Saturday, Apr. 13, 2024

Capital Hill Stands Tall At Devon


Capital Hill had some big shoes to fill at breeding day at the Devon Horse Show. His older half-brother, Celebration, had taken the Best Young Horse title in 2002 and 2003.
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Capital Hill had some big shoes to fill at breeding day at the Devon Horse Show. His older half-brother, Celebration, had taken the Best Young Horse title in 2002 and 2003.

But Capital Hill (Nob Hill—Pardon Me Mister) showed himself to be up to the task, as he topped the 2-year-old colts and geldings, other than Thoroughbred class and then went on to Best Young Horse honors on May 31 in Devon, Pa.  Kenny Wheeler held the flashy bay gelding’s reins.

“He’s a beautiful mover, and he’s got a lot of quality,” Wheeler said of Capital Hill. He bought the horse a few months before Devon from breeder Diana Dodge of Nokomis Farm in Montpelier Station, Va.

The 2005 and 2006 Best Young Horse, Spanish Spear—now 3—was entered at Devon, but “he just bumped himself and couldn’t show here,” Wheeler said. “He looks good, and he’ll show later this year.”

In the meantime, Capital Hill fit the bill. “He just has that presence about him,” Wheeler said. “He’s got a long neck and a nice head.”

Lita “Squeaky” Wangensteen had owned Pardon Me Mister, a Thoroughbred mare, and bred Celebration (by Our Diplomat). Pardon Me Mister had begun life as a polo pony but found her niche in the hunt field. A few years ago, Wangensteen sent Pardon Me Mister to Dodge.

“She wasn’t the easiest to keep in foal,” Dodge said. “She’s only had three foals. She’s now retired and lives in a field at my farm.”

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Dodge bred Nob Hill, an American Warmblood whose grandsire, Sir Thomson, was her foundation sire. Nob Hill, a flashy chestnut, showed on the line and in the conformation divisions before retiring to stud. He now stands at Acorn Hill Farm in Madison, Va.

“He’s very much like his sire. And he was just as easy as could be to handle—all the Nob Hills are,” Dodge said. “Kenny heard about him and wanted him. I’m delighted he went to [Wheeler’s] Cismont Manor; they’ve got great people, and it’s a good place for him.”

The judges—Thom Brede and Richard Abbott—had a tough time deciding between Capital Hill and Zarrific, who they put into the reserve Best Young Horse position. Both horses stood in the 2-year-old colts and
geldings, other than Thoroughbred class, and originally the judges had Zarriffic standing in front. But they switched them at the last minute, and the two flashy geldings kept that order of finish in the Best Young Horse judging. “That 2-year-old class was a particularly good class,” Dodge said.

Zarrific (Zarr—Vatashka) went on to place second in the amateur handlers class with his owner, Karen P. Reed, who bought him early this year.

In the pony hunter breeding world, Telynau Royal Anthem’s genes seem to be hot property. One of his yearlings, Falling Moon Celebration, earned Devon’s Best Young Pony title, and Falling Moon Jewels followed up in reserve.

“We had a great day,” said handler Richard Taylor of Venture Stable in Montpelier Station, Va., where Telynau Royal Anthem now stands. “We brought seven ponies, they showed in five classes. We won every class [we showed in]. I’ve never known that to happen at this horse show!”

Telynau Royal Anthem is a section B Welsh pony owned by Lynn Kieffer of Falling Moon Farm in Warrenton, Va. She raised Falling Moon Celebration before Taylor bought him a year ago for Mrs. Thora B. Pollak—who Taylor grew up with in Hampton, Va.—and his sister, Anne T. Fergusson.

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This year’s superstar young pony by Royal Anthem is a Welsh-Thoroughbred yearling gelding out of Claire, a Thoroughbred mare.

“No matter whose barn he was at, he has so much personality he always figures out how to be the favorite,” Taylor described. “I think as soon as he walks in the ring, he is a striking individual. And in addition to the
eye appeal, he just has that special innate quality—at the end of the day, he stands out because he just has that winning air about him.”

While Taylor plans to continue showing Falling Moon Celebration at a few select shows this year, “this is an awfully grand honor to win. What would we follow it up with?” he questioned in good humor.

Taylor and his wife Patsy and daughter Drew operate Venture Stable, where they stand five stallions, including Land’s End Poseidon, whose get earned more blue ribbons at Devon this year.

Drew handled Gary Baker’s Rosecroft Saint Nick (Land’s End Poseidon—Woodpeckers Jingle Belle) and earned the 3-year-old pony, colts and geldings class victory.

Richard also handled Jill Kulmann’s Royal Charm (Land’s End Poseidon—Royal Reign) who won the 2-year-old pony, filly and mare class. Oliver Brown pinned another win for the Venture Stable stallion showing Say What (Land’s End Poseidon—Lady Quenivere) in the 2-year-old pony, colts and geldings class.

Molly Sorge and Joshua A. Walker

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