DEVON, Pa.--Paige Matthies, 17 of of Lake Leelanau, Mich., on Barbara Smith’s Dirkie Z won the second junior jumper class, a time first jump-off event, Friday evening at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair afterDaisy Farish, 17 of Lexington, Ky., and her own Great White won the speed class on Thursday, finishing clean in 60.825 seconds.
Seven of the 24 competitors in the speed class finished clear with no faults.
Farish beat McKayla Langmeier by one second, with Isabella Bleu Baxter on Jahil third.
“I got Great White when he was 7 years old," said Farish. "We have both come a long way together. Both of our biggest classes are our biggest classes together. It is really cool to be able to bring him along. He is 10 years old now."
“I’ve been jumping a lot of bigger classes on him lately," said Farish. "He jumped a 3* grand prix last week at Old Salem, and we weren’t sure if we were going to bring him here, but he felt great. My trainer told me, ‘You’ve been jumping bigger fences so give it a go.’ This was our first speed class we’ve ever won together.”
“I did the grand prix classes both weeks at Old Salem, the 2* and the 3*," said Farish. "I had one down both weekends, but it was my first 3* so I was happy.”
“Devon is my favorite horse show of the year," she said. "I am always looking forward to it. I just love the traditional feel. I have been coming here since I was little showing the ponies. I love how they make every class feel so important without it feeling showy. It feels like you are part of something special.”
FOLLOWING Thursday’s speed class, 29 juniors returned to compete over Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge’s first round track Friday evening, where seven finished clear to advance to the jump-off.
Caitlyn Connors and Express Blue GP Du Bois Madame, kicked off the tiebreaking round with the first double-clear performance in 44.627 seconds.
Matthies, who was fifth in the order, produced the only other clear round of the jump-off, stopping the timers and besting Connors’ time by four seconds in 40.779 seconds to win the Wigg’s Bar Challenge Trophy with Alexandra Pielet and Helene VE rfinishing third with 4 faults in 38.806 seconds.
Matthies only just acquired Dirkie Z, previously owned by international grand prix rider Nick Novak, at the end of March, but, with the help of trainer Melissa Hirt of Northern Pines Farm, she secured her first Devon blue during her debut at the show on Friday evening.
“He is very sweet, very forgiving and very responsive," said Matthies of Dirkie Z. "He has a going type of ride, and he takes me to the jumps, which is the kind of ride I like in a jumper. My other horse (Climbus) is like that as well. I have to thank Melissa Hirt, my trainer, and Nancy Whitehead for setting me up with those pairs. Nick Novak used to own both of them, with Nancy Whitehead training. She actually trained my trainer, Melissa, when she was a junior. I am grateful for his and Nancy’s support, and of course that of my grandparents, who own my horses.”
"He is still somewhat new to me," said Matthies. "I have never shown him in a ring this size or under the lights, even though he has. It was definitely a new experience. Going in to the jump-off, I knew that Caitlyn had been the only clear so far and that the last fence was still being tricky. I went in and stuck to my original plan, which I am very glad about. My trainers had me stick to that and I was a lot more comfortable. He was amazing. I couldn’t have asked for any more from him."
“I’m very happy that tonight was a night class and was set a little bit bigger than yesterday so I am more comfortable with the experience going into tomorrow," she said. "I know my horses can do it, I just have to trust myself and trust that I can do it with them.”
ELLI YEAGER, 15, on Copperfield 39, won Section C of the ASPCA Maclay which gave her the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship High Point Award for earning the highest score of 23 points.
The large number of entries for the ASPCA Maclay was split up into three sections of about 40 riders each, with Coco Fath winning Section A, and Tanner Korotkin winning Section B.
Yeager has been riding Copperfield 39 since she was 11 years old and knows him well, but this year marked only her second time competing at Devon.
Judges Timmy Kees and Brian Lenehan placed Yeager second in her section of the Washington Equitation Jumper phase and a third in her section of the USEF Hunter Seat Medal.
These top placings, along with her win in the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search – Section B on Friday added up to 23 points for Yeager, which earned her the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship High Point Award.
Originally, the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship was a championship class with the best riders riding for the title, but this year the format changed to a high-point award instead.
Trained under the tutelage of Stacia Madden since last season in Florida, the pair just came off of a high note competing at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows prior to the start of Devon.
In addition to Copperfield 39, Yeager owns another equitation horse named Alant, as well as a Medium Junior Jumper and a High Junior Jumper.
Yeager is no stranger to making sacrifices for her riding after moving with her father from her hometown of Westlake Village, Calif., to New York, which allows her to be closer to her horses and train more frequently at Beacon Hill Show Stables in Colts Neck, N. J.
She also balances a demanding school schedule with her and is currently a student at Laurel Springs online school.
“I try to get out as much as I can," said Yeager. "I’m busy a lot with school, but I usually make it out every weekend if not sometimes during the week. Sometimes, I won’t ride that day, but later that night I’ll go see them and give them treats.”
“I came off of Old Salem very confident with him, but I didn’t want to get too excited," she said. "After having a good week like that, I saw the possibility of doing well at Devon, but I knew I couldn’t get excited because I would have lost my line.”
Beacon Hill Show Stables and head trainer Stacia Madden had a very successful show, with another pair of their students, barn mates Madison Goetzmann and Alexandra Worthington winning four classes on Friday.
Goetzann won section A of the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search and section A of the USEF Hunter Seat Medal while Worthington won section B of the WIHS Equitation Classic – Jumper Phase and section B of the /USEF Hunter Seat Medal.