to pick one off until now.”
The course, designed by Oscar Soberon, had a preliminary round encompassing twelve intricate obstacles strewn along an extensive course characterized by numerous brief approaches with a double and triple-combination, culminating in a big oxer leading homeward. As a few jumps were removed, the ensuing five-horse jump-off presented riders the chance to execute tight turns and speedy approaches, setting the stage for a closely contested battle for top placements.
Positioned as the 19th duo in the order-of-go, Tynan demonstrated the last clear round of the day and the final advancement to the jump-off. Going in last for the jump-off, Tynan executed with swiftness and precision, securing a rapid time of 42.312 seconds to secure his position at the forefront.
Holly Bachor (USA) and her own Caddie R came incredibly close to Tynan’s time, finishing just shy with 42.832 seconds.
Completing the top three was Amy Shafmaster (USA) and her own Infante SK, producing a flawless performance with a time of 46.576 seconds.
“Seattle’s the baby of the group – he’s only 10 and only been showing for a year and a half – I’m happy for him,” Tynan expressed. “He’s very sensitive, so he just needs a minute or two to get in there and then he’s fine. He’s always better in the second round than the first round – he’s a good boy.”
Reflecting on the day’s challenges, Tynan added, “It was a good course – the timing was perfect. We walked it and we all said between five and eight clears – we got five. The jump off was good because everybody had to go for it – there was no real inside turn so it made everybody gallop. I’m lucky enough I was just a little bit quicker than Holly. I watched her round and she was really smooth, so there wasn’t really anywhere to catch up. I had to chase her a little bit and hope I did enough.”
Speaking of future plans, Tynan outlined, “We’re going home for a break and to relax. I’ll get my horses out in the fields and they’ll have a month off. That’s the plan for them.”
The Vermont Summer Festival has come to a close. The past six weeks have shown numerous displays of horsemanship and camaraderie among competitors. HITS will return to the Green Mountains in the summer of 2024, where a new show will hold promising results for riders.
Final Results – $40,000 Hits Grand Prix
1) Willie Tynan (IRL) & Seattle – 0 / 0 – 42.31
2) Holly Bachor (USA) & Caddie R – 0 / 0 – 42.83
3) Amy Shafmaster (USA) & Infante SK – 0 / 0 – 46.58
Source: Press Release from Hits Horse Shows
Photos: ©Jess Windhurst Photography