Tag Archives: Devon Horse Show

Ladies Dominate Inaugural Devon Arena Eventing Competition

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.

Richard O’Donnell (Photo: Equiscape Photography)

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.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Coco Fath Earns Junior Jumper Championship at Devon Horse Show

Coco Fath and Huckleberry.

Devon, Pa. – May 27, 2017 – Spectators at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair were on the edge of their seats during Saturday night’s $20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Classic as course designer Kelvin Bywater put 28 of the nation’s top junior riders to the test. It was a tough battle to the jump-off as only four managed to navigate the course fault-free and move on to compete in the tie-breaking round. In the end, it was Madison Goetzmann who took the win, while Friday night’s winner, Coco Fath, walked away with the coveted Junior Jumper Championship.

Goetzmann and her own Prestigious kicked off the jump-off round fault-free, setting the pace to beat at a quick 38.300 seconds. Caitlyn Connors riding Bink-A, owned by Caitlyn Connors LLC, followed but couldn’t quite catch Goetzmann, finishing fault-free in 43.08 seconds. The third rider to enter the ring was Fath aboard Hillside Farm LLC’s Huckleberry. Fath and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding were quick, but not quick enough to surpass Goetzmann, finishing in 39.002 seconds.

Brian Moggre was the fourth and final rider to tackle the jump-off, but collected 4 faults and stopped the timers in 36.505 seconds. Goetzmann ultimately finished with the quickest time to earn Saturday night’s win. Second place was awarded to Fath, with third going to Connors and Moggre rounding out the top four.

Combining Friday night’s win and Saturday’s top finish, 16-year-old Fath of Fairfield, Connecticut, clinched the Junior Jumper Championship as well as the Leading Junior Jumper Rider Award, presented by Capital Grille King of Prussia, earning the most points overall and showcasing her consistency throughout Junior Weekend at Devon.

In addition, Goetzmann was awarded the Junior Jumper Reserve Championship.

The Shalanno Style of Riding Award, presented by Shalanno Farm LLC, went to Taylor St. Jacques aboard her own Qantar Des Etisses.

Sophie Gochman and Garfield Crowned Devon Grand Junior Hunter Champions

Gochman Sport Horses LLC’s Garfield has been a familiar face throughout the years showcasing his style and natural athleticism in the hunter ring with multiple riders, and in his typical fashion, the chestnut gelding impressed the judges to take home the 2017 Devon Grand Junior Hunter Champion title with his current rider, Sophie Gochman.

Sophie Gochman and Garfield (Photo: The Book LLC)

It’s safe to say that the 15-year-old Holsteiner knows his job and does it well, allowing his riders to enter the ring confident that he is ready to give it his all no matter what. Garfield’s smooth way of going coupled with his solid temperament in the ring make him the ideal Junior Hunter mount.

Gochman acknowledged that her trainers at River’s Edge Farm, Scott Stewart and Ken Berkeley, paired her up with Garfield knowing that he would be a great first mount for her in the 3’6″ hunter division. The duo has been an excellent match since their partnership began just six months ago.

In addition to the enormous honor of being crowned Devon Grand Junior Hunter Champion, Garfield also earned the Martin F. Bucko Family Perpetual Trophy and the Ovation Perpetual Trophy with Gochman in the irons. Garfield was honored further with the Overall Large Junior Hunter title and the Lestat Memorial Challenge Trophy.

Emma Kurtz was presented with the 1902 Edward T. Stotesbury Perpetual Trophy for Best Child Rider after her performances in the Junior Hunters riding Popish Farm LLC’s Due West, Dr. Betsee Parker’s Dedication and Grace Debney’s Wisdom.

Kurtz and Wisdom achieved the Overall Small Junior Hunter title after putting forth seamless rounds in their competitive division.

Dedication achieved The Angelo Award, which is given to the horse who best exemplifies the classic hunter in movement, jumping style and presence.

