Devon, Pa. – May 27, 2018 – Sunday at the Devon Horse Show marked the fourth day of competition and riders were met with new challenges as rain and clouds rolled in, but it did not stop Alice Nolen-Walston and her own Wishlea Star Dasher from racing through the timers in the fastest time to capture the Pony Jumper Championship.
The young rider from Landenberg, Pennsylvania has been partnered with Wishlea Star Dasher for about one year now and currently trains with Lisa Perri. Her mount, a 13-year-old Welsh gelding, secured the Zone 3 reserve champion Horse of the Year title for the Pony Jumper division in 2017.
The talented pair produced a clear effort on Sunday morning to advance to the six-horse jump-off which they completed in 28.689 seconds before returning to the Dixon Oval to lay down another impressive and clear round in 32.395 seconds.
Last year at the Devon Horse Show, Nolen-Walston and Wishlea Star Dasher finished up as reserve champion in the Pony Jumpers, so the 14-year-old rider was determined to earn the champion tricolor this year. After one year’s experience together, the pair was finally able to pull off a win.
Nolen-Walston has been victorious at Devon before, but in a different type of class. In 2014, she won the Shetland Pony Steeplechase title after her blazing speed beat the rest of the competition.
Taylor Brinsfield and Kathleen Anderson’s Sprite took home reserve honors behind Nolen-Walston and Wishlea Star Dasher. The awards presentation wrapped up with the Pony Jumper Style Award given to Hallie Rush and her own Sky Miles.
In the Children’s Jumper Championship, Kate Taylor rode Prosapia Inc.’s Chacca Blue to the win. The 12-year-old Brandenburg mare performed consistent rounds on Sunday afternoon for Taylor to take home the champion tricolor.
Looking ahead, Nolen-Walston will head to Lexington, Kentucky for this year’s USEF Pony Finals in August. After that, she hopes to qualify for the Pony Jumpers at the World Equestrian Games (WEG), which will take place in September in Tryon, North Carolina.
FROM THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
Alice Nolen-Walston – Pony Jumper Champion
On Wishlea Star Dasher:
“He’s a rockstar. He is a Welsh pony and just turned 13. It was just a year [of having him] a couple of days ago. Last year, we came to Devon after having him for not very long and we were reserve champions, so this year our goal was to do this and we did.”
On their partnership:
“He saves my butt. We work as a team. He knows when it’s time to take the wheel and help me out a little bit.”
On showing at Devon before:
“I did the Shetland Pony Steeplechase in 2014 and won it, so it was kind of like coming back and doing it all over again.”
On what she likes about showing at Devon:
“The support system at Devon and the mentality is special. Everyone just wants to help you. In my second to last round, I completely forgot about the last in-and-out and the whole crowd said, ‘Fence 11!’ and I ended up being able to do it.”
On her goals looking forward:
“We are going to Pony Finals in August and WEG has Pony Jumpers this year, so we’re hoping to get there and maybe Canada for the Royal.”
On Wishlea Star Dasher’s personality:
“I call him Dashie, Rainbow Dash, Dashman, all of the above. He is super sassy and sweet. He pretends he doesn’t like to cuddle, but he secretly loves it. He’s a cookie monster and loves treats.”