Devon, Pa.—May 29
Sometimes slow and steady really does win the race—even in the jumpers.
Halfway through the jump-off for the $2,500 NAL Pony Jumper Classic at the Devon Horse Show on May 27, no rider had found a clear go around the track. Riders were going for broke, finding snug turns and turning on the gas—but hitting rails in the process.
So when Christine Lonsdale and her trainer, Kenny Krome, watched the last rider tick rails as they stood at the in-gate, they decided to change their plan at the last minute.
Lonsdale opted for a controlled, conservative track—so conservative she and Winds of Magic logged 3 time faults. But that decision proved sensible when no one else could lay down a double-clear trip, giving the Reistertown, Md., rider blue and the division championship over Ellyn Fritz and Sailor Moon. The judges honored Caitlyn Connors with the pony jumper style award for her trips aboard Break Away.
“Our pony had jumped five clear rounds already, and we bet that he could do another,” said Krome, Westminster, Md. “So we took the outside turns, and it worked out. Christine was good to change the plan right at the in-gate—it’s not always easy. She went right in there and executed what we practiced.”
The win seems even more impressive considering the pair’s short tenure in the jumper ring. Lonsdale and the Arabian by Harlequin Magic Maker converted from the eventing world after discovering a mutual distaste for dressage about a year and a half ago, partnering with Krome in March of 2011. Londsale, 17, admitted that while Magic was a natural, it took her a while to get the swing of things in the jumper world.
“It’s my first Devon,” she said. “It’s really exciting to do well here. I give all the credit to Magic and my trainers.”
Lonsdale commutes about once a week to train with Krome and his mother, Carolyn Krome, with help from Jen Newman.
“It’s pretty unusual,” said Diane Lonsdale, Christine’s mother. “We train with top trainers and keep our own horses at home, maintaining them to Pony Club standards ourselves.”
When he's not training for the pony jumper ring, Christine and Winds Of Magic can be found hunting with Green Spring Valley Hounds (Md.) or Elkridge-Harford Hunt (Md.). Christine, a member of the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Pony Club (Md.), has been just as busy preparing for her first trip to Devon as she was for another big test: She’s taking her C3 show jumping specialty rating next weekend on Magic.
Earlier In The Day
A huge crowd showed up to watch Fritz and Sailor Moon best a pony jumper jump-off field of 10 during the class earlier that day. But the afternoon took a somber turn when Camilla Siekmann took a major fall at fence 11, an oxer set next to the rail.
Her pony, Mist Of A Champion, crashed through the fence and fell, then rolled over Siekmann. Ringmaster Alan Keeley (who is also an EMT and captain of the Croton Falls Fire Police) ran across the ring and was at her side in seconds. Show EMTs arrived promptly, and she was transported to Paoli Hospital. She suffered a concussion, but all other tests were negative.
Hopefully Siekmann’s trip to Devon isn’t all bad memories. Devon president Wade McDevitt arranged for the Siekmann family to have tickets for the $100,000 Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon on Thursday night.
“We’re excited to have the Siekmann family here Thursday evening, and Camilla has only one request, that she be able to meet her heroine, Beezie Madden, and we will definitely arrange that,” said McDevitt.