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Archive for May, 2013

Champions Shine at the 2013 St. Christopher’s Horse Show

May 31, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

The 2013 St. Christopher’s Horse Show, held at the historic Quentin Riding Club in Quentin, PA, May 8-12, had another exceptional year.  Highlighted by outstanding performances, the excitement of hunter-jumper competition for riders of all ages and skill levels produced an impressive line-up of champions!

St. Christopher's Horse Show

St. Christopher’s Horse Show.

This year’s show featured a busy but exciting schedule for all of the competitors and spectators that filled the horse show grounds. “Each year my barn looks forward to spending the first week of May competing at the St. Christopher’s Horse Show,” said Troy Hendricks of Kimber View Farm. “The management team provides an excellent “AA” show in the heart of Zone 2. We are already looking forward to 2014!”

In the highlighted competition, Corrin Carberry rode Sea Brigade to the win in the $10,000 Mini Prix, sponsored by Johnson Horse Transportation.  Carberry won the Prix, for the Olisco Trophy, by beating out 14 other competitors including last year’s winner Andrew Ross. In the featured competition in the hunter ring, Ann Gerrard-Dunn rode Carhartt, owned by Amy Guth, to victory in the USHJA National Hunter Derby, sponsored by ABBA Vet Supply.

adult hunter classic presentation

Adult hunter classic presentation.

Grand Championships were won by Gerald Camera on Bengale, Amateur-Owner Hunter Grand Champion; Mia Latran on Aviator, Junior Hunter Grand Champion; and Cameron Glassman on Hidden Galaxy, Pony Hunter Grand Champion.

Mia Latran was named the Best Child Rider on a Horse; Cameron Glassman was named the Best Rider on a Pony, and Mary Claire Medeiros was named the Best Children’s Hunter Rider. Adagio, handled by Emily Belin and owned by Bayside Hill Stables, won the Best Young Horse Award.

Many competitors continue to return to St. Christopher’s year after year for all of the excitement that the horse show has to offer.  “I’ve been coming to St. Christopher’s for over 30 years and this year was really great,” said Olivia Golden of Double G Stables. “The Footing was great, jumps were pretty, courses were interesting and judging was good. The Staff was friendly and as an “AA” show is was totally affordable. Thank you to everyone at Ryegate Show Services!”

Corrin Carberry  in the $10,000 Mini Prix

Corrin Carberry in the $10,000 Mini Prix.

The 2013 St. Christopher’s Horse Show had a great turnout this year! “We would not be able to run such a successful show without the help of our sponsors, horse show staff and of course all of the riders,” said show producer Annette Longenecker of Ryegate Show Services. “We would like to congratulate and thank all of our exhibitors on a terrific show series. We are already looking forward to next year’s show and welcoming everyone back again in 2014!”


St. Christopher’s is grateful to all of the 2013 sponsors for their support this year. This year’s sponsors included ABBA Vet Supply, Johnson Horse Transportation, Take 2 Thoroughbreds, Kimber View Farm, Andrew Ross, Joe Alfano, Christiane Campbell, Morning Mist Farm, Grier School, Unionville Equine Assoc., Hoof Print Images, Equine Marketer, Belle & Bow Equestrian, Sissy & Timothy Wickes, Klinicki Equine Massage, North Ridge Farms, and Windy Willow Farm.

Children's pony classic presentation.

Children’s pony classic presentation.

The St. Christopher’s Horse Show is a USEF Recognized Show. It is also a regular member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Professional Horsemen’s Association, Pennsylvania Horse Show Association, Pennsylvania Jumper Association, Maryland Horse Shows Association, North American League, Washington International Horse Show, Central Pennsylvania Junior Horse Show Association, Marshall & Sterling, and the Young Jumper Championships (YJC).

For more information on the St. Christopher’s Horse Show, please contact Ryegate Show Services at (717) 867-5643 or or visit Ryegate’s website at

Devon – Ladies Reign at Devon

May 30, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Hat Contest and Tea Make for Exciting Ladies’ Day

By Caroline Goldstein


Ladies’ Day was a success once again, as about 300 women paraded their hats around Devon and enjoyed the second annual Ladies’ Day Tea.The day, sponsored by Dressage Collection, began with the hat contest, and participants showed off their creativity as they passed the judges in the Main Grandstand. This year’s judges included Emmy winning television star Carson Kressley, 6abc’s Alicia Vitarelli, NBC10’s Bill Henley, Patrick Champalou from Cartier, Brenda Waites Bolling from Millinery Boutique in New York, Sheila Connolly of SCB Consulting and Beth Beverly from Diamond Tooth Taxidermist. “A lot are return judges who have a background in millinery, fashion or the equestrian world,” said Ladies’ Day Chairman Jen McGowan.


The judges certainly had some difficult decisions to make as the contest entries ranged from hats to fascinators to outfits such as a Great Gatsby themed duo.

The judges looked at four categories. The “Best of Devon” category was for the hat that best captures the spirit of Devon. “Most Fascinating” was for the best fascinator topper. “Best Hat to Toe” was for the best overall ensemble. The grand prize ribbon was awarded for “Best in Show,” which is the hat that best incorporates the “Proper Toppers” British theme of this year’s event.


Tiffany Arey, Best in Show

Robin Sweet won “Best of Devon” for her picnic basket hat. Jasen Rhinehart, with a cream colored ensemble, and Emily Galloway, whose fascinator featured butterflies, both won “Most Fascinating.” Amy Holzapfel won “Best Hat to Toe” for her pink dress and pink hat with flowers. The grand prize winner in the “Best in Show” category was Tiffany Arey for her lavender dress and hat with flowers in shades of purple and white. “I love all of the creativity and effort everyone puts into their hats,” said Ladies’ Day Chairman Jeanne Dechiario.


Each of this year’s winners received a package from Kiehl’s, and the “Best in Show” winner also received a gift card from Uber limousine service and a package from Cartier. The Ladies’ Day Tea in the Devon Club followed the hat contest. Guests were treated to champagne, tea sandwiches, scones and other treats. The Ladies’ Day Tea was first offered last year as a way to continue the Ladies’ Day festivities.

“It’s just a great way to get gals to dress up together in the middle of the day and it’s a great Devon tradition,” said Ladies’ Day Chairman MaryKay Bergan.


In It To Win It

By Veronica J. Finkelstein


The open hunter divisions continued on Wednesday with many familiar names appearing in the jog order. The first year green hunter stake class was won by Mythical ridden by Kelley Farmer. Second went to Kingpin ridden by Amanda Steege. Another of Farmer’s mounts, Dancing Solo, rounded out the primary color ribbons in third place. Farmer has been making the most of her trip from Lane Change Farm in Kewick Virginia, riding six horses in the open hunter divisions. The first year green hunter champion was Kingpin with Mythical in reserve.


The second year green hunter stake class was won by Queen Latifa with Jamie Taylor in the irons. Queen Latifa picked up ribbons in all four over fences classes, winning each class other than the handy class where she placed third. Second in the stake class went to Fredrick ridden by Maggie Bracco. Third place was awarded to Small Celebration ridden by Taylor Adams. The second year green hunter champion was Queen Latifa with Small Celebration in reserve.


The green conformation hunter stake class could have been renamed the Kelley Farmer show. She rode all three of the top horses in this class and had a fourth mount that also finished in the ribbons. The green conformation hunter stake class was won by Quotable. Second went to Dancing Solo. Third place was awarded to Back Story. The green conformation hunter champion was Back Story with Quotable in reserve.


Leading Lady Rider, Kelly Farmer

Leading Lady Rider, Kelly Farmer


The regular conformation hunter over fences class was won by Showman ridden by Scott Stewart. Showman has made his third trip to Devon his most winning one yet, picking up ribbons in every class in this year’s division. Second went to Taken with Farmer in the irons. Third place was awarded to On Q also ridden by Farmer. The regular conformation hunter champion was Showman. Back Story was reserve in this division as well, coming in reserve overall in both conformation divisions.


The high performance hunter stake class was won by Mythical ridden by Farmer. Second went to Dedication, Stewart’s mount. Third place was awarded to Zidane ridden by Steege. The high performance hunter champion was Dedication. This marks the second year that the handsome bay has been champion at Devon. Mythical was reserve champion in this division, adding a second tricolor ribbon to the reserve champion Mythical earned in the second year green division.


When all the hunter rounds were in the books, Farmer handily emerged as the leading lady rider and overall top rider. Queen Latifa was the high point mare. Back Story was the grand hunter champion, an impressive feat for the first time competing at Devon. Only time will tell if Farmer’s winning ways will continue in Sunday’s hunter derby.


Sidesaddle: A Slice of History

By Veronica J. Finkelstein


This afternoon, Devon spectators were treated to a special slice of history as the sidesaddle riders entered the Dixon Oval. Sidesaddle riders use a special saddle and equipment that allows the rider to side sideways with both legs on one side of the horse. This type of riding is known as riding “aside.” In comparison, most contemporary riders ride with one leg on either side of the horse, or “astride.” Sidesaddle riding was invented as a necessity back in historical times when women were not permitted to wear pants and horses were a major form of transportation and recreation. Sidesaddles allowed a lady to travel and even foxhunt while still remaining modest and well-attired in a skirt.


Although skirts are no longer compulsory in our modern world, sidesaddles have continued to be a part of the show ring. Sidesaddle riders may compete, aside, in regular dressage, three-day eventing, jumper, and hunter classes against their counterparts who ride astride. Some riders, like Devon Zebrovious, not only compete in a sidesaddle but actually regularly foxhunt aside. Others horses, like Martha King’s Rockstar, compete both aside and astride, depending on the competition.


At Devon, sidesaddle riders have their own division where they are the stars. Like all hunter classes, sidesaddle classes are judged on the manners and performance of the horse. Unlike other classes, turnout is more critical. The rider may be judged on the suitability of her clothing and saddle, which are often actual antique pieces that have been preserved for decades. The judges may even peer inside her sandwich case to ensure she has an appropriate sandwich (no red meat, the scent might confuse the hounds). The type of horse is judged, as the horses in this division should be suitable for a lady to hunt to hounds. In total, not only must these horses perform on the flat and over fences but everything must be historically accurate.


Martha King on Rockstar

Martha King on Rockstar


It was an elegant day in the Dixon Oval as the sidesaddle competitors showed off their skills on the flat and over fences. The ladies sidesaddle hack was won by Pricilla Denegre on her long-time partner Garnet. This pair has won the sidesaddle hack several years running and is always a force to be reckoned with at Devon. The ladies sidesaddle over fences was won by Martha King on her horse Rockstar. Of course, since the competitors are ladies it was all “glowing,” no sweating, as they lined up for ribbons under the mid-day sun.

Devon – Busy Day in the Rain

May 30, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

High Performance Hunters Take On the Rain

By Devon Walder


As expected, this Tuesday at Devon the High Performance Hunters competed under low-lying clouds and light rain. Fortunately, the footing in the Dixon Oval stayed just dry enough for the riders to show their talent in the ring. Neither horse nor rider seemed to mind as the rain spotted hunt jackets and saddles–their eyes were set on bringing home the blue.


The high performance hunter class did not disappoint, despite less-than-desirable weather. Each rider worked in perfect tandem with their horse in a beautiful balance that demonstrated what hunter classes are all about. Teamwork proved key for competitors and their horses, keeping a smooth, even pace, and floating easily across obstacles. Kelley Farmer, riding Taken, was the picture of perfection scoring a 92.00 in her course and placing first. Scott Stewart took home second, and Kelley Farmer followed up on Mythical in third. In the handy class riders showed off their skill for seamless communication, riding bending lines and a trot fence.


