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.
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.”
For more information, please visit www.DevonHorseShow.net.