Caitlin Boyle and Clearway. Photos © The Book LLC.
Devon, PA – May 23, 2014 – The 2014 Devon Horse Show & Country Fair hosted its second day of competition on Friday with the conclusion of junior equitation classes and the first day of pony hunter divisions. Showcasing the best horses and riders in the country, the Devon Horse Show hosts 11 days of top-tier competition across multiple breeds and disciplines in Devon, PA, through Sunday, June 1.
On Friday, the junior exhibitors completed their final day of equitation competition in the Dixon Oval for 2014. The ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class saw three sections with wins for Ailish Cunniffe of South Salem, NY, Caitlin Boyle of Hampshire, IL, and Megan MacPherson of Boulder, CO.
Boyle was then named the winner of the 2014 R. W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship after two days of exceptional competition. In addition to her win in Section B of the ASPCA Maclay, the 17-year-old high school junior won Thursday’s Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Section A. Boyle also finished second in the WIHS Equitation Classic Jumper Phase Section B as well as the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Section C. For the overall equitation championship, she was awarded The R. W. “Ronnie” Mutch Challenge Trophy, donated by his friends.
Boyle began training with Heritage Farm’s Andre Dignelli this winter in order to up her game for her final year showing as a junior. She rode Heritage Farm’s Clearway to all of her top finishes this weekend and praised the horse and trainer for their roles in her success.
“I did not ever imagine that this would happen,” Boyle expressed. “I have never won anything at Devon. I came last year and I had low ribbons, but nothing to ever even come close to qualifying for this.”
“It was Clearway. He was perfect,” she declared. “I started riding him about halfway through WEF (the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival) this year when I started riding with Andre. He just has a presence when he is in the ring. Anything that looks difficult, he can make it look so easy. It is just so easy for him, and I am finally clicking with him now. It turned out really well. I have all the confidence in the world with him.”
“Andre has been helping me so much and I could not be any more grateful for that,” Boyle added. “He has helped so much with my look as I go around and just a better position around the whole course. Even if I find the jumps, just making everything in between better and really working on the flat work. I struggled a little bit in the beginning with the flat work on Clearway and just getting to know him has made a huge difference.”
From Chicago, Boyle grew up riding with trainers Freddie Vazquez and Kim Gardiner. She also had the help and support of her father, Patrick Boyle, who manages horse shows in the area. “My dad has helped me so much, especially when I was younger because he was really strict with me, which made me a much stronger rider,” Boyle acknowledged.
Although she has aspirations to compete in the jumpers, Boyle decided to focus all of her efforts on the equitation in her final junior year and joined Heritage Farm as a working student this year for the opportunity to work with one of the nation’s best trainers.
“I am a working student with Andre, so I help with anything I can in the barn when I’m not riding,” she detailed. “Just having all of those lessons and all of those horses available to ride has helped so much. I do anything from cleaning tack, a lot of grain-making since there’s almost a 100 horses, really anything. I tack up my horses if needed, or I will help the guys out if they need help. I really just try to be well-rounded in the barn and on a horse.”
After her success on Thursday, Boyle felt the pressure to do well in the final day of equitation competition in order to top the championship, but she kept calm and rode her best.
“I was a little nervous today because the pressure was on, on the final day, to see what everyone does,” she noted. “I watched Tori (Victoria Colvin) have a beautiful round, and I was a little nervous after that because I knew I had to put that effort in and have an equally beautiful round, which I believe I accomplished. I was thrilled with that outcome, and I have kind of learned how to stay calm. The number one priority is to just get the job done and just keep riding and try not to feel panicked. I am so happy that my last junior year at Devon ended so well.”
After the completion of equitation classes for the weekend, the Juniors Jumpers started their competition in the Dixon Oval, showing in a time first jump-off class in the afternoon and a gambler’s choice in the evening. The jumper courses for the week will all be set by Olaf Petersen, Jr. of Germany.
The $3,750 Junior Jumper time first jump-off class, sponsored by Courtyard by Marriott, was held first with a win for Giavanna Rinaldi and G.P.S. Brilliant Disguise. Twenty-five entries showed, with twenty advancing to the jump-off, and nine double clear rounds. For the win, Rinaldi was presented with The Flight Cup in memory of Fran and Lou Jaffe, donated by Reed Kessler. Lucy Deslauriers guided Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester to second place honors, and Madeline Thatcher and Pony Lane Farm’s Show Show placed third.
The $2,500 Junior Jumper Gambler’s Choice was held in the evening, sponsored by The Capital Grille King of Prussia, with a win for Lucy Deslauriers and Hester with 1,260 points. Deslauriers was awarded the Wigg’s Bar Challenge Trophy donated by Mrs. James Fairclough. Giavanna Rinaldi and G.P.S. Brilliant Disguise placed second with 1,230 points. Virginia Ingram and Riverview Farm LLC’s Urban finished third with a 1,060 point total.
Junior and Pony Hunter competition also began on Friday and will conclude with division championships on Saturday. For full results, please visit www.devonhorseshow.com. For those unable to attend the Devon Horse Show in person, you can watch every single round of competition thanks to continuous live-streaming from the USEF Network at www.usefnetwork.com.
Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations