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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Competitions

Devon show bigger and better than ever with record crowds, record revenue

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, which ran May 25 to June 4, was bigger and better than ever, according to Chairman and CEO Wayne W. Grafton.

The Budweiser Clydesales performed in exhibitionThe Budweiser Clydesales performed in exhibition

"On Junior Weekend, the first Saturday evening was probably the largest crowd ever for that night," said Grafton. "It looked like Grand Prix night but just a little smaller. Sunday night, when usually there's no one there, it was a huge crowd for Eventing, and it wasn't even a nice night, it was drizzling all evening."

"There were big crowds for all the FEI-rated jumper classes, and Thursday, Grand Prix night, was packed as usual," said Grafton. "It was an excellent Devon, with record numbers of spectators and a record amount of revenue."

"It was above anything we've done before," Grafton said. "Ticket sales were up overall, and at the Country Fair food sales were up overall. The vendors all said they did well."

"We'll be way above the total number of spectators that we usually have, which is 125,000," said Grafton.

All of the exhibitors interviewed said Devon was a very special place and that they were pleased with this year's show, and McLain Ward was effusive in his praise of the show, pointing out all the   improvements the show had made and saying it was in a class with shows like Aachen and Hickstead,

"We're working diligently," said Grafton. "We're constantly trying to improve everything, but there's still so much to be done."

Grafton said the new second floor dining facility had overall gone well.

That new facility is located over the new office area and provides a good view of both the Dixon Oval and the Gold Ring.

Grafton said that most people were happy with the dining area, and the few complaints were about things Devon planned to fix,

"This was the first time out, and it's been a learning curve," said Grafton. "There are modifications we need to make, one of them being having the announcer heard there."

"Now we're gearing up for the Fall Classic," said Grafton.

 

 

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McLain Ward won the $225,000 Devon Grand Prix for the ninth time, but a newcomer took the championship and Leading Rider title

DEVON, Pa—Two-time Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward won the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon for the ninth time on Thursday, June 1, this time taking it on Rothchild, who has now won it twice.

McLain Ward on Rothchild Photo by The Book LLCMcLain Ward on Rothchild Photo by The Book LLCIt was a wide-open field in the open jumper section, with five different riders from the 37 riders that qualified to compete at Devon winning the five classes.

It was so wide-open that David Gochman’s Lady Maria BH, who won only two ribbons, winning Friday evening’s $25,000 Speed Stake and placing second in Wednesday evening’s $40,000 International Speed Stake was crowned Champion with 16 points, with Rothman, the Grand Prix winner, and Katherine Strauss’ All In, who won the Saturday evening $50,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake, the two classes that carried bonus points, tied for Reserve,

Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire, who rode Lady Maria BH and also rode Gochman’s Luibanta BH to third in the Grand Prix, was Leading Open Jumper Rider and Leading Lady Open Jumper Rider.

Ward won the Grand Prix before a huge, enthusiastic crowd, beating five in the jump-off from a starting field of 28.

Last to go in the jump-off, Ward finished clean in 41.210, almost a second faster than second placed Devin Ryan on Cooper, clean in 42.110, with Derbyshire on Luibanta BH third in 42.560.

 

"ROTHCHILD gets this sport,” said Ward.” I always say to him, 'You don't owe me a thing, but it would be nice to win again!' That's kind of how I am with him. He owes me nothing. If he never jumps another fence again, it's fine. As long as he's healthy and he's performing this way I think he enjoys it, and physically he looks better than ever. So I am going to continue on with him as long as he tells me he's still healthy and enjoying the sport and enjoying what we're doing."

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Scott Stewart reigns supreme once more at Devon Horse Show

DEVON, Pa—Scott Stewart historically has had a strangle hold on the Leading Hunter Rider title at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, and he kept it at this year’s show, which ran May 25 to June 4 at the show grounds on Route 30 in Devon.

Scott Stewart on Cameo Photo by The Book LLCScott Stewart on Cameo Photo by The Book LLCScott, of Flemington, N.J., won the Leading Rider title for the 13th time, having only lost it twice in the past 15 years, both times to Kelley Farmer of Keswick, Va. Scott annually takes a number of horses to Devon, and annually he wins numerous championships with them.

