Dressage At Devon: Local Horses Make a Strong Showing
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Dressage At Devon: Local Horses Make a Strong Showing
November 2011 - Marcella Peyre-Ferry

Dressage At Devon:  Local Horses Make a Strong ShowingAsthete, ridden by Silva Martin of West Grove, PA, won big at the Fourth Level.

Pennsylvania horses made their presence known at the 37th annual Dressage at Devon, September 27 – October 2. Among an international field of competitors, there were local horsemen earning blues in the Devon arena as well.

Dressage at Devon begins with three days of breeding competition where Pennsylvania breeders were well represented in the ribbons. One of the standouts on the line was EM Rheporter, winner of the Mare Championship, the Mature Horse Championship and Grand Championship. Owned and bred by Mo Swanson of Rolling Stone Farm in Slatington, PA, EM Rheporter is by Royal Prince out of EM Whispre.

Swanson had originally planned to show only her foal Shilouette, with her dam, Fhlora, but decided to bring additional horses including EM Rheporter. “I know she’s really nice, but this was a wonderful surprise,” Swanson said.

Earning the Reserve Championship as well as the Young Horse Championship and the GA/USDF Filly Championship this year was Dazzle, a 3-year old KWPN mare owned by Taylor Minnucci and bred by Victoria Lamas Wanner of Elizabethtown, PA.

When the ridden competition began on Thursday, local riders were there to show their skills. Silva Martin of nearby West Grove, PA, captured both the first and second place ribbons in the Fourth Level Test 1 Open class, winning on Aesthete with a score of 68.476% and following with a score of 67.905 on Duvent.

Aesthete, owned by Faye Woolf, of Durham, NC, was also the winner of the FEI Young Horse Test for 6-Year-Olds, where he scored 87.200%. Martin followed with another win on Aesthete in the USEF Fourth Level Test 1 Open, this time scoring 70.571%. Meanwhile, Duvent continued to shine as well, placing second in the Fourth Level Test 2 class with a score of 70.090%

In a press release, Martin describes Duvent, owned by Melinda Watson of Philamont, VA, as being extremely strong minded. “He was not the easiest ride as a young horse, but he’s trusting me now. I’m so happy with how he performed today – I really think he’s turned the corner.”

Young Riders
Ashlea Day of Cochranville, PA won the FEI Young Rider Team Test (PSG) riding fourteen-year old gelding C.P. Perolus. The combination scored a 66.237% in that class, and then earned a second in the YR Individual Test class with a score of 64.842%.

Another Chester County rider, Alex Robertson of Coatesville, PA won the USEF 4 Year Old Test on KWPN gelding Citation ISF with a score of 73.600% Robertson also competed in the Grand Prix classes on Iron Spring Farm’s gelding, Santos Utopia. Although he did not fare as well there, Santos Utopia and Robertson finished a very respectable fifth in the FEI Olympic Grand Prix Special against stiff competition with a score of 62.756%. Winning that class was Jacqueline Brooks on Swedish Warmblood D-Niro, with a score of 67.222%.

Watching dressage competitions can lack excitement compared to other horse sports, but that was certainly not the sentiment among spectators at Dressage at Devon this year.  The latest advancement in the show’s technology department made small radios available to viewers so that they could hear live commentary on the classes as they were happening.

The dressage experts sharing their perspective on the action helped beginners follow what was happening in the competition, and added extra insights even the most experienced riders could appreciate.

Grand Prix Freestyle
Another goal of Dressage at Devon is to bring the best of competition to the area and the world. The favorite night of the event is undoubtedly the Saturday evening’s Grand Prix Freestyle.

For those who could not join the sold out stands or the bustling rail side seats there was a free live web cast of the complete class on www.usefnetwork.com. Anyone with an Internet connection anywhere in the world could watch as Adrienne Lyle of Ketchum, Idaho rode 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding Wizard to a winning score of 74.275. Wizard was also the winner in the Qualifier for the Grand Prix Freestyle. 

Rounding out the week’s events for spectators were demonstrations by the Thorncroft Mainstreamers drill team and Australian Guy McLean who demonstrated his control over four horses at one time – the one he was riding, and three other untacked horses he directed with his voice and a long whip.

Founded by the Delaware Valley Combined Training Association in 1975, Dressage at Devon became a separate, non-profit organization in 2006. Proceeds from the event benefit Thorncroft Therapeutic Horseback Riding Inc., with over $1 million raised for the organization over the years.  The six-day event attracts more than 700 horses and 35,000 spectators each year.