Tag Archives: Devon Horse Show

Maggie Jayne Has All the Answers in $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby

Maggie Jayne and The Answer.

Maggie Jayne and The Answer trotted into the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby as the tenth in the order, took over the lead and never relinquished it, riding to the win Thursday afternoon at the Devon Horse Show.

Jayne and the 8-year-old gelding earned scores of 90 and 87 from the two judging panels, which, coupled with four high option points, gave them a first round score of 185. Thirty-two combinations followed Jayne and The Answer in the first round, including last year’s winners, Kelley Farmer and Mindful, and 2013 winners Tori Colvin and Inclusive, but none were able to touch the leading score.

Second in the first round went to Sandy Ferrell and Meralex Farm Inc.’s El Primero with a total from the two judges of 180.5 points, while Jennifer Alfano and Helen Lenahan’s Miss Lucy rounded out the top three with 180 points.

The top 12 combinations returned for the technical handy round, designed by Alan Lohman, which included numerous options for riders to display their horses’ handiness. Liza Boyd perhaps did that nearly as well as anyone. Finishing in the eleventh place position after the first round, Boyd and Sterling were the second to return for the handy round, and Boyd took a risky turn that paid off big time.

“I had nothing to lose,” Boyd said. “I was actually the only one that did the inside turn to the oxer. I made that decision when I walked the course, I just knew. I knew I had to go for it. We all go for it. If you are sitting in 11th and you know you have a horse that can do it, you go for it.”

Boyd and Sterling, owned by Pony Lane Farm, landed from the oxer set as the sixth fence and made an extremely tight turn to the oxer set as fence seven.

Boyd continued, “It seemed nearly impossible, but that horse is amazing. I don’t know how he did it. He made it, and it honestly seemed easy. I don’t think I would have even tried it on Brunello. A couple weeks ago in Tryon he was second in the Derby behind Mindful, and he did all the turns that Mindful did there, so he kind of proved to me that he could do it. I took a shot, and it worked out.”

Liza Boyd and Sterling
Liza Boyd and Sterling

The move shot Boyd from 11th to the third place position where she would remain through to the end. No one else in the class attempted such a move, instead all elected more conservative displays of handiness, with positions staying much the same from the first round through the second round.

Ferrell and El Primero fell from second to sixth leaving the door open for Alfano who returned with Miss Lucy to deliver scores of 87 and 86 plus four high option points for a second round total of 196 and an overall score of 376. Jayne and The Answer were the last to return, with a combined score of 191 necessary to remain in the lead and take the win.

With a seamless trip delivered and three of the high option fences tackled, Jayne and Pony Lane Farm’s The Answer finished on scores of 86.5 and 85.5 for a second round total of 195 and a grand total of 380, clinching the victory.

“The horse has just been coming along so nicely,” Jayne said of The Answer. “It’s a nice notch on his belt to prove that he can do this. It’s great for his resume because it’s Devon. I got a new stock tie because we are at Devon! My other shadbelly lost a button, so the shipper left yesterday, and it came overnight in the trailer, because it’s Devon. It’s very important, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for the Thatchers and for the horse – it all came together.”

Jayne took over the ride on The Answer from her sister, Haylie Jayne Rolfe, who is expecting her first child in November. The Answer typically competes in the Second Year Green Hunters with Jayne and in the Amateur-Owner Hunters with Kelsey Thatcher.

“I started at the end of Florida, and I’ve done one show since Florida. Then we came here,” Jayne said. “He’s a blast, tries really hard and always tries to jump clean. I am having a lot of fun.”

Jayne continued, “[Haylie] was watching on the computer, and she texted me. She’s hysterical. She’s like ‘it’s the hormones!’ She’s really cute and supportive.”

The Derby on Thursday is one of only a handful that The Answer has done thus far, but competing in the derby at Devon was the perfect fit for him.

“That’s the great part about this derby, you get to show out here during the week,” Jayne said. “The horses get so comfortable. It’s very inviting.”

Finishing in second were derby veterans Jennifer Alfano and Miss Lucy who finished on an overall score of 376. After colic surgery two years ago and surgery on a keratoma in her hind foot last year, Miss Lucy is back in the show ring and in top form.

“She was awesome. It’s so great to have her back in the ring and going again,” Alfano said. “She’s a really special horse to me. Having her back really means a lot. There is not a jump you wouldn’t point her at. You don’t ever have to really give that a second thought with her.”