Alexa Lignelli Dominates Pony Hunter Divisions

In the Gold Ring, the Wizard of Oz Perpetual Trophy was awarded to the Devon Grand Pony Hunter champion. Small, medium and large pony hunter riders competed for top honors, but it was Alexa Lignelli of New York, New York and her small pony hunter, iParty, who ultimately earned the trophy.

Lignelli and the flashy 9-year-old Half Welsh mare earned themselves a first, two seconds, a third, fourth and a fifth throughout the Small Pony Hunter division, accumulating a total of 28.5 points over the course of the two-day competition, to claim the Small Pony Hunter championship.

In addition, Lignelli also captured the Small Pony Hunter reserve championship aboard her own Rollingwoods Knee Deep. Lignelli continued her winning streak by earning the Best Child Rider on a Pony award.

Augusta Iwasaki and Forget Me Not Farm’s Unforgettable took home the Medium Pony Hunter championship, with the reserve championship going to Sofia Roberts and Roberts Stables LLC’s Rock Star.

The Large Pony Hunter grand championship was awarded to Stella Wasserman riding her own Spellbound, with reserve champion going to Mia Albelo and Libbie Gordon’s Child’s Play Hot Topic.

Devon to Honor Vets and First Responders on Memorial Day

Memorial Day at Devon will be “A Tribute to Heroes,” honoring active and retired military, police, fire and EMS members who serve our community. A recognition ceremony will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Dixon Oval. All active and retired military, police, fire and EMS members with a valid ID and their families will receive free admission starting at 6 p.m.

The evening’s entertainment includes performances by the Church Farm School Choir, cadets from the Valley Forge Military Academy and an honor guard made up of local first responders.

The Church Farm School Choir is made up of students in grades 9 through 12 from the all-boys day and boarding school in Exton. The group has performed in venues all over the country including Carnegie Hall, the U.S. Naval Chapel in Annapolis and the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. They have even performed abroad in South Africa and Germany. The choir will be singing the National Anthem at Devon.

“In addition to the performances, there will be perks around the show and country fairgrounds for the heroes who visit Devon,” said Elly VandeMerkt, director of events at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. “Additionally, all military, first responders and their families will have reserved seating in the East Grandstands.”

The evening classes will begin following the tribute. The night’s classes will feature the $7,500 Adult Amateur Jumper Classic as well as coaching and driving classes.

The performances, ceremony and discounts throughout the show are Devon’s way of honoring America’s heroes this Memorial Day.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

A Year to Remember for Taylor St. Jacques at Devon Horse Show

Taylor St. Jacques and Charisma.

Devon, Pa. – May 26, 2017 – As Taylor St. Jacques trotted into the Dixon Oval once more atop Heritage Farm’s Charisma on Friday afternoon, she had a lot riding on her shoulders as she has been the leading force dominating the equitation divisions thus far. The 18-year-old superstar from Glen Allen, Virginia walked away on Thursday with three blue ribbons – one from each section of the WIHS Equitation Classic Jumper Phase, the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search and the Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal. On Friday, she capped off an incredible start to the 2017 Devon Horse Show by winning the R. W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship.

St. Jacques’ additional victory in her section of the ASPCA Maclay on Friday morning was icing on the cake as it meant she and her mount were not only four-for-four and gaining more valuable points towards indoor finals, but they were also in tip-top shape entering into the afternoon’s highly-anticipated class.

Winners from each section of the four equitation divisions were invited back to participate in the prestigious R. W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship to vie for the coveted trophy and tricolor ribbon.

Top names joined St. Jacques in the ring to give it a shot over the Allen Rheinheimer-designed track, including Samantha Cohen, Haley Redifer, McKayla Langmeier, Annabel Revers and Cooper Dean.

It was a year of firsts for St. Jacques and the Heritage Farm team. While Heritage Farm owner and head trainer Andre Dignelli is notorious for producing winners in all three rings at the most prestigious horse shows and finals throughout the country, Dignelli had yet to coach a rider at Devon to win every equitation class in addition to the R. W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship.

