Ireland’s Kevin McCarthy topped the $10,000 World Equestrian Centre (WEC) Leading Open Jumper Awards following a highly successful season at the Vermont Summer Festival, from 2nd July 2 to 11th August, at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, Vermont, USA.
Throughout the six-week circuit, riders accumulated points based on their performances in the weekly 1.40m open jumpers, Manchester Designer Outlets Open Welcome Stakes, and Grand Prix classes.
Following the conclusion of the final Grand Prix, McCarthy was far-and-away front runner with 258 total points, which secured him the leading honour and a $5,000 bonus.
Second and third place in the Leading Open Jumper Awards came down to the results of the final week, with second place and a $3,000 bonus going to fellow Irishman Kevin Mealiff, who finished the season with 191 points. Third place and the $2,000 bonus were presented to New Zealand’s Kirk Webby, who concluded the circuit on 168 points.
“I want to give a big thank you to World Equestrian Centre for sponsoring this award; the rider bonus is much appreciated,” said McCarthy, who contested all six weeks of the series.
“It was hard-fought for second and third for Kevin and Kirk. They were chasing hard! I probably did more shows than them though, so that probably worked out in my favour.”
McCarthy consistently topped the leaderboard all summer, notably winning four out of the six Manchester Designer Outlets Open Welcome Stakes classes and clinching two Grand Prix victories.
Two of McCarthy’s welcome stakes wins came aboard Easton, his own 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Contendro I, while the other two welcome stakes wins and his dual Grand Prix victories were earned with Catch A Star HSS, a nine-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Sheraton x Amulet) also owned by McCarthy.
“She has a record now that out-passes many horses at the horse shows,” said McCarthy of Catch A Star HSS, a horse he started riding roughly a year ago. “She’s so consistent. She’s an amazing horse. I was always told that she was going to be the winner. You know, everyone says that, but she really is. I’ve never rode a horse that is as consistent as this, and it’s fun. You can’t beat winning!”