Devon, Pa. – June 2, 2022 – The highlighted hunter event at the 2022 Devon Horse Show, the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by the Wheeler Family, kicked off in the Dixon Oval at noon Thursday. Welcoming a field of 33 top hunter exhibitors to the stage, the class was packed with riders hoping to impress the judges and take home one of the most prestigious honors of the week. When both rounds had wrapped up, it was Hunt Tosh aboard Autograph who were awarded the champion ribbon.
A star studded lineup of athletes took to the ring to tackle the classic round course, designed by Paul Jewell. First in the order, Greg Crolick and Chappy, an 11-year-old Mecklenburg gelding owned by Carole Chase, made a strong first impression on the judging panel, earning a score of 181 with all four high options taken. In the first round, Tosh rode Autograph, a 9-year-old Warmblood gelding owned by Ceil Wheeler, to the highest score of 185, also taking each of the four high options on course. With their consistent and effortless round ridden correctly through each of the lines, Tosh and Autograph positioned themselves at the top of leaderboard going into the handy round. Kristy Herrera and Quimby, an 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by John and Stephanie Ingram, and Kelly Farmer on Meaningful, a 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Emma Vandenhouten, completed textbook rounds as well, both earning scores of 180 with all high options.
Geoffrey Hesslink and Little Brook LLC’s Mon Tresor, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding, were the first to return for the handy round, which asked the combinations to display adjustability, technical accuracy and ease in their way of going around the winding track. The second course also gave riders the opportunity to earn up to 10 handy bonus points. Colin Syquia and Front Page, an 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Cynthia Sulzberger, held the lead in the early part of the handy phase, having earned a score of 202 for their efforts. Sitting on a total score of 380.3, they became the pair to beat for the remaining riders. Crolick and Chappy also put forth a picture perfect ride, claiming a score of 202 to finish with a total of 383 to take over the lead.
Saving the best for last, Tosh and Autograph returned to the ring determined to maintain their hold on the leaderboard. The pair did just that, earning a handy round score of 198.5 after taking all four high options to finish on a total score of 383.5, surpassing Crolick by just one half of a point. Crolick and Chappy ultimately went home with the reserve champion ribbon, while Syquia and Front Page took third place. Tosh was thrilled to win the prestigious class sponsored by the Wheeler Family, who has supported him in horse ownership for many years. Tosh and the gelding are no strangers to the winner’s circle, having earned numerous tricolors at events along the east coast such as the Upperville Colt & Horse Show and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show.
Hunter competition at the 2022 Devon Horse Show will continue Friday, June 3, kicking off the Amateur-Owner Hunter divisions. Amateur-owner hunter competitors will vie for the coveted Grand Amateur-Owner Hunter title, to be presented Saturday, June 4.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Hunt Tosh – $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby winner
On his derby win:
“Obviously Devon is my favorite, it’s so special. To come back this year and be able to win the derby is fantastic. My standby, Cannon Creek, I made a mistake on him. I misjudged in the double combination so he was out of the handy. Autograph we’ve had for a couple of years. He hasn’t done many derbies but he went beautifully in the first round. Greg [Crolick’s] horse jumped beautifully. I got a little nervous because I touched the second jump and had a little rub there. I thought, ‘Ok, I’ve got to do everything I can.’ I tried to make it up, go a little quick back to the last jump and gallop the last jump. It was a beautiful class, the horses jumped beautifully. Greg’s horse was amazing. I always want to win on Cannon Creek, but the win on Autograph was fun. It was a nice class.”