The $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby marked the conclusion of the professional hunters at the Devon Horse Show, but competition resumes on Friday with the Amateur-Owner Hunters beginning at 8:55 a.m.

Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Kelli Cruciotti Captures First Grand Prix Win in $100,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon

Kelli Cruciotti and Chamonix H.

Beginners luck or youthful indiscretion can be used when a young person takes home a major victory, but none of those correctly describe Kelli Cruciotti. Hard working, determined – those are the best adjectives to describe the 17-year-old athlete who won her first grand prix with Chamonix H during Thursday night’s prestigious $100,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon.

“I can’t believe it. This is actually my second grand prix with her,” expressed Cruciotti at the end of the night. “She’s unbelievable. She’s the best horse I could learn to do this on. It hasn’t sunk in at all.”

In front of a packed house, Cruciotti navigated a seven-horse jump-off to claim the first major win of her budding career and to be the youngest rider to ever win the historic event. Course designer Michel Vaillancourt narrowed down a field of 28 entries, which included Olympians such as McLain Ward, Peter Leone and Beat Mandli, to just seven riders for the tiebreaker. A triple combination caused problems for a number of competitors in the first round, but for two of the youngest riders in the class, as well as one of the youngest horses, it never caused an issue.

The first rider to return for the short course was hometown hero Callan Solem of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania with Horseshoe Trail Farm’s VDL Wizard. The pair set the pace to beat with a clear round in 41.534 seconds. Aaron Vale soon one-upped them with Equi-Sport LLC’s E.S. Finou 4 with a faultless round in 40.606 seconds.

Devin Ryan entered the Dixon Oval next with one of the youngest horses of the night: the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Cooper. They took over the top spot when they made it around the course in 40.058 seconds. The duo did not top the leader board for long though when Cruciotti and Chamonix H galloped into the ring. With tight turns to each obstacle, the pair became the ones to beat with a blazing time of 38.678 seconds.

“Going in to the jump off Peter [Wylde] said go medium and nice,” noted Cruciotti. “Luckily, everything just kind of showed up off the turn. I turned back really tight to the double, and she really came through for me. I came out and Peter was like, ‘that was a nice medium!'”

Kaitlin Campbell’s effort to beat Cruciotti was thwarted when she tried to catch the time on Rocky W but had a rail in the combination for four faults in 39. 892 seconds. Another young rider, 18-year-old Michael Hughes, was up next with Christina Fried’s MacArthur. They proved that there is no shortage of young talent when they raced through the timers in 39.498 seconds to take over second place. Alison Robitaille was the last to compete with Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s Cassinja, and while they took home the Richard E. McDevitt Style Award at the end of the night, a rail in the combination would have them earning sixth place.

When Cruciotti returned to the returned to the center of the Dixon Oval to accept the Celeste McNeal Harper Perpetual Trophy, it was with a mixture of joy and shock. The young rider, who graduated high school last week, is not new to the sport, having earned multiple top placings in the hunters and equitation, but she only competed in her first grand prix two weeks ago during the Kentucky Spring Classic, and she had no expectations of leading Thursday night’s victory gallop.

“I think my goal was just to have a nice round, just a nice maybe four fault round,” smiled Cruciotti. “I didn’t really have any expectations. When I made the jump-off, I didn’t have much to lose. It’s amazing to win at a show like this. It’s just unbelievable. I’m lucky to be here.”

Cruciotti and Chamonix H worked hard this winter developing their partnership and gaining experience during the Winter Equestrian Festival. They took home the top prize in the $25,000 Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix during the second week of the circuit, represented the United States as part of the winning Junior Nations Cup Team, and closed out the circuit with a third place finish in the $50,000 Artisan Farms U25 Grand Prix Finale.

“I think [the U25 classes] are a nice medium step,” said Cruciotti. “It’s higher than the junior jumpers, but it’s not quite as big as the open classes. You get to really do a lot of different things there: the lights, the grass. I think that really helps in this kind of situation.”

Another product of the U25 and junior programs in the United States is second place finisher Michael Hughes, who became a professional just this year after aging out of the junior divisions.

“It’s amazing,” said Hughes. “The last time I had MacArthur here he was a bit spooky. So this time we got him a little bit quieter, and he was so much better. I did him under the lights in Florida. I have to watch; he gets a little bit of bit spooky with the shadows.”

Devin Ryan and Cooper
Devin Ryan and Cooper

It was not just young riders that were successful during the evening’s highlight event though. Devin Ryan’s 8-year-old mount Cooper proved what the Young Jumper Championships do for the development of a horse.

“He won the 7-year-old classes in here last year,” explained Ryan. “I’ve brought him here since he was a 5-year-old. The atmosphere, the ring and the crowd – it’s never bothered him. Any ring he’s stepped into he’s always been really brave and game and wanting to go. I just started moving him up the levels this year into the grand prix. The only reason I planned on doing him tonight and actually not my older horse is because I know his mentality for it and the crowd and everything. It doesn’t faze him. I didn’t feel I was over facing him.”

Earlier in the day, the Young Jumpers competed in the Dixon Oval beginning with the 5 Year Olds, where Taylor Flury and Catanisa Saflo Z took home the blue ribbon for the second day in a row. In the 6-Year-Old Young Jumpers, Jaime Auletto piloted Ecamorka win, and in the 7 & 8-Year-Old Laura Chapot had the fastest clear jump-off effort with BEC Hugo.

The young riders and young horses that highlighted the $100,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon will have two more opportunities to compete this week on Friday and Saturday night. For more information about the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair and complete results, visit www.DevonHorseShow.org.

Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Rachel Shoemaker Drives Homebred Mare to Single Horse Driving Championship

Rachel Shoemaker and Our New Dawn.

Rachel Shoemaker of Malvern, Pennsylvania represents the fifth generation of her family to compete at the Devon Horse Show, and she earned her first blue ribbon and her first championship Tuesday night in the Dixon Oval. Driving Willisbrook Farm’s Rally Cart, she claimed the Single Horse Driving Championship and earned the Championship Apron, presented by Misdee Wrigley Miller.

Shoemaker recalls being at Devon about 15 years ago to compete in Three-Gaited Show Pleasure classes and catching a glimpse of a stunning mare competing in a Park Horse class. Her family bought the mare, named Carrigan’s Magic, and Shoemaker competed her for years before deciding she wanted to try breeding show horses. The result of Shoemaker’s first breeding from Carrigan’s Magic was Our New Dawn, Shoemaker’s partner for her Devon championship.

“I’m very new to carriage driving, but I’ve always loved it,” Shoemaker said. “It’s so pretty, and the attention to detail appeals to me. Over the last few years, we’ve learned a lot more about it. This is such an accomplishment for [Our New Dawn]. I’m not a trainer; this is not my job. She’s been my passion and my hobby for the last several years, and she’s such a fantastic horse.”

The championship win came as a surprise to Shoemaker, who was more focused on making it through her very first Scurry Driving class with the 6-year-old American Saddlebred mare. Scurry classes require precision and quick thinking from the driver, who must navigate a series of cones at speed without knocking the balls from atop the cones.

“It was so nerve wracking!” she said. “I walked the course and immediately determined all the turns were too tight. But all the other competitors were fantastic. They were giving me tips; they were telling me I’m going to be amazing. Next year we’re going to go faster!”

Shoemaker said the win was “the greatest feeling,” thinking back to the days she would watch the Devon Horse Show as a child with her great-grandmother.

Misdee Wrigley Miller
Misdee Wrigley Miller

“My great-grandmother has always been an inspiration to me,” she said. “I learned an awful lot from her and from coming to Devon and being in this environment. It makes you better at what you do because you’ve got something to aspire to. You’ve got a lot of motivation to do well here.”

Tied for the reserve championship in the Single Horse division were the Mackeand Back to Back Dog Cart, owned and driven by Tanya Mackeand, and the Gentlemen’s Phaeton, owned by James & Kathleen Leo and driven by PJ Crowley. Coaching competitors also returned to the Dixon Oval Tuesday evening to take another step closer to their championship, which will be awarded Friday. Misdee Wrigley Miller drove her own Miller Park Drag to her second victory in the division.

Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Steege and Stewart Secure Devon Hunter Championships

Amanda Steege and Mirror Image.

Before competing in the First Year Green Hunters, Ellen Toon and Amanda Steege joked that Steege, Havens Schatt and Liza Boyd should all take a turn in the Devon Horse Show’s Dixon Oval aboard Mirror Image.

