Alexandra Smith and Liberty Road Lead the Way in Final Platinum Performance Hunter Prix at Vermont Summer Festival

East Dorset, VT – August 13, 2022 – As the 2022 Vermont Summer Festival comes to a close, hunter riders had one more opportunity to compete in the HITS Platinum Performance Hunter Series that culminates with the $50,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final being held during the HITS Championship at HITS-on-the-Hudson. On Saturday, dozens of top hunter riders vied for the winning title in the $1,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix. After two rounds of competition, Alexandra Smith and Liberty Road led the lap of honor with smooth and flowing performances.

Alexandra Smith and Liberty Road. Photo by: Jess Windhurst

The duo is back to winning ways following their success at Junior Hunter Finals a few weeks ago. “He just came off being third overall in the Junior Hunter Finals 3’3” Older section and already qualified for next year while we have been up here,” explained Smith. “We are just working on staying consistent and qualifying for as much as we can the rest of this year and next year.”

The Platinum Performance Hunter Prix featured two rounds for riders to demonstrate classic hunter style. After the first round of competition, the top 12 riders returned in reverse order for round two, the handy round. Following the handy round, it was the Buffalo Therapeutic Riding Center’s Liberty Road, piloted by Alexandra Smith, that captured the judge’s the most with their classic hunter jump and beautiful style.

“I thought this was a really fun course today,” said Smith. “He has been super all weekend – he can be a little looky at things sometimes, but today he was game for everything, which was really nice. In the second round, I really tried not to get in my head and not blow it – I just made sure that I got him in front of my leg to the first jump, and he performed really well.”

Alexandra Smith and Liberty Road. Photo by: Jess Windhurst

Going early on in the original order, Smith and Liberty Road came out like seasoned veterans and laid down a classic hunter performance, garnering a score of 86. During the handy, the duo took advantage of coming back late in the order and captured the attention of the judge from the start. After galloping right to the first jump, they swiftly made their way around the course seamlessly and impressed yet again to earn a round two score of 88 and a two-round total of 174 points that would top the leaderboard.

“Vermont is so beautiful – I think everything is so fun up here and it’s a lovely horse show. I especially love how all the photos turn out with the mountains in the background. This is our second year here, and we have been here for two weeks, so it’s nice to end on a high note.”

Chelsea Dwinell and Let It Be. Photo by: Jess Windhurst

Also capturing the eye of the judge across the two rounds of competition was Let It Be with Chelsea Dwinell in the irons. The stallion produced yet another stellar performance after capturing second place in the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby on Thursday with Christian Coyle. Dwinell had the opportunity to watch some pairs go before her in the first round, which proved to work in her favor as she and her mount scored an 85, securing their spot in round two. After another solid and beautiful performance, the pair had an overall score of 171, holding the lead just until Smith and Liberty Road. Rounding out the top three were Jessica Washburn and Dazzle. They earned scores of 84.5 and 83.5 over two rounds for a total score of 168 and third place honors.

Jessica Washburn and Dazzle. Photo by: Jess Windhurst

Riders competing in the Platinum Performance Hunter Prix classes across the country are aiming for the $50,000 Platinum Performance Hunter Prix Final at the HITS Championship during HITS-On-The-Hudson this September. Riders who compete in five qualifying classes will have the opportunity to ride two horses in the final. For more information or to submit your entry click here.