“We’ve had him for a couple of years. COVID kind of changed plans with him early on. He was great as a second-year horse through indoors last year. He was actually Green Hunter of the Year last year. Obviously the Wheelers, they are amazing to me and such great owners and supporters. This is Ceil [Wheeler’s] horse, it’s owned by her, and we were down at the gate joking that we aren’t quite sure who ends up owning who sometimes. Kenny and Ceil [Wheeler] were joking about it, but Ceil’s loved him from the beginning so my wife put him in her name. This is actually Ceil’s horse, so I give her credit for owning him. He’s been fabulous. He was great through indoors and came here and in the first class in the High Performance he was second place behind Cannon Creek and had a great week here showing. Cannon Creek was champion so it was fun to have Autograph win this so he had a highlight at Devon. He was another Redfield Farm horse, Emil Spadone picked him out. We’ve had him for about three years now. Emil brought him over and we bought him from him. He was great and we did him in the first-year green right away. That was COVID time, and last year he had a normal show career as a second-year horse and made it to indoors. I couldn’t ask anything more from today.”
On having two top horses and developing Autograph:
“It’s always nice to have more than one horse obviously. Like I said I made a mistake on the one horse so to have a backup makes my life easier. We’ve been excited. He’s a little bit of a quirky horse, he’s been great all along but he has some quirks to him and the Wheelers are so patient and supportive of me. They allow me to go at my own pace with some of them and allow them to grow up. We were talking last night about how far this horse has come and in this environment we weren’t sure how he would handle it. So it’s nice that we took our time and let him go at his pace. I thought in the end he would be a great derby horse, high performance and building into the 4’, so being able to get here and make it look like I knew what I was talking about is perfect. He gets credit for that.”
On winning the class sponsored by the Wheeler Family:
“It meant a lot, this is the first Devon without their father Mr. Wheeler. I can’t say enough good things about them. They are so supportive, this was their father’s favorite horse show so to be able to come here and win, it is always fun. You couldn’t ask for better people to work for.”
Greg Crolick – $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby second place
On winning the handy round:
“I couldn’t ask for [Chappy] to be any better. It was wonderful competition here and the horse jumped great. I just tried to be as handy as I possibly could, turning where I could and hopefully meet the jumps correctly.”
On showing at the Devon Horse Show
“This is my best finish here – I was third here three or four years ago, so this is the best finish here. To me it’s so exciting to be here, Devon is such a special place. It’s such a special place to come horse show, we love coming here. There’s a great energy in the air when you walk in that ring. They hear the buzz, the people in the crowd cheering, it’s nice to have. It was wonderful to come here, put in a good trip and have great competition to show against.”
“We got him two years ago in Wellington. We got him through Kelly Schatt, he was the only hunter she had at the time. We bought him for an adult to do 2’6” and 3’, and he really surprised us when we started showing him.”
On what’s next:
“Next we head to Kentucky and we do Split Rock Horse Shows for two weeks, then we go to Traverse City for three weeks. Then we do Derby Finals. I have about five qualified but we are deciding who will go. Chappy will be one of them, Testify was in there too. All my horses went really well this week.”
$25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, sponsored by the Wheeler Family
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Score / R2 Score | Total Score
1. Autograph / Hunt Tosh / Ceil Wheeler / 185 / 198.5 | 385.5
2. Chappy / Greg Crolick / Carole Chase / 181 / 202 | 383
3. Front Page / Colin Syquia / Cynthia Sulzberger / 178.5 / 202 | 380.5
4. Quimby / Kristy Herrera / John & Stephanie Ingram LLC / 180 / 197.5 | 377.5
5. Laskano / Jimmy Torano / Isalou Inc / 179.5 / 195 | 374.5
6. Cartel / Jeffrey Ayers / Jeffrey Ayers / 176.5 / 192 | 368.5
7. Meaningful / Kelley Farmer / Emma Vanderhouten / 180 / 185 | 365
8. My Style / Victoria Colvin / Joelle Sedlacek / 176 / 186 | 362
9. Mon Tresor / Geoffrey Hesslink / Little Brook LLC / 173.5 / 188 | 361.5
10. Dynamo / Brianne Goutal-Marteau / John & Stephanie Ingram LLC / 174 / 187 | 361
11. Diamante / Callie Seaman / Callie Seaman / 174 / 169 | 343
12. Private I / Michael Britt-Leon / Kelly Sims / 178 / 115 | 293