Thursday, May. 30, 2024

Stewart And Ferrell Headline Devon

Scott Stewart usually picks up a few championships at Devon—this year, he only topped one division.  But he really made that one count, as West Point claimed both the green conformation hunter tricolor and the grand hunter championship. 

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Scott Stewart usually picks up a few championships at Devon—this year, he only topped one division.  But he really made that one count, as West Point claimed both the green conformation hunter tricolor and the grand hunter championship. 

Stewart bought West Point, 8, as a 2-year-old from a breeder in Bavaria.  He’s brought him along through the divisions and now Krista and Alexa Weisman own him. Last year was West Point’s first Devon, as a first year green, and he didn’t go his best.  “The courses last year were quite challenging and he was a little overwhelmed.  He was really green last year,” Stewart said.  A little time and mileage made all the difference.  “He’s a beautiful conformation horse, a great mover and an incredible jumper.”  Krista Weisman also shows the typey chestnut in the amateur-owner division.

The points Stewart collected on his multiple rides in each division helped him win his six consecutive Leading Hunter Rider title.

“I thought I might have caught him, but it’s really hard to do that!” said Sandy Ferrell, who gave Stewart a run for the money for the leading rider award with her first year green championship on Bolero and her regular working hunter championship on Andiamo.  Ferrell accepted the Leading Lady Hunter Rider honors.

Ferrell and Bolero started the day by winning the first year green hunter stake with a 95—the highest score of the day.  The elegant gray gelding has quite a presence about him.  “He’s the mighty one of all of 15 hands,” Ferrell joked.  “He looks like a little pony and you see him trot in the ring and he looks even more like a pony.  But then you see him jump and it’s like ‘Wow!’”  Ferrell rides Bolero, 8, for amateur owner Staci Arani, who has shown him in the amateur-owner divisions lightly.  Funnily enough, Bolero’s former owners had offered Stewart the ride on him early this winter and he turned it down because he was too busy.  He recommended Ferrell as an alternative.

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Ferrell’s other tricolor ride, Andiamo, was the regular working hunter champion last year, too, but with John French in the irons.  Junior rider Megan Fellows bought the elegant chestnut after the Pennsylvania National last October and has been showing him successfully in the junior division.  Ferrell hasn’t ridden him much, but it wasn’t hard for her to adjust to the ride.  “I don’t think there’s one nicer than him,” she said.  “He’s 100 percent class.  I don’t think there’s another horse out there who can canter that slow and jump that high. It’s a rare feeling.”

Jennifer Alfano was thrilled that Jersey Boy stepped up to the Devon challenge and delivered the second year green championship.  The big chestnut also earned top ribbons in the regular working divison.  “He’s an incredible jumper—he just had to put it all together.  And he picked a really good week to do it!” Alfano said. 

Jersey Boy also turned in a phenomenal handy round in the $10,000 ASG Software Solutions USHJA International Hunter Derby on May 25 to take second place.  Alfano and trainer Susie Schoelkopf found Jersey Boy in Louise Serio’s barn early last year.  “We kind of stumbled upon him,” Alfano said.  “But we didn’t really know what he was.  He did the low level jumpers and the 5-year-old jumpers last year for a while.  He jumped so well and was so slow that we figured we’d try him in the hunters and he was good.  He’s always had amazing talent—he just had to learn how to channel it.”

It’s been a while since Lainie Wimberly won at Devon.  She was a familiar figure there with Nobleman a few years ago, but this time she came back with Boulevard Deir and topped the regular conformation division.  Wimberly had only shown the elegant bay a few times before.  Her junior student, Ana Kluger, bought Boulevard Deir early this year and had been showing him.  “I had kind of gotten to a point where I was focusing on training and bringing horses along.  But Scott Stewart kept telling me that I was too good not to show, which was nice.  So I decided to give it shot.  The first day here, I was a nervous wreck.  I was coming out of my skin!” Wimberly said. 

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