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May 27, 2014

Hooker Rides It Like She Stole It To Win Adult Jumpers At Devon

Corianos Boy made some fans during the awards ceremony for the NAL Adult Jumper Classic as he and Nancy Hooker waited.

Devon, Pa.—May 26  

Nancy Hooker watched from the in-gate on her tiptoes as one by one, her competitors in the NAL Adult Jumper Classic at Devon couldn’t quite measure up.

“I knew I was beatable. I left the door open a little bit and there were some real competitors out there tonight,” Hooker said. “It was nerve-wracking to go first in the jump-off; when I was warming up, I just thought to myself, ‘I’m just going to have to make everybody chase me and hope they make a mistake.’”

And that’s just what happened—there were times faster than Hooker’s, but none with all the rails in the cups. When the dust settled on the eight-horse jump-off, Hooker and Corianos Boy came out on top.

Though Hooker, of Wellington, Fla., is a frequent competitor in the amateur hunter divisions at Devon, this was her first foray into the jumper side of things. This winter, she took over the ride on Corianos Boy when her daughter, Heather, went off to college at the University of Virginia.

“She showed him in the junior jumpers but she’s gone away to college, so I stole him! I’m riding in her clothes on her horse,” Hooker said with a laugh. “He lives at home with me, so I take care of him every day. I took care of him when she rode him, so he has been my baby for a few years. He was kind of without a job and he wasn’t Heather’s favorite.

“I figured I’d try it. Everybody kind of doubted whether we’d get along, but we’re really starting to click. He likes me and he likes doing this division,” Hooker said.

Hooker noted that Corianos Boy has a powerful jump and is difficult to stay with in the air. “It’s kind of why my daughter didn’t like him, because over 4½', when he overjumps everything it’s hard to stay with,” she said. “But we’re starting to build some confidence in each other and it’s showing in our performances in the last month or two. We’ve had better and better results in the ring. He’s got quite a jump, quite a stride and he’s a little kitty-cat-like in the way he goes—very wary of everything.”

The Classic was the only adult jumper class that Alyssa Kinsey didn’t win—she and her Grisset won both the other adult classes and so claimed the division championship.

Kinsey kind of knew the Classic wasn’t going to go her way when she walked the course. “The course was built much higher than it’s been here in the past,” Kinsey said. “The reason I show in the adults is because my horse isn’t able to do the higher classes anymore. So, I knew the odds were against me and I didn’t have any expectations.”

Grisset put the brakes on at one fence and Kinsey ended up on the ground, taking them out of the running for the Classic. “I don’t even care,” Kinsey said. “She’s the horse of a lifetime for me. I don’t know another horse that can win as consistently as that horse. She’s allowed to dump me once in a while; she wins everything else.”

Kinsey has been showing Grisset in the adult division for 10 years; they won the adult amateur jumper championship at Devon in 2009 as well. Just the day before they showed at Devon, Kinsey and Grisset won the $10,000 Marshall & Sterling Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic at the HITS-on-the-Hudson I in Saugerties, N.Y.

Kinsey, of Danville, N.H., supports herself with the prize money she wins showing Grisset. “I get some part-time jobs here and there. When I’m not showing, I do something to keep going,” she said. She has another mare, but has bred her to try and create the next generation of mounts. 

To read more about all the winners at Devon, check out the June 16 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse print magazine.

See all of the Chronicle’s Devon Horse Show online coverage.

See full Devon results.

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