It was in fact only Steege who rode Mirror Image, or “Mimi,” to Devon’s First Year Green Hunter Championship on Tuesday morning, but had the three professionals made the unusual decision to each ride, it would not have been the first time they had all competed aboard the 8-year-old Oldenburg mare. Steege, Schatt and Boyd took turns competing Mirror Image throughout the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

“I started showing Mimi for [the Toons] last spring and showed her all last year in the 3’3″ Pre-Greens,” Steege explained. “Then we had sort of a weird situation with Florida because Mimi goes to Wellington, and I go to Ocala.”

Steege showed Mirror Image at the beginning of the winter season, and she then turned to good friends Schatt and Boyd for assistance in bringing the mare along throughout the circuit.

“Havens [Schatt] and Liza [Boyd] both rode her for us during the circuit, which was amazing. I kept saying all winter that I hope Mimi’s champion at Devon so we can do an interview about what an awesome experience it was to have those two girls step in and help me!” Steege said. “Everybody was just so nice through that whole process.”

Steege continued, “Each girl, when they would show her in Wellington, they would text me at the end of every class and let me know how it went. They were super supportive. When we started Wellington, she was a little nervous the first couple weeks. Then those girls did her for a few weeks. I came back and did her in WEF 12. Ellen had also been showing her really successfully in the 3’6″ Amateurs. She was like a different horse when I came back WEF 12, so I couldn’t wait to text those girls and tell them how much it helped me and her. That was just the most awesome experience ever. I can’t imagine doing that with two other riders and having it go as smoothly.”

Jimmy and Ellen Toon initially found Mirror Image in Europe and were struck by her striking resemblance to Ellen Toon’s extremely successful amateur-owner hunter mount, Invincible or “Shaq,” and hence the name, Mirror Image was born.

“When we were in Europe and we were looking for a horse, we both kept saying ‘she looks so much like Shaq,'” Ellen said. “She’s so Shaq-ish we would say. If they’re right next to each other they don’t, but we do confuse them a lot.”

Jimmy and Ellen Toon imported Mirror Image to their JT Farm, where Jimmy Toon handles her training, meeting Steege on the road at horse shows.

“Jimmy’s amazing. He can just take a horse that’s a good horse and make it a great horse,” Ellen Toon said.

Steege added, “I think it really says a lot about Mimi that all of us got tricolors on her in Wellington: Ellen, Havens, Liza and me. I just don’t think that there are that many First Year horses that can do that. I think it also shows what a good job Jimmy does to make her so trained and nice to ride that four different girls could ride her in a 12 week period and all end up with tricolors.”

Taking the reserve championship in the First Year Green Hunters were John French and Sochi, owned by Lee Kellogg Sadrian.

Scott Stewart and Ashcroft
Scott Stewart and Ashcroft

The rest of the day’s hunter divisions belonged to Scott Stewart. Stewart claimed the championship in the Green Conformation Hunters with Stephanie Danhakl’s First Light, and he followed it up with the Second Year Green Hunter championship aboard Ashcroft, owned by Gina Day.

Before jumping to two Devon blue ribbons and earning scores of 90, 89, 89 and 86 in the Dixon Oval with Stewart, Ashcroft was competing in the 5-Year-Old Jumpers with Canadian rider Ben Asselin.

Stewart and Ken Berkley tried him, and, with their positive endorsement, Day bought him sight unseen.

“I trusted their judgment. I’ve been riding with these guys for a long time; they know my ride,” Day said. “[Ashcroft’s] mind is amazing. He’s 6 years old. He’s a baby, and he doesn’t get frazzled. He’s great. His head is really good. You can’t buy a mind. That’s hard to find.”

Ashcroft is not the first Devon winner Day has had with Stewart and Berkley at Rivers Edge Farm. She also owned the 2010 Devon Grand Hunter Champion, Premier, ridden to the win by Berkley.

“Premier is totally perfect for me, and I think Ashcroft is the same,” Day said. “You wouldn’t know he’s a stallion; he’s so mellow.”

Like Ashcroft, Danhakl’s First Light is just a 6-year-old stallion that is already coming well into his own in the show ring. He came into the day on Tuesday with three wins already in the Green Conformation Hunters, and he added another over fences victory to his win list before riding away with the division championship.

The reserve championship in the Green Conformation Hunters was awarded to Havens Schatt and Custom Made, owned by Shaw Johnson Price. Schatt also earned the reserve championship in the Second Year Green Hunters aboard Deborah Perkins’ Set to Music.

The professional hunters return to the Dixon Oval on Wednesday for the conclusion of the professional hunter divisions and the naming of the 2015 Devon Leading Hunter Rider and Devon Grand Champion Hunter honors. Competition resumes at 8 a.m. beginning with the Regular Conformation Hunters. For the full schedule and results, visit www.DevonHorseShow.org.

Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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McLain Ward Kicks Off Devon with Open Jumper Domination

McLain Ward and HH Ashley.

The country’s top show jumpers have arrived at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, and in a fitting fashion eight-time Grand Prix of Devon winner McLain Ward claimed the first two Open Jumper victories. In the first Open Jumper class, he piloted the 15-year-old Hanoverian mare HH Ashley to the fastest double clear effort during the five-horse jump-off for owners Double H Farm of Wellington, Florida. He followed it up with a victory in the $10,000 Open Jumper Speed class aboard HH Best Buy, also owned by Double H Farm.

“It’s a great way to start off Devon,” smiled Ward. “Ashley is a wonderful horse and she’s actually been jumping really well lately – a little bit of four-faultitis, so it was nice for her to have a little more luck tonight and have a win.”

Twenty-three entries showed over the opening track, and Ward was the pathfinder with HH Ashley and the first to return for the jump-off. With a faultless round in 38.181 seconds, they set the pace to beat.

Switzerland’s Beat Mandli came close with the Grant Road Partners’ Celina, clearing the course in 38.308 seconds, which would be good enough for second place. Sarah Wayda was next with Faroukh, but the pair lowered the height of a vertical for four faults in 41.213 seconds for fifth place.

Adrienne Sternlicht also had four faults with Raia D’Helby, but was a bit faster in 38.638 for fourth place. The third place ribbon went to the last pair on course, Peter Leone with Lionshare Farm’s Wayfarer. They were clear over the track, but a time of 38.739 seconds would put them behind Ward and Mandli in the event sponsored by Herr’s.

“HH Ashley is a fast horse, so that makes it a little bit easier,” explained Ward. “I thought I had a nice cut on the yellow vertical, but she’s also just quick naturally.”

The $100,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon is scheduled for Thursday evening, and while Ward plans to compete with HH Ashley and his World Equestrian Games partner Rothchild, he also aimed for the win tonight.

“Her job, more than anything, is to win classes,” noted Ward. “My plan tonight was to try to be competitive with her and set Rothchild up for the grand prix with a little more of a training round. Going along with her doesn’t really hurt her for the grand prix. It kind of gets her in gear and gets her jumping across the fences a little bit.”

HH Ashley was injured in early 2013, but Ward had confidence that she would make it back to the winner’s circle. “It’s my second season with her,” he said. “She had been injured and been out for several years, and I asked the Harrisons if I could have an extra shot to bring her back with my team, and they did an incredible job. She’s had two great seasons. We felt she had a few good years left in her, and it’s really great to see her back in the sport and doing it happily.”

In 2012, the two-time Grand Prix of Devon winner and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Sapphire was retired by Ward at the Devon Horse Show, and this year the event will be named after the incredible mare, making the event that much more special for Ward as he competes with HH Ashley and Rothchild.

“It’s a really special thing – such a large event with so much history, such an important event on the schedule, so it’s a great honor,” he commented. “The pressure is the same all the time though.”

McLain Ward and HH Best Buy
McLain Ward and HH Best Buy

In the final event of the night, Ward once again led the victory gallop, this time aboard HH Best Buy. Brandie Holloway with Hays Investment Corp’s Lucky Strike posted the first clear round in a time of 61.399, which would hold up for second place. Mandli was also faultless later in the order, but was more conservative with Grant Road Partners’ Antares F for fourth place in 70.806 seconds. Taking home third was his student Katie Dinan riding Bijou de Balou to a clear round in 68.108.

With the door cracked open for Ward, he raced through with HH Best Buy, an 8-year-old Holsteiner mare. They broke the beam at 58.985 seconds to take home the blue ribbon.

Ward concluded, “Devon is a great show. Phenomenal footing, the best atmosphere in the country and it’s a great event – I always really enjoy being here and trying to be successful here.”

The Open Jumpers will continue on Wednesday with two events, including the Hit & Hurry feature event in the evening. The Young Jumpers will also get underway with the 5-Year-Old and 6-Year-Old classes in the morning, followed by the 7 & 8-Year-Old Jumpers later in the afternoon.

For more information about the Devon Horse Show and complete results, visit www.DevonHorseShow.org.

Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Phelps Media Group, Inc.
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Harvey Waller Wraps Up Horse Pairs Championship

Harvey Waller.

Harvey Waller sped to a win in Monday’s Scurry Driving class en route to taking the Horse Pairs Championship at the Devon Horse Show. He drove the H. Waller Spider Phaeton, which he owns with his wife Mary Stokes Waller, to consistent finishes in the division on Sunday and Monday, earning the Championship Apron presented by Misdee Wrigley Miller.

The reserve honors in the Horse Pairs Championship went to Rich O’Donnell, who is President of the Board of Directors of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair Inc. and Devon Horse Show & Country Fair Foundation. He drove the O’Donnell Spider Phaeton, which he owns with his wife, to victory in the Horse Pairs Pleasure Turnout.

“We have some fantastic competitors that come to Devon,” O’Donnell said. “As President of the Horse Show, I intend to make sure that carriage driving and coaching continues at Devon. It’s a crowd pleaser. I think spectators are amazed to see some of these vehicles that are turned out. The vehicle that I have today was actually built in 1882, so the vehicle is over 120 years old, and it’s still in operation today.”

The focus shifted to ponies for the evening events, and Lisa Koehler’s Koehler Gig, driven by Nicole Cable, received the Joseph M. Pierce Challenge Trophy for the Single/Pair Pony Driving Championship. Their consistent record in Sunday and Monday’s classes, including wins in Monday night’s Single/Pair Pony – Pleasure Turnout and Sunday’s Single Harness Two Wheeled Vehicles, placed them ahead of the competition. The reserve championship in the competitive division went to Tara Miliziano-Crowley, driving her own Miliziano-Crowley Saylor Wagon.

Richard O'Donnell
Richard O’Donnell

The coaching division also got underway Monday night and will continue this week at the Devon Horse Show.

Mary Adelaide Brakenridge for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Scott Stewart and First Light Shine in Devon’s Dixon Oval

Scott Stewart and First Light.

Come Memorial Day each year, Scott Stewart can generally be found at the Devon Horse Show, and he can often be found doing one thing: winning. This year Stewart kicked off the professional hunter divisions with four blue ribbon wins across the Green Conformation Hunter and Second Year Green Hunter divisions.

Stewart started the day on Monday with the win in the Green Conformation Hunter Model with Stephanie Danhakl’s First Light. The pair followed that win with back-to-back victories in both of the Green Conformation Hunter over fences classes.

“When I got [First Light], it took me until week four or five [of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF)] to show him. Every time I brought him up for warm-up day on Tuesday he would be a little wild and stallion-y so I never got to show,” Stewart said of the 6-year-old. “As soon as I got to show he was just so easy.”

Since then, First Light has been extremely consistent, finishing as the Green Conformation Hunter Circuit Champion at WEF and claiming championship honors at the Kentucky Spring Horse Show right before coming to Devon. First Light showed that consistency again in Devon’s Dixon Oval where he earned scores of 88 in both rounds.

“I wasn’t really sure how he’d be out here, but he was just perfect,” Stewart said. “Every time you get on him, even when he’s quiet, he pumps up, and you feel like he’s going to do something. So not knowing him early on in Florida, I didn’t know what that was going to be so I got off a couple times. He does that even when he’s quiet. I think he’s just in the groove now. He’s very brave about the jumps, so it’s never an issue about that. He’s so fun, and he’s so comfortable to ride.”

As eye catching as First Light’s impressive jump is, his coat, conditioning and turn out are just as striking.

“He’s a stallion so he has a stallion coat,” Stewart explained. “He looked good in Kentucky, but he was a little bit hairy. The last time we clipped him he didn’t clip out that great, so we were a little bit hesitant to do it, but we did it [in Kentucky] the day he was done showing. He clipped out so pretty, and now he looks great.”

Following Stewart’s success in the Green Conformation Hunters with First Light, he returned for the Second Year Green Hunters with Gina Day’s Ashcroft.

Scott Stewart and Ashcroft
Scott Stewart and Ashcroft

Just last year the 6-year-old stallion was competing in the jumpers with Canadian show jumper Ben Asselin, but he has made the transition to the hunter ring quickly and successfully, as he displayed on Monday with Stewart. The pair earned the win in the first Second Year Green Hunter over fences class with a score of 90, and they finished second in the second class with a score of 89.

“He’s really fun to ride. He’s a little bit not used to what the hunter thing is, but he was actually super here the first time. The big ring suited him,” Stewart said. “He sometimes looks around a little bit like a stallion. He’s not spooky; he’s just noticing the surroundings like a stallion might.”

The first place in the second over fences class and the second behind Ashcroft in the first class went to Certainty, ridden by Peter Wylde and owned by Nicole Lyvere.

In the First Year Green Hunters the blue ribbons over fences went to Boss, ridden by John French and owned by Laura Wasserman, and Mirror Image, ridden by Amanda Steege and owned by Ellen Toon.

Victories in the day’s under saddle classes went to Steege and Mirror Image in the First Year Green Hunters, Havens Schatt and Custom Made in the Green Conformation Hunters and Schatt and Set to Music in the Second Year Green Hunters.

Hunter competition continues Tuesday at the Devon Horse Show with the First Year Green Hunters beginning in the Dixon Oval at 8 a.m.

Emily Riden for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Sydney Crenshaw and Camera Ready Score Adult Amateur Jumper Championship

Sydney Crenshaw and Camera Ready.

Some horses were born to be in the spotlight, and on Monday night Camera Ready lived up to his name by claiming the Adult Amateur Jumper Championship after winning the $7,500 NAL Adult Jumper Classic and the Adult Amateur Jumper speed class with Sydney Crenshaw for Fit To Print Farm.

“It’s definitely something that you imagine, that you feel like you’re prepared for, but it’s just surreal,” expressed Crenshaw at the end of the night. “You imagine it, but you don’t really expect it to actually happen.”

The highlight event of the evening saw 19 competitors in the Dixon Oval, all aiming for the winning prize. Seven entries made it to the tiebreaker, where Phoenix Cooke and Skys Burnin Blue set the pace with a clear round in 35.613 seconds. Their effort would only be good enough for second place though as the winner of the speed class earlier in the day came into the ring.

Crenshaw showcased Camera Ready’s speed and winning ability for the second time today by blazing across the finish in a faultless 32.211 seconds, three seconds faster than Cooke. The only other rider to clear the track was Nancy Hooker aboard Corianos Boy, but their time of 37.090 seconds would capture the third place award.

Despite galloping Camera Ready around the speed class earlier in the day, Crenshaw was confident the 13-year-old Brandenburger mare would be ready for the final event.

Phoenix Cooke and Skys Burnin Blue
Phoenix Cooke and Skys Burnin Blue

“Camera Ready is a good horse,” said Crenshaw. “She loves to go into the ring. She was maybe a little quiet earlier, but I just put a little spur on and she was ready to go. She knows when it’s a night class; she really knows when it’s a big deal.”

Crenshaw has been riding Camera Ready for owner Kathy Coffey for a number of years, and when the mare hurt her tooth trainer Sharon Enteen had to get creative. The talented grey mare now goes in a “sponge bit” – a thin nylon strap surrounded by sponge.

“Any time that she had anything bigger and you would pull the opposite rein it would really upset her,” explained Enteen. “We ended up in a sponge. There is no lateral control, but she’s happy in it. You can’t even give her treats because her mouth is so open. She likes it. You can squeeze water out of it – it’s an actual sponge.”

Crenshaw added, “She was in a rubber snaffle before, so she’s never been in a lot of bit. For me, I sometimes feel a little out of control. It takes me a couple laps to stop sometimes. It’s not that big of a thing though. She’s not the kind of a horse that needs that big of a bit anyway.”

The University of Georgia senior will continue showing Camera Ready throughout the year and is aiming for Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the Washington International Horse Show at the end of the year.

On Tuesday, the Open Jumpers get underway with two events in the evening, gearing up for the $100,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon on Thursday night. For more information about the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair and complete results, visit www.DevonHorseShow.org.

Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Carriage Pleasure Driving Delights the Crowd

Rachel Shoemaker.

The Carriage Pleasure Drive, or Carriage Marathon as many may call it, is one of the most anticipated events during the Devon Horse Show. The much anticipated event took place on Sunday, May 24 from 12-2 p.m. This year the carriages met on the Devon Grounds and proceeded on a route through residential neighborhoods in Devon. They were judged for the condition of the horses and ponies, the soundness of the wind and limb and complete turnout. The term ‘complete turnout’ is a special phrase used to evaluate the overall picture of the horses, carriage, harness and attendants. There are specific guidelines as to how the attendants must dress. They are also expected to sit erect, and the women should have a blanket over their legs. The route itself cannot take any longer than 40 minutes to finish.

Once they depart the Dixon Oval, the single, pair and four-in-hand carriages and coaches began their progress to Leopard Lakes, passing groups, small and large, who waved and cheered them on. Several neighborhoods made it quite an event with sumptuous spreads laid out under tents on the lawn. Upon their return to the Devon, they carriages again entered the Dixon Oval for a second round of judging where a large crowd had assembled and loudly cheered for their favorites. Finally, the ribbons were awarded for best turnout in each class.

Exhibitors for the Carriage Pleasure Drive come as far as California, the Midwest, Florida and New England to partake in this elaborate event. Jamie O’Rourke has had an entry in the marathon since 1968. “I grew up in Long Island, New York, and I moved down here about 25 years ago. My mother’s family has been showing at the Devon Horse Show since the 1940s. My aunt’s family was among the founders in 1896. I guess you could say we’ve had some involvement for a period of time.”

The carriages are prized possessions themselves and are built anywhere from 1890 to 1910. They are in spectacular condition and have been built by the best makers in the country – Brewster and also Studabaker, who also built cars for a time. “These carriages were properly equipped with large luncheon boxes so you could serve your champagne and eat lunch along your trip. The men wear top hats, and the women are dressed elegantly. It’s a throwback to a bygone era,” said O’Rourke.

Laurie Wightman for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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Hannah Dodd and Blink of an Eye Capture Pony Jumper Championship

Hannah Dodd and Blink of an Eye.

Hannah Dodd will be going home from the Devon Horse Show with much more than prize from the country fair and the famous Devon fudge. Competing at the historic event for the first time at just 13 years old, Dodd piloted her talented mount Blink of an Eye to the Pony Jumper Championship after winning the $2,500 Pony Jumper Classic.

Sixteen ponies competed in the Dixon Oval during Sunday night’s highlight event, and five advanced to the jump-off with clear efforts over the first course. Maya Lovdal was the first to return with Miracles Happen, but a rail at one of the tall verticals incurred four faults in 35.389 seconds, which would only be good enough for fifth place.

Elizabeth McDougald was the pathfinder during the tiebreaker, clearing the short course in a time of 34.143 seconds with Knock My Sox Off. Emily Schnebel tried to catch McDougald with Suspicious Minds, but as she raced to the last fence it hit the ground for a four-fault effort in 33.673 seconds for fourth place.

Prima Rose Bonaventura also tried to beat McDougald aboard Just One Look, and while the pair had the time, a rail at the double combination cost them four faults. Their time of 33.122 seconds would be good enough for the third place award.

It was the last in the class that would prove to be the best of the night. Hannah Dodd picked up a quick gallop to the first fence with Blink of an Eye and never held back. Slicing the fences and sharply cutting the turns, the duo raced over the final obstacle in a time of 33.792 seconds to take home the victory over McDougald.

“I think a lot of my time gets shaved off because I land and I try to go out as fast as I possibly can,” said Dodd. “I try to keep my momentum through the turns too. I work a lot on trying to control him while still going quickly. I thought the courses were really nice here.”

With Sunday night’s victory and a sixth place ribbon earlier in the day, Dodd and Blink of an Eye captured the division’s championship award, while McDougald and Knock My Sox Off’s second place finish paired with a win on Saturday earned them the reserve championship.

Dodd’s skillful ride with Blink of an Eye not only helped them win the Pony Jumper Championship, but they were also presented with the Pony Jumper Style Award sponsored by Kathryn Lily Equestrian, given to the pony jumper rider who exhibits the best classic jumper style of riding.

“This is my first time at Devon,” expressed Dodd. “I thought the show is really nice. I love the footing. I love everything about it like the location and all of the people here. Everyone’s been very nice.”

Dodd has been riding Blink of an Eye for two years and hopes to compete with him at the U.S. Pony Finals later this year at the Kentucky Horse Park. “He’s very funny,” she laughed. “We call him a drama pony, because he likes to throw little dramas all the time. He likes to flick his head overdramatically a lot.”

Dodd concluded, “I’ve always been really into my horses and try to give them lots of love and support for how much they’ve done for me.”

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will continue on Monday with the NAL Adult Jumper Classic taking center stage in the evening. For more information about the show and complete results, visit www.DevonHorseShow.org.

Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

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