Devon, Pa.—May 27
It’s never fun to be out on course and realize you’ve lost your way. And that’s exactly what happened to Alice Nolen-Walston during the second pony jumper class at the Devon Horse Show. But as her confusion became clear, the crowd got involved, yelling for her to turn to the in-and-out on course.
“The support system at Devon and the mentality is special,” the 14-year-old said. “Everyone just wants to help you. In my second-to-last round I completely forgot about the last in-and-out, and the whole crowd said, ‘Fence 11!’ and I ended up being able to do it.”
That ringside assistance was crucial, giving Nolen-Walston and Wishlea Star Dasher the win in that class. Coupled with a win in the final pony jumper class, they took home the championship.
Nolen-Walston, of Landenberg, Pennsylvania, paired up with the 13-year-old Welsh Pony (Glencoe Nimbus—Acknowledge Me) last year shortly before Devon, and even though their partnership was still young, they left with the reserve championship. This year they were gunning for the top prize.
“He saves my butt,” said Nolen-Walston. “We work as a team. He knows when it’s time to take the wheel and help me out a little bit.
“I call him Dashie, Rainbow Dash, Dashman, all of the above,” she said. “He is super sassy and sweet. He pretends he doesn’t like to cuddle, but he secretly loves it. He’s a cookie monster.”
Though Nolen-Walston checked one goal off her list, she’s still got plenty more for this year. Next up is the U.S. Pony Finals (Kentucky) and then hopefully to Tryon, North Carolina, to compete in the pony jumpers as part of the WEQx Games that will happen during the FEI World Equestrian Games.
In the children’s jumpers Kate Taylor and Chacca Blue won two classes and were second in another to take home the win.