Amanda Steege, on her handsome bay Majestic, earned the blue with a score of 87.00. Greg Crolick, who unfortunately went off-course in his first round hunter class, came back with second on Carson, and Hope Glynn took home third. The sky began to lighten as the riders trotted into the ring for the under saddle course, but the rain continued. Out of the nine riders in the under saddle and confirmation class, Scott Stewart riding Showman took home the blue with Kelley Farmer, on Backstory, and Matthew Jenkins on Brooklyn finishing second and third.


The High Performance Hunters put on a beautiful show this damp afternoon at Devon. The rain certainly did not bother horse or rider, and the time and patience put into practicing and training paid off for the competitors.


More Than a Jump

By Devon Walder


The jump courses at Devon are all uniquely planned by various course designers around the world. Each course brings new challenges and obstacles for horses and riders, testing competitors’ skills with every turn. Course design is more than just jump placement. Designers must understand how different obstacles will look to horses and riders, how distances between fences will change the pace, and how turns will effect the angle of the jump. Of course, the fences at Devon are always beautiful and interesting, but they all pose different problems.



There are different types of jumps, from oxers, to single fences. The oxer, for example, is a two (or three) standard fence with a spread; whereas a typical fence has only one set of standards. Lines, or a combination of more than one fence with a desired number of strides in between, come in different forms as well. There are simple lines, bounces, and triples. Riders must know their horses’ individual movements so that lines can be completed safely and accurately. Bounces, with only a landing in between two fences, have different challenges and require horses and riders to be extremely athletic. The approach to fences is also important. Coming into a single fence or line at the right angle can make all the different between a smooth, safe ride, and disaster. Turns can help riders cut down on time, decrease speed, and find the right spot to a fence.


Designing courses is no easy task, nor is riding a course. There are many different ways to take on a course, and riders’ must know their horses well to make the best, safest decisions. In the end, those winning the blue have learned how to adapt to different courses and have come out riding with confidence and strength.


Back Barn Tours Bring Spectators Behind the Scenes

By Caroline Goldstein


Devon visitors who have always wondered what takes place behind the scenes in the barns were treated to a guided tour of the back barns this Tuesday afternoon. A little rain could not stop these tour guides from giving visitors a peak into the riders’ preparation for each appearance at Devon.


The tours, which ran from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., began at the Pavilion and showed off the entire grounds. “It’s an opportunity to give visitors a behind the scenes guided tour,” said chairman Lisa Estabrook. The tour guides gave each group a bit of Devon history, walking them past the grandstands and the Dixon Oval. Then it was back to the stables, where the groups were able to meet a coachman for the Brewster Private Road Coach. Next was a stop at the equine ambulance and a walk past the Farriers. The tour concluded with a stop at the Rodney Hicks Stable, where Janet Crawford Hicks showed the visitors the different types of Hackneys in the stable and answered questions about the care and preparation required to show the ponies and horses at Devon.



The contributions from the stables are a large part of the Back Barn Tours. “I’ve been very fortunate to have individuals who are excited about the opportunity to educate guests,” Estabrook said. The Back Barn Tours originally began as tours for special groups, and then expanded to an annual event open to all visitors. “I think it adds a personal touch to it,” Maddie Small, one of the tour guides and an Event Management intern for Devon from Conestoga High School, said of the opportunity for visitors to see what it takes for the riders to compete at Devon. Estabrook also hopes that this will give visitors a way to learn more about the show and to hopefully get involved by volunteering in the future.



Classic Carriages in Open Unicorn

By Devon Walder


In the Open Unicorn class drivers brought in their teams of horses and polished carriages in a beautiful display of classic elegance. The teams consisted of three horses, one lead and two behind, all moving in step together. As they moved around the ring, the soft jingle of harnesses drowned out the rain, bringing spectators back to the days when carriage was the only form of transport. Amazingly, these graceful teams worked in unison to maneuver turns, stops, and starts, all while maintaining a calm, collected demeanor. Taking first was Werry Brewster Park Drive, driven by Glenn Werry Jr, with their team of three beautiful bays. Second was John White, and third was William Vendettia.


Equestrian Sport Productions and Wellington Classic Dressage Reach Agreement on Dates for the Future of Dressage in Wellington

May 30, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Wellington, FL – May 29, 2013 – Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) and Wellington Classic Dressage are pleased to announce that they have reached an agreement on the structure of the Dressage calendar for 2014 and beyond and will submit this to the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). Working together with the USEF and the other CDI Dressage show organizers, including IHS Palm Beach and Gold Coast Dressage, a very balanced Winter Dressage circuit has been developed that reduces the overall number of CDIs in Palm Beach County, but creates a series that will be very attractive to international riders from all over the world.


The proposal is subject to approval by the USEF, but both organizations are confident that it is in line with recent discussions between all the parties.


The proposal will utilize the Adequan Global Dressage Festival venue (The Stadium) as the main base for the international events except for the iconic Palm Beach Derby CDI-W, while other shows would continue at the Loxahatchee venue or JimBrandonEquestrianCenter.

Noreen O’Sullivan, the Manager of Wellington Classic Dressage, stated, “I am very pleased that an agreement has been reached to work together and I know that the sport of Dressage can really grow and reach the level it deserves by utilizing the fantastic facilities at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.”


Mark Bellissimo, CEO of ESP, agreed, “I am delighted with the outcome; this is a great step forward and is proof that groups working together despite prior differences are much more powerful than continued opposition. We can now give Wellington a world-class circuit at a world-class venue and that is only to the benefit of both the Dressage and non-equestrian communities in our great Village.”


