Saturday, Sep. 23, 2023

McQueen Makes A Winning Devon Debut



Devon, Pa.—May 30

Nick Haness didn’t exactly have the ideal preparation for the Devon Horse Show. Ten weeks ago he injured his wrist while competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida), and a few weeks later he found out it was broken. He was in a cast for six weeks, getting it removed just in time to come from Temecula, California, to Devon, Pennsylvania, to compete.

“We kind of just said, ‘It is what it is,’ ” said Haness. “You can’t control these things, and these things happen in life, and you have to take a breath and step back and let the horses and the nature of it all come together. For me, coming into this week being a little rusty and not really been practicing or jumping much at all [was hard]. I had to come to Devon and try to polish myself right to where I left off, [which] is not always the easiest, but I have to say the horses felt great, and it was like riding a bike. I just picked up right where I left off.”

McQueen and Nick Haness scored the green conformation championship after winning all four jumping classes. Mollie Bailey Photo

Once he got to Devon, he didn’t waste any time, riding Strasburg Morin Inc.’s McQueen to the top of all four green conformation over fences classes to win the title over his second ride in the division, John and Stephanie Ingram’s Pavlova. McQueen also won the 3’6” green reserve title.

“He’s beautiful between the jumps; you can really let him gallop,” said Haness. “He’s so soft. It’s effortless for him. He’s my ride because he likes to go on a loose rein. He looks at the jumps, and he gets there, and he always just fires and jumps a beautiful jump. Devon is known for having more open lines where you gallop, and bigger, more full jumps. I knew he was going to be amazing here. I’ve been dreaming about this moment with him for a long time, and it’s really fun that it came true.”

Carleton Brooks and Nick Haness shared a laugh after picking up McQueen’s green conformation championship.

McQueen is trained by Carleton Brooks and Traci Barman Brooks of Balmoral, who started giving Haness a leg up onto the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Cornet Obolensky—Sanea) for last year’s 3’ green division at Capital Challenge (Maryland) and the Pennsylvania National. Since then they’ve been going strong, winning the $100,000 WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular (California) in March.

Carleton Brooks and Nick Haness shared a hug after McQueen won the green conformation hunter championship.

“I started working a year ago June for Devon,” said Carleton, who rides him at home. “We got him in June. We let him grow up and got him really strong and made sure his fitness was right—took him to some places for him to mature more than win. The lower levels are way too easy for him. This winter we decided to peak a couple times.

“He’s very intelligent—extremely intelligent,” Carleton added. “He’s very easy, just let him know what he needs to do and give him time to digest it. It’s very gratifying to see them develop and reach this point because it is the pinnacle of the sport.”

Carleton Brooks showed off McQueen during the model portion of the green conformation classes.
Pavlova jumped to the reserve green conformation title with Nick Haness up.

Front Page Keeps His Hot Streak Going


Front Page and Colin Syquia couldn’t have had a much better preparation for Devon. The horse showed at Tryon Spring 3 (North Carolina), winning the 3’9” green division championship and the $15,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Front Page spent the next week turned out and hacking in fields, and then he came to Devon, where he promptly won the 3’9” green hunter title over Mary Jane King’s Drumroll, ridden by Kelly Mullen.

In fact, Syquia said that the 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood (Vigo D’Arsouilles—Cartagena Indias Ecaussinnes) owned by Cynthia Sulzberger has been going strong since his Devon debut last year.

Front Page and Colin Syquia jumped to the 3’9″ green hunter championship.

“It was the start of a really good run with him last year, fingers crossed,” said Syquia, Wellington, Florida. “He got nice ribbons in the 3’6” [green hunters]; he was like third, fifth and seventh, then he was 3rd in the derby here. Then I went back, and the next derby we won, won an international derby, had a fantastic summer after that.”

That summer included winning the Tier II title at the Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship (Kentucky) and earning overall fourth. Syquia said that “Oslo” has no problem winning in the regular hunter divisions and the derbies.

Colin Syquia won the first Devon tricolor of his career with Front Page.

“The derbies become so impressive,” he said. “You’re always turning. The tracks are a little more—not intimidating, but there’s stuff to look at. Generally the regular division courses are a little softer and flowing. You have to keep them entertained and keep them straight. [You] have to remind them that we do go straight and don’t always gallop to the jump.”

Oslo and Syquia won both yesterday’s over fences classes and claimed second in today’s handy hunter class to win the title. After yesterday Syquia knew he had to stay focused.

Drumroll and Kelly Mullen earned the 3’9″ green hunter reserve title.

“I knew I had a lot of work left to do,” said Syquia. “This is one of the biggest shows of the year, and everyone qualifies to get here. Everyone is joining from East Coast and West Coast, so no one was going to sit back and let me coast through this final day. I just wanted to stay focused and do the best job I could and give him the best chance to do well.”

Colter Shines In The 3’6” Green Hunters

Colter wasted no time making an impression at Devon in the 3’6” green hunters, winning his first class out with Scott Stewart up. He followed that with a fourth place ribbon under saddle and clinched the championship with a red ribbon in today’s handy hunter class.


Colter got his start in Amanda Steege’s program, showing in the 3’ then 3’3” green hunters the last two years before Sophie Gochman bought him last fall. She’s been showing the 9-year-old Hanoverian (Franziscus—Sophie) in the amateur-owner division while Stewart takes the reins for the green division.

Scott Stewart piloted Colter to the 3’6″ green hunter championship for Sophie Gochman.

“He just likes a soft ride,” said Stewart. “He’s really comfortable and easy to ride. He’s got a great mouth. He’s really brave. He’s just pretty simple to ride.”

Colter had an easy preparation for Devon. He went to Kentucky Spring where he showed one week, then he’s been at Stewart’s Rivers Edge in Flemington, New Jersey, where he’s been flatting in the field.

Colter will get a break for a few days and then head back into the Dixon Oval to show in the amateur-owner division with Gochman later this week.

“Devon is a special show,” said Stewart, who has won more than a dozen leading rider titles here. “It’s always nice to be here.”

Scott Stewart and Colter won the 3’6″ green hunter division title.

Full Results

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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.




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