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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