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Lucy Deslauriers Claims Top Honors in R. W. Mutch Equitation Championship at Devon

Lucy Deslauriers and Class Action.

Devon, PA – May 27, 2016 – Junior Weekend at Devon Horse Show continued Friday as eight winners from sections of the four equitation divisions were invited back to the Dixon Oval to contend for the 2016 R. W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship. For the first time, the coveted award was presented to the winner of a stand-alone class, rather than on an overall high-point basis.

Each of the eight riders qualified for the Championship class by placing first in one of the equitation divisions – the ASPCA Maclay, the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal, the WIHS Jumper Phase or the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search.

This year, it was Lucy Deslauriers who rose up to earn the title, besting the field of talented young riders to claim the honor.

“It’s an honor to qualify, let alone come out with a win,” Deslauriers expressed. “This show and the championship have a lot of prestige and tradition. Qualifying was something I was definitely proud to do. I was excited to have another opportunity. It was definitely a little bit trickier having another class and finding a few more distances, but I was overall very excited to do the class.”

Deslauriers, who trains with Stacia Madden of Beacon Hill Show Stables, chose to ride Class Action. The 17-year-old superstar carried her to wins in the WIHS and Talent Search on Thursday.

“I felt really confident in my rides yesterday on this horse,” Deslauriers said. “He had been in this ring twice already, so I knew it would be a good decision to choose him. As long I didn’t mess up, he was going to do his job. He feels really great, especially for being 17. We try not to do too much with him and respect his age. He knows his job. We try to do as much as we can, but trust that he’ll respond.”

Madden was very proud of Deslauriers’ performance and praised the rising talent’s attention to detail in her rounds.

“Lucy loves the sport,” Madden said. “She’s an unbelievable stylist, and I think the judges really appreciate her natural style and ability to ride with the motion with the horses. I think all of her jumper experience that she has gained through the years has given her an extreme amount of confidence when she goes into the equitation ring.”

With blue ribbons already under their belts, Daisy Farish, T. J. O’Mara, Madison Goetzmann, McKayla Langmeier, Maya Nayyar, Katherine Bundy and Ellie Ferrigno also tried their hand at the Alan Lohman-designed course.

Farish delivered a well-executed round atop Cassio and impressed the judges to secure the reserve champion honors.

“I think [the class] was awesome and added another element of challenge,” Farish said. “It brought a whole other feeling to it. First we have all our classes, and now the added championship class. It gives it an important feeling. I think Lucy was leading whether it was the other format or not, so she deserved it.”

Following in third place was Goetzmann, who earned her ticket by winning a section of the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal on Thursday. Fourth place was awarded to Ellie Ferrigno, who won a section of the Maclay earlier on Friday morning. Langmeier ended up taking home fifth, while Bundy, Nayyar and O’Mara all experienced some unfortunate difficulties on course to finish sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

Madden, who holds a seat on the USHJA equitation committee, explained the committee’s thought process surrounding the decision to update the format of the Ronnie Mutch Championship.

“The format of the class was really to have the kids be able to go head-to-head,” Madden explained. “Before, there would be two or three winners, and they were trying to break away from the idea of having multiple winners in a class that is supposed to deem the ‘championship rider.’

“I think it’s important for everyone to understand that we weren’t trying to add another class or see more jumping,” Madden continued. “We really wanted to give these kids an opportunity at a national horse show like this to compete head-to-head in the middle of the show year instead of making them wait until the end. I like the format, and I thought it ran well. It was a very different vibe behind the scenes, for me anyway. You had more focus on the class and less focus on all the point calculations.”

The action will continue with the Junior Hunter divisions on Saturday. Highlight events during the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will include the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby and the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*.

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.

Madison Goetzmann and Wrigley Go for Devon Blue in Junior Jumpers

The Junior Jumper riders continued to showcase their skill Friday as the highlight event for the evening lineup at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. Longtime Devon competitor and former Pony Hunter Champion, Madison Goetzmann, and her veteran mount Wrigley bested a 10-horse jump-off to take home the Devon blue with a speedy clear effort at the end of the night.

Madison Goetzmann and Wrigley
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Madison Goetzmann and Wrigley

“I love this show,” expressed Goetzmann. “Sometimes when I’m cantering in this ring, I look over to the Gold Ring and I reminisce about going around on the ponies. It’s weird to move up so quickly, but it’s such an amazing feeling being in this atmosphere with all the fans. It’s really great.”

Francesca Dildabanian set the time to beat as the second to return for the tiebreaker with Catika Van De Helle. The pair produced the first double clear round, breaking the beam at 42.636 seconds. One round later, Eve Jobs rode with her eye on the prize aboard Sandor De La Pomme. They easily moved into the lead with a time of 37.932 seconds, but would only hold the top spot for a few moments.

Goetzmann’s speedy mare Wrigley was in top form and easily sliced the sharp turns, clearing each obstacle. They galloped over the final oxer with the time in hand, crossing the finish line in 36.801 seconds.

“The plan was to have a fast and efficient jump off,” explained Goetzmann. “However, I did not want to overdo anything or do any risky turns that can result in a fault or anything like that. Going in there I wanted to get the Devon blue, but I didn’t want to get her too wound up. My mare is super great about the tight turns and the gallop. We caught every jump at a nice gallop and she jumped her heart out for me. She was awesome.”

Jobs had one more chance to take the top spot with her second qualified mount Quickley 3, but in their effort to catch the time they lowered the height of the final oxer. They stopped the clock at 35.648 seconds, over a full second ahead of Goetzmann, but four faults would mean settling for fourth place. Goetzmann picked up the win, while Jobs and Sandor De La Pomme placed second. Dildabanian rounded out the top three aboard Catika Van De Helle.

“It’s such an amazing feeling to walk into the ring, knowing you have an awesome horse under you,” smiled Goetzmann. “I’m so grateful to have her as my horse. She always gives me the confidence to go in there and to win.”

Goetzmann added, “Practice makes perfect with horses. I’ve been riding Wrigley for over a year now. Each day we grow together. Each day we’re working on something new. There is always something to work on with your horse. I find that super helpful to keep in mind, when I’m working with her. We trust each other. She has my trust and I have her trust. We’ve really developed a great partnership.”

Goetzmann is now focused on winning Saturday’s main event, the $20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Classic. On Sunday, the Pony Jumper division will take over the Dixon Oval. Later this week, the best in the country will compete in Thursday’s $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*.

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