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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Taylor St. Jacques wins Devon’s Equitation Championship, Sophie Gochman and Garfield Grand Junior Hunter Champions

Devon, Pa.-Taylor St. Jacques won every equitation class she rode in and then took the championship, which at Devon is also a performance class.

St. Jacques, 18 of Glen Allen, Va., rode Charisma and trains with Andre Dignelli, who has trained many winners at Devon but said he’d never had one that won every single equitation class she went in.Taylor St. Jacques on CharismaTaylor St. Jacques on Charisma

The Reserve Championship went to McKayla Langmeier riding Calberon B, owned by Linda Langmeier.

"I really wanted to make it a special Devon this year,” said St. Jacques. “Charisma’s a winner, and my goal was just to win as much as I could here. It feels incredible. He was so good, I couldn't have asked him to be any better."

"It's an incredible feeling,” said St. Jacques. “It's such a good horse show and very historic. Everyone comes here and there are a lot of spectators. It's really nice to see everyone come out and root for you. I love this show. My very first time here was in 2011 with my small pony but this is only my fifth time here."

St. Jacques won her sections of the WIHS Equitation Classic Jumper Phase, the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, the Pessoa/US Hunter Seat Medal and the ASPCA Maclay before also winning the championship.

This is my last junior year,” said St. Jacques. “I'm hoping to really make it a good one and go out with some top placings at finals. After that, I would like to excel in the jumpers and eventually go to the Olympics."

"Taylor and I met two years ago at this show,” said Dignelli. “She tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'I want to get from where I am right now to where Lillie Keenan is.' That's when our relationship started.

"I've been doing this a long time,” said Dignelli. “I've helped a lot of top kids and pairings, but it's the first time I've ever come where my student has won every class that they've entered including the 'best of' trophies. That's a first for me, so I couldn't be happier."


SOPHIE GOCHMAN rode her family’s Garfield to win the Grand Junior Hunter Championship.

Garfield has competed often at Devon with many different ridersSophie Gochman on GarfieldSophie Gochman on Garfield

Gochman said that her trainers at River's Edge Farm in Flemington, N.J., Scott Stewart and Ken Berkeley, paired her up with Garfield knowing that he would be a great first mount for her in the 3'6" hunter division.

"I did the ponies for 13 years, so it was fun to try something new at Devon this year,” said Gochman. “My horses are just great, and I'm having such a good time."

"Garfield is the best,” said Gochman. “You basically just drop the reins and steer and he finds the distances for you. We have been with him for about six months, since indoors. He's just the best. I love him so much. With Garfield, I'm always really confident. I know that if we mess up, it's probably my fault. He's been everywhere so you know he's always going to be on his game and be the best."

“This is my favorite horse show,” said Gochman. “I love the fair, and I also love the pony hunt teams. That's one of my favorite parts of the show along with the crowds and overall excitement. It's such an honor to be here."


EMMA KURTZ of Hudson, Ohio was named Best Child Rider for her performances in the Junior Hunters riding Popish Farm LLC's Due West, Dr. Betsee Parker's Dedication and Grace Debney's Wisdom.

Coco Fath, 16 of Fairfield, Connecticut, rode Hillside Farm LLC’s Huckleberry to win the Junior Jumper Championship, and Fath was the Leading Junior Jumper Rider.Coco Fath on HuckleberryCoco Fath on Huckleberry

Madison Goetzmann of Skaneatles, N.Y., and her own Prestigious won the Saturday evening Junior Jumper Classic and were Reserve Champions.

Fath won the jumper class Friday evening and placed second in the Classic to win the championship.

"I just wanted to be competitive and come in and do the inside turns,” said Fath of her ride in the Classic. “I'm still a little bit green on the jump-off side, so I wanted to have a nice jump-off and go clear and hopefully win. Madison was amazing, so I was still really happy with tonight's result!"

"I've been training with Molly Ashe Cawley for over a year and a half,” said Fath. “She's given me a lot of confidence. I was thinking I could never move up to the highs, and she really gave me the confidence and the skills to be able to do an event like this. She's just been an amazing supporter of my career so far."

"This summer I'm heading to Europe to place and possibly get some top ribbons in the 2* grand prix events there,” said Fath. “I'd like to move up in the jumpers, ride some young ones and just improve my riding this summer. That's my short-term goal."


ALEXA LIGNELLI of New York, New York, and her small pony hunter, iParty, were Grand Pony Champions.

Lignelli and the flashy 9-year-old Half Welsh mare won a first, two seconds, a third, fourth and a fifth throughout the Small Pony Hunter division, accumulating a total of 28.5 points over the course of the two-day competition, to claim the Small Pony Hunter championship.

In addition, Lignelli also captured the Small Pony Hunter reserve championship aboard her own Rollingwoods Knee Deep. Lignelli continued her winning streak by earning the Best Child Rider on a Pony award.

“I've been riding iParty for two years,” said Lignelli. “She loves hunter courses that are really smooth. The handy rounds today really fit her. She's very smooth to ride, but you have to have the right pace."

"I came here last year just to get a feel for the ring, and then this year we decided to come again,” said Lignelli. “I love the fair. It's very fun, and the lemon sticks are amazing!"

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