Michael Stone, President of ESP, stressed that the agreement was subject to USEF approval, but following recent meetings with the USEF and the various CDI organizers, he stated, “I am confident that our proposal will be well received and is in the best interest of the sport. However, out of respect to the decision-making process of the USEF, the full details of the proposal cannot be released until we have received the formal approval.”


Please visit or call 561-793-5867 for more information.


Christine McCrea Doubles Down and Wins $50,000 EMO Grand Prix, Presented by Zoetis, at HITS Saugerties

May 29, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

SAUGERTIES, NY (May 27, 2013) – Christine McCrea finished the first week of spring competition at HITS Saugerties with a hot hand. After piloting Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables’ Avenir to the blue in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, McCrea rose to the occasion again for Sunday’s $50,000 EMO Grand Prix and cashed another winner’s check.McCrea was the only rider to end the day with a double-clear effort.

“I think I have found my new favorite course designer,” said McCrea with a smile after the class. Marina Azevedo of Campinas, Brazil set the courses in the Strongid© C 2X Grand Prix Stadium this week, and admits that she attempted to make the tracks welcoming in the beginning of the season, but included some testing elements. “She uses the ground so well,” added McCrea.

Azevedo set a 13-element course with 16 jumping efforts on Sunday, including a scopey triple at fence six and a double at fence nine. She also recycled a technical skinny vertical from Friday as the third-to-final fence.

The scopey, technical track made for a nail-biting first half. The crowd that gathered on the berms of the Strongid© C 2X Grand Prix Stadium waited nine trips before seeing the first clear round of the day. Peter Wylde of Wellington, Florida was the first to crack Azevedo’s code in Friday’s $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix and got it done again on Sunday with Societe Cirile de Necurie de Meautry’s Lewin 5.

McCrea was quick to secure a jump-off in the next trip to later be joined by Margie Engle of Wellington, Florida on Gladewinds Farm, Inc.’s Indigo and Candice King, also hailing from Wellington, Florida, aboard Stateside Farm, LLC’s Campbell VDL.

Wylde returned first in the jump-off and had the makings of a winning ride until a heart-breaking rail fell at the final fence, a wide oxer as he galloped home and ultimately landed him and Lewin 5 in third. McCrea returned next and set a blazing Great American Time To Beat at 37.66 seconds. While she was the only rider to go clear in the jump-off, her time also went untouched.

Engle and Indigo were third to return for the short course and were in prime position to beat the clock, but picked up four faults with a rail at the fourth jump. King and Campbell VDL batted clean-up in the jump-off and were on track to a clear round before the final oxer reared its ugly head again and handed her four faults. Engle landed second, while King finished fourth.

The fastest of the four-fault rounds over the original course, Kevin Babington of Keene, Kentucky rode his own Mark Q to fifth.

Considering some wet weather earlier in the weekend, McCrea was both pleased and surprised at how well her Sunday went. “I was so impressed with how the footing handled the rain – it really came down yesterday, but the footing was practically dry out there today,” she said. “I was only able to get Avenir out for about 20 minutes yesterday and an hour this morning and he often doesn’t listen when he is fresh. Surprisingly, he didn’t get flustered and I was able to control him really well.”

Grand prix competition continues next week at HITS-on-the-Hudson with the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, on Friday and the $75,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, on Sunday. Qualifying for September’s Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix has begun to reach its pinnacle as the HITS Saugerties circuit will feature two weekly qualifying opportunities in the first seven weeks of the circuit with one final Wild Card class on the Friday before the Zoetis Million. Follow all the qualifying action at


©ESI Photography
Christine McCrea and Avenir on their way to a two-for-two weekend at HITS Saugerties.

©ESI Photography
Christine McCrea receives winning honors from HITS’ Chris Mayone and Tony Hitchcock.


$10,000 Marshall & Sterling Insurance Child/Adult Jumper Classic
No stranger to Marshall & Sterling Jumper Classic success, Alissa Kinsey of Danville, New Hampshire rode her own Grisset to top honors in Saturday’s $10,000 offering. She was the best of 26 who showed over the 1.10m course.

Kinsey was one of six to advance to the jump-off, which came down to raw speed. Five of the six were double clear, but Kinsey was the fastest by over two seconds. She posted a time of 28.98 seconds.

Behind her in second was Angelena DaPrato of Annandale, New Jersey, who rode her own Red Bull to a final time of 30.79 seconds. Tammy Kelly of Long Valley, New Jersey and Kimberly Seay’s Belvedere were third in a time of 33.60 seconds. Rounding out the top five was Mackenzie Burns of Blairstown, New Jersey on her own Zaloubet Zaffiro in fourth and Lisbeth Hume of Nanuet, New York in the irons of her own Sonny in fifth. Burns posted a time of 35.36 seconds, while Lisbeth rode to 35.51 seconds.

©ESI Photography
Alissa Kinsey and Grisset jump to a win in the $10,000 M&S Child/Adult Jumper Classic.