Both Dignelli, who owns Charisma, and St. Jacques were quick to praise the 10-year-old bay Warmblood gelding’s performance. Charisma has been a versatile horse, campaigning not only in the equitation but also in international hunter derbies. St. Jacques paired up with him just last year during regionals and advanced to finals in the fall.

A magical ending concluded St. Jacques’ final time competing in the equitation at Devon Junior Weekend. In terms of the future, St. Jacques has her sights set on participating in the U25 jumper division and hopefully competing at the Olympic Games one day.

Finishing behind St. Jacques to secure reserve champion honors was McKayla Langmeier and Calberon B, owned by Linda Langmeier.

Coco Fath Tops Friday Junior Jumpers

Later in the evening, 16-year-old Coco Fath of Fairfield, Connecticut captured the win in the second round of the Junior Jumper championship aboard Hillside Farm LLC’s Huckleberry.

Coco Fath and Huckleberry (Photo: The Book LLC)

Twenty-one junior riders returned after Thursday’s Junior Jumper Speed Stake to compete once again under the lights in the Dixon Oval.

Only seven were able to clear Kelvin Bywater’s first round track to advance to the jump-off. Taylor St. Jacques, who has had a stand-out Junior Weekend at Devon thus far, and her own Qantar Des Etisses were first to return for the jump-off, setting the standard to beat at 4 faults in a time of 34.914 seconds, which would garner them third place as the fastest of the 4-faulters in the final standings.

Jorja Rose Jones and Diane Master’s Light Show produced a double-clear effort a few rounds later, stopping the clock in 42.081 seconds. Yet their time would earn them second place honors in the end as Fath and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding jumped clear and bested their time by four seconds in 38.906 seconds for the win.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Top Show Jumping Athletes Vie for $400,000 in Devon Open Jumper Prize Money

Kevin Babington and Mark Q sail to victory during the 2016 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon. Photo by: The Book, LLC.

Devon, PA – April 19, 2017 – The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair attracts a star-studded crowd of international show jumpers each season to compete in the $400,000 Devon Open Jumper Section, showcasing the most talented show jumping combinations in the world. These FEI classes all count for placement on the prestigious Longines World Ranking List.

The $50,000 Devon Welcome Stake will kick off the evening FEI competition on Tuesday, May 30th in the historic Dixon Oval at 7:00 PM. On Wednesday, May 31st, jumpers will return for a chance to claim the $40,000 Devon International Speed Stake.

In 2016, Olympian and reigning World Cup champion McLain Ward dominated the competition aboard Tina La Boheme, sweeping top honors in the Welcome Stake, International Speed Stake and Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake.

The highlight of FEI competition will come together Thursday, June 1st at 8:00 PM during the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon where the world’s best athletes will compete over a demanding track designed by Mr. Kelvin Bywater of Gloucestershire, England for the winning title. In addition, the rider that exemplifies the best style of riding will be presented with the Richard E. McDevitt Style Award.

Ireland’s Kevin Babington upset Ward’s winning streak last year, winning the Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon with Mark Q.  Babington is very fond of the Devon Horse Show, noting, “Devon is very special to me because I live 30 minutes from here. 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!”

For the Grand Prix only reserved seating tickets must be purchased for all sections in all grandstands. For more information about seating for the Grand Prix, email tickets@devonhorseshow.org or call (610) 688-2554.

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.

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

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

Claim Your Tickets Now for Junior Weekend at Devon Horse Show

Lucy Deslauriers and Class Action, winners of the 2016 R. W. Ronnie Mutch Equitation Championship.

Devon, Pa. – April 14, 2017 – For many people, the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair conjures up images of deeply rooted traditions in the quaint town of Devon, Pennsylvania. In addition to the competitive horse show, which horses and riders must earn points to qualify for, this family-friendly event attracts a diverse crowd ranging from Pennsylvania locals to those hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the top names in show jumping to shopping enthusiasts to those wanting to experience all that an authentic country fair has to offer.

