Devon Horse Show and Country Fair Wrap-Up

RELEASE: June 11, 2010

Photo by James Leslie Parker (Laura Chapot.)
Photo by James Leslie Parker (Laura Chapot.)
Laura Chapot took top honors at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, winning the Open Jumper Championship on Bradberry with 30 points and also taking the Leading Open Jumper Rider title for the fourth time in six years, and the fifth time overall. Along with her four wins in the Open Jumper division that counted towards the leading Rider title, Chapot also won two six-year-old classes and a seven-year-old class for an unprecedented seven jumper wins at Devon.

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, which was designated a USEF Heritage Competition for the first time in 2010, set attendance records at its 114th renewal. There were 101,374 paid attendance, with 9,053 paid attendance on Grand Prix night, Thursday, June 3. These fiures do not include all those who received complimentary passes, press passes or exhibitor, trainer and owner passes.

Chapot’s student, Madeline Cox, also won an Amateur Owner Jumper class and finished Reserve Champion.

“Winning never gets old,” said Chapot. “In this sport, you’re riding on top, and you think you’re a genius, then next thing you’re on the ground.”

Chapot of Neshanic Station, N.J., won a Time First Round, a Hit & Hurry and the $20,000 Gambler’s Choice, all on Bradberry, and a Faults Converted into Seconds on Valentia. She also placed second to herself in two classes, in the Time First Round on Chili Pepper and in the Hit & Hurry on Valentia.

Bradberry comes into the ring bouncing, head high and ready to go, looking like a difficult ride. “He’s a lot of fun,” said Chapot. “He fits me perfectly. He’s not a lot of people’s ride, but I feel more comfortable on him than on any other horse. He’s pretty quiet around the barn,” said Chapot. “He gets excited at shows. He loves to run and jump. We don’t jump him much at home, but he’s easy to hack.”

The great stallion Royal Kaliber, ridden by Chris Kappler to an Olympic Team Gold medal and an Individual Silver medal, only sired six foals before, because of bowing his tendon while jumping off for the Gold medal, he had to be put down after the Athens Olympics.

Two of those foals, now six-year-olds, are owned by the Chapots, one in whole and one in partnership, and they placed first and second and first and third in two Six Year Old Young Jumper classes.

Laura rode Mary Chapot’s Zealous to a double-clear round with a jump-off time of 33.612 to win over Laura Chapot and Barbara Rochford’s Elizabeth R, ridden by Jimmy Fairclough in the first class on Tuesday, and repeated that win on Wednesday.

Peter Leone rode Select to win the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon Thursday evening at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair in front of a very enthusiastic sell-out, standing room only crowd that lined the ring 12 deep.“This show has one of the most exciting, electric grand prix in the country, and it’s an educated crowd,” said Leone.

Nine horses from a starting field of 21 qualified for the timed jump-off, and the first four to go in the jump-off had rails down. Fifth to go was Margie Engle, and she rode Hidden Creek’s Campella to a clean but slightly conservative round to end up second. “When I went in the jump-off, no one had been clean, and this mare is a little new to this, so I thought I’d be a little careful,” said Engle, who finished in 38.244..

Next to go clean in the jump-off was Andre Thieme of Germany on Antares F, and his time of 38.685 was good enough for third. When Leone entered the ring, he knew what times he had to beat. “I knew I would have to take a couple of chances to beat Margie,” Leone said. “I took a shot from 2 to 3, I jumped 2 on an angle and called on the character of my horse.”

Leone did just enough, and h e finished in 37.681 to win. “It’s been a good 10 years since I’ve had a 1.60 meter horse,” said Leone, who was a member of the Atlanta Olympics silver medal team. “It feels so good to have a partner that wants to win.”
“Select is like the Geico horse,” said Leone. “So easy a caveman could ride him.”

“I’ve only been in this country for two days,” said Thieme. “My showing at Devon was a late decision. I got a phone call from Antares owners (Anne Hamilton and Seth Vallhonrat of Newtown Square). They’re out of this area. They think this horse is good enough to jump the big stuff in Europe, but they wanted to see him at their home show. I’m so happy about their decision. The footing is fantastic,” said Engle. “It’s expensive to put in footing like this, but the horses jumped fantastic over it. I only jumped one class on this horse before going in the Grand Prix.”

“When someday I stop riding in grand prix, I’ll be able to say I won the Grand Prix of Devon,” said Leone.

Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee , FL, scorched the jump-off course of the $50,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake to win with a clean round in 37.139 over Charlie Jayne on Urbanus, who finished in 39.306 for second at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair Saturday evening.

Amelia McArdle of Barrington Hills, IL, rode her Pilot to the only clean round in the nine horse jump-off in the $15,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic to win the class and take the Amateur Owner Jumper Championship and the Leading Amateur Owner Rider title with Madeline Cox on her Kix, taking the Reserve.

