Devon, Pa.—Oct. 2
Jennifer Bateman knows firsthand how much work goes into putting on a show like Dressage At Devon. The amateur rider manages several dressage shows and has been on the organizing committee for the former Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event (New Jersey).
So when the office at Devon needed some help this week during the breed show, she stepped up to help, driving back and forth an hour to her barn in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, so she could prepare to make her CDI debut on her trainer Kimberly Kobryn-Callaway’s homebred gelding Bulgari CF.
“It’s so hard to run a show,” she said. “When I can help someone else, I just help them. It’s a lot of work, and the competitors who’ve never experienced it from the organizing side sometimes don’t understand that you waiting until the 11th hour means we don’t finish until the 11th hour plus one. Any way that I can help out, I do.”
Bateman is a former eventer, but has found a passion for dressage.
“I was incredibly obsessed with [eventing], and then I got a TBI [traumatic brain injury] in a car accident a few years ago, and my vision is [changed]. I can’t see the distances to fences, so I had to change disciplines,” she explained. “Kim was already working with me to improve my dressage.”
Bateman still has some memory loss from her TBI, but she’s been enjoying her dressage journey.
She borrowed a friend’s schoolmaster in 2020 and got her U.S. Dressage Federation bronze medal, then her silver last summer.
Kobryn-Callaway offered her the ride on “Billy,” a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Bugatti Hilltop—Academy Award, Anamour), whom she’s competed to Grand Prix, this spring.
The gelding is out of Kobryn-Callaway’s mare, who used to be an eventer in Australia. He competed at Devon in the breed show as a foal, yearling and 3-year-old. He was sold when he was 3, but she bought him back at 7 after it didn’t work out with his owner.
Bateman’s also competed in the breed show with a handful of her own young homebreds. Her current riding horse is inching towards retirement, so she jumped at the chance to ride Billy this year.
“My horse Tigger is older, and he got his performance certificate at Prix St. Georges, and I wanted to move up to I1 but he has too many old horse soundness issues for it to be feasible, so Kim very generously has lent me one of her Grand Prix horses,” said Bateman.
She won best dressed at the CDI jog, and she and Billy competed in the CDIAm Prix St. Georges and Intermediaire I.
“I made some mistakes yesterday,” she said of her Friday test. “It tanked our score, but we got it back, so I’m really happy with him. He does exactly what I tell him to do, so if something’s wrong it’s because it’s what I told him to do. He’s a super horse.
“It’s just a wonderful experience,” she said of competing at Devon. “If I never have the opportunity to come back that’s OK, because I’ve gotten to experience it. It’s a unique environment. I don’t know that the atmosphere’s the same anywhere else. It has an electric atmosphere.”
We’re headed to Dressage At Devon this weekend to bring you news and photos from the historic and beloved competition. Check back at coth.com all weekend for coverage, and be sure to pick up the Oct. 24 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse for more from Devon.
Are you competing at Devon on a horse with a cool story? Email Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured.