Devon, Pa.—Sept. 27
Whether you compete on the hunter/jumper circuit or prefer dressage, the Devon showgrounds is a place you dream of one day competing. Lindsay Kellock may have a team gold medal from the 2019 Pan American Games (Peru), but it doesn’t change the magic of Dressage at Devon this year.
“Devon is just one of the best shows we have in North America,” she said. “The crowd, the fans are amazing. The whole venue itself is so special.”
Kellock estimates she’s been coming to the storied showgrounds for at least 10 years. She’s shown a number of times herself, but even if she wasn’t swinging into the saddle, she’s always been there, rub rag in hand as a groom for Olympians Ashley Holzer and Jacquie Brooks.
Tonight she got to fulfill another dream, winning the CDI-W Grand Prix with Sebastien. The 29-year-old scored a 71.58 percent to lead the victory gallop ahead of fellow Canadian Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu and All In (71.30%).
“He was really with me the whole night,” she said. “The most amazing thing about this horse is that he loves a big atmosphere, and it just wakes him up a little bit extra, and I felt our passage work was really strong. We’ve been working on strengthening our piaffe, and that was better. Just overall I tried to ride a clean test, and I think we were able to deliver that tonight which is definitely the first time in our Grand Prix career together that we had a clean ride, so that was awesome.”
Kellock started riding Enterprise Farm LLC’s 13-year-old Rheinlander (Sandro Hit—Feine Dame Good Hope’s, Findermark) in 2017. She showed him nationally at small tour and Grand Prix, and the pair contested their first CDI together this past winter in Florida. He hasn’t shown in the last seven months as she worked to confirm him at Grand Prix, but their first outing back at the CDI-W in Saugerties, New York, the gelding was a little rusty.
“He was just green to the ring, and I maybe was overriding him a little bit because of that, which resulted in more mistakes,” she said. “He did win the CDI-W [freestyle] in Saugerties, so I had a really good feeling in the freestyle, and I was able to bring that to Devon for the Grand Prix today too, which was helpful.”
Westwood 5 Checks All The Boxes As Brooks’ Olympic Hopeful
When Jacqueline Brooks got ready to head to Dressage At Devon this year, she couldn’t help but think of her longtime partner D Niro. “Goose” retired last year, and like many riders, Brooks had to figure out what came next. Thanks to the Youngdale family, she didn’t have to wait too long to figure that out.
“With Goose retiring last year, it’s a hard ring to get back into. It’s hard to find something to get back to that level, to find a way back in there,” she said. “So that was obviously a challenge after retiring Goose. And you’re sad; I’m here and it’s like, ‘Oh I don’t have Goose.’ ”
Her next opportunity came in the form of Westwood 5, and despite feeling a little sad to be here without her old friend, the smile on her face said she couldn’t have been prouder of “Westley” as she strode into the winner’s circle to collect his blue ribbon in the Grand Prix CDI3*.
The 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Wolkenstein II—Lindenbluete, Lauries Crusader XX) has only done a handful of CDIs with Brooks, but the chestnut is quickly becoming a star in his own right. Tonight, Brooks and Westwood 5 topped the class in the Grand Prix CDI3* to qualify for the Special, on a score of 68.23 percent.
“This is the most partnership I’ve had with him [in a test],” Brooks explained. “And so our big question mark is, do we have the time to develop an Olympic type of partnership? This today is a reassurer that he can come into these venues and say, ‘Yeah, I can do this.’ ”
Brooks is no stranger to the electric atmosphere that comes with the Dixon Oval, and as much as she loves to compete in the Saturday night freestyle class, she put the gelding’s best interests above her own wants. And with Tokyo in mind, Brooks made the executive decision to compete in the Grand Prix Special, which is heavily considered when looking at potential Olympic pairs.
“I would love to have put him in the freestyle,” Brooks said. “But it’s too early in our relationship. If I’m allowed to have the ride at Devon next year, I’d love to give him that experience, but I have to take advantage of every show I can to put him in those tests [to qualify].”
Even though qualifying for Tokyo is a possibility, Brooks’ focus with the gelding is to give him as many positive, learning experiences as possible. Westley was bought to eventually be Allison Youngdale’s Under-25 Grand Prix horse, so Brooks is working on teaching him about what he can and can’t do with his body in the disciplined sport of dressage.
“There’s only one piaffe he’s allowed to do, there’s only one passage he’s allowed to do,” Brooks elaborated. “It’s about negotiating all of that and being able to say, ‘Now go and do it, you’re doing a great job.’ That is what takes time.
“There’s no pressure—my job is to train him in the ring for my student,” she said. “But, if he wants to do it at a level for Canada, and if Canada needs him… I want to go to the Olympics, so if he wants to go, so do I.”
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See results from Dressage At Devon here.