Devon, PA – Dressage at Devon wrapped up on Sunday with winning performances of young and seasoned riders, interspersed with entertainment from crowd-pleaser Tommie Turvey and his team of horses. FEI Grand Prix Special Open: Ashley Holzer claimed yet another first place this week riding Jewel’s Adelante, a Swedish Warmblood, in the FEI Grand Prix Special. Thrilled with the ride she said “it’s amazing how well he did.” She added that he is a straight forward horse to ride and if you ride well, he will perform. Catherine Haddad Staller, now living in New Jersey after 20 years in Europe, took second place on Mane Stream Hotmail.
Catherine purchased Hotmail in 2012 as an investment. He was doing 3rd level and she planned to bring him up to Prix St. Georges and then sell him. “Then one day I got mad at him and when I kicked him, he did a piaffe,” she says. That changed her perspective. “I’ve never had a more athletic horse. He gives you what you want.” Next she plans to take him to Florida to compete over the winter.
Tommie Turvey, horseman extraordinaire and Hollywood stuntman, entertained the crowds at Dressage at Devon during the Performance Division with his horses, Joker’s Wild and Ace in the Hole. He kept spectators riveted as he stood astride, one foot on each of the two horses’ backs, riding them around the Dixon Oval at a breathtaking gallop. He also performed other acts that made the horses look like putty in his hands. “He knows how to spotlight their beauty, power and freedom with an exciting show,” said Lori Kaminski, President and CEO of Dressage at Devon. Tommie says that training horses to this level takes three ingredients — trust, respect, and a strong bond.
Tommie should know. As the son a Californian rodeo cowboy, he has spent his life pursuing his passion for learning about and working with horses. He started his career mucking stalls for Medieval Times, where they gave him the opportunity to learn their acts. He continued to build his knowledge at Arabian Nights and Euro Disney in Paris, France, where he performed stunts. In 1997 he bought horses and trained for his own show, and in 2000 they were ready to entertain. He now performs for audiences at a variety of venues and also is available with his team for the movie and entertainment industry. His career includes, for example, performing a stunt in Batman Dark Knight and appearing and training the Clydesdales in the 2013 Budweiser Super Bowl commercial.
Photographers at Devon
Susan Stickle has been coming to Dressage at Devon to enjoy the show since 1990. Five years ago, as a professional photographer, she decided to bring her camera with her and it’s been with her every year since. “Devon is one of the most beautiful places to photograph....especially when it’s not raining,” she said with a smile. Because the venue is infused with tradition and history, photographs have a distinctive character. “When you take a picture at Devon, everyone knows it is Devon,” Sickle adds.
Other Show Highlights
Jane Hannigan took the blue ribbon in the USEF Fourth Level Test 3 on Largo Di Molto, a 13-year old Oldenburg gelding (Laroni x Taktik) owned by Suzanne Southhall from Newton, Massachusetts.
Tanya Strasser-Shostak and Action Tyme came in first in the FEI Young Rider Freestyle. Action Tyme is a 16.3 Oldenburg gelding owned by Evi Strasser from Canada.
Barbara (Bebe) Davis riding Rotano brought home the blue in the FEI Junior Freestyle. Twelve year-old Rotano is a 16.2 dark bay Hanoverian gelding owned by Michael and Sarah Davis of Jupiter Florida.