Dressage at Devon Adds Pro-Am Challenge, Young Horse Championship

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DaD logoDEVON, Pennsylvania, Mar. 10–In celebration of its 35th anniversary, Dressage at Devon is adding two new championship programs–the Pro-Am Challenge and the Young Performance Horse Championship.

“We always strive to find new ways to recognize greatness at Dressage at Devon,” said Lori Kaminski, the event’s president. “This fall, while some of the world’s stars will be shining in Kentucky, Dressage at Devon will be building the next generation of world-class competitors.”

The Intermediaire I/Grand Prix Freestyle Pro-Am Challenge Championship will be awarded to the team consisting of one amateur rider and one professional rider with the highest percentage scores from either the Intermediaire I Freestyle and/or the Grand Prix Freestyle. Teams should sign up with the performance show secretary by noon on Saturday Sept. 25.

“The Pro-Am Challenge is a fun way to encourage camaraderie among amateur and professional riders competing at the highest levels of the sport,” Lori said.

Grand Prix rider Susie Dutta, of Wellington, Florida, who has competed at Devon for years, said: “The Pro-Am Challenge is going to give a lot of people a great goal. It’s a really fun, wonderful idea and I think it will be the highlight of everyone’s year.”

Susan Springsteen, an amateur rider from nearby Chester County, who, has attended Dressage at Devon since she was a teenager, hopes to make her Devon Grand Prix debut and intends to participate in the Pro-Am Challenge.

“I think it is wonderful that the Dressage at Devon Committee is thinking outside the box,” she said. “The Challenge shines a spotlight on adult amateurs, who are the backbone of our sport.” Springsteen believes that not only will the award showcase top talent and encourage amateur riders, but also will have tremendous audience appeal. “Spectators can appreciate and identify with amateur riders,” she said.

Lori said that the Young Horse Championship is a reflection of the growth and importance of the young horse division.

Scores from Thursday’s 4-, 5- and 6-year-old tests will be combined with Friday’s scores from the same classes. The horse/rider combination with the highest total score will be named Champion Young Performance Horse.

“I think the Young Horse Championship is a great idea,” said Mikala Gundersen, of Wellington, Florida. With Horses Unlimited’s Hanoverian stallion Pikko del Cerro HU, Gundersen has won six young horse classes at DaD 2007-2009, and is the current Markel/USEF National Young Horse Six-Year-Old Champion.

“This is something the riders can look forward to and prepare for. You have to have your horse ready early in the season to qualify for the Markel Young Horse Championships,” she said. “The Championship at Dressage at Devon gives us another chance to ride for a championship a little later in the season. The atmosphere at Devon is exciting and it gives riders an idea of how their horses will handle the big horse shows later in their career.”

Chris Hickey, who with Hilltop Farm’s Cabana Boy, has won numerous young horse classes and national championships in the 5- and 6-year-old divisions.

“I think naming a Young Horse Champion is a wonderful thing to add,” he said. “There is always so much going on with the CDI and the in-hand classes, it is great to add this type of championship for the young horses. Hilltop Farm always looks forward to Devon, and it is such a big piece of the year-end for us and our clients. As stallion owners, going to Devon is important for the competition and also for the additional advertising it gives us.”