This year, the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will run from May 25 – June 4 and junior riders will have their time to shine in the famed Dixon Oval during Junior Weekend, May 25-28. In addition, the pony hunter breeding takes place in the Gold Ring beginning at 7am on Thursday. The most promising young ponies in the country will have their chance in the spotlight, and breeders will have the opportunity to display their up-and-coming foals, yearlings, and young ponies.

Horses will not be the only animals that get to show off their talents. Canine competition will kick off Thursday at 7:30 p.m. during the first annual Dog Show at the Horse Show, which is open to dogs of all shapes and sizes. Classes will include Walk Trot with Me, Jumpers (including a jump-off round), Tricks Class, Speed Weave, Lead Line/Devon Costume Class, as well as special awards and championship prizes.

Friday of Junior Weekend will feature the highly-anticipated ASPCA Maclay, the reformatted R. W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship, and Junior Hunter competition. Nearby in the Gold Ring, child riders will be able to showcase their talents in the Regular Pony Hunters. In the evening, riders will compete under the lights of the Dixon Oval in the Junior Jumpers.

Junior Hunter competition will resume on Saturday morning in the Dixon Oval, followed by Pony Jumpers. Next up, pint-sized equestrians will take center stage in the Dixon Oval competing in Lead Line. Championship awards such as Overall Small Junior Hunter, Devon Grand Junior Hunter, Angelo Awards, and Best Child Rider on a Horse will also be presented following the conclusion of Saturday’s events. Ponies will take over the Gold Ring, and entertaining classes such as Pony Hunt Teams, where teams of three dress in costumes and jump over a set course, will also be held. Later that evening at 7 p.m., there will be more Jumper Awards presentations in addition to Horse Hunt Teams, Parent and Child classes, and the Family class.

The charming Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will conclude its Junior Weekend on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. with more Pony Jumpers, and Carriage Pleasure Driving Exhibitions. At 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, spectators can watch the first ever $50,000 Arena Eventing class.

On Monday, which is also Memorial Day, Devon will continue its tradition of honoring our community’s heroes. Active and retired military, as well as police, fire, and EMT personnel, will be given free admission for their families. Starting at 6:30 p.m., Devon will be hosting the second annual Tribute to Heroes recognition ceremony in the Dixon Oval, featuring a performance by the Church Farm School Choir. That night, awards will be distributed for Coaching, Best Tailgate Award, and awards for Carriage Pleasure Driving. The action does not stop there, however. Competition will continue at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair until June 4.

This event should not be missed, and Junior Weekend is sure to be action-packed and thrilling for spectators of all ages. Grab your tickets now in order to ensure that you can experience the thrilling competition, shopping, famous lemon sticks, tea sandwiches homemade fudge, and more.

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.

For reserved seating to experience arena eventing, please call the Devon Horse Show at (610) 688-2554 or email tickets@devonhorseshow.org.

Website: Devonhorseshow.org

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

Devon Horse Show and Country Fair Proudly Introduces New $50,000 Arena Eventing Class

Photo By: Brenda Carpenter.

Devon, Pa. – April 6, 2017 – The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is pleased to announce the newest addition to its 2017 lineup of exciting equestrian events. A new $50,000 Arena Eventing Class will be the first in the show’s history, blending cross country and show jumping obstacles to highlight the best of the discipline.

Presented by Mid-Atlantic Packaging, this class will include 40 eventers who will take to the Dixon Oval on the evening of May 28, 2017 at 7 p.m. Olympic gold medalist Captain Mark Phillips, former coach of the U.S. Eventing team, will design the course for the athletes.

“[Arena Eventing] is always a big success. It’s really exciting because they are going a lot faster than the jumpers go,” noted Phillips. “In other places they have had sellout crowds because the crowd really gets behind it. The ones I’ve been to have always been a great atmosphere. Obviously the first year at Devon is a little bit of a learning curve. It’s starting off at 40m per effort, which is a bit more spaced out then they are for normal show jumping, so riders can gallop a bit faster than they do in a grand prix.”

