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Irish Riders Sweetnam, Kelly Sweep $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix

Shane Sweetnam and Cobolt.

Emma Kurtz Dominates Junior Hunter Divisions at Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Lexington, KY – July 30, 2016 – The luck of the Irish certainly favored the winners of Saturday’s $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. Irish riders Shane Sweetnam and Christina Kelly rode away with the top three ribbons, with first and third won by Sweetnam and Kelly earning second.

The first round saw 30 entries over fellow Irishman Alan Wade’s course, with 14 horse-and-rider combinations eventually advancing to the short course. The spectators cheered from the stands, enjoying the top-quality show jumping during the Kentucky Horse Park’s 14th annual Hats Off Day.

Kelly and Andrea O’Brien’s Kingdom were among the first to turn in a clear round, securing their place in the jump-off early on in the class.

“Kingdom has come such a long way,” Kelly said. “He jumped his first grand prix in April in Aiken, and he has moved up slowly. He has been unbelievable, and this is the biggest venue he has competed at, especially with the crowds and the night class. He showed so much potential, and he is getting better and better.”

Sweetnam and the Blue Buckle Group LLC’s Cobolt jumped their clear effort shortly after, and later Sweetnam followed up with another jump-off-qualifying round aboard Main Road, owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC.

“Cobolt is a lot of fun to ride,” Sweetnam said. “It’s taken me a little while to figure out the buttons, but we seem to have figured it out in the last couple months. He’s been very consistent, so I’m very happy with him. He’s a really quick horse, and he jumped really well here the other night.”

As the riders returned for the jump off, only five of the 14 qualified would repeat their clear efforts. Kelly returned with Kingdom to lay down a quick round, saving time by taking tight turns and opening up the 17.3-hand horse’s massive stride between the combinations. Kelly and Kingdom stopped the timers in 45.474 seconds, securing her hold on the lead.

“I was very happy with him,” Kelly said. “I was going into this hopeful that he was going to jump well. My strategy was just to go double clear, but he was jumping so well I figured I could push him a bit to go faster. The track rode fantastic; I love Alan Wade’s courses.”

Sweetnam entered the ring on Cobolt shortly after, taking his turns even tighter and using his smaller horse’s agility to its full potential to shave an impressive two seconds off of Kelly’s leading time, finishing the course in a mere 43.882 seconds to take over the top spot.

“Christina was really fast,” Sweetnam said. “I know she was really quick everywhere, but Christina’s horse is a big-strided horse, and I think my fellow may just be a bit niftier and quicker through the corners. He’s definitely more competitive that way; he’s bouncy, you can turn quicker, and he gets his eye on the jumps. I think he was excellent in the jump-off. He likes going fast; he’s a bit like his dad [Cyklon 1083], so it’s great that Cobolt is winning, too.”

During his career with Cyklon 1083, Sweetnam has experienced a lot of success. At 10 years old, Cobolt is one of Cyklon’s oldest sons and is following in his father’s footsteps. Sweetnam got the ride on the gelding in January, and has since won the $130,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI3* at Tryon, among other successes at the 1.50m level.

The final rider to return to the ring, it was clear that Sweetnam would be taking home the blue ribbon, but it was a question of whether he could beat his earlier time on his next mount, Main Road. Despite coming close with their clear effort, Sweetnam and Main Road’s time of 46.444 seconds would earn them the third-place ribbon.

“Main Road is only an 8-year-old,” Sweetnam explained. “He’s had a bit of success already this summer, and he’s coming along all the time. He was pretty quick tonight, and I think if I had to, I could have been quicker, but I would have taken more risks. I was already happy with his round, and he did exactly what I wanted to do. He can be very, very quick, and I think he’ll have other days where he’ll win, too.”

Sweetnam concluded, “I love Kentucky, and we always have success here. It’s our home for the summer, so that makes it nicer. I also want to thank my sponsors, between Lisa Lourie, the Buckle Up Group, the Gilbertsons and Paul Tracey; I’m just lucky to have such great owners. I’ve been very lucky this year to have these horses.”

Also going double clear, Adrienne Sternlicht and Starlight Farms 1 LLC’s Toulago tripped the timers in 49.442 seconds to take home fourth place. Trailing very closely behind, Juan Ortiz and the Synchronicity Group’s D’ulien Van De Smeets ended up in fifth place with their time of 49.842 seconds. Despite having the second-fastest time at 44.372 seconds, Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios and A S D Farfala rounded out the top six after catching an unfortunate four faults for having a rail down.

The final highlights during the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby and the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix. The action will resume next week during the Kentucky Summer Classic.

Emma Kurtz Dominates Junior Hunter Divisions

Emma Kurtz dominated the Stonelea Ring on Saturday at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show with wins on Dominik in the Small Junior Hunter division, as well as a clean sweep in the Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division on Frederick.

“My rounds on Frederick went really well today,” Kurtz said. “He was amazing considering it was so late in the day due to the weather delay. He is very flashy with his white socks and blaze, and he has a great rhythm to his canter.”

Emma Kurtz and Frederick
Emma Kurtz and Frederick

Kurtz has had the ride on David Gochman’s chestnut gelding for over a year, and the pair are no strangers to winning blue ribbons and championship titles. In Saturday’s Large Junior Hunter 15 & Under division, Kurtz and Frederick won both over fences classes and the under saddle class.

“Frederick is a quiet horse. He is so fun to ride and I love him,” she continued. “He may be a bit looky at times, but he is usually on it and he was great today.”

Kurtz of Hudson, Ohio also impressed the judges on David Gochman’s gelding Dominik. This was the third show the duo has competed together and though they are a relatively new pair they were Grand Champions at Brandywine. On Saturday, they earned the blue ribbon in both over fences classes during the Small Junior Hunter division.

“Dominik was feeling great today,” Kurtz explained. “He was a bit frisky which was kind of good because he is usually too quiet, so the rides today were nice. He is very simple and sweet.”

She plans on riding him in next week’s Kentucky Summer Classic and then Sophie and Mimi Gochman will pick up the ride.

“I love Kentucky,” Kurtz explained. “I love to be back here! The show is always run so nicely. The jumps are beautiful and it’s just a really nice show to come to.”

Brett Burlington of Miami, Florida leads the way in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division on Popish Farms LLC’s Due West. The pair won an over fences class as well as placed second in the under saddle class.

“I thought my rounds went really well today,” Burlington said. “He is very easy and straightforward. I float the reins and everything usually works out well.  Basically the less I involve myself the easier it is. If I ride everything smooth and not change much, the distances come up nicely. The more adjustments I try to make, the distances can get a bit iffy.”

Burlington competed the 12-year-old gelding during the winter season at WEF and they were champions in Traverse City earlier in the summer.

“He is owned by a client at Sweet Oaks Farm and she is very nice to let me show him,” she explained. “I have been riding him on and off for a couple of years now. For the rest of the season we will work on having more consistent rounds and try my best.”

All junior hunter divisions will wrap up on Sunday morning at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

On Saturday morning, championships were awarded in the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions. Jane Gaston won the Visse Wedell Grand Hunter Championship, as well as the Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship aboard Because. The KWPN gelding had also earned the Green Hunter Championship with Kelley Farmer earlier in the week.

Lisa Butzer earned the tricolored ribbon for the Amateur-Owner 3’3 18-35 division on Pure Imagination, while Didi Mackenzie and MTM Do Right was crowned champion in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3 Over 35 division.

On Sunday, the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby will take place and it will be the third class in the $40,0000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby series. The $15,000 Hallway Feeds Leading Rider Bonus will award a $10,000 cash prize to the professional rider accumulating the most points in the five classes that make up the 2016 Hallway Feeds series. The series-leading amateur and junior riders accumulating the most points will each receive a $2,500 cash prize. Riders will receive points only on their highest placed horse in each of the classes. The awards will be presented at the conclusion of the Hallway Feeds class at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show on August 21.

To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, please visit

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Mavis Spencer Triumphs in Open Jumpers 1.40m at Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Mavis Spencer and Disco Lady.

Madison Sellman Wins ASPCA Maclay aboard Alvarez L

Lexington, KY – July 29, 2016 – Despite being her first show with Disco Lady, Mavis Spencer made winning look easy as she piloted the 8-year-old mare to victory in the Open Jumpers 1.40m on Friday at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

“I think Disco Lady is a super mare,” Spencer said. “She’s so talented; she’s so scopey and so brave and careful. I think she’s everything you would want; she has all the good qualities you want to have in a top horse.”

Spencer and Disco Lady were clear over the first eight fences in the power and speed class to advance to the speed portion, which they completed in a quick 33.483 seconds.

“I ended up doing 7 strides after the double where a lot of people had done 8, just because I know she’s so careful,” Spencer said. “She’s got such a big step as well, so I can kind of gallop up and challenge her a little bit to the fences and she jumps better for it. It all worked out well today; it was a good course for her.”

Spencer said she got the ride on the Neil Jones Equestrian entry last fall after George Whitaker and Denise Wilson had been showing the mare.

“Tim Collins bred her, and she’s owned by team Collins Strijk and Alfons de Vrindt, so she’s been going through their program,” Spencer explained. “I think it’s very nice for them to have bred her themselves and brought her along and now for her to start the big classes and be successful.”