This year he rode the Devon Grand Hunter Champion, Dr. Betsee Parker’s Cameo, who was the High Performance Working Hunter Champion.

Scott also rode Parker’s Private Life to the Green Conformation Hunter Championship, Parker’s Lucador to the High Performance Conformation Hunter Championship and Parker’s A Million Reasons to the Leading Mare title.

"Cameo is really brave,” said Stewart. “The bigger the jumps, the better. The working courses were nice and a little scopey, which was good for him because he got to try pretty hard. Ken [Berkley] and I bought him as a 6-year-old and Betsee [Parker] bought him a few months later."

"He's a great horse,” said Stewart. “The best part about him is that he's very comfortable and brave, so I never have to worry about anything going wrong that way. He definitely was at his best this week and put a lot more effort into it."

"Competing at Devon is always one of our goals,” said Stewart. “We really try to peak here. I have a great group of horses again this year. It's one of my favorite shows. I like the ring, I like the atmosphere and I like that it's only one ring. It's nice we all get to focus and watch. You needed a 90 to get a good ribbon this year. The ring rides great and you can really gallop. It's one of the few rings you can still gallop around."

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U.S. win Nations Cup in Canada, qualifies for Barcelona Finals

In the make or break third qualifying Nations Cup class in Langley, Canada, the U.S. team of Heather Caristo-Williams on Qui VivE deS Songes Z, Catherine Tyree on Bokai, Adrienne Sternlicht on Cristalline and Margie Engle on Royce edged out Canada by one fault to qualify the U.S. for the Nations Cup Finals in Barcelona, Spain this fall.

Adrienne Sternlicht on Cristalline photo by FEI Cara GrimshawAdrienne Sternlicht on Cristalline photo by FEI Cara GrimshawLangley was the last leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2017 North America, Central America and Caribbean League.

"We knew coming here that this was going to be a free-for-all,” said chef d’equipe Robert Ridland. “Often it’s pre-determined who is going to Barcelona when you come to the last qualifier, but not the case this time. The two teams who were going to make it, it was up to them to win it today."

“There was a decent amount of pressure,” said Ridland. “But we’ve maintained our streak of making it to Barcelona.”

With Canada finishing second and Ireland edging out Mexico, which finished fourth, Canada gained enough points to be the second team to qualify for Barcelona, supplanting Mexico which had qualified the previous two years.

It was Ridland’s plan when he started as chef d’equipe to pair one or two younger, less experienced riders with two veterans, thus expanding the depth of America’s show jumping pool of riders, and it’s worked remarkably well.

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Sarah Murphy triumphed over Jennie Brannigan and Erika Nesler in an exciting first presentation of Eventing at Devon Horse Show

DEVON, Pa.—Capt. Mark Phillips designed a diabolically ingenious and brilliant course that kept the large crowd of very enthusiastic spectators on the edge of their seats until the very last fence of every round on May 28 in Devon Horse Show’s inaugural presentation of Arena Eventing.

Sarah Koozumplik Murphy on Rubens Dysieux Phhoto by The Book LLCSarah Kozumplik Murphy on Rubens D'ysieux Photo by The Book LLCEight of the 23 starters went clean over the first, long course that started in the Dixon Oval, continued in the Gold Ring and then came back into the Dixon Oval.

A great many competitors went clean until the last fence in the Dixon Oval, and there was an audible groan from the crowd as one after another clean rounds turned into five fault rounds.

Phillips almost chortled as, one after another, his strategic fence sorted out the horses.

The last fence was an oxer, with a very light colored rail, set in almost flat cups, in front to a hedge, with another rail in the back.

Horses looked at the hedge and missed the front rail, which came down time after time, both in the first round and in the jump off, in which only four were clean.

On a Sunday evening that historically drew a very small crowd, spectators filled the stands and stood three deep around the Dixon Oval despite the chilly rain.

Horses and riders had to have gotten a qualifying score in a CCI2* or be competing at 1.40m in show jumping to participate in Devon’s Arena Eventing class.

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The Horse of Delaware Valley

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