Devon, Pa.—May 23
It’s been a weekend for career-changed horses to shine at Devon. Cuba, piloted by McKayla Langmeier, added his name to the list currently occupied by Hunter Holloway’s equitation horse, Any Given Sunday, who originally started in the jumper ring.
The bay gelding owned by Missy Clark and North Run had a clean sweep in the large junior, 15 and under, division. With the maximum number of points accumulated in the division, he was the clear winner of the overall large junior championship, and the grand junior championship.
Clark purchased the 8-year-old warmblood two years ago, and he made his start in the equitation ring with a number of Clark’s students, primarily Rebekah Chenelle. But after a few shows, Clark and her partner John Brennan started to realize he might be destined for something different.
“Both myself and Missy we stood at the ring two or three days in a row, and we watched him do the equitation, and he jumped so good,” said Brennan. “So we decided that he’s brave, and he’s good, and so we decided to do the hunters.”
Despite having access to many fantastic junior riders, for Clark and Brennan, it was a clear choice who would take over the ride.
“We’ve worked a lot with McKayla, and her family, and she’s such a natural,” said Clark. “[She has a] great ability to catch ride anything. It was just an easy choice for us.”
Langmeier took over the ride at the HITS-On-The-Hudson II (N.Y.), and the pair quickly found a groove.
Cuba might not be a Devon rookie—he attended last year to jump in the equitation—but this marked his hunter debut in the Dixon Oval. With spectators crowding the rail and fighting for a spot on the benches surrounding the arena, Cuba took it in stride—acting as if it were no different than a schooling ride at home.
“He’s an incredible horse and he really loved this event here. It was a blast to ride here,” said Langmeier, 15.
Colvin Scores Again
Tori Colvin is a person of few words—and it’s no surprise. Her name appears on the trophies at Devon more than any other junior rider. After that many wins, there’s not much else you can say. Winning in such a dominating fashion has become old hat.
As she has for the past several years, the 17-year-old added her name to the Devon trophies once again. She took champion and reserve titles in the small junior, 16-17, division aboard Canadian Blue and Ovation, and champion and reserve in the large junior, 16-17 with Way Cool and Small Affair—all owned by Betsee Parker.
Perhaps the most important accolade added to her already heavy résumé was her fifth best child rider award—one that takes into account both the hunters and the equitation. While Tori’s weekend started a bit rough in the equitation, hunters have always been her strong point and consistency runs through her veins.
“I’ve been riding these horses for a long time, and I love them all,” said Colvin, Loxahatchee, Fla. “I just get on, and I try and make them love me as much as they will, but it’s just been an amazing time to be able to ride all of these great horses.”
This was the final trip to the Dixon Oval for both Way Cool and Ovation—both will be retiring at the end of the indoor season to Parker’s Middleburg, Va., farm. Way Cool has been notoriously tricky over his hunter career, but for his final round, he put everything together to earn the highest score of the day.
“It was great for him his last trip at Devon with a happy face, and I was just patting him, ‘OK you’re done.’ He was finished, so I think he was happy, but it was also sad. He’s my pumpkin—he’s the cutest,” she said.
Coco Fath’s partnership with Akinda is still in its infancy; the pair made their show ring debut at Old Salem (N.Y.) where they won the small junior, 15 and under, championship. They came to Devon in the same winning fashion, topping all three of the over fences classes. They tied with Langmeier and Castelli for the championship resulting in a hack-off. Ultimately they took the small junior, 15 and under, championship.
A Grand Trip To Devon For Gochman
Sophie Gochman may only be 12, but she has a long history winning at Devon. She came to the horse show for the first time when she was just 4 for the leadline and won, and she carried on that tradition by riding Bit of Laughter to the small pony hunter and grand pony hunter championships.
Bit Of Love earned two firsts, two seconds, a third and a fourth on the way to the grand pony hunter championship. Saylor Shea and Lands End Eros earned the reserve title behind Gochman during that young rider’s first trip to Devon.
Gochman, New York City, was most proud of winning the handy class, and she finished second as well on another Parker-owned mount, Love Me Tender.
“He’s really good at turning and at trot jumps because he likes to go slow,” said Gochman. “And he has a nice lead change too.
“He has a really nice stride, and he’s very adjustable, you can always pull him back together,” she continued. “He’s not too spooky and he’s fairly brave.”
Gochman and the 9-year-old Welsh Pony-cross (English Lad—Miss Pretty) owned by Betsee Parker paired up six months ago, and recently they’ve really hit their stride.
“He’s really adorable and I love him very much,” said Gochman. “He likes his treats, and if you don’t give them to him he gets a little upset. He’s not a big fan of other horses and ponies, and I have to be careful in the model and the under saddle.”
Gochman noted that she hand plenty of assitance getting to the grand title at Devon. She ticked off a long list of helpers including Parker and trainers Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley of Rivers Edge, and Amanda Derbyshire of Baxter Hill.
Another of Parker’s ponies, Enjoy The Laughter, earned the top call in the large division with Emma Kurtz up. That pony topped two over fences classes and the model on the way to the tricolor.
St. Jacques Is Best
Taylor St. Jacques’ Best Child Rider on a Pony title at Devon has been a long time coming. The 16-year-old from Glen Allen, Va., started catch riding since she was 10, and she’s never stopped.
At Devon she rode Love And Logic to the reserve title in the large pony division for Jill Shulman, and earned top ribbons on Storyteller in that division as well. She’s shown both those ponies just a handful of times, but had no problem clicking with them when the pressure was on.
“It’s only my second time coming here,” said St. Jacques. “My first time was in 2011, when I had a small pony. I’ve wanted to come each year, but I haven’t had anything or the one that I’m supposed to ride gets leased. I’m not complaining at all—it’s so much fun to come back here.”
St. Jacques trains mainly with Jimmy Toon, and often gets help on ponies with Bill Schaub. At Devon she got help from Shulman with Love and Logic, and from Derbyshire, Stewart and Berkley with Storyteller.
At home St. Jacques practices on her mom’s young horse and her little sister’s small pony, and she drives up to South Salem, N.Y., whenever she can for lessons.
“In my lessons I work on keeping my heels down and my leg on and keeping my position low,” said St. Jacques. “It’s definitely helped a lot.”
Worth The Long Trip
Augusta Iwasaki had to come a very long way to get to the Devon Horse Show, but the journey from Calabasas, Calif., paid off with a championship ribbon her first time out.
Iwasaki, 11, earned the medium pony hunter championship on her own Grand All Over, clinching the title with a win in today’s stakes class on the 19-year-old Welsh (Mahrdorf Trabant—Julchen). Emma Callanan and Northwind’s Lost Boy earned the reserve ribbon after winning today’s handy hunter class.
“He’s really fun to ride,” said Iwasaki. “He’s really lazy, except in the winter. The little kids ride him at home and trot him over jumps. I love riding him. If he likes you then you’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Want more fun things from Devon? Check out this story about Trading Aces, the equitation horse who’s been to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games—for eventing!
Follow along with the Chronicle for lots more news, features and photos from Devon. Find out thesecrets to R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch winner Hunter Holloway’s success, and check out photos from Day 1 of junior competition, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for lots more fun. Check out the June 8 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse for news and analysis from Devon Junior.