Saturday, Jun. 1, 2024

Irene Neuwirth Has A Grand Trip To Devon

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Devon, Pa.—June 1

After accepting her division championship in the 3’3″ amateur-owner hunters, 36 and over, with Scout’s Honor at the Devon Horse Show, Irene Neuwirth felt like she could take a breath. While she still had two horses to ride in the 3’6″ division, she knew she’d had a successful weekend.

“I was sort of like, OK, we had such a great day over there [in the Wheeler Ring], we have nothing to lose over here [in the Dixon Oval],” she said. “No matter what we’re walking away champion.”

Irene Neuwirth and Scout’s Honor. Kimberly Loushin Photo

Neuwirth stayed consistent on in the amateur-owner hunter, 36 and over, division with Guess Who to take the division championship over John Ingram and Romeo. It’s her third straight championship in the division, having won last year with “Hugo” and the year before with Juan Carlos. She and the 9-year-old Holsteiner (Ballousbellini—Bavaria II) also earned the grand amateur-owner championship.

“I’m really beyond excited and honored,” she said. “It’s such a good group of amateurs, so it’s like the amateur Olympics. Everyone is really good, and everyone has really nice horses.”

Irene Neuwirth and Guess Who. Kimberly Loushin Photo

Less than an hour later, Neuwirth returned to the Wheeler Ring with Scout’s Honor to collect her joint grand 3’3’ amateur-owner championship after tying with Martha Ingram and Private Practice, who won the 18-35 division.

“He just turned 6 last month so we were doing the 5 and under at Thermal [California],” she said of “Scout.” “He’s really special too and really brave. He goes around like he’s a 10-year-old.”

John Ingram and Romeo. Kimberly Loushin Photo

Neuwirth purchased the 6-year-old Holsteiner (Diarado—Aurelie De Co) last November from Savannah Jenkins. She first spotted the gelding in an Instagram post.

“I saw she posted on Instagram this adorable horse with a big, fluffy forelock, and I was like ‘John [Bragg, my trainer], can we go try this horse?’ I was like he’s so cute! And he was back east, so he was like go try it and see how you like it. He was just really fun and straightforward. He’s little, so I was worried his stride wouldn’t be big enough, but then it really opened up, and he’s just really cool.”

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Stephanie Danhakl and Tufton Avenue were reserve in the 3’3″ amateur-owner hunters, 36 and over. Kimberly Loushin Photo

After a successful Devon, Neuwirth’s horses will enjoy a break from the show ring. Neuwirth has her own jewelry company and will be focusing on that for the summer. She’s hopping on a plane tonight to head to London for work.

“I’m going to work through the summer,” she said. “It feels good to work really hard and to be able to pay for it myself. You know, it’s hard; it’s expensive; and it requires a lot of concentration and time, so it is hard to find that balance, but I’ve managed to do it so far.”

Peter Pulls Through

Like Neuwirth, Martha Ingram is no stranger to championships at Devon. She won the 3’3” amateur-owner hunter, 18-35, championship with Private Practice last year and the pair repeated the feat again this year. Stella Propp and Lifestyle took the reserve.

“ ’Peter’ was absolutely amazing as always,” she said. “Slight rider error yesterday, slight rub, but we still ended up second, and then today he was just absolutely phenomenal to win both [classes], and I never dreamed we were going to get a 94, did not think that was going to happen. He knows when it’s game time, and I think he’s by far the coolest horse I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Martha Ingram and Private Practice. Kimberly Loushin Photo

She and the 14-year-old Holsteiner by Lordanos, owned by her parents John and Stephanie Ingram, were nearly unstoppable over fences today, with both of their scores in the 90s. Martha said it’s the gelding’s attitude that makes him so good.

“He’s beautiful first of all, and he’s just a winner,” she said. “So you can even make little mistakes. but if you just fake it, he’s going to fake it for you too. He jumps beautifully and he’s just a winner. He’s just a star. I don’t know, some horses they just go in, and they do everything they can to do it for you, and he’s one of those.”

Stella Propp and Lifestyle. Kimberly Loushin Photo

Martha works for the Nashville Soccer Club, which her family owns, and has switched positions to work on partnerships. The change means balancing horses with work looks a little different as she attends more games.  

“So been a little bit busier, but when you have horses like Jenkins that I did in the 3’6 and Peter, they make it a lot easier to come [show],” she said. “But I’m just really lucky I have the support of everyone at work, my parents, trainers, and I know I can just show up and the horses are going to be prepared, and we have the best shot at winning as we can have, and if it doesn’t go right, it doesn’t go right.”

Sophie Gochman Earns Her First Devon Championship As An Amateur

If you watched Sophie Gochman’s warm-up with Colter, you might have been a little worried about how their weekend would go. The gelding is a little traffic shy, and he took exception to the tight quarters at Devon and threw her off yesterday. But in the ring the 10-year-old Hanoverian (Franziscus—Sophie) was a superstar, earning four seconds and a fifth to ear the amateur-owner hunter, 18-35, championship.

He has a lot of fun out there,” she said. “He was jumping so high over all the jumps. It was so much fun to ride him, so yeah, I was really happy with our rounds.”

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Gochman is no stranger at Devon, having earned tricolors in the ponies and juniors, but this was her first championship at the historic show as an amateur.

I thought it would [be less pressure], and then I’m just kind of a super competitive person, so every time I go in I of course want to  do the best that I can and be proud of my rounds and things like that,” she said. “I feel like maybe sometimes I feel the pressure of it more, but I’m just trying to have fun with it.”

Sophie Gochman and Colter. Mollie Bailey Photo

The 21-year-old has been riding Colter for just over two years. She found him and another of her horses, Jordan, with Amanda Steege at the same time.

“He’s the sweetest horse ever,” she said. “Besides his traffic problems I think he’s the easiest horse to ride. He has such a lopey canter; he distances come up so easy, and he also just has such aa gentle personality. He’s so sweet to play with, and he loves his treats, so he’s a little piggy and spoiled, but he’s the sweetest. I love him so much.”

Gochman has also spent less time in the tack than she’s used to. She’s a rising senior at Harvard University (Massachusetts) and is currently studying for the LSAT. She hopes to attend law school with a focus on education law and is working for an education nonprofit this summer.

“I just try to find time on the weekends and maybe miss a bit of school when I can, but yeah it’s kind of crazy because I haven’t actually jumped them since week 12 of [the Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida)].”

Augusta Iwasaki and Small Love were reserve in the amateur-owner hunter, 18-35. Mollie Bailey Photo

The Chronicle has a pair of reporters at Devon bringing you photo galleries, stories from the competition and more at www.coth.com. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to make sure you don’t miss a thing. You can see a full report from the entire competition in the June 17 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse magazine.

Important Links: Devon Horse Show website / Detailed schedule / Results and orders of go / All the Chronicle’s coverage

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