DEVON, Pa.--Tanner Korotkin on Armagedon won the $3,750 Junior Jumper class Friday evening at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair and returned Saturday evening to win the $20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Classic and be Junior Jumper Champin, while Paige Matthies and Caelinn Leahy tied for reserve honors.
Out of the original starting field of 23, eight jumped fault-free over Guilherme Jorge’s challenging opening track on Saturday.
After dominating the junior hunters earlier in the day, earning the prestigious Devon Grand Junior Hunter Champion title with Evermore, Mimi Gochman was the first to return for the jump-off on Street Hassle BH, setting the pace at 39.007 seconds.
The next double-clear performance came two rounds later with Paige Matthies on Climbus, who finishedsecond in Friday’s class.
A SMALL SLIP heading to the final fence caused them to narrowly miss Gochman’s time after stopping the clock in 39.436 seconds.
With only one left to go, it appeared Gochman was going to add another Devon blue to her collection for the day but 17-year-old Korotkin, who trains with his dad Alan Korotkin along with John Brennan and Missy Clark of North Run, was still to go.
He pulled out all the stops, cutting corners and skillfully navigating tight rollbacks, to shave two seconds off of Gochman’s time in 37.503 seconds to win, while Gochman finished second and Matthies rounded out the top three in the class.
With his two back-to-back wins on Friday and Saturday, Korotkin of Wellington, Fla., clinched the Junior Jumper championship with 25 points.
“It feels great," said Korotkin. "My horse came out yesterday and jumped two clear rounds super fast. It feels great that he was able to come out here again today and go just as fast, if not faster, and still keep the jumps up and still give me his best.”
“Tonight’s jump-off round was definitely harder," he said. "I was the last rider in, and Mimi was extremely fast. I just knew I had to be tight and tidy, especially after the combination. I thought I could do it, and it ended up working out.”
“I rode Armagedon with Jimmy Torano last summer and we ended up buying him," said Korotkin. "I’ve owned him since the beginning of WEF, so about four or five months now, but I’ve probably been riding him for around a year. I’ve loved this horse from the beginning. He’s exactly the type of horse I want. He takes me to the jump and holds his head up high, and I’m able to keep my reins short, keep his head up and just keep holding him off the jumps ,and he just keeps jumping higher and higher. Me and this horse have come a long way, and I definitely have a great bond with him. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season with him.”
“Missy Clark and John Brennan help me right alongside my dad, Alan Korotkin," he said. "Missy and John have really made me a tougher rider. My dad is one of the best ,and he’s taught me absolutely everything I know, and Missy and John have just added onto that. They’ve helped me be a much smoother, calmer rider and just focus on getting the job done and jumping clear rounds. When I’m at home in Florida, my dad is the main one helping me, and then when we’re at shows together or when I’m at shows with just Missy and John, they’re always right there by my side supporting me at the equitation ring and the jumper ring and just helping me become the rider I want to become. I’ve been riding with Missy and John for about three years now, since my first year at equitation finals, so I’m excited to continue riding with them and my dad and see where we go.”
In addition, he was the Leading Junior Jumper Rider, and to top if off, Korotkin was also given the Junior Jumper Style of Riding Award for best exemplifying the American style of equitation and the respectful, dignified, courteous and workmanlike manner of a true sportsman.
Matthies on Climbus and Caelinn Leahy on Dymendy, who won Thursday’s round one speed competition, both accumulated 10 points over the course of the three days of competition to share the Junior Jumper reserve championship.