Devon, Pa.—May 24
If you’d been at the Devon showgrounds in the wee hours of the morning on Junior Weekend, you’d have seen both Tori Colvin and Hunter Holloway riding as the sun came up.
Colvin and Holloway dominated the junior hunter divisions at Devon, each winning two. Colvin added the grand junior hunter championship with Way Cool and the Best Child Rider on a Horse title (for the fourth consecutive year). Colvin, 16, and Holloway, 15, are both hard workers and know their way around the barn as well as the ring.
They’re not afraid to pick up a pitchfork or wrap a leg. Colvin, of Loxahatchee, Fla., has been an integral part of Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley’s barn for years, and Holloway grew up riding and working at her family’s Equi-Venture Farm in Topeka, Kan.
Colvin accomplished the remarkable feat of being unbeatable in the 16-17 junior hunter divisions, taking the small championship and reserve on Canadian Blue and Ovation and the large championship and reserve on Way Cool and Inclusive.
“I love to ride my horses in the mornings to feel how they are,” Colvin said.
“I think Ken and Scott and I have increasingly attempted to hand the reins to Tori in all matters of horse management and stable management,” said Betsee Parker, who owns all of Colvin’s winning hunters. “She’s demonstrated a readiness for it. I think it's the true mark of a great trainer like Scott Stewart that he wishes for his rider to be even better than he is. Scott recognizes Tori’s unusual gift and he gives her so many opportunities to call the shots as a professional in the barn would do. She does an incredible job at it. We’re thrilled at how she’s taken on that responsibility.”
In fact, Parker turned the care and decision-making about Inclusive’s rehabilitation from sciatica to Colvin. The flashy bay had a year off from showing, and Colvin was in charge of supervising his care, bringing him back to fitness, and maintaining his soundness.
Holloway does similar tasks at her family farm. “She gets here at 4 a.m. with the grooms and she can clean a stall or wrap a horse, she knows how to do it all,” her mother, Brandie said.
Hunter trains primarily with Brandie, but gets help from Don Stewart at bigger shows like Devon and indoors. She qualified both Lyons Creek Bellini, the small junior, 15 and under champion, and Cascina, the large junior, 15 and under champion, for Devon last year but had to miss it because she broke her collarbone a few weeks before the show. “Before I should have, I was riding around with one arm on Bellini and Cascina, trotting around, Hunter said. “I was very happy to come this year and had high hopes, but I just wanted to make it the best I could.”
Hunter is sticking around at Devon for Senior Week, where she has her grand prix horse, Yolo, entered in the open jumper division. Then she’s headed off for a bigger adventure—her first international show.
Hunter’s been selected to serve on the U.S. Equestrian Federation developing rider team at the Hagen CSIO on June 10-15, so right after Devon she and Yolo will fly to Germany. Going with them are the good wishes of lots of supporters. The Holloway family conducted multiple fundraisers like a Gofundme page, a silent auction, and a dinner to help pay for Hunter’s first international travel.
“So many people, even trainers who taught me when I was a kid, helped out and donated,” Brandie said. “We raised probably a good 90 percent of the travel expenses. So many tack shops and horse shows donated stalls, braiders donated braiding, veterinarians donated services, farriers donated shoeing, I can’t even list all the amazing donations. The silent auction did wonders. People I hadn’t talked to in 10 or 20 years donated things and money.”
Hunter admitted that the show of support has fueled her competitive spirit. “It’s amazing to see how people I didn’t even know would support me stepped up and it’s been an amazing experience,” she said. “I’m a little nervous, but excited nervous [about Hagen].”
To read more about Colvin’s rehabilitation of Inclusive and a fascinating story about how a 1902 trophy found its way back to Devon after more than 50 years, check out the June 9 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse print magazine.