Devon, Pa.—June 3
Going first in the jump-off for the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur Jumper Classic at the Devon Horse Show, Layla Kurbanov knew she’d have to put in everything she had if she wanted a shot at a top ribbon with her mare A Toi De Prim.
“I wanted to start off strong,” she said. “I didn’t really know what people were going to do, so I just did my best. I did as fast as I could. She’s a very fast horse across the ground, so I really trusted her with that and her scope, and she was amazing.
“She has the biggest heart of any horse I’ve ever had,” she added. “She will try her heart out for me every time, and even if I make a mistake, she just jumps it nicely and helps me out.”
While two pairs ultimately surpassed her time, her third-place finish in the classic coupled with a win in Friday’s speed class were enough to boost them to the amateur jumper championship title. Kurbanov also was awarded the leading amateur jumper rider title. The winners of the SJHOF Classic, Augusta Iwasaki and Fresca were reserve champions.
“I’ve always dreamed of it,” she said of winning the championship. “Last year I was reserve champion here with ‘Prim’ also, and it was always my goal to come back here and be champion, so I’m really happy I was able to achieve that goal.”
Kurbanov, Greenwich, Connecticut, has ridden the 13-year-old Selle Francais mare (Conterno Grande—Qafe ‘In De Prim’) for a year and a half, and in their first show together they earned the medium amateur championship during Week 1 of the Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida).
“She is just the friendliest mare in the barn,” Kurbanov said. “She likes to pick up her leg when asked for treats. She’s just a goofball in the barn, so not a typical mare. She just always has her ears forward and wants attention.”
Kurbanov, 19, is attending Tulane University (Louisiana) where she is double majoring in psychology and sociology with a minor in business. It means she hasn’t been riding as much as she has in the past, but she got to show two weeks ago to prepare for Devon.
“It’s definitely been a little hard managing school and riding, but education’s always been really important to me,” she said. “So I did a few weeks of WEF down in Wellington, but it’s definitely been hard coming back and jumping these big classes after having time off at school, so I’m really happy with the result today.”
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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.