Reed Kessler of Armonk, N.Y, defended her Junior Jumper Championship and Leading Junior Jumper Title in dramatic fashion, placing both first and second on Flight and Ligist in the $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Classic to clinch the Championship and the Reserve Championship as well as the Leading Rider title.

Jaime Auletto of Blackwood, NJ, riding her Claire, won the $5,000 NAL Adult Amateur Jumper Classic, and the bonus points in that class gave her the Championship over Miss Kitty and Katherine Edgell of Mendham, NJ.

Nina Montross of Bedford Hills, N.Y., rode Paradysz Farm’s Indigo to win both Pony Jumper classes on Sunday and finished second in the division’s first class on Saturday to win the Championship with 31 points.

Alex Matz, who placed fourth in the NAL Pony Jumpers on Wiseguy, was awarded the Pony Jumper Style Award.

Scott Stewart of Flemington, NJ, won the Leading Hunter Rider title for the amazing eighth year in a row, and his business partner, Ken Berkley, rode Gina Day’s Premier to the Green Conformation Hunter Championship and the Grand Hunter Championship.

Stewart rode his Way Cool to the Second Year Green Hunter Championship, and he also rode Fashion Farm’s Summer Place to the Working Hunter Championship and to the Reserve in First Year Green Hunters.

It was a tight fight to the finish for the Leading Rider title this year, though, as Leading Lady Rider Kelley Farmer was only one point behind Stewart for the Overall title.

Farmer rode Nancy S. Amling’s Taken to the First Year Green Championship and finished as Reserve Champion in Second Year Green with Julie Curtin’s Bases Loaded, in Regular Conformation with Richard Prender’s Timber Ridge and in Regular Working Hunter with Mr. and Mrs. Ernest M. Oare’s Rosalynn.

Maggie Jayne rode Pony Lane Farm’s Francesca to the Leading Mare in the Hunter Division title.

“Winning at Devon never gets old,” said Stewart. “I thought this was one of the. best Devon’s ever.”

“The courses were fabulous,” said Berkley, who is Stewart’s business partner in their Rivers Edge farms in Flemington and Wellington, FL. “The courses designed by Ken Krome and the new footing added a new dimension to Devon. The scores were fantastic all week, the rounds were one better than another. The quality of horses, the best from all over, including the West coast, was reflected in the quality of the rounds.”

While Stewart concentrates on training and competing on hunters, Berkley specializes in jumpers, but both occasionally ride a horse in his partner’s specialty.

“I’ve been champion in the junior divisions and reserve in the hunter division here a number of times, but this is the first time I’ve been Leading Lady Rider,” said Farmer. “This is a great honor. The people who are listed on the trophy, who have won it before, it’s amazing. It’s great to be listed among them.”

“This is a beautiful horse show,” said Farmer. “They do such a good job. I love this horse show because every year they try to make it better and better.”

Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, NY, rode SBS Farm’s Jersey Boy to win the $10,000 ASG Software Solutions International Hunter Derby on Sunday, June 6. Alfano scored 198 in the first round of the two round class and added a 202 in the second round, which was over a Handy course.

Maggie Jayne rode Pony Lane Farm’s Francesca to second with a total score of 396.5, and Louise Serio of Kennett Square, PA, rode Bright Star 158 LLC’s Rock Star to third with a score of 393.

“It was nice to have a whole day high-lighted for the hunters,” said Alfano. “Jersey Boy was really on today. He felt great. I thought the first round course was good,” said Alfano. “The Handy course was nice. There were some places to make tight turns. The judges said they were going to emphasize the gallop fence, so I really galloped to it.”

“Jersey Boy is really fun to ride, but he can be difficult,” said Alfano. “He’s like the bad boy in school. He’s really smart and very talented, but he can be trouble.”

“The class was awesome,” said Serio. “How about how many people came out to watch.”

“I love it when the Hunter Derby is a stand-alone class,” said Serio. “Then you’re not running around, doing other classes or training students. You can focus on the one class.”

“The courses were great,” said Serio. “Rock Star is a rock star. He’s 100% try. That makes my job more difficult, because if there’s a mistake it’s my fault. He’s awesome.”

The Hunter Derby, which began at 10 a.m., ran until 1 p.m., and drew a very good crowd of spectators.

Tracy Scheriff-Muser of Wellington, FL, rode her Lavari to the championship of the Amateur-Owner Hunters, 18 to 35 Years of Age, with Lavari taking the Amateur-Owner Hunter Grand Championship, and Sheriff-Muser winning the Devon Leading Amateur-Owner Hunter Rider title.

Scheriff-Muser was also champion in her section last year, but not Grand Champion.

