Thursday, May. 30, 2024

Glass Castle Holds Court At Devon

Glass Castle got a bit of a surprise during the professional hunter divisions at the Devon Horse Show, May 23-27. The elegant brown mare had only shown at 4’ a few times before the show. And the jumps for the regular conformation stake class were healthy, with a few of them over 4’.

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Glass Castle got a bit of a surprise during the professional hunter divisions at the Devon Horse Show, May 23-27. The elegant brown mare had only shown at 4’ a few times before the show. And the jumps for the regular conformation stake class were healthy, with a few of them over 4’.

But Glass Castle rose to the challenge. “Today, she jumped the first three jumps and said ‘Oh, this is big!’ and I could feel her start to enjoy herself and get into it,” said Havens Schatt, who rode her to the win. “She’s got a huge stride and is slow, but then explodes off the ground.” Glass Castle topped the stake class, earned the regular conformation tricolor, and then wrapped up the grand hunter championship.

It wasn’t a bad performance for a horse whose primary job is as an amateur horse for owner Shaw Johnson Price. In fact, Schatt hadn’t even ridden Glass Castle since the Winter Equestrian Festival ended in March. Glass Castle lives with Price on her farm in Chestertown, Md. “We just built a barn on the farm and we don’t even have a ring,” said Price. “We go on a lot of trail rides around the fields.”

Trainer Scott Williamson found Glass Castle, 9, showing as a first year horse in early 2007. Michael Delfiandra was showing the mare for MG Sport Horses, who had imported her as a dressage horse. “I was standing at the ring and saw her go and thought she had a lot of potential,” Williamson said. “I walked up to them and Havens tried the horse a few minutes later.” Amateur rider Caroline Moran bought Glass Castle and started showing her in the amateur-owner division right away, with Schatt in the irons for the first years.

In the spring, Glass Castle came down with a strange autoimmune disease and had to take the rest of the year off. By December 2007, she was on the rebound and Moran had quit riding. Price decided to trust Williamson and Schatt and bought Glass Castle despite her lack of show ring mileage.

The decision paid off, as she and Glass Castle got along right away. In 2008, they claimed the grand amateur-owner hunter title at the Middleburg Classic (Va.). Schatt only shows Glass Castle every now and then to help get her ready for the amateur ring.

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A New Professional
Maggie Jayne is no stranger to winning at Devon—she earned plenty of blues and tricolors as a junior rider. But now it’s different. Now, Jayne, 24, is a professional.

She made her first Devon appearance as a professional count in spades, riding Gianni to the second year green championship, Early Applause to the green conformation championship and Francesca to the regular conformation reserve championship. “It’s exciting!” Jayne said. “I’ve been so busy, I haven’t really had time to stop and think about it. It’s a different kind of pressure. When I was a junior, my dad owned the horses and trained me—I only had him and myself to answer to. Now, I have [Kelsey and Madeline Thatcher, who own Gianni, Early Applause and Francesca] watching me.”

Early Applause was a high-profile purchase for the Thatchers after the elegant bay gelding won the $42,500 AHJF Hunter Classic Spectacular (Fla.) in February. But Jayne didn’t get the ride right away. Early Applause, 7, went home to Virginia with Larry Glefke for the spring and Jayne first showed him just a week and a half before Devon.

“I really had no expectations for him,” Jayne said. “We did the [$10,000 ASG Software Solutions USHJA International Hunter Derby at Devon under the lights on May 24] and I was kind of wondering how he’d be, but he was great,” Jayne said. They placed third in that class.

“He just goes in there and knows his job,” she said. “He’s got a great look and Kelsey fits him really well. We’ll just play with him and see how things go. He’s a great horse to have in the barn.”

Slow And Steady Wins The Race
Something new happened at Devon–Scott Stewart didn’t earn a single championship or reserve title. But, since his multiple mounts in all divisions earned good ribbons, he collected his eighth consecutive Leading Hunter Rider title.

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Points for the leading rider award are counted for the rider’s top horse in each class. So, if Stewart had three horses in a class, only his top ribbon counted. But with horses in every division and two in some divisions, he was able to collect 84 ½ points for leading rider, over Jayne’s 83 points.

“I was happy with my horses,” Stewart said. “I had a bit of a greener group this year.”

Jenn Alfano usually gives Stewart a good run for the money in the leading rider race and this year she topped the regular working hunter championship with the elegant Rock Star.

Peter Pletcher also came from Texas to take a shot. He rode Arabella to the first year green championship and Argentum to the second year green reserve title. Owner Becky Gochman bought Arabella from Stewart early this year. “I saw her go at Capital Challenge last year and loved her, but Becky didn’t want to try her,” Pletcher said.

“But then Becky called me from Florida and said she’d seen a horse she wanted to try, and it was the same one! I told her to go try her right away—she bought her and I hadn’t even ridden her.” Gochman also shows Arabella in the amateur-owner divisions. She recently made a move from the West Coast to New York City.

“Some of her horses live with me in Texas and some of them live with her in New York, at Old Salem Farm,” Pletcher said. “Becky’s a great rider and we can pretty much solve any problem over the phone. We meet in the middle to show—it works well.”

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