BY INTERN LANIE WALKENBACH
I was in complete awe when I arrived at Devon on Wednesday afternoon. From the iconic Devon blue grandstands to the lemon sticks, everything was just how I imagined it.
I hacked my equitation horse Citadel (Chandler), and my junior hunter Early August (Auggie) Wednesday afternoon. The Dixon Oval was full of horses, as everyone wanted to get their practice in before the Washington International Horse Show Jumper phase started on Thursday.
I was on my horse at 5:50am ready to hack in the Dixon Oval. The arena was completely full, just like I experienced at indoors in the fall. The walk for the WIHS jumper phase started at about 7:30am and I went 24th in section A.
I was very excited about the course, as it featured many things I knew I could show off well. I was a bit nervous about the triple bar off a short left turn, but my trainer, Jim Hagman, and I went over exactly how to ride the turn so I was not as nervous going into the show ring. I went into the ring, rode the very best I could, and left with no regrets. It was the best feeling walking out of the Dixon Oval and hearing my score of 85. I ended up placing 6th, giving me my first Devon ribbon.
Later that afternoon, I had the medal in the Wheeler Ring. I did not execute that as well as I could have, but I put it behind me, as I knew I still had two more fun days of showing at Devon. After the medal, my mom and I went shopping for fun Devon souvenirs. From pop sockets to Vineyard Vines t-shirts, they have “Devon” everything!
I started the day with the ASPCA Maclay. The course looked nice, with several lines that rode more forward and some that were a bit quiet. I was a tad worried about a bending seven strides to a natural jump off of the first line, but I rode it just how we planned it. I was very pleased with how the Maclay went, and we were on the standby until the very end of the class.
The Junior Hunters also started Friday afternoon. I was so excited to show Auggie in the Large Junior Hunters 16-17, as I just bought him in November and I didn’t have much time to get him qualified. We were both a bit nervous going in so I didn’t have my best score, but Jim and I went over the areas I could improve so I was ready to apply those skills to Saturday’s courses. The junior hunters also had their under saddle classes on Friday. I ended up 4th in the hack and it was so fun getting to show my horse off to the judges!
Saturday morning started off with the Junior Hunter handy rounds. The course consisted of multiple options for jumps 4 and 5. I decided to jump both the outside natural options because I thought those would highlight Auggie best. I was thrilled with my round, as I rode the course exactly how we planned.
Unfortunately, I did not hear the natural rail come down so I was a bit confused coming out of the ring when I heard my score of 42. I focused on the positives and took a break for some lemon sticks and Devon leadline before the Junior Hunter Stake.
I was ready to go in the Large Junior 16-17 Stake with my shadbelly, stock tie, and all. It was my last time showing in the Dixon Oval for this year so I really wanted to end on the best note I possibly could. We had a great warm-up and Jim and I analyzed the course one last time before I stepped in the ring. All of the pieces came together and I earned a score of 84, putting my 5th in the class.
Overall, Devon is the most unique show I have ever competed at. With both the fair and the horse show, we always had something fun to do. I really hope I get the opportunity to compete at this special show again in the future.