The early leaders in the class, Shane Sweetnam and Sweet Oak Farm’s Cantero Da Lagoa, clocked a time of 34.194 seconds. Their time held the lead for the majority of the class until Spencer overtook them, leaving Sweetnam to settle for second. Third place went to Spencer Smith, who tripped the timers in 35.133 seconds with Azibantos.

Earlier in the day, the High Amateur Owner/Junior Jumper division took the stage in the Rolex arena. Emma Wujek and her own Ugaf took home the win with their effective round, going double clear and stopping the clock in 59.377 seconds.

Just a second behind the leading time, Benjamin Simpkins and Grindstone Farm LLC’s Vivaro B finished in second place with their time of 60.94 seconds. Third place went to Adrienne Sternlicht and Starlight Farms 1 LLC’s Helios and their time of 63.031 seconds.

Following shortly after, the Open Jumpers 1.35m got underway, and it was Manuel Lecuona and Golden Point Partners LLC’s Figaro D who bested the field to earn the blue ribbon.

Lecuona and Figaro D completed Alan Wade’s jump-off track in just 29.37 seconds, securing their lead by more than two seconds. Second place went to Blythe Marano, who completed the course in 35.518 seconds with Riverview Farm LLC’s Balade Du Ry Z.

“Alan [Wade] knows what he’s doing, and he makes us ride better and get a little bit more sharp,” Lecuona said. “You have to be precise, and I think that’s good. The horses learn so much. Figaro D is a very competitive horse. He goes in the ring and he wants to jump for you. I’m really happy with him because he always tries his best.”

Lecuona, who is based on a farm in Lexington for the summer, said he loves being located so close to the Kentucky Horse Park.

“The facility is great, the horsemen are great,” Lecuona explained. “We rent a farm here, and we have the turnout that the horses love. In Kentucky they can be horses again and go out and be happy. You feel it, too, when they start feeling happy and jumping really well.”

Madison Sellman Wins ASPCA Maclay at Kentucky Summer aboard Alvarez L

Eighteen-year-old Madison Sellman of New York, rose to the top of 18 entries in Friday’s ASPCA Maclay horsemanship class in the Stonelea Ring at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show aboard her own Alvarez L.

“It was my first round here in Kentucky this year and I thought it went pretty well,” Sellman said. “I have not been showing consistently this summer and it was my first time in the show ring since WEF.”

Madison Sellman and Alvarez L
Madison Sellman and Alvarez L

She has ridden Alvarez, a 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding, for two years since purchasing him in Europe with her mom. After he was imported, Sellman moved to train with Stacia Madden at Beacon Hill Show Stables in New Jersey.

“Alvarez is my only horse and he is my partner for life,” she said. “He is typically lazy, but once I get him going he has great self-carriage and is a simple ride. I’ve done equitation with him since we bought him and he really excels at it.”

The equitation course consisted of a challenging eight stride bending line, but Sellman impressed the judges with her fluid jumping round and flawless flat phase.

“Lately I’ve been working on my release over the jumps,” Sellman explained. “I feel like I have been consistent in my riding and I’m continuing to work on being stronger in the basics.”

The pair plans to compete at regionals in Kentucky later in the summer, and Sellman has her eyes set on qualifying for the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search finals, the WIHS Equitation Finals, and the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship Championships.

“We have been working on consistency with Alvarez because he can get stiff,” Sellman explained. “I work on loosening him up, making sure he is really with me and allowing him to push off the ground over the jumps.”

The Washington International Horse Show hunter phase also took place in the afternoon at the Stonelea Ring with 30 entries. T. J. O’Mara of Rumson, New Jersey, impressed the judges with his ride on Walstib Stables LLC’s Kaskade and earned a score of 93.

“She was a little fresh in my lesson yesterday, so I was a bit skeptical about how her rideability was going to be today, but she was great,” O’Mara explained. “She really had an open stride, she felt great and I was confident throughout the course.”

O’Mara has been riding the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare for three years, and the WIHS hunter phase was their first class together at the 2016 Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

“I thought the long approach oxer and the last vertical in the course really tested how straight your horse was, so I had to focus on having an opening rein at those jumps with an outside leg,” O’Mara explained. “The lines rode a little easy for me and overall it was a straight forward course.”

O’Mara said he has been working on getting his lower leg stronger this season and not leaning too far forward with his body, as well as his release.

“She can be a bit strong, but I really try to be as soft as possible with my hands and support her with my leg,” he continued.

The incoming freshman at the University of Kentucky plans on balancing his studies for the agriculture economics major as well as competing in the indoor circuit during the fall semester.

“I plan on leaving my equitation and jumper horse with my trainer so they can continue to work with them while I focus on school,” O’Mara said. “I will be in school for about three weeks before going to Maclay regionals, the USEF Finals, and the rest of the indoor circuit.”

Emma Kurtz placed second in the large equitation class with Dr. Betsee Parker’s Patrick, and McKayla Langmeier, the 2015 ASPCA Maclay Finals Champion, placed third on Frake Van Der Meer’s Carrilou. The WIHS jumper phase will take place on Saturday morning.

Upcoming highlights during the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix.

To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, please visit

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Lauren Hester Rises to the Occasion, Winning $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic

Lauren Hester and Warinde B.

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo Claim Grand Hunter Championship on Day Two of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Lexington, KY – July 28, 2016 – With only nine career grand prix wins under her belt, the pressure was on as Lauren Hester took the stage with Warinde B in the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show. The only American rider to advance to the jump-off, hometown favorite Hester gave it her all to earn the win, besting veteran five-star riders Pablo Barrios and Shane Sweetnam.

“I’m on cloud nine, and I’m really happy,” Hester said of her win. “It was so exciting to be the only American and Lexington rider in the jump-off because I really had the crowd behind me.”

Out of a field of 46 entries, Sweetnam and the Blue Buckle Group LLC’s Cobolt were the first to go clear in 79.718 seconds over the Alan Wade-designed track. The course featured a tricky oxer-to-skinny combination that dashed many competitor’s hopes at a clear round.

After several more riders attempted Wade’s course, with many falling victim to the time allowed of 82 seconds, Venezuelan Olympian Barrios and his own A S D Farfala delivered the second clear round of the night with a time of 80.751 seconds, adding their names to the short list.

“The course was pretty tough, and I knew when I walked it that it was a good course,” Barrios said. “It was very delicate and the time allowed was perfect. It really made you ride quicker, which makes you susceptible to mistakes.”

Among the last to go, Hester piloted Hester Equestrian LLC’s Warinde B to the night’s third and final clear round in 78.785 seconds, much to the crowd’s delight.

“I thought I had the third to last rail down, and I thought ‘darn it,'” Hester said. “But then the crowd cheered. When I made it to the jump-off I laughed and thought, ‘This is not fair competing against these top five-star riders. I felt like an underdog with my tiny mare, who is 15.3 hands.”

The three riders returned for the jump-off, with Sweetnam and Cobolt attempting the short course first. Despite laying down a fast round in 44.142 seconds, Sweetnam pulled a rail in the combination coming to the final fence to take home third place.

Barrios and A S D Farfala returned next, and delivered a careful effort to finish clear in 47.234 seconds, unfortunately picking up one time fault along the way to finish in second.

“There were only three of us, and I didn’t want to go too fast,” Barrios said. “After seeing Shane have one down, I knew that if I had a clear round at least I’d be second. Farfala is a super mare, but Lauren really deserved the win tonight and showed really great, quick riding.”

The final pair to return, Hester and Warinde B came ready to win, equipped with a plan that would shave seconds off the previous times. Hester cut strides out of every line, expertly navigating the turns as tightly as possible to blaze through the timers in 43.043 seconds – a full four seconds faster than the second-place time.

“She’s a really fast horse,” Hester said. “She’s sensitive and spooky and can be all over the place, but she is so nice and I love her.”

Hester said she purchased Warinde B 5 years ago, when the mare was only 8 years old. Hester said the two have built a strong partnership over the years, with Thursday marking the duo’s fifth grand prix win together and Hester’s tenth career grand prix win.

“She is my favorite,” Hester concluded. “It took me a long time to get to know her, but now we are finally on it! Last year she got hurt and had a little bone bruise, so she came back in May of this year. She was going well, but now she is really great. I am just on cloud nine.”

The grand prix’s title sponsor, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, is one of the oldest and largest equine veterinary practices in the world. Founded in 1876, the institute offers a staff with qualifications unparalleled by any single non-university veterinary group in the equine industry, and Hagyard veterinarians have dedicated themselves to the health and wellbeing of the horse.

The facility at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute offers 13 digital radiology systems, 1.5 Tesla Siemens MRI, nuclear scintigraphy, an on-site laboratory, an on-site pharmacy, full medical and surgical services, 24-hour emergency services and hyperbaric medicine. The practice has performed veterinary medicine for more than 137 years and is currently composed of over 50 experienced veterinarians, with 13 board certifications in specialty areas of medicine, surgery and theriogenology. For more information on the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, please visit

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo Claim Grand Hunter Championship on Day Two of the Kentucky Summer Horse Show

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by DK-USA Sporthorse, claimed the Visse Wedell Grand Hunter Championship at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show on Thursday. The duo dominated the High Performance Working Hunter division by earning blue ribbons in all the over fences rounds, the handy round and the under saddle class, which culminated in a perfect score of 50 points to win the High Performance Working Hunter Championship.

“It is great to win the Grand Hunter Championship at Kentucky,” Shulman said. “This is my first year having a really solid professional hunter horse to compete, so it’s awesome.

Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo
Sydney Shulman and Cosmeo

“Cosmeo was ten times better than yesterday, and I thought he was awesome yesterday, but he was in a different category today!” Shulman explained. “He is new at this job, so normally the more he goes the more relaxed he gets. The first day he seemed a bit tense to me, but today he was so soft, fluid and really calm. It made it so nice to ride!”

Shulman was delighted with her round on Cosmeo, who is out of the legendary sport horse stallion Contender. She noted that the handy is the pair’s favorite class because of his former experience has a jumper.

“To me, the handy is my time to really show his skill off because he is so scopey,” Shulman explained. “The height is smaller than what he was doing in Europe so it is easy for him. Today, I was bold with my turns and I was quite neat going into the double combinations.”

Shulman is based in Greenwich, Connecticut and she plans on competing Cosmeo in Week 2 of Kentucky Summer Horse Show and in Derby Finals in mid-August.

“I’d like to thank DK-USA Sporthorse for their continued support and allowing me to show him,” Shulman said. “Also, the offspring Cosmeo has produced as a stallion have been amazing and he has many on the ground here in the U.S and in Europe. He is one of the last Contender babies that is currently breeding!”

Visse Wedell, a real estate agent for Douglas Elliman in Wellington, Florida and Lexington, Kentucky, generously sponsored the grand championship prizes for the multiple hunter divisions for the Kentucky Summer Horse Show.

“My sponsorship is a way to acknowledge the hard work that goes into being the best of your division and reward the top in our sport,” Wedell explained. “I love to promote the hunters, especially since there are not a lot of horse shows that still award grand championships.

“Sidney [Shulman] actually used to ride a horse for me when she was a junior, so I love when someone I know wins it,” Wedell continued. “She is a talented young professional so it is great to see her go from winning with my junior hunter a few years ago to now when she is winning in the big professional classes. It’s fun to watch the progression of riders!”

The Green Hunter Championship also took place in the Stonelea Ring with the tricolored ribbon being awarded to Kelley Farmer and Jane Gaston’s 8-year-old gelding Because. The duo lead their division after day one with two blue ribbons in the over fences classes, and they earned two more blues in the handy and over fences class.

“Because is such a good horse and always tries really hard,” Farmer said. “He is very consistent and smooth in his rounds. I usually compete him in the First Years and his owner will compete him this weekend in the amateur divisions.”

Tim Goguen earned the Conformation Hunter Championship in a competitive division on Belhaven Stables LLC’s Splendid. One Wednesday, they won an over fences round and the under saddle, and also placed third in their first over fences round. On Thursday, they placed second in the over fences round and third in the handy, which helped the pair clinch the division championship.

The highlights of the week include the $5,000 Hallway Feeds USHJA National Hunter Derby, the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, and $50,000 Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix.

To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, please visit

Media Contact: Rebecca Walton
Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Matt Williams and Valinski S Stamp Their Tickets to 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro

Matt Williams and Valinski S. Photo Courtesy of FEI.

Wellington, Fla. – June 28, 2016 – Every four years, fans and competitors prepare for the highly anticipated Olympic Games. While fans eagerly await the chance to wave their countries’ flags and cheer on their favorites, athletes train rigorously for the chance to wear their countries’ colors and compete against the best in the world for a gold medal.

For Matt Williams and the Wyndmont, Inc. team, the training has officially paid off.

It was about a month ago, when Williams got word that he had been named to the short list to represent his native country of Australia during the Games. However, Williams can now rest assured that his spot on the Australian Show Jumping Team is secure.

“I’m very grateful to be selected for a third time,” Williams said. “This Olympic selection probably means the most to me as it has taken a lot to get to this point. The last four years since London have had a lot of ups and downs.”

He will proudly wear his country’s green and gold colors aboard Wyndmont’s top-performing Dutch Warmblood, Valinski S, co-owned by Mark and Carolyn Alter as well as Ronnie Beard and Michael Dorman. The pair has been successful, producing top results at some of the most distinguished competitions, most notably winning the $100,000 Sullivan GMC Truck Grand Prix at HITS Ocala.

Valinski S was originally trained and ridden by Wyndmont’s Michael Dorman. After meeting Williams during a horse show in 2015, Dorman decided to hand the reins over to him, recognizing their incredible potential together. Dorman continues to ride Valinski S regularly, and assists Williams at the ring with Ronnie Beard when they are competing.

“We are very excited to see all of the hard work by the entire team at Wyndmont, including co-owners Mark and Carolyn Alter, pay off,” said Beard. “At Wyndmont, we believe in achieving excellence in the sport, and thanks everyone behind Matt and Valinski S we were able to make this dream a reality. Wyndmont has helped numerous athletes represent their country on the world stage, and we are very excited to be traveling to Rio next month.”

Williams and the 14-year-old bay gelding also secured third-place finishes in the $216,000 Lugano Diamonds CSIO4* Grand Prix during the Winter Equestrian Festival and in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix during the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit.

This will be Williams’ third appearance in the Olympic Games, but his first aboard Valinski S.

“Each Olympics I’ve had different horses, but the most important thing I think is to know how to get your horse to peak at the right time for such a big event,” Williams said. “I only got the ride on Valinski about eight months ago. When I first rode him, I immediately had a bond with him, but never knew he would be as good as he’s turning out to be. He’s really risen to all his challenges so far and keeps fighting for me every time I ask for a bit more.”

Williams made his Olympic debut in Beijing in 2008, along with Edwina Tops-Alexander. The two riders competed in London in 2012, and will be making their third consecutive trip to the Games again this summer.

The two other spots on the team have been filled by Scott Keach and James Paterson-Robinson This will not be the first trip to the Games for either of these riders. It will be their second. Keach last competed for a gold medal 28 years ago, riding on the Australian Eventing Team in the Seoul 1988 Olympics. Paterson-Robinson is riding for his second consecutive Games, last competing in London in 2012.

“I think I have a great horse, and we have a very good team this year,” Williams said. “In our sport it’s very hard to predict these things, because anything can happen with horses. If we can get three good team scores each day, we have a good chance of doing well.”

While legendary horseman, Ronnie Beard, travels with Williams to Brazil, Michael Dorman will remain stateside working with the team’s young horses and training clients. Founded by Beard with Dorman, Wyndmont Inc. provides classical horsemanship to annual and seasonal equestrian clientele. For more information, visit

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

International Driving Celebrates Its 15th Edition

Photo by: Tom von kap Herr.

Bromont, June 24, 2016 – As the 15th edition of the International Driving officially opens Saturday, all horses have passed the officials’ veterinarian inspection.

Over fifty teams

Over fifty driving teams will participate in this 15th edition, including 4 Four-in-hand teams, respectively driven by Darryl Billing (ON), James Fairclough (NJ), Eugen Hug (QC) and Paul Maye (VA).

Small equines will also be a part of the show with three entries in the preliminary division.

World Championships selection

The Bromont International Driving will also serve as a selecting event for the FEI World Championships for Four-in-Hand in Breda, Netherlands as well as the FEI World Championships for Singles, to be held in Piber Köflach, Austria.

A unique competition

The Bromont International Driving is one of the seven events in all North America, and with Bécancour (QC), one of only two Equine Canada sanctioned driving competitions in Canada, and the only FEI sanctioned one in the country.


From Autoroute 10, take exit 78 and follow Boulevard de Bromont. Turn right on Shefford Street and left on Chemin de Gaspé for about 5 km.  The Olympic Equestrian Park will be on your right.

Partnership Opportunities

The International Bromont is a non-profit organization. All profits are reinvested in equestrian activities, the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Park and equestrian sports.

Roger Deslauriers – 450-534-0787
Alexandra Hill – 450-534-0787
Information, Advertising & Media
Alexandra Hill – 450-534-0787


A list of recommended accommodations is available at


Association équestre Centaure
450, chemin de Gaspé, CP98
Bromont, Québec, Canada J2L 1A9
Tel: 450-534-0787 Fax: 450-534-0417

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

McLain Ward Closes Out Devon Horse Show with Open Jumper Championship

McLain Ward and Tina La Boheme. Photo by: The Book, LLC.

Devon, Pa. – June 4, 2016 – On Friday, McLain Ward of Brewster, New York was named the Longines World Number One in show jumping. He has spent the last week competing at the historic Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, and on Saturday night he captured his third victory, winning the $50,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake aboard Tina La Boheme.

Six entries advanced to the jump-off in the highlight event of the evening sponsored by Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar. Laura Chapot set the pace to beat with her first mount Thornhill Kate, clearing the track in 37.082 seconds. Her lead was short lived, as Ward entered the arena aboard Tina La Boheme, who has proven to be a dominating force in the Dixon Oval. The pair was four seconds faster and left all the rails intact, crossing the finish line in 33.906 seconds.

Only Chapot was able to beat the initial time she clocked, beating her first mount’s time on Quointreau Un Prince. The duo had a faultless time of 36.660 seconds to place second, while she and Thornhill Kate took third. The fourth place prize went to Danielle Torano and Callas III, the only other pair to clear the short course.

With a quick and clear double clear, Ward not only won the $50,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake, but also earned the Open Jumper Championship with Tina La Boheme and the Leading Open Jumper Rider title.

