Stormy Start to Devon: USEF Talent Search
RELEASE: May 23, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Devon Walder for the Devon Horse Show
- Despite the rain Thursday afternoon at Devon, competitors in the USEF Talent Search came out ready to ride. The thirteen-jump course was challenging, with a long ride to the first fence, tight turns, and two water obstacles. The riders came prepared, many approaching the course with determination and confidence. Their drive to succeed was evident in both their skill and strategy.
The section A competitors took to the ring amidst cloud cover and slight winds. The first few riders seemed to traverse the course with ease, many staying under the time allowed, 78 seconds. Shortly, however, the fourth jump in the course, a widespread water jump, posed a threat to multiple riders. The jump was a single, airy pole over top a shallow pool of water. The stone standards were flanked by small shrubbery while a low hedge of branches laid in front of small "Where Champions Meet" signs. To avoid refusals, many riders took the jump at a faster speed than the rest of the course.
Of those who were able to make it through the course, twelve competitors were invited back into the ring for a flat class. The riders, with their horses shining as the sunlight reflected off their polished coats, took to the ring determined to win. In a tough class of skilled individuals, the riders were asked to counter canter and extend both their trot and canter. The competition was tight, but Lillie Keenan, number 1081, took home the blue. Number 804, Gabrielle Bausano went home with second place, and Kalvin Dobbs, number 1271, went home third.
In section B, the riders wrapped up their courses in the rain. The flat portion of the class also took place as rain pattered the helmets and saddles of the riders. In the distance thunder and lightning began to crack. Still, the riders persevered and rode with strength. Sydney Shulman, number 23, took first place and the blue, with Lilly Ulrich, number 773 in second. Number 800, Jacqueline Shilen, went home in third. And with the rain pooring down, the USEF Talent Search came to a close.