Devon, Pa. – May 26, 2018 – The coveted Devon Grand Junior Hunter Champion title was presented to Chloe White of Berwyn, Pennsylvania and the incredible 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Steve Schaefer, Tztargazer. After accumulating 28 points across the board and winning the championship tricolor in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunter division, White earned a spot on the trophy to make an already emotional year that much more memorable.
White has been training with the team at Madison Hills Farm, based in Gates Mills, Ohio and Wellington, Florida, for the past three years. The team has a tight-knit relationship and she considers them her second family. Recently, head trainer Michael Rheinheimer passed away in 2017, leaving trainer Amanda Lyerly to take over the reins.
The talented 17-year-old admitted that in addition to rewatching her rounds, she still tries to remember the lessons Rheinheimer taught her and tries to channel his advice as well as that of Lyerly. Her experiences training under the expertise of Rheinheimer and Lyerly led her to a bittersweet victory to round out the junior hunter divisions on Saturday afternoon at the Devon Horse Show.
Perhaps most impressive is the fact that White’s mount is blind in one eye, yet it does not seem to have any affect on his performance in the ring. A former grand prix jumper, “Utah,” as he is called in the barn, has made the transition to the equitation ring a smooth one. The gelding started doing the hunters in February with Caelinn Leahy in the irons, but excels in the equitation as well.
Upon returning to Devon for the first time since she showed ponies at the famed event, White rode to her first-ever high score of 90 on Friday afternoon over-fences and the pair took second place in the undersaddle.
When she is not laying down consistent rides in the junior hunters, White shows her equitation horse, Cooley Nothing Better B, owned by Kyle Carter. And while going from a coursewalk to the classroom might be strange for some riders, for White it’s just another normal day. On Friday afternoon, White walked the course for the Washington Equitation Classic, changed clothes, drove to class at The Shipley School, and returned to the showgrounds to compete later on in the day.
In addition to securing the Devon Grand Junior Hunter Championship, White and her special partner were honored further with the Ovation Perpetual Trophy, the Overall Large Junior Hunter title and the Lestat Memorial Perpetual Trophy. The pair achieved the Overall Large Junior Hunter title after putting forth seamless rounds in their competitive division.
White was presented with the 1902 Edward T. Stotesbury Perpetual Trophy for Best Child Rider after her performances in the Large Junior 16-17 Hunter division with Tztargazer.
Laura Wasserman’s Boss, ridden by Stella Wasserman, earned The Angelo Award, which is given to the horse who best exemplifies the classic hunter in movement, jumping style and presence. Maggie Hill and her own Cassanto earned the prestigious Martin F. Bucko Family Perpetual Trophy.
After a surreal experience at the historic Devon Horse Show, White will venture to Lexington, Kentucky for the Country Heir Horse Show before going on a service trip for two weeks with her school to Botswana, South Africa.
Looking ahead to the rest of the summer, White is hoping to qualify with Tztargazer for the 2018 Platinum Performance/USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in August at the Kentucky Horse Park.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Chloe White – Devon Grand Junior Hunter Champion
On what it means to win the Devon Grand Junior Hunter Championship title:
“I knew what I had to do to be [Devon Grand Junior Hunter Champion] and I was terrified. This was my first time showing horses at Devon, so I just wanted to have nice rounds. I never thought this would happen. It feels surreal.”
On her horse Tztargazer:
“Utah is awesome. He used to be a grand prix jumper and then a year ago in February he started doing the hunters with Caelinn Leahy. He’s just really stepped up to the plate this year. I never expected this out of him. I am so proud of him. He is blind in his right eye. We keep his whiskers long and everyone says, ‘Does he have allergies?’ and we respond, ‘No, he’s blind.’ He is perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better horse this weekend.”
On whether she has to adapt her riding to accommodate Tztargazer:
“Really nothing changes. I have never ridden him differently. He likes his left lead, because it is his right eye that is blind, which I completely understand. I have watched videos of him in the jumpers and he would make crazy right turns and I don’t know how he does it. He came in from the field one day with a completely deflated eye and the vet was able to save it. He’s pretty cool. He’s not your average junior hunter. He is a little sensitive, so he likes a very light feel and a nice pace going up to the jump. He’s awesome.”
On her previous experiences at the Devon Horse Show:
“The last time I showed was two years ago doing ponies. I didn’t show last year, but since I live nearby I came to visit and support my friends at Madison Hills. It is pretty cool to be next to my best friend Emma [Kurtz] on the trophy. It makes me so happy.”
On training with Madison Hills Farm:
“It will be three years in August that I have been training with them. We’re a family – a very close family.”
On her motto:
“I believe hard work pays off, so I always try to listen to everything Amanda says and everything that I can remember that Mike said and just try to apply that. I also like re-watching my rounds.”
On balancing riding and school:
“I go to The Shipley School. It’s about twenty minutes away from here. It is a little difficult to balance it all. My teachers are always surprised when I show up. I went to school on Thursday after I walked the Washington. I quickly changed and got in my car, went to school for a little while and came back to show.”
On her expectations going into Saturday:
“Going into today, I thought that maybe I could pull off reserve champion. I just wanted to have consistent, happy rounds. Amanda is really great about giving me confidence and telling me to believe in myself and that I can do it.”