Devon, Pa.—May 27
Earlier this week Kat Fuqua wasn’t sure she was even going to attend the Devon Horse Show. The 15-year-old, who also competes in dressage, will be heading to Germany on Monday for the Young Rider tour, so she thought about skipping Devon.
“We were going to not stress ourselves out, and stay home, pack, be prepared,” she said, “but you can’t miss Devon.”
She made the trip well worth it. With a pair of wins over fences and a fourth-place ribbon in the handy, Fuqua and Consent took the small junior hunter, 15 and under, division championship and the overall small junior hunter championship on their way to the grand junior hunter title. Clara Propp and Ashton took reserve honors in the division. This is Fuqua’s second time winning the award, having won it last year with Grand Remo.
While Fuqua didn’t have much time to practice, her long relationship with the 11-year-old Westphalian (Lost Angeles—Fiones) that she’s had since early 2020. She keeps “Kent” at home in Atlanta, and they spend a lot of time playing bareback. (Read more about Consent and their bareback escapades by going Behind The Stall Door with him.)
“We actually just decided to come [at the] last minute—Thursday night day before the show—so we didn’t get any practice,” she said. “But me and Kent know each other like the back of my hand.”
While her focus has been dressage more recently in preparation for her trip abroad, she rides with Ken and Emily Smith in the hunters and jumpers.
“Kent’s a really solid guy, but they really work on my equitation and my position,” she said. “And that actually helps him jump better, if I’m not throwing my body or twisting or anything. They’ve been great; I love training with them.”
The junior rider also received a special good-luck wish that she kept in mind throughout the week, courtesy of Sylvester Stallone.
“We saw him at a restaurant, and he signed a magazine for me and said good luck, so I was thinking about him the whole time,” said Fuqua, who is a “Rocky” fan.
Conquering The Dixon Oval
Paige Walkenbach had a feel butterflies before she headed into the Dixon Oval with San Pedro 15. Though the 9-year-old Hanoverian (Stakkato—Cassandra) had won a grand junior hunter championship at the Pennsylvania National last fall with Isabelle Ehman, he’s still relatively new to the hunters.
“He is really green in the hunters,” she said. “He just started last year, so I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure how he was going to react, but he was an amazing boy, and I’m so grateful.”
Their week went swimmingly, earning a blue ribbon in the first over fences round of the large junior hunter, 15 and under, division. They followed it up with second place under saddle and a pair of white ribbons in the remaining over fences classes to take the division championship over Vivian Golden and Chamonix. Walkenbach and “Parker” also took the overall large junior title.
“He’s just honestly the most cuddly horse ever, and he’s so sweet and loves all the cookies,” she said. “He’s just the best.”
The 15-year-old from Paradise Valley, Arizona, rides with Jim Hagman at Elvenstar Farm in California, so she doesn’t get to ride her horses very often. She keeps her riding legs strong by riding with Sherry Templin at home.
“I don’t really get to ride my horses ever, only at shows. It’s a little intimidating,” she said.
Pulling It Together
After a long winter circuit competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida), both Ariana Marnell and her horses were ready for a bit of a break. While she showed her jumper at the Longines Global Champions Tour of Miami Beach in early April, she hasn’t shown her hunters since WEF. Coupled with her brother’s graduation and wanting to set aside some more family time, the 17-year-old from Las Vegas hasn’t even ridden in a month.
“This week was my first riding in a month, so I was like, ‘I really need to pull it all together right now,’ ” she said. “And thankfully the horses were ready, and I’ve been trying to work out a lot at home to stay fit, and I think it worked. It probably worked out better because the horses really haven’t jumped basically at all. So they’ve been flatting a lot, and they’ve been in the fields.”
Keeping her horses’ legs fresh paid off: Babylon earned his second consecutive Devon small junior hunter championship, this time in the 16-17 division, over Eleanor Rudnicki and Knowingly. Marnell and the chestnut gelding earned two blues over fences and a fifth in the under saddle on their way to the tricolor. “Crumbles” was also selected for the Angelo Award, which is given to a junior hunter who the judges think best exemplifies the classic hunter, for the second year in a row.
“The handy was my favorite class,” she said. “I love handies with him; we’ve won a lot of handies. Any time there’s a handy I’m really excited for it. I think we were the first ones to do that inside turn to the in-and-out, and it really paid off [with a score of 93]. And he’s so comfortable here. I know I can turn pretty tight, and he’s going to flow right with it, and it did.
Putting In The Miles
It’s hard to know who puts in more miles throughout the year: Gabrielle Young or her horse, Tinkas Boy. While the 17-year-old resides in Spring Hill, Kansas, “Theo” splits his time between there and New York, where her trainer Val Renihan resides. Young also rides with her mother, trainer Sarah Young.
“[Theo’s] been up in New York for about a month now,” she said. “I have been going back and forth with school and everything.”
Though it makes things a little hectic when she has to commute to New York to train, Young and Theo were in good form at Devon, earning the large junior hunter, 16-17, championship over Stella Wasserman and Skyhawk after a win in the handy, a second over fences and sixth in the under saddle.
“I decided to go off the shorter turn to the first jump [in the handy round] which worked out really well,” she said. “Everything just kind of came up right out of the canter very smoothly. Everything showed up with a nice gallop to the last jump, and it felt amazing.”
Young has been riding the 11-year-old warmblood (Arko III—Tinkas Queen) owned by Elizabeth Woods for two years now, and she feels like they improve every show.
“He looks at you right when he comes in the barn,” she said. “He never has his ears back, ever. He’s just a character to be around and just an amazing horse personality wise.”
A Surreal Experience
Avery Glynn capped off her final trip to Devon as a junior by being awarded Best Child Rider on a Horse following her stellar performances in the equitation and junior hunters. After earning the joint R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship on Friday, she rode both Advent and Day Won to good ribbons in the small junior hunter, 16-17, division.
“I can’t even put it into words; it means more than I could ever describe,” she said. “I’ve already had a surreal week. I’m already off to a pretty surreal year, but this really is just the icing on the cake, to win this award. And just hearing the names up there of people who have won in the past—so many people I look up to—it really just makes it even more meaningful.”
Glynn, 18, of Petaluma, California, has an extensive team behind her. On the West Coast, she has the support of her parents Hope and Ned Glynn, both of whom are trainers, and her longtime trainer Jim Hagman. On the East Coast, Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run help her in the equitation. She also received help this week from trainer Carleton Brooks of Balmoral, who owns Day Won.
“She’s a great student; she’s a wonderful competitor,” Clark said of Avery. “She’s always ready to put her game face on and do her best, and we’ve had her on a bunch of different horses over the last few years, and it’s seamless. It’s really easy to work with them.”
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Don’t forget to pick up copies of The Chronicle of the Horse magazine. Junior Weekend coverage will be found in the June 12 & 19 issue, and coverage of Senior Week will be in the June 26 issue.