$50,000 EMO Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis

Place Horse                Owner                          Rider Prize $ Rd 1 Faults JO Faults JO Time
1 Avenir Candy Tribble & Windsor Show Stables, Inc. Christine McCrea $15,000 0 0 37.66
2 Indigo Gladewinds Farm, Inc. Margie Engle $11,000 0 4 38.19
3 Lewin 5 Societe Cirile de Necurie de Meautry Peter Wylde $6,500 0 4 38.56
4 Campbell VDL Stateside Farm, LLC Candice King $4,000 0 4 40.36
5 Mark Q Kevin Babington Kevin Babington $3,000 4
6 Sil Group C, LLC Geoffery Case $2,500 4
7 Evening Star Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Caristo Heather Caristo-Williams $2,000 4
8 Quality Girl Todd Minikus, Ltd. Todd Minikus $1,500 4
9 Zephyr Michael Dorman & Wyndmont, Inc. Michael Dorman $1,500 4
10 Olympic De Chamant Sagamore Farm Jonathan Corrigan $1,000 4
11 Celena Z Elm Rock, LLC/Ashland Farms Margie Engle $1,000 8
12 Leander Honorway Farm, LLC Leann Kelly $1,000 8
About HITS, Inc.
HITS, Inc. produces high-quality, international-level hunter/jumper horse shows. Based in upstate New York in the village of Saugerties, HITS has been producing shows since 1982 and is now a nationwide company with world-class circuits in California, Florida, Arizona, New York and Virginia. In 2010, HITS took the industry to new heights when it hosted the first-ever Pfizer $1 Million Grand Prix – now the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix. In 2011, HITS hosted the richest weekend in show jumping with the return of the Pfizer Million and the introduction of the Diamond Mills $500,000 Hunter Prix Final. In 2012, the historic weekend got even sweeter with the addition of the HITS$250,000 HITS Hunter Prix Final. This year, HITS will host a second $1 million class with the AIG Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS Thermal.
For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit Stay connected with HITS, join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!Media should contact the HITS Media Team at 845.246.8833 or e-mail

Degele Qualifies Two Young Horses at Gold Coast May Show

May 28, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Loxahatchee, FL (May 28, 2013) – “I love when horses want to overachieve,” says USDF Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist, Heidi Degele, of Mesa Farms in Loxahatchee, about qualifying Young Horse division candidates, Lakota and Don Fredo HD.  Both are now also both qualified for the USDF Region 3 championships in Georgia after strong finishes at Gold Coast Dressage May show.

“Lakota got 67% in Prix St. Georges to finish second and won his first Intermediaire I with a 67%. He had a few minor mistakes but I am so proud. He officially qualified at Prix St Georges for Regionals,” said Degele.  “Don Fredo got 73% in his Six Year-Old class and qualified for Regionals at Third Level.”

Degele has kept her trainer’s eye on the prize this so-far epic 2013 US dressage season, seeking to qualify for the Markel/USEF National and Developing Championships, August 21-25, in Wayne, IL.  Since the season began, and especially after dynamic showings on the Welcome Back White Fences series, Degele and her horses have kept hitting their stride.

Heidi Degele and Lakota

Heidi Degele and Lakota


Don Fredo HD (Don Frederico x Pik Bube I) owned by Greystone Equestrian LLC and Heidi Degele, and one of the top-ranked horses on the Markel/USEF National Young Horse Dressage Rankings, had the highest score at White Fences IV, earning 82% in front of judges for the Six Year-Old Horse test: “The ride was almost flawless. I went down center line thinking I was not going to let the judges have anything to comment on and it worked!  They complimented me for bringing Don Fredo HD, concluding that they see him as a future CDI horse.”

She credited recent CDI 5* winner, Lars Peterson, as motivation. “I kept telling myself, ‘Ride like Lars.’  Give it your all. It was my highest score ever.”

Another Mesa Farms LLC star is the eight-year-old American Warmblood, Lakota. “I believe in this horse. I have had him since he was a green three year-old. My goal was to qualify for the Chicago Young Horse Championships and we’ve done that.  He has more heart than any horse I’ve ever ridden.”

“I am proud of both horses and so excited for their futures,” said Degele, who finetunes her skills through regular training with Peterson, and clinics with international masters such as Hubertus Schmidt, Steffen Peters and Conrad Schumacher. Degele trained under Schmidt for three (2004-2007) years in Germany with her stallion, Ramiros, and under his tutelage, brought Everybody’s Darling, a Third Level mare purchased while she was in Germany, through Grand Prix to get her USDF Gold medal.

Mesa Farms is a year-round training facility where adult amateurs can bring horses for training in the best German and American dressage foundations. Degele is also available for individualized training, sales and clinics.   For more information on Degele and Mesa Farms, please visit

Retired Racehorse Chases TAKE2 Championship

May 28, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

The TAKE2 Hunter Champion at the St. Christopher’s Horse Show in Pennsylvania earlier this month was, fittingly, the Pennsylvania-bred “Felton.” Owned by Jean Bickley, bred by Bickley’s Olney Stable and trained by Bickley’s good friend Bernie Houghton, the dark bay gelding made all four career starts at Philadelphia Park, now known as Parx Racing. He was not a success on the track, earning just $705 in purses, but will more than double that tally if he can land year-end honors as the TAKE2 High-Point Hunter.

The TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program’s 2013 schedule includes 50 A- and AA-rated horse shows in 17 states, with hunter and jumper classes open to raced and unraced Thoroughbreds eligible to be registered with The Jockey Club. The TAKE2 Hunter and TAKE2 Jumper accumulating the most points this year will each receive an award of $1,500 and a TAKE2 cooler.

With more than half of the shows still to go, Bay Breeze, owned by Reese Bobo and ridden by Winn Alden, leads the TAKE2 Hunter standings with 373 points. The leading Jumper with 55 points is Sterling, owned by Megan Northrop and ridden by Debbie Stephens (click here for the complete standings through May 15). Felton sits in seventh on the TAKE2 Hunter board with 232 points, but his owner has set her sights on the top spot.

“My trainer, T. Whitehead, told me I should have a goal,” Bickley explained. “When I heard about the TAKE2 Year-End Championship, I thought, ‘This is something I can do.’ The classes are being held at shows I already planned to attend, so it’s an attainable goal and, having spent years working on the racetrack in New York, this program is especially meaningful to me.”

TAKE2, in its second year, was created by the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, New York Racing Association and New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. to promote second careers for retired Thoroughbred racehorses.

“Thoroughbreds have a hard time competing against the Warm Bloods, that’s been a problem in the show horse world for years,” Bickley said. “They are like apples and oranges, very different, but programs like TAKE2 offer Thoroughbreds a place to be competitive and a chance to shine on their own.”

The TAKE2 hunter and jumper classes are sponsored by horsemen’s groups around the country, with the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and their Turning For Home Racehorse Retirement Program stepping up to fund the prize money at St. Christopher’s. Turning For Home, established in 2008, has found new homes for more than 700 Thoroughbreds.

“Turning For Home is proud to have sponsored the St. Christopher show and the NYTHA’s TAKE2 program,” said PTHA Executive Director Mike Ballezzi. “The resurgence of the popularity of Thoroughbreds in disciplines other than racing is so important to retirement programs like the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s TFH and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s TAKE THE LEAD. It tells people what we at the racetracks already know–Thoroughbreds have the heart and athleticism to do it all!”

Felton and Jean Bickley.

Felton and Jean Bickley.

Bickley applauds the efforts of organizations like Turning For Home and TAKE THE LEAD.

“I think anybody who is willing to take the time and make the effort to find new homes and new purposes for retired racehorses is to be commended,” she said. “Thanks to Turning For Home, TAKE THE LEAD and the other aftercare programs, and to TAKE2, the number of second career opportunities for Thoroughbreds is on the upswing, and that’s how it should be.”

Bickley has long had an appreciation for the Thoroughbred. A native of Connecticut, she was the captain of the Equestrian Team while studying at Skidmore College in upstate New York, and was offered the chance to exercise racehorses after she graduated. Bickley spent eight years as a full-time exercise rider before taking a job with Peter Brant, initially managing his racing and breeding interests, and currently working as his personal assistant.

“I’ve worked for him for 26 years, and, being a horseman, Peter fully supports my equestrian pursuits,” she said.

She found herself in the breeding business after being given an unraced Thoroughbred, an 18.3-hand giant by Slew o’Gold, by Joe Allen in 1995, then seeing the horse’s sister, Tanta Bertie, in a sales catalogue.

“I thought it would be fun, and it was something I could do with my Dad when he retired,” Bickley said of her bloodstock venture.

Felton (her dad’s middle name) was the second foal out of Tanta Bertie. He was sold as a show horse prospect after his failed racing career, but Bickley bought him back three years ago. While professionals T. Whitehead, Shawn Casady or Susan Sisco are most often in the saddle, she sometimes guides her budding star around the hunt course at the shows. Why does she still gravitate toward Thoroughbreds?

Jean Bickley as an exercise rider in Saratoga.

Jean Bickley as an exercise rider in Saratoga.

“Thoroughbreds are multi-purpose and useful and fun,” she remarked. “They are alive and, for the most part, brave, and they are quirky—it’s fun to figure them out. The great ones really are great, and I like the challenge.”

As much as she has enjoyed owning and riding Thoroughbred hunters over the years, Bickley admitted to a level of frustration in the past. “You spend tons of money to go to a show, but because the Warm Bloods are favored, you go home with nothing, not even a ribbon, unless the judge is a good old-time or progressive horseman,” she said. “TAKE2 has changed that. The prize money is insane—you can earn more sometimes than the horses in the fancy classes. [Sue Sisco] called me after the St. Christopher’s show and said, ‘When was the last time a show ended up owing YOU money?’ I think it’s great.”

Felton will head next to the Skidmore College Saratoga Classic Horse Show June 11-16 and June 19-23, and then travel to the Vermont Summer Festival in July. For the complete TAKE2 schedule, go to

Click here for more information on TAKE2 and TAKE THE LEAD.

Click here for more information on the Turning For Home Racehorse Retirement Program.

Devon – Carriage Pleasure Drive

May 28, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

What a Pleasure

By Veronica J. Finkelstein 


This year’s slogan could have been “keep calm, and drive on.”  This year, unfortunately, the weather was not entirely conducive to a traditional Devon pleasure drive. Typically the carriage drive begins in the fields at St. David’s church before traversing a four and a half mile path through the residential neighborhoods with judging in the Dixon Oval concluding the event.  Due to unusual inclement weather, including significant rain, this year’s pleasure drive began at 11:30am in the Dixon Oval.  The carriages then took a modified route before returning for awards in the Dixon Oval around 2:00pm.


If the weather dampened anyone’s spirits, you wouldn’t have known it from the glorious turnout and performances from the competitors.  This event has always been one of the highlights of the show.  No wonder, back when the show first began in 1896, carriages were how most spectators traveled to the show.  They have been a fundamental part of what makes Devon so special throughout the evolution of the show.


Competitors on the pleasure drive are judged in various ways.  Along the way, they are judged by a series of road judges who watch the horses as they perform.  Drivers who fail to obey road signs and horses that show a lack of obedience are penalized.  Once the carriages enter the Dixon Oval, they are judged on turnout and appearance.  The judges check each carriage to see if it has all the proper “appointments,” or accessories.  The horses are judged on whether they are an appropriate breed and type for the specific carriage to which they are hitched.  The attire of those on the carriage is judged.  Finally, overall cleanliness and attention-to-detail are considered.


This year’s Pleasure Carriage Drive was won by John White’s Road Coach, also winning the Four-In-Hand.  It may have been an atypical drive, but this team was more than up to the task.  It was all smiles during the awards ceremony, with not a hint of any of the earlier rain.


Other Pleasure Drive winners:

Horse, Single Harness, Two Wheel: Gail Aumiller

Horse, Single Harness, Four Wheel: Bernard and Lore Homer

Horse, Double Harness, Pairs/Tandems: Mr. & Mrs. Richard O’Donnell

Pony, Single Harness, Two Wheel: Lisa Koehler

Pony, Single Harness, Four Wheel: Tara Miliziano-Crowley

Pony, Double Harness, Pairs/Tandems: Mary Stokes Waller

Light Commercial and Farmer: Roberta Odell



What’s in a Name?

