Devon Kane’s New Path to Grand Prix
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 12, 2014–Devon Kane expects to be in the international Grand Prix arena for the first time in the next few weeks with support from a new coaching lineup after half a lifetime with a single exclusive trainer.
Devon, an individual gold and team bronze medal winner at the 2007 North American Young Rider Championships, has brought her Destiny through the levels from a barely broken five-year-old to an emerging Grand Prix talent at 11 years of age.
One of the rising young American riders, she credits the training of Germany’s Hubertus Schmidt over the past two summers in turning the Danish Warmblood gelding from what she calls “My Dragon” into a horse that is now “all together.” The pair has competed in three national Grand Prix in Florida. She is receiving training and competition warmup from U.S. Developing Coach Debbie McDonald and Florida-based young German trainer Kevin Kohmann.
The 27-year-old Devon has also built her own training and teaching business, riding up to 12 horses a day, at the family’s Diamante Farms in Wellington, home of the Adequan Global Dressage Festival.
When the pair arrived at Hubertus’s training center in Paderborn, Germany Destiny had six one-tempis, no passage, extended and medium trot that were not always there and… “I have this really good hopes and dreams.”
“It all came together in less than two months,” Devon told dressage-news.com after competing in a national Grand Prix in the first of 12 weeks of Global Dressage Festival.
“Hubertus wanted us to be showing Grand Prix at national shows in Germany.”
For Devon, it was “a whole immersion experience. I had nothing else to do except to ride, take care of my horses and watch everything.”
“Destiny has never responded before like he did at Hubertus’s. He was ready to go and really happy. Hubertus and I pushed him as much as we could to see if he would back down and he never did.
“I have a completely different horse. I have a better relationship than ever.
“It’s totally different. I can trust him and know 110 per cent he’s going to do what I ask him.”
Up to working with Hubertus, Destiny was “so hot and a bit special. You didn’t always know that he will do what you want him to do.”
However, the horse appeared calm in Global’s stadium arena and was not upset when he reined back and stepped into the ring’s railing in the Grand Prix.
“We made a deliberate decision in the warmup not to do any reinbacks,” Devon joked. “We won’t make that mistake again.”
Even so, she said, Destiny “is so proud of himself; he knows he’s super special.”
Devon had worked with Michelle Gibson, a United States Olympic team bronze medalist in 1996, since she was 15 years old. She moved from her home in Texas to train with Michelle in Wellington in a “very exclusive relationship” for 13 years.
The relationship changed over the years and Michelle moved back to the Atlanta area last summer.
“People move on and keep themselves happy,” Devon said.
Hubertus, she said, “understands my horse so well. He knows when to tell me to push. He understands dealing with a hot horse and the importance of compromise. At the same time he makes us 100 per cent accountable. He expects the horse to be 100 per cent on the aids, working for me and with me without negative tension.
“I understand where he’s coming from. It flows so easily.”
Hubertus has promised to make an appearance during the Florida winter circuit.
“I think he’s very excited how much we were able to accomplish.
“I plan to go back to Hubertus this summer, to make it a priority to make sure I get that training.”
Her goals for 2014 are to stay consistent and qualify for the U.S. national chamionships.
“Our first goal is consistency, to prove we can ride over 70 per cent every time we get in the arena.”
And it’s also “to be happy and have fun, and for all of us in the barn to do really well at shows.”