Sarah Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’ysieux (Photo: The Book LLC)
Devon, Pa. – May 28, 2017 – Sunday evening at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair highlighted a brand new kind of competition, Devon Arena Eventing, based on two of the three disciplines that make up three-day eventing: cross-country and stadium jumping. The event attracted a new realm of spectators including eventing enthusiasts. A total of 23 international eventing horse-and-rider combinations participated in the new event, where USA’s Sarah Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’ysieux came out on top to take home the first winning title.
The Devon Arena Eventing competition, presented by Mid-Atlantic Packaging, was designed to maximize the facilities, showcasing the best of what Devon has to offer.
The course was designed by Captain Mark Phillips, Olympic gold medalist, former coach of the U.S. Olympic eventing team and renowned international course designer. Phillips spent several hours at Devon evaluating the facilities and believes the venue is an excellent host for arena eventing.
Horses and riders entered must have attained a qualifying score in a CCI2* or be competing at 1.40m in show jumping to participate in Sunday’s Devon Arena Eventing class.
The first round took horses and riders through both the Gold Ring and Dixon Oval over 25 obstacles, and faults were given for knockdowns and exceeding the maximum time. Approximately 15 fences were typical obstacles found on a standard cross-country course, while the remaining were show jumping fences. Fences were up to 1.20m in height, brush up to 1.40m and spreads up to 1.60m.
The second round brought back the top 12 to compete in a jump-off over a shortened course in the Dixon Oval. Murphy and the 11-year-old Selle Français gelding, owned by Rubens D’ysieux Syn. LLC, completed both phases with no penalties, finishing the jump-off in 75.03 seconds for the win.
Coming in second place was USA’s Jennie Brannigan and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda. The pair also completed both rounds with no faults and stopped the timers in 79.05 seconds at the end of phase two. Rounding out the top three was USA’s Erika Nesler and Doug and Cindy Howe’s Right Above It. They crossed the finish line in 80.92 seconds to also end on a final score of zero penalties.
There are four other major horse shows that have also developed these special competitions: the Wellington Eventing Showcase, the Stuttgart German Masters, the Royal International Horse Show in England and The Royal Horse Show in Toronto.
The Devon Arena Eventing competition was met with the highest standards and was supported by top riders. From the eventing side, Phillips, David O’Connor, the current U.S. eventing chef d’équipe, and U.S. Rio Olympians Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin. Kevin Babington was also on board and encouraged competitors from the show jumping world to participate.
Victory for Katharine Dade and National Treasure in Pony Jumper Championship
Sunday of Memorial Day weekend marked the culmination of Junior Weekend at the historic Devon Horse Show, but for Katharine Dade and her own National Treasure it also meant a triumph in the Pony Jumper Championship. All eyes shifted to the junior riders and their speedy ponies on course as they vied to make it through the finish line clear and in the fastest time.
Dade, of Gilmanton Ironworks, New Hampshire, only began campaigning in the jumper ring this year. Previously, she rode in the pony hunters, but she hasn’t looked back since making the switch over to the jumper ring.
On Saturday, Dade and her 16-year-old chestnut Welsh Pony Cross mare snagged the blue ribbon after going clear in the $1,000 Pony Jumper class with the fastest time of 29.179 seconds in a six-horse jump-off. The 15-year-old superstar has been training for the past 10 years with Gretchen Anderson out of Apple Knoll Farm in New Boston, New Hampshire.
After spectators had the privilege of watching top-notch junior hunters, equitation, jumpers and carriage driving throughout the weekend thus far, they witnessed 15 contenders battle it out for top honors and generous prizes on Sunday to round out the Pony Jumper Championship. Dade claimed Sunday morning’s second class of the division in a seven-horse jump-off, while Bridgid McMurtrie’s Wishlea Star Dasher, who won the 2016 Pony Jumper Championship at the Devon Horse Show, and Alice Nolen-Walston rode to victory in the $2,500 Pony Jumper Classic out of a three-horse jump-off.
The crowd stood eagerly alongside the sidelines hoping to catch a glimpse of the pony jumper action in the Dixon Oval. Course designer Kelvin Bywater of Great Britain put riders to the test with his challenging tracks, which quickly narrowed down the playing field to the most talented two- and four-legged athletes.
To make Dade’s championship win that much sweeter, she and National Treasure were honored with the Leonard Tose Memorial Challenge Trophy. The reserve champion ribbon went to Alice Nolen-Walston and Wishlea Star Dasher. Awards presentations wrapped up with the Pony Jumper Style Award being given to Audrey Schulze and Gayfields Talladega Knight.
51st Carriage Pleasure Drive Carries on Tradition at Devon
The Devon Horse Show and County Fair has prided itself on the tradition that is showcased throughout its historical grounds since the very first show held in 1896. The Carriage Pleasure Drive has been a part of the Devon tradition for over 50 years and continues to entertain and excite exhibitors and spectators alike each year on the Sunday before Memorial Day.
Crowds filled the stands to watch in awe as the horses, carriages, whips and passengers gracefully parade around the Dixon Oval. Immediately following the initial inspection, competitors tackled a 4.5-mile drive through the picturesque neighborhoods of Devon, Pennsylvania.
In the 51st running of the Carriage Pleasure Drive, Molly Neville of Collins, New York came away with the coveted Carriage Pleasure Drive championship award. Neville, piloting Helen Lenahan’s pair ponies in the Relhok Serenity Blue carriage, received the championship apron as well as the Robert and Virginia Weaver Challenge Trophy for best turnout overall. Sunday’s championship was made all the more sweet as Neville accepted her awards in memory of Lenahan who just recently passed away.
In the Two-Wheel Single Harness division, Tanya Mackeand was awarded the blue in her Dog Cart. The blue in the Four-Wheel Single Harness division was awarded to Betsy Demarino Vmd, who was driving her 150-year-old vehicle, the Moor and Sons Ralli Car.
Competitors in the Double Harness-Pairs-Tandems division were next to receive their awards, where a familiar name earned the Orleton Farm Challenge Trophy, Richard O’Donnell. O’Donnell, president of the Devon Horse Show, piloted his 1880 original Spider Phaeton carriage to earn top honors. The Carriage Pleasure Drive Amateur Whip Award and Susie S. Buchanan Perpetual Trophy was also awarded to O’Donnell for exemplifying the tradition of carriage driving at the highest level.
Frances and Wayne Baker in the Roof Seat Break carriage earned the Third Susan Addis Challenge Trophy in the Four-in-Hand division. The Martin Auctioneers Inc. Perpetual Trophy was awarded to Mrs. Collin F. McNeil in her Saylor Wagon/Governess Cart for her win in the Two-Wheel Single Harness Pony division.
The winner of the Four-Wheel Single Harness Pony division was Zana White in the Sailor Wagon. Carriage Pleasure Drive champion, Neville, also received the individual blue in the Pony Double Harness-Pairs-Tandems division.
Devon exhibitors always anticipate the arrival of Roberta O’Dell’s eclectic and entertaining carriages to the Dixon Oval. This year she showcased her “Popcorn Wagon” that was pulled by her four white mules in the Light Commercial and Farmer’s division.