“We’re obviously very excited,” said Ward. “I think Tina has won her last four classes in a row. It’s really great to see how she’s progressing. At the end of Palm Beach and even Old Salem, when I stepped her up to some bigger classes I had to kind of help her a long a little bit. She was a very good jumper, but she was green. It’s interesting to see her come out of that show at Old Salem and be very handy in this ring and start to follow where I am going. That’s what makes horses fast: they look for the next fence. We are really excited about her. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for the future.”

Ward has been competing since he was just 5 years old in the Leadline division. Now, he is the top ranked rider in the world. “It’s a great recognition of consistent success because our peers are so good now,” explained Ward. “The top of the sport now is so good and so competitive, so I am proud of that. I can’t say that was ever a goal. The goal has always been championships and medals and the biggest grand prix events in the world. The honor in that is amongst your peers.”

After placing second and third in Saturday’s main event, the Carol Hoffman Thompson Leading Lady Rider Challenge Trophy was presented to Laura Chapot, who also earned the title in 2014.

“This is one of our favorite horse shows, and I think this is one of the most important shows in the country,” noted Chapot. “They really raised the bar this year with added prize money and making it an FEI competition. To be the leading lady rider here is certainly very prestigious, and I am so proud to win the trophy that is donated by Carol’s family. She was a great friend to us. I’m really thrilled to have won it again.”

Earlier in the day, the Amateur Owner Jumpers competed in their highlight event, the $20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur Owner Jumper Classic. After fourth place finish on Friday, Alex Matz came back for the victory in the Classic with Quinta.

Six combinations advanced to the jump-off, with Cloe Hymowitz setting the pace on her first mount Baritchou DBT. They turned in a clear effort in 32.901 seconds. Their lead did not hold for long, as Ailish Cunniffe turned in a faster time of 41.151 seconds with all the rails intact aboard Betty Boop III. They would eventually settle for fourth and fifth, respectively.

Next in the Dixon Oval was Matz with Quinta. With smooth turns and a fast gallop, they broke the 40-second mark when they stopped the clock at 37.937 seconds. Hymowitz tried to catch him with her second mount Fidalgo Van Het Leliehof, but would pick up third place with a clear round in 38.375 seconds. Reid Patton and Twisther slipped into second place with a faultless effort in 38.360 seconds. The fastest round belonged to Anna Cardelfe and Dollar Van’T Eigenlo DH, but their time of 36.783 seconds came at the expense of a rail for sixth place, sealing Matz victory.

“My plan originally was to be neat around the turns and not go crazy fast. I ended up adding a stride in one of the lines, but Quinta was excellent,” smiled Matz. “This is our fifth year with her. She’s been great. She’s been loyal, that’s all you could ask for in a horse.”

Matz and Quinta not only led the lap of victory for Saturday afternoon’s event, but they also returned to the center of the Dixon Oval to accept the Amateur Owner Jumper Championship and Amateur Owner Jumper Leading Rider Award.

“This is a special place because it’s so close to home,” noted Matz, a sophomore at Vanderbilt University. “It means so much. I love this place and it was a goal. Young Riders is a big goal, but this is very special.”

Becky Gochman Defends Grand Amateur Owner 3’6″ Hunter Championship Title at Devon Horse Show

As the Amateur Owner Hunter divisions wrapped up at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, Becky Gochman and Empire moved up the rankings to take home the division championship in the Amateur-Owner 3’6″ Over 35 Hunter division for the second time.

Becky Gochman and Empire
Becky Gochman and Empire

Gochman and Empire took home two blue ribbons and two reds to earn enough points for the division championship and the Grand Amateur Owner 3’6″ Hunter championship, with Gochman also picking up the Devon Leading Amateur Owner 3’6″ Hunter Rider award. Gochman thanks her daughters for giving her the confidence to go out and win.

“I get fearful with the long, bending lines, and I watched my kids do it this week, and they do it so naturally and so easily,” Gochman explained. “I said, ‘I’m just going to go a little forward and just count’, and so that really did help a lot to watch them do it so effortlessly.”

Gochman also credits her partnership with Empire for her success, and said she has owned 14-year-old gelding for six years.

“Thank God he’s been a very sound horse all the way through,” Gochman said. “I think since he’s been such a good horse to us for so long, we’re making a promise to show him just at special shows now. That way his mind stays clearer and crisper. He really enjoys coming out for the big ones, and he is not a spooky horse, so it’s really OK to do that plan.”

Interestingly, Empire’s equally eye-catching baby, Evermore, also impressed the judges and took home the Devon Grand Junior Hunter Championship with rider Emma Kurtz during Junior Week.

“I think Empire didn’t really want to be outdone by his son, so he said, ‘You know, I’ll step up too,'” Gochman said. “They’re not exactly the same, but he definitely put his stamp on Evermore. I’m so proud. I don’t know if father-son Grand Champions has ever been done at Devon.”

Gochman also presented the Sambalino Award to Krista Weisman and Reality.

“I was so proud to give the Sambalino Award to Krista,” Gochman said. “She is such a pretty, gentle rider. I really respect the judges’ decision to pick a horse like Reality that has an amazing, flowing, beautiful style. That made me really happy.”

Earlier in the day, the Amateur Owner 3’6″ 18-35 Hunter division came to a close, with Laura Sexton claiming the championship aboard Set to Music. The division’s reserve championship was awarded to Samantha Schaefer and Classified.

“Set to Music is special, and I am very, very lucky,” Sexton said. “After having my horse Zoom, who has been just such a spectacular horse for all of these years, I wasn’t quite sure that anybody would be able to get up to that rank, but let me tell you, this horse has done it faster than I ever could have imagined. He’s an absolute joy.”

In the Amateur-Owner 3’3″ 18-35 Hunter Division, Stephanie Danhakl and Enough Said took home both the division championship and the Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Hunter Championship for the second year in a row. The reserve championship in the division was awarded to Vivian Yowan and Anytime.

“Devon is definitely one of the shows that I care the most about doing well because of the tradition,” Danhakl explained. “I think it’s the hardest horse show to qualify for in the country, so it always brings out the best competition. To be able to win here means you did a pretty good job.”

Danhakl said Enough Said is a dream to ride, and she’s had the 10-year-old gelding for three years.

“We really clicked right away from the beginning,” Danhakl explained. “We’ve had a lot of success together. It was really exciting to be able to show here again. I was a little nervous about having to defend the championship, but he couldn’t have been better. I think he really loves his job and makes it really easy on me.”

The Amateur-Owner 3’3″ Over 35 Hunter Division, Glen Senk and Loyalty brought home the championship, while Missy Luczak-Smith and Executive claimed the reserve honors.

The Local Hunter division rounded out the day, and it was Blue Monday and Suzanne Smith and Close At Hand and Cathy Sacher who took home the championships. The reserve championships were awarded to Tristan, ridden by Caroline Ratigan and Daybreak, ridden by Leah Swope.

Janet Sterba and Maureen Quackenbush Successfully Defend Their Championship Titles

For Janet Sterba and Maureen Quackenbush, earning the tricolor ribbon in front of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair crowd was an honor the first time around. On Saturday, both of them were pleased to learn that they earned the championship title in their respective divisions once again.

“This is our second year working together,” Sterba said about her 12-year-old mare, CH Callaway’s Born for This. “She’s had a grand career. I’m just thrilled to have a good ride, especially on this mare. I’m blessed to get to show her.”

The American Saddlebred and her owner had the repeat victory in the Five Gaited Pleasure Driving Championship, while Maureen Quackenbush won the Hackney/Harness Pony Pleasure Driving Championship.

Quackenbush drove a new pony around the Dixon Oval for the traditional victory lap. This year, she was pulled by her 5-year-old Hackney, Four Point O.

“It’s a big deal to win here at Devon,” Quackenbush said. “To go in there and show is just awesome. To win, I mean, it just doesn’t get better than that.”

Quackenbush competed at Devon for the first time in 2015 with C B Party Girl and returned to win with a new pony.

“I’ve had him since last fall,” Quackenbush said about Four Point O. “We’ve only shown once before and that was last November. He won at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. He’s the Canadian National Champion. He’s a really good boy. We’re just getting to know each other, but we’re getting there.”

The Devon Horse Show hosted the English Pleasure-Saddle Seat Championship for the first time in 120 years, opening the Dixon Oval to multiple breeds. Among the Saddlebreds, Friesians and Morgans competing one Morgan came out on top and that was CBMF Restless.

“I think it’s awesome,” champion Allyson Wandtke said. “I hope they [Devon] include Morgan’s in the future. We’ve had a great time in the ring. I love being here with the Saddlebreds, the Friesians and the Hackney ponies. I think it’s just great for all the breeds to be together.”

Wandtke and her 9-year-old Morgan are no stranger to the tricolor ribbon, winning three world titles and one reserve world championship.

“I have never competed here before,” Wandtke continued. “It’s wonderful to win here, and the other horse I show [CN Timeless Masterpiece] for my mom [Cindy Nord] won reserve. I’ve had a very successful show and couldn’t be happier.”

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Haley Gassel and Quite Dark 2 Dominate $25,000 Devon Speed Challenge

Haley Gassel and Quite Dark 2.

Devon, Pa. – June 3, 2016 – Friday night at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair was all about speed, and only one athlete had all the answers during the $25,000 Open Jumper Devon Speed Challenge sponsored by the World Equestrian Center. Haley Gassel and Quite Dark 2 were the only duo able to master the speed track and leave all the fences intact to capture the winning prize.

