Stewart also rode Beholden to reserve in the green conformation division and Touchdown to the regular conformation reserve.
An Unexpected Result
The points for the first year green championship were pretty spread out, so coming into the stake class, it was hard to tell who might be champion. But after Jennifer Hannan and As Always loped around to the top score in the stake class, she and Hannan returned to the ring with owner Jennifer Smith to pick up the tricolor.
Hannan and Smith were a bit shell-shocked after their win, which came due to the stake win, an under saddle win, and a fourth place in the handy class. Hannan hadn’t shown at Devon in more than 10 years—her last Devon appearance was as a junior. But she and Smith knew As Always was special enough to trailer down from Hannan’s farm in Wakefield, R.I., to show in the Dixon Oval. “He's big and lofty and scopey. Everything is just easy for him,” Hannan said.
Smith bought As Always from trainer Jack Towell as a 3-year-old, and Hannan has brought the Brandenburg of unknown breeding along since 2010; he’s now 7. “I bought him off a video,” Smith said. “I really trust Jack. He's a beautiful horse. His barn name is Leonard because when they sent me a video, to show me how quiet he is, they had this little boy holding him, even though he was still a stallion. I asked what the boy’s name was, and it was Leonard, so that’s what we call him.”
Hannan plans to campaign Leonard in the first year division, then Smith will take over the reins for the amateur division.
A Winning Comeback
Owner Betsee Parker couldn’t have had a much better week than Devon’s Junior Weekend, but Hunt Tosh worked hard to bring her some highlights during senior week, too. He rode Parker’s Rosalynn to the high performance hunter championship and her Cold Harbor to the regular conformation hunter title.
When Rosalynn showed at Devon last year, it was with Parker’s trainer Rob Coluccio. Coluccio was ill at the time, but he didn't know it, so he was off his game and had some falls and refusals with Rosalynn. “Rosalynn was confused after that,” Parker said. “I was very crestfallen, of course.” She chose to send Rosalynn to Tosh, and he rebuilt the mare’s confidence. They finished Devon with a score of 92 in the stake class to clinch the tricolor in a heated points race.
Watch Rosalynn go in a high performance hunter class...
“She's such a trier. She made a little mistake here in the first class and came back and went so great,” Tosh said. “Today, it came down to the last class, and we were all pretty close in points. But when you call on her, she tries so hard. She jumped really high and went so well. To get a 92 to finish the week was very special.”
Cold Harbor was green conformation hunter champion at Devon last year under Douglas Wheeler’s ownership, and it was there that Parker first noticed him. She made an offer to buy him then, but it wasn’t until this spring that Wheeler decided to sell. Parker bought Cold Harbor in April and was thrilled to see him win at Devon again.
“To be champion two years in a row here is super special,” Tosh said.
The professional hunter divisions have concluded, and Thursday is full of hunter breeding action before the big excitement of the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon, which is also a U.S. Equestrian Federation Olympic Observation Event.
USEF Network will be streaming the class live, and check at the Chronicle for all the stories and photos.