Wellington, FL (January 16, 2014) - Practice makes perfect, and with two summers training with German Olympic Gold medalist Hubertus Schmidt and a decade's mentorship with US Olympic Bronze medalist Michelle Gibson under her cutaway, Devon Kane of Diamante Farms in Wellington made a winning Grand Prix debut. Riding Destiny in front of 'I' judge Lilo Fore at the Wellington Classic Dressage Autumn Challenge, Kane was victorious with a final score of 70.319%, more than three points ahead of her closest (67.766%) challenge from Marco Bernal on Don Akzentus.
"I got Destiny when he was 5, and he is the first horse I have trained through the Grand Prix. He reminds me very much of Douwe,” she said, referring to the horse she closed her Young Rider career on by winning Individual Gold and Team Bronze medals at the 2007 North American Young Rider Championships. “Douwe had the most heart of any horse I have ever ridden, and always gave me 150%. He pulled me through situations because of his heart and amazing character. I’ve had Destiny since he was a baby, and we have developed a very cohesive and close relationship. Desiny is starting to show his heart, and his love to perform and work with me. He is gaining more and more confidence as we grow together. He is happy and growing more loyal and dedicated to me everyday.”
Now 27, Kane has trained her first Grand Prix winner: “Sure, we had a few mistakes but I was just happy he was with me the whole time. The best thing about the test was feeling so confident with him. He's much more comfortable at Grand Prix, he can be hot but fun to show, so there's enough going on to keep him busy.” Kane says her self-trained, Danish-bred (by Diamond Hit, out of a Rubenstein mare) gelding has never had a performance score below 65%.
To ride at the top starts with training with the best, so Kane opted last summer to go with Destiny to Germany where they trained with 2004 Olympic Dressage Gold medalist, Hubertus Schmidt. “That was amazing. When we went over, Destiny was doing six one-tempis in a row, and had no passage. By the time we came home, we were doing twenty-five one-tempis and piaffe/passage transitions. In two months, Hubertus and I put a whole Grand Prix on that horse.”
The day after Kane's Grand Prix debut victory, the duo returned to the Jim Brandon Equestrian Center for an FEI Test of Choice and repeated their 2009 test, again in front of judge Fore, to a higher score (70.957%) than before.
“We finished second to Neve Myburgh and Lexington Star, who had a 71 with a Prix St. Georges,” said Kane. “But it was still a great day. This was his Grand Prix debut and he scored in the 70s, twice, in front of as prestigous a judge as Lilo Fore! He's sensitive and can be a little tricky, but ever since Germany he's been there for me. He's stepped up and done it.”
Kane will continue to hone her and Destiny's skills in the months ahead at their beautiful Wellington facility, and “ride with Hubertus as much as possible in between championships. Gladstone is in my sights now.”