“This is unbelievable,” the young rider said, smiling. “People dream of just coming to Devon, and people dream of just getting a Devon blue. For me, to win a grand prix at Devon, it boggles my mind. That wasn’t even in my wildest dreams!”

Kelvin Bywater designed a very technical course for the 1.40m faults converted speed class. Featuring multiple inside options and areas to make up time, competitors had to carefully navigate the course to have the fastest time, while also leaving the obstacles intact.

Three athletes secured Gassel’s time, but it came at the expense of rails coming down. The first was Laura Chapot with ISHD Dual Star, who would claim fourth place with a time of 67.607 seconds after the added fault conversion. She was only 2/1000ths of a second slower than Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire aboard Goldbreaker, who clocked a time of 67.605 seconds for third place. The only other rider with a better time was newly minted Longines FEI World Ranked Number One Rider, McLain Ward. It looked like he had the ride of the night on HH Best Buy, and while they were faster than Gassel across the ring, the faults added to their time would mean they broke the beam at 67.279 seconds for second place.

Gassel had both the speed and the accuracy with Quite Dark 2 that it took to win the Friday night highlight event. The pair left all the fences intact as they dashed across the finish line in 65.500 seconds for the Devon blue ribbon, as well as bragging rights over Ward.

“That is unbelievable,” expressed Gassel about her victory over the world’s best. “That will never happen again, that is a bucket list right there! He was really nice about it, though. He put in a really good round and it just wasn’t in his favor tonight.”

This is only Gassel’s second year competing at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, and it’s her first year competing in the Open Jumpers with Quite Dark 2, who she has been riding for three years.

“It was a really fun course,” said Gassel. “That course fit my horse to a T. He is really great at the spin back turns. He’s massive, he’s 17.3 hands, so for him to be able to do those spin back turns is unreal. When I first got him, everyone said he’s too big, he’ll never be able to go fast, spin fast, he’ll never be able to win like that and he’s proved all of them wrong.”

Gassel continued, “Our relationship has developed so much. He trusts me, I trust him. He’s just gotten better, faster, stronger. I do my best to try to keep him the best shape possible so he can jump tonight and jump tomorrow. He’s been a great horse.”

Earlier in the afternoon, the Amateur Owner Jumpers took center stage in the Dixon Oval where it was Jacob Pope that rode away with the top prize aboard Zilvana. Reid Patton set the pace to beat as the first to show over the short course with Twisther, clearing all the fences in a time of 33.592, which would be good enough for second place. Pope and Zilvana were the next pair to be faultless over the jump-off, and by leaving strides out and taking the inside turns they narrowly edged out Patton with a time of 32.291 seconds. Caitlin Hope rounded out the top three aboard Total Touch, producing a double clear effort in 34.106 seconds.

“Zilvana is a really fast horse, she’s small, and she’s careful, so I am not worried about having to steady her,” explained Pope “She’s really fast and I knew that we would be quick and smooth. I went inside everywhere else. She was clear and great.”

Earlier in the day, Pope placed second in the first Amateur Owner Jumper event, which kicked off the day’s competition. The victory in the speed competition belonged to Christina Firestone on Arwen, while Anna Cardelfe and Dollar Van’T Eigenlo DH rounded out the top three.

“Our goal for this year was Devon, so I am really happy with how it’s gone so far,” smiled Pope, a senior at Rollins College. “Zilvana is a really sensitive mare, which I grew up riding. I just let her do her thing!”

The Amateur Owner Jumpers will compete on Saturday afternoon in the $20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur Owner Jumper Classic as they try and earn the division’s championship title and the Leading Amateur Owner Jumper Award. The final show jumping event will be the $50,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake, sponsored by Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar.

Great Start for Beth Bidgood, Kaitlyn Van Konynenburg in Amateur-Owner Hunter Divisions

The Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions began on Friday at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, and it was Kaitlyn Van Konynenburg and Beth Bidgood who outshined the rest to finish the day at the top of the pack.

Kaitlyn Van Konynenburg and Wish List
Kaitlyn Van Konynenburg and Wish List

In the Amateur-Owner 18-35 3’6″ Hunter division, 18-year-old Van Konynenburg and Wish List made their trip from California worthwhile by earning the highest score in the division. After placing eighth in the first class, the duo returned ready for the second round, and the judges awarded the trip a score of 88, which secured Van Konynenburg the blue ribbon.

It was a close race, however, as second place went to Callie Seaman and Skorekeeper and their score of 87, and third went to Laura Sexton and Set To Music with a score of 86.

The first class in the division was won by Samantha Schaefer and Classified with a score of 85. Second place went to Krista Weisman and Reality and their score of 84, while Stephanie Danhakl took home third aboard Golden Rule with 83.5 points.

“The first round was really fun, but I got a little nervous into the two-stride coming home and we jumped a little low,” Van Konynenburg explained. “In the second round, I said ‘OK, let’s just put everything that happened behind us and just go in and have a good time.’ I was just focusing on having fun. I don’t know when I’m going to be back here again, so I just wanted to have a good time with him and have solid round.”

Van Konynenburg will be graduating high school next week and will start college at USC in the fall. She said that she will continue to ride as an amateur, as Wish List will only be 30 minutes away at trainers Carleton and Traci Brooks’ Balmoral Farm.

“He’s just the greatest horse,” Van Konynenburg said. “He comes to the party 100 percent every time and puts all his heart into it. He really is a special horse; I’m very lucky. It was a big team effort to get my horses out here, and I definitely wouldn’t be here without everyone backing me up.”

Van Konynenburg said she purchased the gelding three winters ago in Cleveland after failing to find the perfect horse in Florida.

“It was freezing, and we had one jacket,” Van Konynenburg laughed. “It was so cold, but it was worth it all the way. He’s just the sweetest horse. We love him.”

The Amateur-Owner Over 35 3’6″ Hunter division was the next to show, and Becky Gochman took home the blue ribbon in the first class after earning an 89 with Empire. Beth Bidgood was hot on her heels, however, coming in second by only one point in the irons on Uprising.

In the second class, Bidgood and Uprising returned to deliver a lovely round that earned the duo a score of 88 and the blue ribbon. Second place went to Jean Sheptoff and Heartcore with a score of 87, while John Ingram and Airport 48 took home third with a score of 86.

“I am so excited,” Bidgood said. “This is my first Devon. I love the tradition and everything; I’m having a blast. I was really nervous, then when I went into the first class, I was OK once I started going. I’m just thrilled. My horse is going incredibly.”

Before transitioning to his hunter career, Uprising was a jumper. Bidgood said she purchased the 9-year-old gelding just over a year ago in Florida.

“We were able to turn him into a hunter, and he’s just been fabulous,” Bidgood explained. “He’s the easiest horse I’ve ever had. He’s just so sweet. He’s only been doing the hunters for a year.”

The Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions will wrap up on Saturday with the awarding of the Devon Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter Championship and Devon Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider award.

John White Joins Winner’s Circle at Devon Horse Show for First Time

John White has been competing at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair for the last six years, but has never driven away with the championship title until Friday night. The New Jersey resident drove into the Dixon Oval with a bit more confidence this year, already securing three first-place finishes in the division.

In the Four-in-Hand Timed Obstacle, White locked in the first clean round of the night and set the time to beat with 160.350 seconds in his Road Coach Excelsior. However, Paul Martin had just enough of an edge in his Park Drag to beat out White’s time and hand him his second, red ribbon of the division.

With a total of 21 points accumulated and a two-point advantage over Martin, it was White who earned the Mr. & Mrs. Foster Bright Perpetual Trophy.

“We’ve had a very good show,” White explained. “The horses have been excellent. I’m very happy with that and I’m very happy with all the people that have helped us. We’ve been here a number of times, but this is the first time we won the overall champion.”

The crowd watched in awe as his four grey Kladruber horses pulled the carriage around the Dixon Oval for the honorary victory lap.

The night was filled with first-time winners, as Carson Kressley earned his first tricolor ribbon in the Open Three-Gaited Park Horse Stake.

“I’ve shown in a lot of places, but there’s nothing as special as the crowd support at Devon,” Kressley said. “Showing in front of thousands of people in the Dixon Oval is a thrill like no other. I’ve shown this horse a couple times this season and we’ve been second every time. So, to pull it together and win a big class like this here is a huge thrill. Devon is one of the greatest shows in the country. It’s where you come, watch and dream of competing.”

Kressley had the honor of riding Annika Bruggeworth’s American Saddlebred, Famous Kiss. The two have been friends for nearly 25 years.

“She’s shown him and now, he’s in a new division,” Kressley added. “He’s just a grand horse.”

For Lynn Finelli, the night was about defending her Western Country Pleasure Horse Championship.

“It’s unbelievable to win here,” Finelli said. “It’s so incredible. To win last year and this year just takes my breath away.”

It was a repeat win for Finelli’s mount, CH Winsdown Edgecliff, as well. The 11-year-old was converted from the English discipline to Western and has been showing successfully, winning the World Championships in Western Country Pleasure in 2012.

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Kevin Babington and Mark Q Win $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon

Kevin Babington and Mark Q. Photo By: The Book, LLC.

Devon, Pa. – June 2, 2016 – The luck belonged to the Irish during the 2016 $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*. Kevin Babington and Mark Q repeated their 2011 victory in the Dixon Oval, beating Danielle Torano and McLain Ward in a three-horse jump-off for the lion’s share of the prize money.