“To be Champion last year was amazing, and to do it again is a dream,” said Sheriff-Muser. “To be Grand Champion is incredible. I’ve never been Grand Champion before. It’s so special to win at Devon, because everyone knows about Devon, even people who don’t ride,” said Sheriff-Muser.

Jane Gaston of The Plains, VA, rode both the Champion, Listen, and the Reserve Champion, Lumiere, in the Amateur-Owner Hunters, Over 35 Years of Age.

Samantha Schaeffer, 17 of Westminster, MD, rode Garfield to the Large Junior Hunter, 16 & 17, Championship and was named Best Child Rider on a Horse.

Scott Stewart’s Ovation, ridden by Victoria Colvin, was Devon Grand Junior Hunter Champion, having also earned the Small Junior Hunter, 15 & Under, Championship.

Stewart and Colvin also teamed up to win the Reserve Championship in Small Junior, 15 & Under, with World Time, and the Large Junior Hunter, 15 & Under, Championship with Way Cool. Colvin showed seven mounts, the maximum for any one rider, at Devon, including three ponies and four horses.

“The transition from ponies to horses wasn’t hard,” said Colvin. “All my horses are great, so that made it easy. I don’t get nervous at a show,” said Colvin, but admitted she does get nervous watching Daisy Farish ride her pony, Ballou.

Daisy, granddaughter of the famous Thoroughbred race horse breeder Will Farish, rode Colvin’s Ballou to the Small Pony championship and was named Best Child Rider on a Pony. Farish, at nine-years-old, is the youngest rider to ever win the Best Child Rider title at Devon.

Kathleen Fisher of West Chester, PA, on her North Shore and Katie Furches of Oley, PA, on her Ultina tied for the Grand Championship of Local Hunters.

Coaching, Saddlebreds, Breeding and Equitation
Ronald C. Palmer’s Park Drag won the four-in-hand Coaching Obstacle Course class to eke out the win in the Championship with 17 points.

Second placed Harvey Waller’s Road Coach took Reserve honors with 15 points in a race that was decided by the final class.

John Frazier Hunt of Spring City, PA, drove his four-in-hand carriage to win the class of Unicorns and four-in-hands and returned in the drive-off of class winners to take the championship during the afternoon session.

The Saddlebred judge, Kim Cowart of Statesville, NC, said that, while the numbers in Saddlebreds, roadsters, fine harness, Friesan, hackney horses and ponies and harness ponies, which began Wednesday evening, were not large, the quality was superb.

Cowart said that having a horse that really loves its job is essential. “You can tell, they’re not fussy in the bridle or flipping their head, you can definitely tell a happy horse, said Cowart.

“There may not be a ton of Saddlebreds showing here at Devon, but you’ve got some top barns here, with top horses that will probably win at Louisville, our World Championships,” said Cowart. “There are some nice horses here, very nice.”

“For example, in the last Five-Gaited Pleasure Class Friday afternoon, you had three of the top pleasure horses in the country (CH Ridgefields Excessive, CH Titleist Right Tonight and Manhattan Whirlwind), so you had three of them right there in the same class,” said Cowart.

CH Titleist Right Tonight, owned by Nancy Ehle of Orefield, PA, and presented by Allyson Ehle, won with Manhattan Whirlwind, owned by Kathleen Ververeil of Allentown, Pa., placing second. Carson Kressley, star of Queer Eye ForThe Straight Guy, won two championships on the Saturday evening performance.

Kressley drove Hoof Prince, owned by Annika Bruggeworth of Mays Landing, NJ, to win the Fine Harness Amateur, Amateur, Championship, and returned later in the evening to ride his Enchanting Memories to the Championship in the Five-Gaited Saddle Horse Stake, Amateur to Ride. His Heirrison Ford, ridden by Morgan Billig, also placed second in the Five-Gaited Stake.

Cismont Manor Farms and Mary Jane Hunt’s Holden, handled by Kenny Wheeler of Keswick, VA, won the Best Young Horse for the second year in a row, and Wheeler won the Leading Handler Award.
Sinsational, owned by Marcia Heylin of Collegeville, PA, and handled by Emily Anne Belin, was Best Yearling, and Just Breathe, owned by Danielle Semerad of Bryn Mawr, Pa., and handled by Emily Anne Belin, was Best Pennsylvania Bred Horse.

There was an unusual three-way tie for the R.W. “Ronne” Mutch Equitation Championship at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, which was awarded on the basis of points won in 13 sections of four classes.

One of the Champions, Lillie Keenan, comes by her talent naturally, as her mother Pam, nee Carmichael, showed at Devon in the 60’s, trained by Ray Francis, and was Junior Hunter Champion and Grand Champion and Best Child Rider at least twice.