Top Riders Return to Devon to Battle for Leading Open Jumper Rider Title
RELEASE: April 28, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Sara Cavanaugh
Hillary Dobbs, who won the Leading Open Jumper Rider title last year at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, is bringing at least two horses to the show this year to defend her title. Dobbs, 20 of Sussex, NJ, a daughter of CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, also rode her Corlett to win the Open Jumper Championship at Devon last year.
The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, May 21-30, benefits Bryn Mawr Hospital, to which it has donated more than $13 million over its decades of association.
Corlett won the $20,000 Open Jumper Gambler’s Choice Friday evening and placed third in the $100,000 Budweiser Grand Prix of Devon Thursday evening.
Dobbs unseated both two-time Olympic Team Gold medalist McLain Ward and Laura Chapot, both of whom had maintained strangle holds on the Leading Rider and Championship titles for the past five years.
Ward had won the grand prix four times in the previous six years, taking the championship and Leading Rider once each, while Chapot had won the championship four of the past five years and was the Leading Rider for the previous three years. To make her feat even more impressive, Dobbs was competing in the Open Jumper division at Devon for the first time, having competed at the show in the past in junior divisions.
Both Ward and Chapot will compete at Devon this year in an effort to regain their titles. “I’ve been coming to Devon for about six years,” said Dobbs. “I competed there as a junior, but I never did anything special. I just won a few ribbons in equitation.”
“We were laughing last year that my first blue ribbon at Devon was in the Open Jumper division,” said Dobbs. “It was a great first Devon in the jumper division, and I’m looking forward to showing under the lights in the Dixon Oval again.”
Dobbs is a junior at Harvard, and she is majoring in government, but she said that after graduating she would take a couple of years off to concentrate on riding.
Junior jumpers compete in the afternoon and evening on Friday, May 22 and in the evening on Saturday, May 23, and Pony Jumpers compete in the morning on Saturday and in the afternoon and evening on Sunday.
Adult jumpers take over on Memorial Day, with both an afternoon and an evening class, and their final class is the last class of the afternoon on Tuesday.
Five-year-old young jumpers, six-year-old young jumpers and seven/eight-year-old young jumpers compete in the Gold Ring on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The first class for open jumpers is a time first jump-off event at 7 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a time first jump-off class Wednesday afternoon and a speed class at 7 p.m. that evening.
The $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon is the featured class Thursday evening at 8 p.m.
On Friday, a speed class is the last event on the afternoon schedule, and the $20,000 Gambler’s Choice is the first class that evening.
Amateur owner jumpers compete Friday morning, May 29, and again that afternoon, with their concluding class and the championship pinning the last events Saturday afternoon.
The $50,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake concludes the horse show’s competitions on Saturday evening, followed by the pinning of the Open Jumper Championship and the Leading Open Jumper Rider.
The Country Fair features a variety of foods, plus shopping, games and rides for all ages, equestrians and non-equestrians alike.
Boutiques offer the latest in fashion, sporting clothes, often appliquéd with a horse or dog motif, silver and gold jewelry and beautiful hats, as well as paintings and sculptures, furniture that is hand-painted with horses and dogs, leather goods and antiques.
The Art Gallery features paintings and prints by many local talented artists, including Kathleen Freidenberg, Robert Stack, Heather Peacock, Elise Phillips and Paul Scarborough.
The Souvenir Shop features Devon Horse Show apparel, collectibles and the cookbook