Devon, Pa. – Sept. 17, 2022 – The brisk, fall night set the scene for the highly anticipated $25,000 Devon Fall Classic Grand Prix. The Dixon Oval was surrounded by local spectators and equestrian enthusiasts alike to enjoy the unique atmosphere that only the historic Devon Horse Show brings. The stadium lights shone over incredible horse-and-athlete combinations as they tackled the track to ride for the lion share of prize money and add their name to the list of champions that have met in the special town of Devon, Pennsylvania. Rising to the challenge and earning top honors for the second time this week was Mia Mannis aboard Hollyday V, besting the field of 29 competitors.
Manuel Espara (MEX) set a 12-obstacle first-round track that was inviting to horse-and-athlete combinations and continued to increase in technicality later in the course. The stadium saw a field of horses varying in age from 8 to 15 years old. Espara’s course challenged each one of them in their athleticism and rideability as they had to maintain a steady gallop to remain within the time allowed of 87 seconds while also being quick and careful off of the ground. Of the 29 competitors, only 9 returned for the jump-off.
Mannis has certainly found her place underneath the arch “Where Champions Meet”. Aboard her very own Hollyday V, Mannis showed the equestrian industry of the promising future that lies ahead. “I am absolutely thrilled with him. I have been targeting this show now for months and I said months ago that this was the class that I really wanted to win. Not only did he win this class, but he won two classes this week,” comments Mannis. The 10-year-old KWPN gelding was nothing short of perfection, answering every difficult question asked of him under the lights. The duo entered for the jump-off eager to knock Gracie Allen out of the top spot with an impressively quick time. Mannis did just that, guiding Hollyday V to a confident and efficient jump-off round, making all of the inside turns and galloping through the timers at 34.236 seconds.
Gracie Allen and Jelster Van Stal Romano were the first pair to have a fault-free jump-off round. Not only were they clean, but incredibly quick, setting the bar high for the rest of the riders to follow. The 8-year-old KWPN gelding galloped into the arena in perfect sync with Allen. The duo demonstrated their trusting partnership as they made the difficult turns and left out strides in unrelated lines. Crossing the finish line at 35.037 seconds, Jelster Van Stal Romano helped secure Allen the second place finish on the podium.
No stranger to the Devon Fall Classic, Laura Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman found themselves in the spotlight once again. Coming off of her win Friday night in the $5,000 Speed Stake aboard Calafornia, the pressure was on for Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman to capture another Devon blue. Although Chapot was quick, careful, and efficient, it was not enough to catch Allen. Mary Chapot’s 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding raced through the timers at 35.627 seconds, ultimately securing another podium finish for Chapot.
Earlier in the day, junior and amateur competitors returned for the $7,500 SJHF High Junior/Amateur Jumper to vie for the win in the highly contested class. After jumping two effortless rounds, Darwin De Mars jumped in textbook form with Melissa Strawser in the irons as the only double clear pair in the class. Joined by her family in the winner’s circle, Strawser led the victory gallop with great joy. Charlotte Murray rode Heros S to a quick jump-off time with an unfortunate rail resulting in four faults and the red ribbon. Rounding out the podium was Kristin Glover and Eyecatcher falling just short of Murray and her quick time.
Competition at the Devon Fall Classic will wrap up on Sunday, September 18th, with the remainder of the weekend’s jumper champions being crowned.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Mia Mannis – $25,000 Devon Fall Classic Grand Prix Winner
On her plan:
“I did have a plan going in. I just walked my track and everything rode exactly as I planned. He was so good earlier this week so I was able to just go off of how I felt earlier. He was really relaxed when I was warming up with him, which I was surprised about because I expected him to be really energetic and antsy. So it was nice to be able to create a plan and not have to worry about him being too fresh in the ring.”
On her feelings:
“I am ecstatic. This is my first Grand Prix win. I think this is his fourth Grand Prix in a row jumping a clear round. I am absolutely thrilled with him. I have been targeting this show now for months and I said months ago that this was the class that I really wanted to win. Not only did he win this class, but he won two classes this week.”
On their partnership:
“We have been together for just under a year now. It is still fresh but it is really starting to settle in and we are really starting to click with each other. We are getting on the same page and it is an amazing feeling.”
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R 1 Faults / R1 Time / R 2 Faults | R 2 Time
- Hollyday V / Mia Mannis / Mia Mannis / 0 / 82.485 / 0 / 34/236 / 0
- Jelster Van Stal Romano / Gracie Allen / Gracie Allen / 0 / 82.548 / 0 / 35.037
- Diarado’s Flying Dutchman / Laura Chapot / Mary Chapot / 0 / 82.564 / 35.627 / 0
- Ilon / Caitlin Boyle / Emmy Tromp / 0 / 84.172 / 0 / 38.548 / 0
- Manchester / Conor O’Regan / Conor O’Regan / 0 / 78.023 / 4 / 34.601
- Souplesse / Sloane Coles / Sloane Coles / 0 / 81.826 / 4 / 36.602
- Jillz / Lucy Matz / Dorothy Matz / 0 / 83.35 / 4 / 42.399
- Chatinus / Dominique Damico / Dominique Damico / 0 / 84.248 / RT
- GK Finette / Alex Matz / Alex Matz / 0 / 80.814 / WD
- Main Line Girl / Douglas King / Douglas King / 2 / 88.12