Devon, Pa. – Sept. 14, 2019 – The penultimate day of the 2019 Devon Fall Classic took place on Saturday, Sept. 14, drawing large crowds to the historic venue for a thrilling night of top competition. Junior and Amateur-Owner riders made a triumphant return to the Dixon Oval for the $7,500 Show Jumping Hall of Fame (SJHOF) High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, all putting forth their best efforts, but it was ultimately Emily Dougherty and her own Vivaldi who emerged victorious.
The SJHOF class was dedicated to Steve Stephens, who was inducted into the SJHOF in 2013. As one of the world’s most respected course designers, Stephens has set tracks for some of the most notable events in equestrian sport, including the 2008 Olympic Games in Hong Kong. Stephens has designed all of the courses for the 2019 Devon Fall Classic, artfully composing each stride for horses and riders to take on.
Following the first round of competition, three horse-and-rider combinations advanced to the jump-off. First to go after being the pathfinder for the evening’s clear round was Mia Mannis aboard Brush Hollow Sales’ Espace Killy. The pair fell victim to one unlucky rail, leaving the opportunity for the top spot open for her remaining competitors and eventually taking home the third place ribbon. Up next in the order was Dougherty and Vivaldi, who produced a clear round and quick time of 34.622 seconds. The final competitor of the evening was Jaimie Auletto and her own Brazzaville. While the combination was able to produce the fastest time of the evening, one unlucky rail would keep them from capture the night’s highest honors and earn them the second place prize.
Vivaldi, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, has been partnered with Dougherty for eight years. Dougherty first met the gelding when he was only 3-years-old and three years later, she went on to purchase him after saving up money by cleaning stalls. Dougherty’s love for ‘Zander’ is apparent in the way she talks about the gelding, smiling through every sentence as she explained the honesty and heart of her horse. Their partnership was made evident in the class as the dynamic duo soared through the air and to the win to claim the Devon blue.
Earlier in the day, the $750 High Adult Amateur Jumpers took place. Joy Slater and Fat Chance Farm’s Oilean Uno secured the win in the speed class out of a field of 17 horse-and-ride combinations. The pairs clear ride and time of 50.524 seconds gave them the lead by nearly six seconds ahead of Sarah Wood and Neal Shapiro’s Corozana who took second place in the class. Rounding out the top three was Katherine Wiedmann and her horse Longshore.
Jumper competition at the 2019 Devon Fall Classic will conclude on Sunday, Sept. 15, with classes wrapping up their respective divisions. The Dixon Oval will resume at 8:00 a.m. with the Low Adult Jumper Classic.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Emily Dougherty – $7,500 SJHOF High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Champion
“My partnership began with Zander when he was 3 years old. He came over from Ireland when he was 3and a half and I broke him. We have learned through the level together and he is the most honest horse. He has stopped once in his time with me, he just doesn’t stop. He loves his job, he loves jumping and he is an absolute character in the barn. He loves attention and his favorite thing is getting scratches and healthy treats! He doesn’t like anything unhealthy, I tried to buy him a funnel cake here but he turned it down! I started training with Laura Chapot about two years ago and she has really helped me figure things out with him. We don’t always have perfect rounds, but I am learning no matter how we do.”
On the course:
“He has a really huge step, so I like to leave steps out where possible because he does really well with galloping. There were a few places I debated leaving a stride out but he has been jumping up so high because of the lights that I decided to do the number. I wanted to keep his energy, but the balance up in front of me and it worked out really well. He was really nice to me at one oxer where my distance ended up fairly long. That is the really great thing about him; jumping is so easy for him and he enjoys it so much that even when you get to what might be an impossible distance for another horse, he gets there easily and doesn’t blink an eye. Another horse might be rattled by that upon landing but he is just ready for what’s next.”
On being at the Devon Fall Classic:
“I showed my old pony jumper at the spring Devon Horse Show in 2007 I believe, so looking back at that is amazing in comparison to where I am now. I think I completed one of three courses I was supposed to do on that pony because I was definitely a bit backyard at the time! It is really cool to see that continuing to work and learning every single day has led me to this today. Anyone that is at a horse show is lucky, but I bought Zander with my own money and cleaned stalls to pay for him, so to be able to do that and have these results is incredible. I am normally happy just staying on, so I would never think that the horse I bought with stall cleaning money for years would do this for me.”