A crowd of 9,000 spectators turned out for the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair’s highlight event, watching as the best in the country competed over the technical CSI4* course built by Kelvin Bywater. Only three were able to master the first round, and it was Babington and Mark Q that were the pathfinders. Returning at the top of the tiebreaker, they once again left all the rails intact to set the pace to beat at 38.43 seconds.

“I thought to myself, whatever I do McLain is going to figure out a better plan anyway,” joked Babington. “The leave-out to the double was risky for me, but I knew I could be fast across the ring. At that stage I thought had already sort of lost it, but it’s always nice to win a class!”

The second to return was Danielle Torano aboard Callas III. With a slightly more conservative path on the young 9-year-old mount, the amateur rider and mother of two cleared the track in 39.49 seconds to take over second place behind Babington. At the end of the night, Torano was honored with the Richard E. McDevitt Style Award for the rider who exemplified the best style of riding.

“Callas III is a chestnut mare, so that should tell you a little bit,” laughed Torano. “She was pretty up in the schooling area before the first round, which rattled me for a minute. I decided there was nothing I could do, so I just went with it. To come in the ring and look at all the people – she’s never seen anything like that. As I went to the first jump she felt super focused, and she was amazing in the first round. I messed up a little bit in the jump-off, but she’s super careful.”

The crowd roared when the final rider of the night entered the Dixon Oval. Olympian McLain Ward on his Pan American Gold medalist-mount, Rothchild, seemed like a sure bet. Coming off a streak of eight international victories, Ward seemed unstoppable. And he was. Until the last fence.

As the crowd let out a yell at the penultimate vertical, Rothchild lost his focus on the homestretch to the final oxer and ducked out at the fence, much to the shock of all who watched. The error left Ward to pick up the third place prize while Babington led the lap of honor.

“What makes Rothchild great is that he’s sensitive, he’s sharp; he’s a little fireball,” explained Ward. “The place erupted and I think that rattled him slightly, but that’s brilliant. That’s what we need in the sport. I wouldn’t want it any different. I need to deal with it better; he needs to deal with it better. That’s what makes this place so special.”

Winning an international event five years later with the same mount takes a special horse, and for Babington, Mark Q is his favorite mount of all time.

“Carling King made me and is the horse of a lifetime,” said Babington. “Mark Q is my favorite horse that I’ve ever had. He’s stepped up to the plate so often, and he’s kept me in the sport and kept me jumping big classes, even when he shouldn’t have. I’d enter him in the HITS Million class, and he’d jump around and maybe pull one down, but on the day you can put him anywhere, indoors, outdoors. He’s not a superstar but he gives it 100 percent. Now, at 14, he’s jumping better than he has ever jumped.”

Babington added, “He just feels more elastic in his body for some reason. He’s more focused. He was a very difficult horse at the beginning; a very quirky horse. He’s still erratic and it’s still very hard to get his lead changes in the ring. But he’s trying to be careful. I don’t have to protect him as much as I used. He’s just in a happy place at the moment.”

With the addition of an international ranking through the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), the Devon Horse Show has continued to try and improve the standards at the world-class event.

“I’ve always been a great fan of Devon,” noted Ward. “The team here has made it first class. I think becoming FEI 4*, increasing the prize money; I hope it continues to grow. I don’t think this group here will rest on their laurels. I think the goal will be to go to 5* and have even more money. I think the people will come. I think the riders will start to come.”

The Devon Horse Show is a special event for everyone involved, and consistently draws one of the biggest and most enthusiastic crowds in the world. “Devon is very special to me because I live 30 minutes from here,” noted Babington. “All the students are here tonight, people I helped 20 years ago are here tonight, so it’s definitely very special. It’s a fantastic venue and the footing is fantastic. Where else can you have such a crowd behind you than Devon? I tell all the other riders around: if you haven’t been to Devon it’s a show you have to come to!”

Show Manager Peter Doubleday concluded, “We basically tried to do everything that the riders had requested. We doubled the prize money. We went FEI. We truly believe that it’ll be a work in progress. I know with our group we can be very patient. We want to continue our FEI affiliation and to make it even bigger and better. This event to me and all these other riders will tell you that this is truly, truly the best show jumping audience in North America. We have a great product here and we’re heading in the right direction.”

Liza Boyd Wins the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Thursday was derby day at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, and in true derby queen fashion, Liza Boyd bested the field of 24 to take home the blue ribbon aboard Like I Said in the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, which was sponsored by the Wheeler Family in memory of the late Russell Frey.

In the first round, Nick Haness set the score to beat on Countdown, taking all four high options to finish with a score of 191. After the first round, Louise Serio was sitting pretty in second place aboard El Primero with a score of 187, which included the four bonus points for taking the high options.

Going into the handy round, Sandy Ferrell waited in third place on Meredith Lipke’s Fifty Shades with a score of 183, including an added four points for jumping the high options. Boyd sat in fourth aboard Billie Steffee’s Maggie May with a score of 181, also including an added four points for riding the high options.

Liza Boyd and Like I Said
Liza Boyd and Like I Said

Boyd and Pony Lane Farms’ Like I Said entered the handy hanging back in fifth place with a score of 178.5, which included four points for choosing the high options.

As the handy round began, it was clear that the Alan Lohman-designed course would dash the derby dreams of multiple riders, including Serio and El Primero’s, who were one of two entries to refuse the trot jump.

As Boyd returned on Like I Said, however, her tidy turns and forward ride caught the attention of the judges, earning her a whopping score of 213, including the added 9.5 points for handiness and four for choosing the high options. Much to father Jack Towell’s excitement, Boyd exited the ring and waited for the class to finish with a total score of 391.5.

“For me, I always like to be the underdog,” Boyd said. “I don’t mind going back a little low. These derbies are my passion. I absolutely love these, and I love the handy rounds. I love the excitement of it. Like I Said is a great mare. A good mare has a lot of desire, and that mare just dug deep and tried really hard for me. I just try to stay out of her way and just go forward. She’s a little bit like an old fashion hunter. I think she has a little bit more of a Thoroughbred-type of way of going.”

The 8-year-old Like I Said, one of only two mares in the class, actually began her career as a jumper under the tutelage of Kent Farrington. Boyd added that she thinks the mare’s strong base on the flat contributes greatly to her ability as a derby horse.

“Larry and Kelley did an amazing job producing her into a hunter in Florida this year,” Boyd commented. “For these derbies, you really have to do your homework and flat them. I think that’s what makes it exciting, at least for me. When I go home, I know what to work on. I do a lot of dressage lessons and flat work with the derby horses. You’re always trying to strive to improve yourself and your horse, and that’s fun for us as riders.”

Ferrell and Fifty Shades delivered a smooth ride as well, choosing to take three of the high options and impressing the judges to earn the duo and extra seven points for handiness for a final score of 379.

“He and I get along pretty well,” Ferrell said. “No one is quite sure how I stay on him because he jumps so high, but I just think it’s so much fun. I don’t even think about it. He gets a little too excited after the big jumps sometimes and loses a little focus, so that’s what I took into account when choosing to jump the low option at the first jump, because I had to turn tight. I took the safety route, which I lost some points on. I kept missing all week in the High Performance, and we put it together today, so that was really nice.”

Haness was the last entry to return aboard Countdown, and the pair laid down a nearly perfect trip as the crowd waited with baited breath. However, a heartbreaking knockdown at the last fence dashed the young professional’s hopes for the derby win.

Boyd and Like I Said’s high score of 391.5 would hold out for the top spot, leaving Ferrell and Fifty Shades in second with 379 points. Third place ended up going to Sloane Coles, who piloted Autumn Rhythm to a final score of 353.

“Today, I am second to the derby queen,” Ferrell laughed. “It’s like winning to me. It’s an honor to me. She is much more veteran at this than I am. She is one of my heroes. Getting beat by a good horse and a good rider is really ok. There is a lot of camaraderie out there. You have to have fun doing this.”

As the equestrian community grieves the loss of Russell Frey, Boyd added that the class being held in his memory made it very special for all of the riders.

“I think that Sandy [Ferrell] would say, as well, that this class being in memory of Russell [Frey] was special for everyone,” Boyd said. “I think he would’ve given us a run for our money today. We might be second and third right now. I think he would be happy.”

Ferrell added that showing at Devon this year has been such a pleasure and said, “I don’t come every year, but I thought that this year the horses as a whole jumped so beautifully and performed so well in all the classes.

“You had to win to win. I have never seen that many 90s in one horse show. You had two very veteran horsemen in there judging. It wasn’t people just throwing big numbers. They believed in what they saw. The horses, one after another, just kept coming in and being nicer and nicer. Kudos to the footing, the weather, the jumps and everyone behind the scenes.”

Amanda Murchison Wins the Robin Hill Challenge Trophy

Amanda Murchison has been waiting for the opportunity to compete at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair for nearly 30 years. On Thursday, she not only competed in the Dixon Oval, but she rode away with the Robin Hill Challenge Trophy and Devon blue ribbon in the Adult Three-Gaited English Show Pleasure class.

“It’s a dream come true to show in a place so historic, where so many amazing trainers have shown and so many horses have been exhibited,” Murchison said. “It’s such an honor.”

Murchison and her mount CH Spread the Word have been working together for about two years. In that time, the duo has claimed some of the highest honors in the discipline. Together, they’ve won the United Professional Horsemen’s Association American Saddlebred Adult Amateur Show Pleasure Horse of the Year and the Reserve World’s Champion of Champions Adult Three-Gaited Show Pleasure.

