Dressage at Devon Wrap-Up
RELEASE: October 4, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Phelps Media Group
It's considered the most prestigious show on the East Coast, if not the entire U.S., and only the best of the best emerge as winners at the inimitable Dressage at Devon. Courtney King of New Milford, CT, wrapped up her weekend with more wins than any other competitor showing in the performance division. With five world-class mounts under saddle, King came down the centerline 11 times and galloped the honor round of victory five times at the 33rd Annual Dressage at Devon CDI-W/Y/J presented by WT/Direct, held September 27-30, in Devon, PA.
World-class judging comprised of three Olympic (O) rated judges and six International (I) rated judges provided strict and accurate scoring throughout the show. The elite panel included Barnabas Mandi, (O) Hungary; Francis Verbeek Von-Rooy, (O) Netherlands; Gotthilf Riexinger, (O) Germany; Trond Asmyr, (I) Norway; Hilda Gurney, (I) USA; Lorraine Stubbs (I) USA; Jacques Van Daele, (I) Belgium; Jane Weatherwax, (I) USA; and Lois Yukins, (I) USA.
In the grand prix special, Courtney King topped a large field with Mythilus. The 17.2-hand KWPN gelding owned by Richard Malloch received a 68.375% from the judging panel that included Hilda Gurney, Barnabas Mandi, Gotthilf Riexinger, Francis Verbeek-Von-Rooy, Lois Yukins and Barnabas Mandi. “The judging has been very strict and very fair,” King commented.
King considers her horse’s transition to grand prix as a work in progress. With the Olympics less than a year away, King plans to travel to Europe to work with U.S. coach Klaus Balkenhol.
Ashley Holzer and her partner Pop Art continued their string of victories with a win in the grand prix (for freestyle) on Friday night at Dressage at Devon Presented by WTDirect. The pair earned a 71.250% over a competitive field that included Olympic rider Lars Petersen, World Championships Team Bronze medalist Leslie Morse and World Cup Top Ten Finisher Courtney King.
“He’s an honest, try-hard type of animal,” Holzer said of her 10-year-old KWPN gelding. The pair, who has successfully worked up the levels together, debuted at grand prix in the fall of 2006. “He kept his mind on the job, but he got a little tired at the end,” Holzer continued. The duo has had a successful run together over the last few months with wins in the CDIs in Blainville and Saugerties.
Holzer’s plans to aim Pop Art for the Olympics. Her strategy includes an extended stay in Florida to help Pop Art acclimate for Hong King.
Melissa Taylor’s efforts with Dacardo have been rewarded with a win in the Prix St. Georges. “I’m psyched! I’m so proud of my horse,” Taylor said. She was particularly pleased with the trot tour. “I’m just reaping the reward [of Lars Petersen’s training,]” she continued. Dacardo is schooling grand prix at home, but Taylor has no plans to rush him into the grand prix ring. “He will tell us when he’s ready to do grand prix,” she commented.
Jocelyn Wiese and Lamborghini led the class of 20 entries in Friday’s Young Rider division with a 69.250%. She credited a change in her horse’s routine, which now includes more turnout and time on the walker, for her 11-year-old Danish gelding’s extra spark. “My horse was very relaxed,” Wiese commented. “I was very happy to come into [the ring] today.” Wiese recently became assistant trainer at Hilltop Farm and hopes to move into the Brentina Cup division.
Conquering Friday’s Junior Team Test was Jade Deter from Ontario, Canada. Earning a 66.250% with Mastermind, the 16-year-old has found Dressage at Devon Presented by WTDirect to be a show to remember. “It’s a really nice show,” she said. “I’d definitely come again.”
If Dressage at Devon is the crown of dressage events in the U.S., Saturday night is the jewel in that crown. This is the time when spectators fill the stands and pack in against the Dixon Oval fence 10 deep to watch some of the top horses and riders in North America,