It was a busy 11-day run at Devon, with riders coming from all across the country to compete in the Dixon Oval. While the majority of championships went to out of state riders, there were some Pennsylvanians who earned blues and tri-colors.
Among the Pennsylvania winners in the hunter ranks, Louise Serio of Newtown Square was one of the most successful riders, winning the First Year Green Stake on Ledger, (owned by Gillian Grant of Wilmington, DE), and the Green Conformation Hunter class on Quinnus, owned by Jennifer Rowland.
Serio also placed second in the Regular Working Hunter Stake on Rock Star (owned by Bright Star 158 LLC, Buffalo, NY.) Serio was also center stage with Rock Star at the very end of the Devon schedule on June 6. This was the first year for Devon to host the $25,000 Hunter Derby, and Serio made a good run for the blue. She and Rock Star were third in the standings out of 21 starters after the first round of the competition. Of the twelve that returned for the handy round, Rock Star had the best score of the day at 203.0 but still remained in third, behind Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, NY on Jersey Boy and Maggie Jayne on Francesca, owned by Pony Land Farm of Bluffdale, UT.
Scott Stewart of Wellington, Florida and Flemington, NJ was also successful in the hunter divisions on horses owned by Fashion Farm, of Philadelphia, PA. Stewart was the stake winner and Reserve Champion in the First Year Greens on Summer Place as well as Champion Regular Working Hunter on the same horse. Fashion Farm's entry Declaration was also a winner for Stewart, placing third in the Green Conformation Stake, third in the Green Conformation Handy as well as seventh in the Regular Conformation Stake and third in the Handy.
Devon devotes a day to Local Hunters, with three full sections showing. The Champion in Section A was Count Fleetwood, owned by Austin Kunsman of Hellertown PA, and ridden by Jennifer Bauersac, followed by Ironic, owned and ridden by Debbie King of Atglen in Reserve. Section B champion was Ultina, owned and ridden by Katie Furches, of Oley, with Lyra's Compass, owned by Shelley Hobson of New Hope, PA, and ridden by Kimberly Buzby as Reserve. Section C Champion was North Shore, owned and ridden by Kathleen Fisher of West Chester, with Sweet William, owned and ridden by Britany Maack of Shillington Reserve. The Sportsmanship award for the Local Hunter Division went to Rebekka Rueda of Penn Valley, PA. Kathleen Fisher on her North Shore and Katie Furches on Ultina tied for division Grand Championship.
It was a local rider, Susan K. Kelly of Allentown, PA, who won both the Amateur Owner Hunter Stake and the Championship on her horse, Enticing.
The Open Jumpers are always a popular division at Devon, with the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon drawing a sold out crowd to watch Peter Leone pilot Select to victory with Margie Engle's entry Hidden Creek's Campella just .563 seconds slower in the jump off round for second place.
An unexpected third place finisher was German rider Andre Thieme who flew in just to ride Antares F for owners Anne Hamilton and Seth Vallhornrat of nearby Newtown Square, PA. "I got a phone call last week, they somehow decided I would be the right rider for that horse," Thieme said at the press conference following the Grand Prix. "Since they are from this neighborhood and this is their home show pretty much, they decided it was going to be Devon. The horse is just so unbelievable he made it easy for me."
Thieme had been involved in the sale of the horse to his present owners, but had never ridden the 10 year old until earlier in the Devon week in a warm up jumper class where he placed seventh. After going clear to be one of just five entries to come back for the jump off, Antares F went clean again on the shortened course, but a slightly deeper turn into the last two jumps gave him a time of 38.685, just slower than Engle's 38.244, to finish in third place.
Devon is more than hunters and jumpers. Some of the most exciting classes are for Saddlebreds, roadsters, and hackney ponies.
Two time Amateur Roadster World Champion Mr's Bones thrilled the crowds with owner/driver Charles Jones of Jonestown in the sulky to win the $500 Single Roadster Championship class. Jones also collected the reserve title in the same class with his horse Beaucourt Boy, shown by Brad Lukens.
Under saddle seat tack, Ch Sir Winston C, owned by Nancy Ehle of Orefield, PA and shown by Allyson Ehle won the $350 English Country Pleasure Championship Class plus the combo put together the winning entry for the Five Gaited Show Pleasure Championship Class with CH Titleist Right Tonight.
An area where Pennsylvania entries always seem to dominate at Devon is in the Carriage Driving classes. The winner of the four-in-hand class and the champion of the carriage pleasure drive was John Frazier Hunt of Spring City, PA. Hunt has been bringing his team of Hackney-Clydesdale crossbreds to Devon for years, but this is his first time to win the championship trophy.
"What we did different was brought a lighter vehicle. On a hot day like today, that made a difference," Hunt said. The roof seat break Hunt used was the only vehicle he had available for Devon after his road coach needed wheel repairs this winter that were not completed in time for the show. Typically, Hunt would be at Devon for the full week of coaching classes, but without the road coach the pleasure drive was his only chance at a ribbon, and the only one he needed.
One of the youngest carriage drivers was sixteen-year-old Katherine Boas of Pottstown, who won the single horse, four-wheeled vehicle class in the pleasure drive as well as the drive off for best single horse entry. She returned to Devon two nights later to win the Single Horse Pleasure Class and placed third in the Single Horse Scurry to earn the division Championship.
Katherine's first appearance at Devon was as groom beside her father, Dr. Mark Boas as he drove the same horse, but now she takes the reins with her father as passenger beside her. She also rides and has shown in dressage and occasionally over fences.
"Everything really came together today. It's been months and months of preparation," Katherine said after the carriage drive. "This is our show of the year."