In addition to the support of Captain Mark Phillips, riders of both disciplines have embraced Devon’s Arena Eventing. These prolific riders include the current coach of the U.S. eventing team, David O’Connor, Rio Olympians Phillips Dutton and Boyd Martin, and Irish international show jumper Kevin Babington.

To be eligible for this class, athletes must have received a qualifying score in a CCI** or be jumping at 1.40m in show jumping.

Of the 25 total jumps, horse and rider will have to navigate 15 standard cross country jumps and 10 show jumps over a 1,000 meter course. Fault penalties will be given for any knockdowns and exceeding the course time limit. Prize money for competitors will be awarded up to 10th place and there is no entry fee to enter.

“We were going to do it over two rounds and take the top horses through to the second round, but in the first round you use both arenas, the Dixon Oval and Gold Ring,” explained Phillips. “In the second round, just the top riders who went through go under lights just in the Dixon Oval.”

Athletes interested in competing can contact Elly VandeMerkt for more information about the entry process by emailing elly@devonhorseshow.org. All sponsors, owners, riders, and other financial supporters can make their reservations first for a table in the Devon Club by emailing elly@devonhorseshow.org or calling (610) 964-0550 x204.

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.

For reserved seating to experience arena eventing, please call the Devon Horse Show at (610) 688-2554 or email tickets@devonhorseshow.org.

Website:  Devonhorseshow.org

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Entries for 2017 Devon Horse Show Close Monday, April 3rd

Devon, Pa. – April 1, 2017 – We are soon approaching the closing date of entries for the 2017 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair held Thursday, May 25 through Sunday, June 4.

Entries for all qualifying divisions including Hunters (including Local Hunter), Jumpers, Hunter breeding, Pony Hunter breeding, Coaching, and Equitation close on Monday, April 3rd. The qualifying period will conclude Sunday, April 2nd.

You may submit your competition entries and payment online through entries.showmanagementsystem.com and for any questions regarding entries, email entries@devonhorseshow.org. Please select the correct entry form, as they are separate for qualifying and non-qualifying class entries.

Entries for the non-qualifying divisions including Saddlebred, Hackney, Harness, Roadster, Driving, Carriage Marathon, and Friesian are due by Monday, April 24th.

Driving/Coaching has a separate entry form from the Saddlebred, Roadster, Hackney, Harness, and Friesian entry form.

If interested in participating in the new Devon Arena Eventing class, riders must enter through the FEI Entry System and will be notified by Monday, May 8th if the request was accepted. All confirmed entries for this class only will be due Monday, May 15th and substitutions can be made until Sunday, May 28th.

Exhibitors entering any non-qualifying class of Hunters, Leadline, Side Saddle or Family Class are required to include entry, office, stall, drug, and showing fee with entry blanks.

Please reference www.devonhorseshow.net/exhibitors/qualifying-entry-closing/ for any additional information regarding your specific discipline.

You may contact the Devon Horse Show office at (610) 964-2723 for any additional help. We look forward to hosting you this May!

Acceptance letters:

Your acceptance e-mail will be sent to the address linked to your Show Management System™ account or the contact point you provided on your paper entry blank. The acceptance e-mail will contain instructions on how you can accept or decline your invitation and pay any remaining balance through the electronic platform. If you haven’t created an account yet at Show Management System™ you will be given the opportunity to do so and your paper-submitted entries will be imported into that account. Instructions will be included in the acceptance e-mail.

Changes/scratches for any class or division:

Changes: If you need to make changes or additions to your entry, please contact the Horse Show office as soon as possible. (610) 964-2723.

Scratches: See the full prize list for rules and procedures regarding scratches from the horse show. All scratches must be handled in writing.

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.

For tickets, please visit www.devonhorseshow.net/tickets-home-page/dhs-tickets/. We look forward to seeing you May 25th!

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.”

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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