Devon, Pa. – June 2, 2018 – Since Tuesday, international horses and athletes have been competing for valuable points towards the week’s coveted Open Jumper championship. Following their top performances throughout the 2018 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, Top Line Sport Horse International, LLC’s Kahlua, ridden by USA’s Andrew Kocher, and Beyaert Farm Inc.’s Eyecatcher, ridden by USA’s Mattias Tromp, were crowned the 2018 Open Jumper champions and winners of the Little Big Man Challenge Trophy. Both horses tied with 16 points at the conclusion of Saturday’s $70,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake CSI4*, sponsored by Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar – Radnor, which was won by Kocher and Kahlua.
With Saturday’s win added to their sixth place finish in Thursday’s $250,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*, Kocher and Kahlua were able to accumulate enough points for the championship, while also taking home the John Wanamaker Perpetual Trophy on Saturday for their victory. On top of that, Kocher rode Zantos II, owned by MKO Equestrian LLC, to the top spot in Wednesday’s $35,000 Devon International Speed Stake CSI4*, sponsored by Herr’s, to help him earn the Leading Open Jumper Rider, sponsored by Malvern Bank, and Orchard Lodge Perpetual Trophy with 26 points.
Additionally, the Leading Lady Rider award and Carol Hoffman Thompson Leading Lady Rider Challenge Trophy went to Beezie Madden (USA) with 12 points, who rode Abigail Wexner’s Breitling LS, Jiva and Darry Lou to top finishes throughout the week.
Tromp and Eyecatcher, a 9-year-old KWPN mare (Harley VDL–Ninewood, Orthos), secured the Devon tricolor on Saturday after their first place finish in Thursday’s $35,000 Main Line Challenge CSI4* and second place in Friday’s $35,000 Devon Speed Derby CSI4*, sponsored by Glycogard.
Prior to Saturday’s championship awards ceremonies, the final class of the Open Jumper division, the $70,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake CSI4*, was held in the Dixon Oval and saw 37 entries turn out to compete.
Nine exhibitors cleared Guilherme Jorge’s first round course to advance to the jump-off round, where Kocher and the 9-year-old KWPN mare (Tygo–Porky, Caritas) rode to the quickest double-clear effort in 38.82 seconds to best the world-class field of international horses and athletes. Nicole Shahinian-Simpson (USA) took home second place with Silver Raven Farms’ Akuna Mattata in a clear 39.25 seconds, while Madden (USA) and Breitling LS rounded out the top three in 39.68 seconds.
Earlier in the afternoon, 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 at the Devon Horse Show.
Out of 23 entries, it was Deborah Dolan-Sweeney who rode to the top of the leaderboard with Sagamore Farms’ La Petite Fleur 6. 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. Christina Fisher and Conero and Jaime Auletto and Brazzaville tied for reserve championship honors in the division with 10 points.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Andrew Kocher (USA) – 2018 Open Jumper champion and $70,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake CSI4* winner
“She’s a machine! 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.”
On Saturday’s winning jump-off round:
“I could have easily done one less stride to the last one. That’s where David [Raposa] got me except for he had the skinny down — he did an eight. I had an eight, but I was working hard to do a nine — swerving and curving. I saw eight and I should’ve let her do the eight. If I would’ve done an eight, it would have been over. So it was exciting to watch everybody go!”
On winning the Open Jumper championship at the Devon Horse Show:
“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.”
Mattias Tromp (USA) – 2018 Open Jumper champion
“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.”
On winning the Open Jumper championship at the Devon Horse Show:
“It’s very exciting. There’s not another horse show in the United States that has the atmosphere and the audience like Devon does. It’s very exciting to do well here, more than any other show I think.”
Deborah Dolan-Sweeney – 2018 Amateur-Owner Jumper champion
On Saturday’s SJHOF classic round:
“Today’s course was substantially bigger and more technical than Friday’s course. Everyone in this division is so good so I knew I couldn’t just take the easy way. I wanted to be able to say that I came into the ring and gave it my all because I knew my horse would give it her all.”
On La Petite Fleur 6:
“I paired up with her last August. 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.”
On getting back in the saddle:
“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.”
On working with McLain Ward:
“McLain has been amazing for me. He has gotten me back to thinking that I can still do this. It’s really all about getting my head in the right place. This past year, I paired up with McLain. I know him so well and I loved his dad. We’ve had a great partnership over the year. He just picked up on everything I was missing.”
On the Devon Horse Show:
“I haven’t been here in years. I came last weekend with my daughter. As soon as you step onto the showgrounds, you can feel there is a magic here. It just all came flooding back to me. I couldn’t wait to show here. This place is very special. My daughter was shocked at how big the crowds were.”
$70,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake CSI4*, sponsored by Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar – Radnor:
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. Kahlua / Andrew Kocher / USA / Top Line Sport Horse International, LLC / 0 / 0 / 38.82
2. Akuna Mattata / Nicole Shahinian-Simpson / USA / Silver Raven Farms / 0 / 0 / 39.25
3. Breitling LS / Beezie Madden / USA / Abigail Wexner / 0 / 0 / 38.32
4. Darry Lou / Beezie Madden / USA / Abigail Wexner / 0 / 0 / 39.79
5. Quinta 106 / Mattias Tromp / USA / Swede Ventures LLC / 0 / 0 / 40.65
6. Amice Z / Charlie Jayne / USA / Charlie Jayne / 0 / 0 / 41.30
7. S & L Sage / David Raposa / USA / S & L Farms / 0 / 4 / 38.32
8. Cessna 24 / Vasco Flores / PUR / Gotham Enterprizes, LLC / 0 / 4 / 45.79
9. Villamoura / Sydney Shulman / USA / Jill Shulman / 0 / 11 / 54.15
10. Quibelle / Vasco Flores / PUR / Gotham Enterprizes, LLC / 1 / 78.54
11. Crown 5 / Georgina Bloomberg / USA / Gotham Enterprizes, LLC / 1 / 79.17
12. Chandon Blue / Laura Chapot / USA / Mary Chapot / 4 / 73.39
$20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic:
Place / Horse / Rider / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults / Time
1. La Petite Fleur 6 / Deborah Dolan-Sweeney / Sagamore Farms / 0 / 0 / 32.389
2. Pele / Annie Phillips / Oakridge Farm / 0 / 0 / 32.773
3. Evita / Thaisa Erwin / Hollberg Equestrian / 0 / 0 / 34.792
4. Indy Van De Roten / Catherine Wachtell / Autumn View Farm / 0 / RET
5. Corona SB / Jazz Johnson Merton / Jazz Johnson Merton / 2 / 80.252
6. Grandy De Laubry / Emma Cullen / 3 Seas LLC / 4 / 71.552
7. Jersey V.D. Hunters / Nicole Bellissimo / Bellissimo LLC / 4 / 72.161
8. Conero / Christina Fisher / Christina Fisher / 4 / 74.253
9. Erco Van T Roosakker / Addison Gierkink / Kadley Holdings LLC / 5 / 79.638
10. Isarus / Julia Curtis / Julia Curtis / 5 / 79.674