“I count my blessings every time I get to go through the gate on his back,” Murchison said about her horse. “He was a driving horse when we bought him, and my trainers David and Kristen Cater, and his caretaker Louise are so amazing. He’s been a dream come true for me.”

Unlike Murchison, Sallie-Mason Wheeler is no stranger to the Devon show grounds. The 14-year-old has been competing in the historic show for six years. In the Five-Gaited Saddle Horse Junior Exhibitor class, Wheeler took her chances aboard Bodidly and won.

“It’s my third show with him, and I just wanted to have a nice and clean go,” Wheeler said about the class. “It worked. Next time, in the championship, I have to show against the adults. So, I have to dig in a little bit more, but this ride was nice and clean. This show has a great atmosphere. You get to watch multiple disciplines, and I love it.”

A Devon veteran, who had never experienced the winner’s circle before, won the Park Horse Open blue ribbon. Emily Van Duren rode to her first victory aboard a new mount, My Royale Prince.

“I’ve shown here about six times,” Van Duren said. “It’s my favorite horse show ever. It’s pretty incredible to win here. I’ve always wanted to, ever since I was 11. It’s my first time winning here.”

Thursday marked the second day of competition for American Saddlebreds, Hackney ponies and Friesians at the 2016 Devon Horse Show. Coaching continued as well, with John White notching another victory in the division driving his White Road Coach Excelsior.

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Winning Ward Wins Again! Tina La Boheme Captures $40,000 Devon International Speed Stake

McLain Ward and Tina La Boheme. Photo By: The Book, LLC.

Devon, Pa. – June 1, 2016 – Some might call it luck, some might call it hard work, most would call it both. Whatever it is, McLain Ward has it. Notching his eighth international victory in a row, Ward rose to the top of the field once again, claiming the $40,000 Devon International Speed Stake CSI4* sponsored by Green Drop. Piloting Tina La Boheme to the fastest clear round, Ward once again led the lap of honor in the Dixon Oval at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.

“The speed here at Devon has probably gotten more difficult,” said Ward after his win. “Being FEI, you need a little more of a jumper. I thought it was a very good course. Took a little jumping and enough speed. It wasn’t like you could go belly to the ground. You needed to pick a few places to take a moment.”

An international field of entries took their turn over Kelvin Bywater’s track to kick off the evening of competition at the Devon Horse Show, but with a quick pace as the main goal, only 10 riders left all the rails intact in their effort to secure a top ribbon.

As the fourth athlete to tackle the course, Amanda Derbyshire of Great Britain set the pace to beat at 60.29 seconds with a clear round aboard Goldbreaker. With a quick time that left many trying to catch her unsuccessfully, she took home the second place prize.

When discussing how she might have won, Derbyshire admitted, “I chipped really bad at the fifth jump. I did not see that distance. Goldbreaker jumps back feet first, but he’s brave and he’s a good boy. It felt like a win anyway if McLain won! I knew he was going to beat me. I was on the fence waiting for him to beat me.”

Ireland’s Kevin Babington was one of the select few to come close to the 60-second mark, stopping the clock at 60.30 seconds with his veteran partner Mark Q for third place. Sydney Shulman riding Toscane De L’Isle and Laura Chapot on Quointreau Un Prince finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with clear times of 61.31 seconds and 61.92 seconds.

The last in the class would prove to be the best of day. Ward and Tina La Boheme executed a flawless performance as they took the inside options to beat Derbyshire by almost two seconds as they dashed across the finish line in 58.49 seconds for his second victory at the Devon Horse Show.

“I did the plan,” explained Ward after seeing the others show over the course. “I didn’t do anything really different than the plan. Everything showed up nice. She’s a careful mare, so it worked out.”

With victories at Old Salem, Rome and Devon, Ward has racked up an impressive number of wins in the last three weeks. “I always imagine that, but it doesn’t always go that way,” laughed Ward. “I never try to limit what is possible. Every competition I go in I have a plan and I do the best I can to execute that plan. Sometimes it’s not the win, you know, sometimes it’s to train a horse or learn something or to gain some experience, but if it’s to ride a certain round, you try to execute it and sometimes you get in a nice streak. Like I said last night, I have a lot of really nice horses. The horses make you look good.”

Ward will return to the ring Thursday evening for the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*. This time he will be aboard his veteran mount Rothchild, the reigning individual Pan American gold medalist.

“I’m going to go with my best chance,” explained Ward. “Tina is 9, so she’s not experienced. She’s a green horse, and she’s never jumped higher than 1.50m. I think this being a 4* grand prix, it’s a real enough test. Tina will have a nice, easy couple of days, and I’ll show her Saturday night.”

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is the longest running and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. With the grandeur of Philadelphia’s prestigious Main Line setting the stage, the event features a world-class field that annually ranks among the most prominent internationally. The event also includes the Country Fair that offers world-class shopping, rides and games for kids, multiple dining options and special entertainment events.

Scott Stewart and A Million Reasons Claim Devon Grand Hunter Championship

As the professional hunter divisions came to a close at the Devon Horse Show, Scott Stewart ended up on top to claim the Devon Grand Hunter Championship aboard A Million Reasons.

Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker’s A Million Reasons earned the championship in the High Performance Working Hunter division, racking up a total of four blue ribbons and one red ribbon to secure the Devon Grand Hunter Championship. The High Performance reserve championship went to El Primero and Louise Serio, who was also crowned Leading Lady Rider.

Scott Stewart and A Million Reasons
Scott Stewart and A Million Reasons

“I had hopes for A Million Reasons, to be honest,” Stewart said. “She’s been pretty consistent. This is only her third horse show of the year. She was champion in WCHR week in Florida, then we did Kentucky, and she was champion, then we came here.”

Despite the light show schedule, A Million Reasons came ready to win. At home, Stewart prepared the mare by jumping her around a four-foot course a few times in the weeks before Devon.

“She likes a light schedule,” Stewart said. “She’s a mare, but she doesn’t really act mare-ish. She’s almost more like a stallion. She’s a little lazy off your leg. The hardest part is having her focused on what she’s doing because it’s easy for her. She rides like she’s 18h, and she’s only 15.3h. Her style is just to go with her head and neck out.”

In addition to the championships, Stewart accumulated enough points to earn the Leading Hunter Rider award for the eleventh time, while A Million Reasons also took home the Leading Mare Award,

“It always feels great to win,” Stewart said. “Devon is a special show for me. It’s huge with tradition. It’s always a great thing to win here. I try to think less and less about getting the Leading Hunter Rider award because it makes you crazy, but it’s always a thrill to get it.”

Dr. Parker, proud owner of A Million Reasons, said the little mare keeps everyone laughing with her charming personality.

“Scott and I collaborated on her, and we really thought that he was the kind of ride for that mare,” Dr. Parker commented. “We felt that she required a certain sensitive temperament of a rider in order to get the best out of her. She’s emotionally complicated. We laugh about her a lot because she has a lot of opinions.”

Another one of Dr. Parker’s talented hunters, Cold Harbor, took home the championship in the Regular Conformation Hunter division with rider Hunt Tosh in the irons.

Tosh said Cold Harbor, who goes by Larson at the barn, is his horse of a lifetime. The talented gelding also earned the championship in the Regular Conformation Hunters at Devon last year.

“He has just been incredible,” Tosh said. “He’s such a classic hunter. Betsee has been so gracious, and she’s such a wonderful owner for us. He was great all week. He’s one of the best feelings to ride, and just to have a horse like that… so beautiful, a wonderful mover and can jump and all that… he’s truly what you look for in a hunter. He’s proven to us that when it counts, he tries to win.”

Dr. Parker added, “Cold Harbor has broken all the records for Regular Conformation Hunters in this country that can be broken. No horse in history has won it more times than he has. He’s a very mannerly, good-tempered, kind, generous horse in every way. He’s a real, true dream horse.”

Even Tosh’s 9-year-old daughter, Maddie, loves Cold Harbor. Dr. Parker and Tosh plan for Cold Harbor to be Maddie’s Junior Hunter when she is ready to compete in the division.

“Maddie rides him at home,” Tosh added. “He is sweet enough to let her get on him and hack around. He’s her favorite horse in the barn, but it’s hard not to let him be your favorite horse in the barn. He’s just one of those horses that is that special.”

The division’s reserve championship went to Kelley Farmer and Baltimore.

Continuing the hunter action at Devon, the feature $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will take place on Thursday. The final highlight event during the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will be the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*, which takes place on Thursday evening.

Susan Sisco Secures the Ladies Side Saddle Championship and True Blue Challenge Trophy Once Again

For Susan Sisco, being in the winner’s circle is not unfamiliar territory. The skilled rider and trainer has won the Ladies Side Saddle championship tricolor many times at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. This year, the victory was aboard an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse that goes by the name of Ringfort Tinkaturk and is new to the side saddle division.

“He does a little bit of everything,” owner Barbara Wanamaker said. “I’ve only had him since April. He was an event horse. It’s only his third horse show and second sidesaddle show. Susan trains him.”

Wanamaker competed in the side saddle division, as well. While Sisco took control of the reins on Ringfort Tinkaturk, Wanamaker rode her other horse, Between the Lines. The two have been friends and sharing a passion for horses and side saddle for over two decades.