By Veronica J. Finkelstein


For some Devon Horse Show spectators and competitors, Devon is a family tradition.  Take, for example, Shelly Leber who stopped to chat as she and her daughter Aerayelle strolled the Country Fair.  Shelly explained that her grandmother, Doris Mae Taubel, had been a champion at Devon with Doris’ saddlebred “Jeff.”  Doris went on to name her son Jeff, after her winning horse.  In return, Jeff named Shelly’s brother “Devon” in honor of Doris’ favorite horse show.  Although Shelly didn’t get the Devon name, she certainly got the Devon bug.  Not only did she show at Devon but Aerayelle continued the tradition in the leadline classes when she was younger.



 The family trend in leadline classes continues today.  Many children who show in Devon’s leadline class have relatives who have taken a turn around the Dixon Oval themselves.  Louise Serio, frequent recipient of the Leading Lady Rider award at Devon led her granddaughter Mary Jo to leadline champion in 2012.  This year one of two leadline classes was won by Riley Hendricks, the son of professional trainer Troy Hendricks.  Troy has shown across the country but recently returned to his ChesterCounty roots.

Another beneficiary of the Devon tradition is Devon Walder.  She was named after the show by her mother, Cindy, who always loved horses and hoped her daughter would share that love.  At the time, Devon was an uncommon name and Cindy thought it was pretty.  Cindy’s wish came true.  Devon not only grew up horse-crazy but eventually found her own niche at the Devon Horse Show.  This recent graduate of RowanUniversity is serving as one of the writers of the Devon newsletter.  She’s introducing all her favorite Devon traditions, like tea sandwiches, to her boyfriend Lyle Zanca.




Behind the Lemon Stick

By Caroline Goldstein


A visit to the Candy Booth has been a longtime Devon tradition for both young and old, and the Candy Booth chairmen prepare accordingly.  This year, they ordered 425 pounds of candy, 1500 pounds of fresh made Devon fudge and 7300 lemon sticks.


These numbers seem large, but the chairmen know there are ofte n sellouts – especially of the fresh made Devon fudge.  The 1500 pounds of Devon fudge generally sells out after Grand Prix on Thursday, and those who cannot go without their Devon fudge should come early, said chairman Sherri Gartner.

The fudge making starts in April, and most of the fudge is made by the chairmen, using the traditional Devon recipe, right here on the Devon grounds.  The preparation of the bulk and novelty candy also starts in April.  The chairmen make a trip up to Meyerstown, PA to Smith’s Candies to select the candy for the booth.

“We’re all like kids in a candy store,” Gartner said.  “It’s a fun day.”


In addition to the bulk candy, they also choose 75 novelty items, including Rock Candy, Nik-L-Nips and Candy Buttons.  Many Devon visitors come each year to stock up on the candies they grew up with, which can be hard to find in some stores.

The chairmen then need three cars to transport all the candy back to Devon.  Once they are back, they begin separating the 425 pounds of bulk candy into 4-ounce bags, creating 1700 bags of candy to sell during Devon Week.


The booth is staffed by volunteers of all ages, including those as young as 12-years-old, who can volunteer along with a parent.  This contributes to the “family atmosphere” at the Candy Booth, Gartner said.  Many of the volunteers return year after year.

Be sure to stop by the Candy Booth to get all of the Devon specialties before they’re gone!

Devon – Juniors Wrap It Up

May 27, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Alert: Carriage Pleasure Drive Change, Sunday, May 26


Due to inclement conditions, management has decided to start the Pleasure Drive from the Dixon Oval at the Horse Show grounds. Class judging will commence at 11:30am in the Dixon Oval and the Final judging and awards will take place (as scheduled in the Dixon Oval) beginning at approximately 1:45pm.

Sunday Schooling Update: Hunter/Jumper schooling will end at 11:15 am in the Dixon Oval and 12 noon in the Gold Ring.



Juniors Rule the Day and Night

By Veronica J. Finkelstein and Mimi Killian


Everywhere you looked, riders under the age of 18, known as “juniors,” were collecting ribbons today at Devon.  The morning kicked off with handy hunter classes.  Like all junior hunter classes at Devon the horses in this division were divided into different sections.  The first division is by height.  Large hunters are 16 hands and over and small hunters are under 16 hands.  The second division is by age, with competitors 15 and under in a separate section from those who are ages 16 and 17.


Today’s classes were handy hunter classes.  In a handy class, the course diverges from the more straightforward path seen in typical hunter classes.  The horses tackle a series of jumps that require tighter turns and more ingenuity.  These classes really allow the horse to shine and showcase a horse with a lot of “scope” or athletic ability.


   Grand Junior Hunter Champ, Lillie Keenan and Walk The Line

Grand Junior Hunter Champ, Lillie Keenan and Walk The Line

Lillie Keenan was hard to beat in the older small junior handy class.  She took home first on Chromeo and second on Parkland.  Picking up third was veteran competitor Lyle piloted by Taylor Sutton.  If Lillie was the queen of the olders, Tori Colvin was the queen of the juniors.  She rode to first place in the small junior handy class with Betsee Parker’s Ovation and second with Parker’s Canadian Blue.  The yellow ribbon went to Genuine ridden by Lili Hymowitz.


In the older large junior handy class, Lillie’s mount again jogged on top.  This time, the blue ribbon went to Walk the Line with Capstone, ridden by Sydney Shulman, in second.  Third place was awarded to another of Lillie’s mounts, Donato.  Not to be bested, Tori was back for more winning in the younger large junior handy class.  She was first on Parker’s Inclusive and second on Parker’s Way Cool.  Maddie Darst finished third on Lightning Z.  When all was said and done, Tori and Lillie ruled the day with Tori taking Best Child Rider on a Horse, and Lillie’s mount, Walk the Line, taking Grand Junior Hunter Champion.

