Devon, Pa. – May 25, 2018 – The second day of Devon Junior Weekend brought top junior riders together for another chance to claim winning prizes and carve their names into Devon history. This year, it was 15-year-old Elli Yeager who secured first place honors in Section C of the ASPCA Maclay and was awarded the prestigious R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship High Point Award trophy 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 and Hillside Farm LLC’s Class Action taking the win in Section A, Tanner Korotkin earning the title in Section B aboard Missy Clark’s Zapfier, and Section C honors being awarded to Elli Yeager riding her own Copperfield 39.
Course designer Allen Rheinheimer utilized natural hunter fences to build a technical course featuring tight turns, a broken line and a double combination going towards the Wheeler Ring. While parts of the course proved difficult for some riders, Yeager executed a flawless trip in the ASPCA Maclay on her seasoned equitation partner.
The 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding navigated the track with ease, and the solid partnership between horse and rider was obvious. 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. In addition to her win in the ASPCA Maclay, she also topped her section of the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search.
Judges Timmy Kees and Brian Lenehan awarded Yeager with a second place prize in her respective section of the Washington Equitation Jumper phase and a third place ribbon in her section of the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal. These top placings put 23 points to Yeager’s name, which earned her the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship High Point Award trophy. 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 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 from her hometown of Westlake Village, California to New York with her father. This allows her to be closer to her horses and train more frequently at Beacon Hill Show Stables in Colts Neck, New Jersey.
The well-spoken young rider also balances a demanding school schedule with her riding endeavors. She is currently a student at Laurel Springs online school.
In Section A of the ASPCA Maclay, Yeager’s barn mate Coco Fath was able to celebrate her final year at Devon after nailing the course and riding to a win with well-known equitation horse, Class Action. She will switch gears to the jumper ring next as she heads to Langley, British Columbia to compete in the Thunderbird Nation’s Cup competition. After a break this summer, Class Action will return to show at the Hampton Classic Horse Show with Fath in August.
Tanner Korotkin pulled off a stellar course in Section C and advanced to the flat phase to earn his spot in the winner’s circle aboard Zapfier to make trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan and the rest of the team at North Run proud.
Competition will resume on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. with the handy phase of sections of the Small and Large Junior Hunters, followed by Pony Jumpers, the ever-popular Leadline classes and more Junior Hunter action and awards prior to the night’s feature event, the $20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Classic, which will kick off at 7 p.m.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Elli Yeager – ASPCA Maclay Section C and R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship Winner
On her riding schedule:
“I try to get out as much as I can. 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.”
On her expectations going into Devon:
“I came off of Old Salem very confident with him, but I didn’t want to get too excited. 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.”
On her other mounts:
“I recently got a new jumper and just moved up to the Highs on her. She was my really good friend’s horse and I have watched her go a lot. I was happy to sort of keep her in the family. I have two jumpers, another one that does the 1.30m.”
Stacia Madden – Trainer of Elli Yeager
On the format of the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship:
“I knew that they’d change the format to go back to points instead of being a championship class. So we had a little bit of a decision to make because our plan changed. We were planning on using her young horse [Alant] for the Maclay when we came to this event, knowing that she put herself in a position to be in contention for the trophy. It kind of altered our plans to the point that we decided to use the horse that she knows so well. I’m going to change his show schedule for the rest of this year. She’ll use her young horse for some more classes this summer. I didn’t tell Elli until this morning.”
On Elli and Copperfield 39’s partnership:
“I think it’s a familiarity with her horse. She’s had this horse since she was 11 years old. They really have a partnership. They’ve been through a lot together. When you really want to count on a situation they know each other so well. I feel like I could send them in any ring in any course and they would be able to execute. There are still things that we’re working on because Elli’s style of riding when she was a young kid and got the horse is very different from now. What worked when she was a young kid is different, and we’re trying to make the ride a little more sophisticated.”
On training Elli:
“You deal with lots of different kids who are going through growing phases. What worked for them at one stage of their life doesn’t continue to work. They have to adapt and figure out new ways to solve the problems. That’s what we’re in the middle of. She’s probably 5’10″, 5’11” and she wasn’t when she got her horse. She’s having to adapt and we’re working through that together now.”
On changing Elli’s show schedule:
“When she had a very good week the first week of Old Salem I changed her schedule again to only use Copperfield for one class at Old Salem and use her young horse in preparation for the Maclay this week. I think we did a good job managing Copper to have her confidence on him, winning a championship the first week and then saving him, so he was fresh enough to do three classes in one day and have enough left in the tanks for the next day.”
On which format of the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship she prefers:
“I’ve been involved with it both ways. Not just because Elli won today, but I do like the point system for the horse’s sake. At this point in the year, being a midyear championship, rewarding consistency is a nice element, and I think one less class for the horses is probably not a bad thing. They have a long summer ahead of them. Any time you can see top riders going head-to-head is an amazing experience.”
Coco Fath – ASPCA Maclay Section A Winner
On how Class Action felt:
“Incredible. I think I rode him this morning for maybe 25 minutes and he was just ready to go.”
On her last junior year at Devon:
“I couldn’t imagine myself riding any other horse. He is just incredible and I’m so lucky to have him to do this. He loves to show and loves to do his job well. It is really special to be here. It was my last equitation round at Devon and it may be his last, too. To go out with a bang is amazing.”
On Thursday’s Maclay course:
“It was a really beautiful course. It was similar to last year’s Maclay, I remember. It had some nice, tight turns but it was on an open stride and I liked the use of the hunter jumps. It was a great course.”
On where she is headed next:
“I’m heading to Langley, British Columbia next for the Thunderbird Nation’s Cup.”
On Class Action’s summer plans:
“He will actually have the summer off and then come back for the Hampton Classic. He gets to have a nice break.”
Tanner Korotkin – ASPCA Maclay Section B Winner
“I started riding him about a year ago at Maclay Finals. It was my first time riding him and we were eighth, and coming from the other horse I had, it was a big step up. He’s awesome. He has been everywhere before with previous riders. Everything has been working out really well.”
On how Zapfier felt today:
“He felt great today. He was ready like this for Maclay Finals, and this time he came out better than ever. He performed amazing. I showed him at WEF in Florida and then once WEF ended I took a break so this is my first time showing back since Florida.”
On the course:
“I thought the course was really good. It was winding, but not too technical. You could really show off in a bunch of places throughout the course.”
On whether he prefers the flat or over-fences phase:
“I prefer the over-fences, but I think that today was definitely one of my best flat phases. It was a huge improvement from Maclay Finals last year.”
On what it means to show at Devon:
“It is actually my first time here at Devon, and I love it. Obviously, Zapfier and I did really well and it’s definitely a very big show. It’s like a final before we go to Indoors. It is a great experience.”
ASPCA Maclay – Section A:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner
1. Class Action / Coco Fath / Hillside Farm LLC
2. Contigo 37 / Annabel Revers / Beechwood Stables LLC
3. Callahan / Jordan Allen / Lily Walton
ASPCA Maclay – Section B:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner
1. Zapfier / Tanner Korotkin / Missy Clark
2. Lego / Devon Thomas / Tegan Elizabeth Treacy
3. Eclipse / Ava Stearns / Missy Clark
ASPCA Maclay – Section C:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner
1. Copperfield 39 / Elli Yeager / Elli Yeager
2. Waldo / Sam Walker / North Run
3. Caracas 89 / Kaitlyn Lovingfoss / Elvenstar Farm