“Susan and I have known each other for over 20 years,” Wanamaker added. “After that long you become family.”

Family means a lot to Wanamaker, whose father and aunt were first in her heritage to compete at Devon. “This is an incredible place to ride and show,” Wanamaker continued. “It’s very exciting to be at a place with so much tradition. My father and aunt showed here. It means a lot to me to ride here and do well.”

Side saddle competitors showed off their skills in a hack and in an over fences class during the day on Wednesday, then returned under the lights Wednesday evening for an under saddle class to complete the division. Sisco locked in a six-point advantage in the division after securing two blue ribbons and a fourth-place finish to ride away with the True Blue Championship Trophy.

Amanda Ramey captured the reserve championship honors aboard Bold Liberty. Together, the pair earned 16 points after collecting a first, second and seventh place finish.

Side saddle has been a part of the Devon Horse Show tradition for as long as anyone can recall. The style of riding was first introduced in Great Britain by Anne of Bohemia in 1382, at the time of her marriage to King Richard II. It introduced a more independent way of travel, since travel was primarily through cart or carriage then.

Breed specialty classes began competing in the Dixon Oval on Wednesday and will continue throughout the week. Thursday evening’s highlight event will be the highly anticipated $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon beginning at 8:00 p.m. featuring some of the sport’s top athletes.

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McLain Ward Continues Winning Ways with $50,000 Welcome Stake Victory at Devon Horse Show

McLain Ward and Tina La Boheme.

Devon, Pa. – May 31, 2016 – It is no secret that Olympian McLain Ward has been on a hot streak recently, racking up six major victories from New York to Rome in just three weeks. The $50,000 Devon Welcome Stake CSI4* proved to be no exception as Ward rode away with the top two spots, winning the event aboard Tina La Boheme and placing second with his reigning Pan American Games double gold medalist mount, Rothchild.

“I think Devon is one of the greatest venues in America,” expressed Ward, who also won the same event in 2015. “The atmosphere here on grand prix night is second to nowhere. The crowd is an educated crowd, and they really appreciate it. They are very enthusiastic. I think the management here at Devon has really made great efforts with the facility. Everything is first class.”

Thirty-eight entries turned out for the first FEI ranked event of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair on Tuesday evening. Six of those were able to master the Kelvin Bywater track and return for the tiebreaker. Ali Wolff was the pathfinder during the jump-off, setting the pace to beat with Quirie 2 in a clear 39.51 seconds.

“My trainer, Michelle Grubb, knows me so well – we’ve been together for about 12 years,” said Wolff. “Pretty much every time she tells me to go my own speed. I am so competitive, and I am my own worst enemy. If McLain went before me I probably would not be sitting here. I try and ride the horse underneath me.”

Wolff added, “Quirie was my third string horse. He was struggling to get around the 1.40m last year. I just have to keep taking a step back, and I am very proud of where he’s come. He’s stepped up to my first horse. He went to Mexico with me and really, really put on his big boy pants. Since then he’s been super confident, and I can’t say enough about him.”

Wolff’s lead did not last long as Ward entered the ring next with Tina La Boheme. With sharp turns and a speedy gallop they bested Wolff by almost three seconds when they crossed the finish line in a faultless 36.73 seconds. Molly Ashe Cawley and Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve attempted to catch Ward, but had to settle for fourth place when they had a rail in the combination.

Ward was next in the jump-off order with his second mount Rothchild, and after a short break in the action to prepare, they returned to the ring. Knowing he had a good lead, Ward was a bit more conservative, but still laid down a fast and clear round in just 39.18 seconds to take over second place, while Wolff would place third.

Ward laughed, “Rothchild doesn’t like horses jumping next to him, he doesn’t like horses jumping at him, he doesn’t like gray horses, he doesn’t like carriages. There are a lot of things to avoid here! The schooling area can be interesting, but he is what he is. I didn’t have very long, but I am not going to rush him. I only jumped four or five jumps. You can’t go fast. You have to really take your time.”

Rothchild was a horse found by Ward’s father Barney, and he has always had a special place in Ward’s heart. Tina La Boheme also has a special place in Ward’s heart, as he owns the talented young mare together with his father’s old friend Arthur Hawkins.

“Arty Hawkins is a great horseman and a member of the Show Hunter Hall of Fame, a dear friend of my dad,” explained Ward. “He was there when I was born. He owns the majority; I own a small piece of her. Last year he said if you ever see a nice horse I’d like to do something. This is the horse.”

Tina La Boheme also has a unique tie to the Devon Horse Show, as she is related to the 2008 Grand Prix winner Night Train. “Tina and Night Train are both quite strong, but good jumpers, really good technique, careful but at the same time quite brave,” noted Ward. “It’s nice; I have a soft spot in my heart for Night Train. I bought him and rode him in the beginning, so I’ve had a lot of luck with that breeding.”

Ward and Tina La Boheme will return to the Dixon Oval Thursday night for the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*. The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is the longest running and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. With the grandeur of Philadelphia’s prestigious Main Line setting the stage, the event features a world-class field that annually ranks among the most prominent internationally. The event also includes the Country Fair that offers world-class shopping, rides and games for kids, multiple dining options and special entertainment events.

Championships for Haness, Tosh and Payne in Professional Hunter Divisions

Kenny Wheeler Sr. celebrated his 88th birthday by watching Hunt Tosh pilot the Wheeler Family’s Patriot to the championship in the Green Conformation Hunter division at the Devon Horse Show.

The Wheelers, proud owners of Patriot, handed their own Just for Fun – Two for One Challenge Trophy to Tosh and Patriot after the duo earned enough points for the championship.

“To win the trophy Kenny was handing out on his birthday in a division that is so important to their family is really fun,” Tosh said. “This show has the best horses, the best riders; it’s so hard to win here, so when you can win at a place like this with competition like this, it’s awesome.”

Tosh and Patriot claimed first and third place over fences on Monday, returning on Tuesday to add another blue to their collection in the handy.

“Patriot is a new horse, and he’s quite green,” Tosh explained. “Devon is only his third show facility. With the little mileage he has doing this, I didn’t know how he’d be, but he walked in here and was great. He’s been champion every time he’s shown, and he’s just a really fun horse. He’s super brave and careful, and he’s a beautiful jumper. He just tries harder every time, so he’s been great. We’re very excited to have him.”

The division’s reserve championship was awarded to Scott Stewart and Stephanie Danhakl’s stallion, Denver.

Nick Haness and Technicolor
Nick Haness and Technicolor

Earlier in the day, Nick Haness returned with Technicolor to claim the First Year Green Hunter championship. The duo started the day with two blues under their belt, and returned for the stake to wow the judges with their round, receiving a score of 95 and earning the blue ribbon.

“It was pretty tight for the points for the championship,” Haness said. “I knew we had to come in strong for the last round to clench the championship. The pressure building up to it is so intense that once I walk into the ring, it’s so easy and natural and just so much fun. He makes it easy for me. He’s a really special horse.”

The reserve championship in the First Years went to Kelley Farmer and Publicized.

The Second Year Green Hunter division also wrapped up on Tuesday with Chris Payne and Truman taking home the division’s championship. The duo managed to best the competitive division with their three blue ribbons from Monday. Truman, who is owned by Debbie Bass, is only just returning to the show ring after having last year off.

“There are so many great horses in the Second Years,” Payne said. “Anybody could have won it at any time, and I’m just very fortunate that the cards fell my way. I’m so fortunate to have such a great horse, and Debbie Bass is an amazing owner that has allowed him to come into his own to be so successful. He’s never lost a hack class. He’s a beautiful mover, he’s a beautiful horse, and he always tries to be a good horse and do the right thing.”

Hunt Tosh and Gotham took home the reserve championship in the Second Years.

The Grand Hunter Championship will be awarded on Wednesday, with the highlight $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby following on Thursday.

The final feature event during the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will be the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*, which takes place on Saturday evening.

Rachel Shoemaker Defends Her Title in the Single Horse Championship

It was déjà vu for Rachel Shoemaker, who earned the Single Horse Championship for the second consecutive year. Shoemaker drove away with her first blue ribbon and championship at Devon in 2015, and returned successfully to defend her title.

Shoemaker is the fifth generation of her family to compete at the Devon Horse Show, and she proudly represented her heritage driving the Willisbrook Farm’s Ralli Cart.

Along with the Challenge Trophy and tricolor ribbon, Shoemaker was presented the Championship Apron by Misdee Wrigley Miller.

The skilled driver sped to a first place finish in the Single Horse Scurry Tuesday night with a time of 74.176. The blue ribbon was not her first of the division, as she drove away with a victory in the Horse Single Harness, 2-Wheel class on Sunday, May 29. After a second-place finish in the Single Horse Pleasure Driving class, Shoemaker earned a total of 19 points to edge out her competition and defend the championship.

The reserve champion went to Tara Miliziano-Crowley, who handed Shoemaker her only second-place finish of the division. Miliziano-Crowley made her first appearance of the weekend in a Sutdebaker Phaeton in Tuesday night’s Single Horse Pleasure Driving class. She won the Devon blue ribbon and was awarded the Witteveen Friesian Perpetual Trophy.

The Coaching competitors returned to the Dixon Oval Tuesday evening to drive another class closer to the championship, which will take place Friday at approximately 8:30 p.m. John White drove his Road Coach Excelsior to his second consecutive victory in the division.

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