Thursday, May. 30, 2024

Miss Lulu Herself Redeems Herself At Devon

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Devon, Pa.—May 26

Last year Miss Lulu Herself didn’t have the best trip in the $50,000 Devon Arena Eventing class; she and rider Boyd Martin had a run-out that dropped them out of contention. But she came back this year strong, galloping to the top check for owner Bonnie Stedt.

After posting the fastest double-clear round over Mark Phillips’ arena eventing course, set across both the Dixon Oval and Wheeler Ring, Martin and “Lulu” came back last in the jump-off. They followed two-time winners Sara Kozumplik and Rubens D’Ysieux, who had just ridden clear over the short course. Martin put last year’s problems out of his mind when he walked into the ring.

Miss Lulu Herself put in two clear, quick rounds to win the $50,000 Devon Arena Eventing class. Mollie Bailey Photos

“It’s amazing what one year’s training can do,” said Martin, Cochranville, Pennsylvania. “She’s just a fantastic, careful jumper, and she’s lightning fast. I sort of half considered just puttering around and getting second because Sara was the only one on double clear, then I thought screw that, and I went for broke. My little mare was unbelievable. She just ripped around the course, and I couldn’t be more pleased with her. She’s really come into herself and I’m very, very happy with her.”

Boyd Martin was joined by his son Nox Martin for the awards ceremony.

Three of the 14 pairs in the class didn’t make it around the first round, and another three—Phillip Dutton (Quasi Cool), Kirsten Schuitema (One Sly Fox) and Buck Davidson (Erroll Gobey)—parted company in the jump-off round. All horses and riders walked out of the ring without incident.

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Martin said he selected “Lulu” and his second ride, eighth-placed On Cue, to bring to Devon according to the demands of the class—which is a combination of portable cross-country jumps and show jumps—and the atmosphere.

Sara Kozumplik gave Rubens D’Ysieux a mint after a great round.

“It’s a tricky event to select your animal just because if they’re a bit green and inexperienced they can get a real fright,” he said. “They’re not big, big jumps but the bright lights and the short turns, you’ve got to be very cautious not bringing a super green horse here. You need a careful horse just because that last fence, it feels like it’s just balancing on the edge of the cup. You need a careful jumper at the end of the cross-country course where you’ve asked it to be super brave and courageous for you and in a split second it’s got to revert to being a careful, sharp show jumper. It’s different.

“I brought On Cue and Lulu who are both some of my favorite horses in the stable,” he continued. “On Cue is getting toward the end of her career. Show jumping has always been a struggle for her, and we saw that in the last fence today [which she had down], and Lulu’s just quick and nippy and she’s heading toward [Mars] Bromont Three-Day Event [Quebec] in three weeks’ time. Hopefully this will do her good. You never know. I’ll give her another cross-country school next week and slow it all down and get her a bit quiet because she’s a bit buzzed up from today.”

Watch their winning round here.

Rubens D’Ysieux and Sara Kozumplik nearly scored a third Devon Arena Eventing win but settled for second this time around.

The past two days Martin was up at a clinic in Saratoga Springs, New York, so he relied on Peter Wylde, who was in town helping riders during junior weekend, to give both Lulu and “Cue” a tune up.

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Martin, 44, and Lulu, an 11-year-old Hanoverian (Stolzenfels—Noisette, Nobre XX), paired up when the mare was just 4. Martin was thrilled that his longtime supporter was willing to take a chance on her.

“We bought this mare as a 4-year-old sight unseen,” he said. “Bonnie was the only crazy person who would buy a 4-year-old chestnut mare sight unseen. Poor Bonnie is sick as a dog. She’s very, very ill and very proud to get a great victory for Bonnie here tonight.”

Riders in the $50,000 Devon Arena Eventing class galloped between the Dixon Oval and Wheeler Ring as third-placed Cooley O and Julia Ennis Batters did.

With Devon in the rearview mirror, Martin’s not resting on his laurels. He’s gearing up for a fourth Olympic bid with Federman B and Commando 3. Tomorrow morning both horses will get a gallop and then head to Virginia for a veterinary inspection next week.  

“Fingers crossed, I think America’s got a strong chance this year,” he said, noting there are a number of strong pairs vying for the three team spots. “It’s usually it’s survival of the fittest, but this year I feel like there’s some really really good choices so there’s going to be some cheers and some tears next week. Hopefully we’re cheering.”

Hannah Hollberg and Capitol H I M jumped to fourth.
Jennie Brannigan and Pascal kept up a good gallop for fifth.
Shannon Lilley and Eindhoven Garette jumped to sixth place.

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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