DEVON, Pa. — After all the points were tallied at the Devon Horse Show, the Leading Open Jumper Rider title went to Andrew Kocher and the Leading Lady was Beezie Madden.
Kocher, who is based in Howell, N.J. part of the year, rode Top Line Sport Horse International, LLC’s Kahlua to a tie for the open jumper championship. Kahlua and Beyaert Farm Inc.’s Eyecatcher, ridden by USA’s Mattias Tromp each earned 16 points to tie for Little Big Man Challenge Trophy.
Kocher and Kahlua won the $70,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake CSI4*, sponsored by Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar – Radnor and finished in sixth place in the $250,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*.
“She’s a machine!” Kocher said of the mare. “She won two ranking classes in Kentucky and a ranking class in Wellington. Her first grand prix was the World Cup qualifier in Vegas. I jumped her in a 3* in Wellington and then a 5* in Miami then New York. I really threw her to the wolves! She has lots of personality. She has her own way of doing things. Overtime, I’ve gotten her to be more agreeable when I need her to be. In the ring, she’s a totally focused machine. She’s really fit right now but she’s a big, fat horse. She’s obsessed with food in the barn.”
Kocher and Kahlua also took home the John Wanamaker Perpetual Trophy for their victory in the Idle Dice.
Also during the show, Kocher rode Zantos II, owned by MKO Equestrian LLC, to the top spot in the $35,000 Devon International Speed Stake CSI4*, sponsored by Herr’s, which helped him earn the Leading Open Jumper Rider, sponsored by Malvern Bank, and Orchard Lodge Perpetual Trophy with 26 points.
“For me, it’s a little weird. I never thought I’d be leading rider at Devon. I would be happy just to [compete in the grand prix]. Now, I’ve gotten to where I want to win a lot of classes. You always want to do more. I’m almost so happy I’m quiet for the first time,” Kocher said.
Tromp and Eyecatcher, a 9-year-old KWPN mare (Harley VDL–Ninewood, Orthos), won the $35,000 Main Line Challenge CSI4* and had a second place in the $35,000 Devon Speed Derby CSI4*, sponsored by Glycogard.
“This is my second FEI show with [Eyecatcher]. She’s a very fast speed horse. If you can lay down the track, she’s pretty much unbeatable because her canter is so fast and she kind of skims the fences. She’s a very funny mare actually. She has a lot of blood. She’s very active and sensitive, but when you go into the barn or even as soon as you walk out of the ring she’s quite, calm and docile. She’s a sales horse of mine so ideally I’d like to sell her at some point but until then I’m going to have fun with her and win as much as I can,” Tromp said.
The Leading Lady Rider award and Carol Hoffman Thompson Leading Lady Rider Challenge Trophy went to Beezie Madden (USA) with 12 points. She rode Abigail Wexner’s Breitling LS, Jiva and Darry Lou to top finishes throughout the show.
Out of 23 entries, it was Deborah Dolan-Sweeney, of Oyster Bay, N.Y., who rode to the top of the leaderboard with Sagamore Farms’ La Petite Fleur 6 in the $20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame (SJHOF) Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic took center stage in the Dixon Oval to close out the Amatuer-Owner Jumper division. The pair was one of four to advance to the jump-off, finishing in a swift 32.389 seconds to claim the Good Enough Challenge Trophy.
Combined with her win on Friday in the class sponsored by Purina Animal Nutrition, Dolan-Sweeney wrapped up her week at Devon with La Petite Fleur 6 receiving the Amateur-Owner Jumper championship with 25 points as well as the Leading Amateur-Owner Jumper Rider award, which included the Goblin Challenge Trophy and the Marshall-Hale Perpetual Trophy.
“I paired up with her last August,” Dolan-Sweeney said of On La Petite Fleur 6. “She is amazing. She got a sinus infection after we got her so I really didn’t get to ride her until Florida. My children are all in school so Florida is a ‘weekend warrior’ thing for us. To have a horse like her, where I can come down and she’s ready to go, is amazing.”
It has been a long time since Dolan-Sweeney has come to Devon. “The last time I rode at Devon…no one in the division today had been born yet! It was probably 30 years ago. I have eight children, including a set of triplets, and they are my heart and soul; they’re my everything. I rode but I didn’t really compete for a long time because of them. Even leaving this weekend to come here was really hard for me because they couldn’t come. My husband also rides. The kids are everything to us so they just took precedence. Now some of my children are also involved in the sport. I love when my kids can come to shows with me. I started riding again about two years ago.”
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