The final Sunday of Devon finished with one single class in the Dixon Oval and that was the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby. Amateurs, Juniors, and Professionals all show head to head and the stands are busy and the crowd is filled with many smiling children. The Derby had 30 in it this year and was a good class, with lots of options.
The winner was Tori Colvin on Inclusive owned by Dr. Betsee Parker. Tori is still a junior but outrides most if not all of the professionals. My favorite thing about her is that she is always calm, smiling, and very aware of how to get the best of the horse she is on. I also admire that after winning the Derby she walked out of the ring and instead of waiting for all of her fans to congratulate her, she went back to the warm up and jumped three more trot jumps because she hadn’t gotten the trot jump just as she had wanted in the ring. She did it three times perfectly so her horse could leave with that in its head. My horses were great and both of my mounts finished in the top ten with SVS Caramunde Z in 4th and Woodstock in 8th.
The energy at Devon is like nothing I see at any other horse show in the country. People watch both the hunters and jumpers and there are a lot of fans both horsey and non-horsey. The biggest owners, trainers, riders, and locals come to watch. They sit down in the stands with a tea sandwich and get to enjoy watching some of the finest horses and riders in the country and enjoy the sport. At most horse shows we run from ring to ring with juniors, ponies, and amateurs all showing in 5+ different rings. Devon is special. It is the special horse at that special moment that we all came to see and be involved in. I definitely think my horses jumped their best here in the Dixon Oval as the crowd, the waving of the flags, and the carnival noise lights them up a bit. My students Erin Bland and Eleanor Hellman both had great weeks; Eleanor won a class on Woodstock and was Reserve Champion in the Low A/O Hunters and Erin Bland jogged in all the A/O hunters and was 2nd in the A/O Hunter Stake.
have lots of great moments I will remember about my first time at Devon, such as the pomp and circumstance of the presentations, the ladies’ hats, the men’s tweed jackets, the tea sandwiches, the secret room under the grandstands that has amazing food and beverages, my inability to win a prize at the carnival next to all the children, and the amazing group of horses and riders that compete here.
My best memory came on Sunday when I was leaving the walk for the handy and walked over to get a bottle of water amidst the crowd, and little six year old Emmie who lived in Devon, with her cute blue pinstriped hat and dress, looked up and said “look mommy she’s a rider!” The twenty kids around her were all curious and wanted to talk to me about my horse, what carrots he liked, etc. At the end of the victory gallop we all ride to the side of the ring and let the kids and parents pet the horses. They are all finely dressed and in love with you and your horse. Emmie ran over to the side I was on to pet “Mickey” SVS Caramunde Z and take a photo with him. I asked her if she wanted to come back to the barn and feed Mickey a treat but her mom said she had just finished her second chemotherapy treatment for leukemia and she had to go home or she would be too tired. All she had wanted to do that year was to look forward to coming to the Devon Horse Show. I sent her home with my fourth place ribbon and a huge smile on her face. That was my best moment.