Opening Day in the Dixon Oval
The opening day of Devon started out brilliantly in the Dixon Oval as the WIHS Equitation Classic- Jumper Phase got underway, with over 120 riders making the competition nothing but arduous. With a double and triple thrown into the mix, and an allowance of 81 seconds to complete the 3’6” course, this challenge set the standards for the junior jumpers.
The WIHS is divided into four sections and had strong riders in each setting the bar high for scores. The highest open numerical score was set by Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL who rode VIP Z to the score to beat of 91, and won the first of the four sections, Colvin had a fluid and flawless ride. A spectator commented as the section continued, “She’ll win, she’ll stay on top,” and she most certainly did. Junior jumper Meg O’Mara of Rumson, NJ brought in the blue in the second section of WIHS atop Fernleigh in a flawless round with acute accuracy giving her a score of 90 finishing in a clean 68.778 seconds. Continuing on to the third section of the first junior jumper class of the day, Elizabeth Benson of Whitehouse Station, NJ and trained by Stacia Madden put up a clean score of 89 on San Remo VDL for the win. In the fourth and final section of the WIHS Equitation Classic- Jumper Phase, a mere point put Schaefer Raposa of Wellington, FL riding Charlie Z. with a score of 87 safely ahead of Julia Fowler’s 86.
A long list of robust junior equestrian athletes commanded all attention in the Dixon Oval during the WIHS Equitation Classic sponsored by Turner Investments and set high expectations for Junior Weekend.
Lillie Keenan Takes the Honey Craven
The Platinum Performance USEF Show Jumping Talent Search began relatively on time, right on the heels of the WIHS Jumper Phase. Though the introduction of the open water for the USEF Talent Search found a few unprepared, the course rode well. Towards the end of Section A, during Geoffrey Hesslink’s round it began to rain. He entered the ring dry and left it drenched. Following the deluge, the last few rounds led into the flat phase, with 11 riders called back to be tested on the flat. Charlotte Jacobs (first) and Michael Murphy (second) topped Section A. Lauren Tyree took third place. Ms. Jacobs accepted her awards with smiles and gratitude. The afternoon warmed as the sun came out and Section B progressed. Lillie Keenan topped Section B, stood out in her green coat and gave her mount praise as she exited with her awards. Shawn Casady took second. Catherine Tyree finished in third. As the afternoon waned Section C began with many rails down and tired horses. 11 riders advanced to the Section C flat phase with Michael Hughes finishing first, Diederique Van Der Knapp in second and Abigail Mc Ardle in third. Michael Hughes won the Honey Craven Perpetual Memorial Trophy last year and this year Section B winner Lillie Keenan takes it home.
Junior Jumpers Strive for Medal
As the WIHS Equitation Classic came to a close at noon-time in the Dixon Oval, numerous flawless and concise rounds were just getting started in the Gold Ring. The Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Class, open to Junior Active Members of the Federation and the USHJA who are under 18, is a course of no less than eight obstacles at 3’6”. The course must include one combination, including an oxer, and two changes of direction after the beginning obstacle. The chosen top riders in each class proceed to the testing round where they vie for the win.
With a large competitor list of about 160 riders, accuracy and timing were of the utmost importance to finish strong and on top. The first section was comprised of nearly all of the riders from the early morning class in the Dixon Oval, including the first place finisher of the WIHS Equitation Classic-Jumper Phase, Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee Florida on VIP Z. Colvin once again came out with a clean, precise ride deserving the first place win for a second time. Although the sudden torrential downpour put a damper on Section B of the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Class, it surely didn’t stop Chloe Schmidt of Ridgefield, CT on Coasting from winning her section with an impeccable, faultless ride. Charlotte Jacobs of Wellington, FL took the win in the third section riding the big bay Stallone VDL of North Star with a solid performance and clean course.
All competitors in the Pessoa/USEF Hunter Seat Medal Class made great rounds in the Gold Ring vying for a spot in the top 10 against the lengthy list of competitors in each section. The three riders who came out on top earned their spots with their resilient, seamless rides, and will undoubtedly give great performances the rest of the weekend.