Thursday, Jun. 6, 2024

From Walking In The Rain To Best Young Horse At Devon

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As Jane Clark watched a video of a bay foal walk outside in sideways rain in the Netherlands, she was struck by his calm demeanor. 

“He was like, ‘OK, whatever, I’ll just walk through this,’ and I bought him sight unseen as a foal,” she said. 

That foal, dubbed Harbor Square RWC, is now 2, and earned Best Young Horse honors at the Devon Horse Show on June 2 after winning the 2-year-old other than Thoroughbred colts and geldings class with Christopher Webb handling.

“This the Kentucky Derby of horse shows. Everybody wants to win at Devon,” said Clark. “I’ve never done it. I’ve had a win before, but never this. This is fabulous.”

Robert and Jane Clark’s Harbor Square RWC won the Best Young Horse title at Devon with Christopher Webb handling. Kimberly Loushin Photo

Clark and her husband, Bob Clark, sent their young horses to Emily Anne Belin-McDonnell of Magic Hill Farms in Honey Brook, Pennsylvania, in April from Gina Filewicz.

“We basically have been prepping them for Devon for the last two months and kind of just filling in the gaps,” said Belin-McDonnell. “I was handed beautiful quality horses that have been well taken care of, and it was very easy to walk in and show them off beautifully. Christopher did an amazing job helping me with our handling. We do the prep program at home, and he meets me at the shows, and we had multiple horses in that first class, and he saw it all the way to the goal today.”

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With a busy hunter breeding handling program, Belin-McDonnell relies on Webb and Susan Weigand to help at big competitions. They met with her at a couple shows before Devon, and she felt Webb was a good fit for the 2-year-old Dutch Warmblood colt (Segantini—Esta) bred by B.H. Harms.

“Chris with his long legs and his swanky jog, they kind of look like a beautiful picture, and I said, ‘I don’t know if I can hold a candle to that,’ ” she said. “He had his dancing shoes on today.

“I think collectively for Magic Hill Farms, we have a very strong group this year, and it all comes down to personal preference,” she added. “It just seemed like they had a lot of beautiful horses to choose from today, but ‘Oscar’ really rose to the occasion, and I think that really swanky jog of his just kind of stamped them right in the hearts for the day.”

The goal is that Oscar will do the conformation hunters, and Belin-McDonnell predicts he’ll likely find his way to the hunter derby ring. 

“He is such a fun horse,” she said. “He is just adorable. He is incredibly smart, and he has such an amazing, charismatic way about him, but he is a funny, comical guy. He would be the class clown. He is beautiful, but he has a great sense of humor. We love that in a horse. Good character.”

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