Tori Colvin and Don Juan

Tori Colvin and Don Juan

Moving into the evening’s Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classic, the Junior Jumpers did not disappoint with some truly exciting rides. At the end of the day, Tori Colvin clinched her reign as as Devon’s top Junior Jumper for the second year in a row taking the Junior Jumper Championship on Don Juan, and Leading Junior Jumper Rider. Gabrielle Bausano took second on Ubico H, with Kalvin Dobbs coming in third on Winde.



Creating a Champion One Breakfast at a Time

By Veronica J. Finkelstein


Liza Boyd is no stranger to the Devon Horse Show.  Neither is one of her well known mounts, Casallo.  Not only has he frequently ribboned at the Devon Horse Show but Liza won the Grand Champion Professional Hunter title at the Alltech National Horse Show on him.  Now the dapple gray is turning his pursuits to another division– the junior hunter division with Erin McGuire.  He’s already earned numerous ribbons this year at Devon with Erin in the irons.

Liza Boyd on Casallo

Liza Boyd on Casallo


Liza knows Casallo well enough to know exactly how to prepare him for the unique challenges of the show.  As she explains “Devon is known for its open lines,” so Liza makes sure to prepare Casallo to maintain an active pace.  She works on a lot of counter canter, galloping, and rideability before the show.  Luckily, Liza and Erin like Casallo to be prepared the same way-quiet but not tired.  They love how Casallo feels when he’s fresh and bright enough to jump at his best.

Casallo also knows what kind of preparation he likes.  He prefers what Liza calls the “breakfast of champions.”  Instead of eating his grain in a bucket in his stall before schooling, Casallo goes into the ring at the show and is schooled.  If Liza anticipates anything will be spooky or off-putting for Casallo, she has grooms standing nearby with grain.  When Casallo approaches the spooky obstacle or corner of the ring, he gets a handful of grain as positive reinforcement.  Casallo has learned to enjoy this routine.


Now that Liza has turned over the reins to Erin, she can spend some time on herself at Devon.  When asked what she’s planning to do, Liza admits that she’s already done “plenty of shopping” for her daughter Elle.  She doesn’t plan, however, to take a turn on the Ferris wheel.  Looks like Elle will have some convincing to do once she’s old enough to show at Devon!






Pony Hunters: Small, Medium and Large


 Daisy Farish

Daisy Farish


The Gold Ring was alive with action as the sun finally came out at Devon and the Pony Hunters took to the ring.  When the results were in, Mimi Gochman on Rafael took the tri-color for Small Pony Hunter. Daisy Farish and Sassafras Creek were Medium Pony Hunter Champion. Happily Ever Laughter and Ashton Alexander had a huge day taking Large Pony Hunter Champion, Devon Grand Pony Hunter and Best Child Rider on a Pony.  After the Pony Hunters wrapped up, the ever entertaining Pony Hunt Teams took to the ring to the delight of a huge crowd, five deep at the rail in places.  See the side bar for photos.

   Mimi Gochman on Rafael

Mimi Gochman on Rafael

 Ashton Alexander and Happily Ever Laughter

Ashton Alexander and Happily Ever Laughter





Devon – Day 2

May 26, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Chilling Out in the Junior Under Saddle

By Devon Walder


On a cold spring night, May 24, Devon day two began the evening with spectators huddled under their jackets for warmth. These past two days have been filled with challenging weather, but Devon fans certainly don’t let that stop them. The riders were showing in full force, dressed elegantly in their hunt jackets and breeches for the large and small junior classes. Following the over fences portion, the under saddle took place as the sun set and the lights bathed the arena in a fluorescent glow.


In the first under saddle, seventeen horses competed for the blue. Bergen Sanderford, number 450, riding Happenstance placed first, with Courtney Butz in second and Katherine Strauss in third. In the second under saddle section, 17 riders again took to the ring with Tayor Willever, number 165, riding Eloquence, took home the blue. Taylor Sutton placed second, and Erin Mcguire went home in third. Section three had a class of 20 and number 641, Victoria Colvin, riding Ovation, went home with the blue after a successful night over fences.Sarah Clifton-Yandell, number 150 placed second and Victoria Colvin, this time number 642, took third. Wrapping up the last section of the under saddle was a class of 14. Reid Patton, number 505, went home first on Lennon. Lillie Keenan, 1082 took home the red and Gabriella Hurtado placed third.



Reid Patton on Lennon

Reid Patton on Lennon


As the under saddle riders trotted out of the ring, spectators prepared themselves for the junior jumpers gambler’s choice. More excitement to follow!



Junior Gambler’s Choice Concludes Night Two

By Devon Walder


Night two of Devon raced to a close with the Junior Jumper Gambler’s Choice. The riders put up a fierce fight for first, battling winds and cold air as they maneuvered their horses through the course. The crowd braved the cold as well, lining the stands and fence seating, eager to watch the young riders compete for the prize.




Lillie Keenan Takes Blue on Vanhattan

Lillie Keenan Takes Blue on Vanhattan


After an intense night of strong riding,Lillie Keenan,took home first riding Vanhattan. Following up in second with the red was Katherine Strauss on Chellando Z, with Kalvin Dobbs taking third aboard Winde.




Kalvin Dobbs on Winde

Kalvin Dobbs on Winde


After rain yesterday and cold weather today, Devon 2013 competitors and spectators can handle almost anything. Let’s keep hoping for sun and warmer temperatures tomorrow!




Alert: Carriage Pleasure Drive Change, Sunday, May 26


Due to inclement conditions, management has decided to start the Pleasure Drive from the Dixon Oval at the Horse Show grounds. Class judging will commence at 11:30am in the Dixon Oval and the Final judging and awards will take place (as scheduled in the Dixon Oval) beginning at approximately 1:45pm.


Sunday Schooling Update: Hunter/Jumper schooling will end at 11:15 am in the Dixon Oval and 12 noon in the Gold Ring.