A hallmark of Dressage at Devon is the breed competition, which draws some of America’s best breeders to present their finest horses. Devon is playing host this year to the fifth annual North American Breeders Futurity Championships and the fourth annual Born in the USA Breeders Awards, which recognizes the quality of horses now being bred in the U.S.
Beth Samson is sure she’s got one of those quality American horses in her 12-week-old Hanoverian colt Signature by Sinatra Song out of Lillith. In his short life, the youngster has already been out collecting not only a championship ribbon but also a reserve championship. During competition at Devon on Tuesday, he kept his handler, Klaus Schengber, on his toes. One of the fun things about the breed classes involving young horses is the opportunity to see them exhibit their enthusiasm. Signature interpreted trot to mean leap and jump, but that didn’t bother Schengber.
“It’s a crapshoot when you show young horses. You never know what will happen,” Schengber said. “With Signature, it’s lots of fun, because he does love to show off and so far, he’s been a crowd pleaser, so we’re tickled. Today, he was having fun and I think sucking up to the audience. He’s never really dangerous, even though he can explode a little I know what to expect. He really likes showing. At home, he’s incredibly sweet and very smart.”
Signature was born in the U.S. and bred by Angela Barilar of High Point Hanoverians in Maryland on July 24. Samson and her trainer, Cindy Snowden, also of Massachusetts, were hunting for a young horse and after first seeing still pictures of the little colt, they decided they were interested. Samson then asked for video clips and once she took a look immediately called Barilar and said she was heading south to Maryland to take a look.
“I saw five colts while we were there and as soon as he walked into the arena and they started trotting him, we literally had chills. I mean, I started crying and said, ‘I have to have him.’ It was one of those things where I saw him immediately and I knew I had to have him,” Samson said. She said Signature will stay at High Point Hanoverians until he’s old enough to be backed, at which point Snowden will take over the ride.
For Samson, this year’s Devon breed show is her first trip to the prestigious event and she was in awe. She’s also hoping this won’t be her last trip as the owner of a horse competing at Devon. “This is my first trip to Devon. I’ve never been to this show grounds at all and everybody had said it gets chaotic and wild. But this is like a dream of a lifetime for me to be here. It’s wonderful. I hope that some day we’ll be back in the performance show.”