Devon, PA - July 6, 2012 - With an early start to today's event, the riders at Brandywine Valley Summer Series presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) were able to beat the heat at the Devon Show Grounds. Amateur rider Cathleen Driscoll topped this year's new Small Hunter division, and their efforts over the last two weeks also won the Circuit Championship. Louise Serio and Rock Star led the Performance 3'3" Hunters, taking home the championship honors, while Kristen Bowman and Noble Blue landed the Children's Hunter Grand Championship.
The Small Hunter division was held this morning in the Dixon Oval with leading competitors taking to the arena. Earning the top call in the under saddle was Cathleen Driscoll of Elk Mills, MD, with Color Me Blue, who also won yesterday's over fences class. The duo's performance was rewarded with the championship award, and have two weeks of excellent efforts they also won the Circuit Championship. Celine Marlin Andrews of Valley Forge, PA, followed with the reserve championship aboard Diva SCF.
"Color Me Blue was a little bit green last week, but this week came out very nicely," explained Driscoll. "He was just really relaxed and was very good in the Dixon Oval. He's a very easy, relaxed horse. You can just sit back and throw the reins away and he will go and do his job."
Driscoll and Color Me Blue have been paired together for three years. This is Drsicoll's first Amateur year, but they have previously shown in the Junior Hunters as well as the Amateur-Owners. "I think I am going to keep him at the 3' because he is really comfortable at that height," she commented. "I really wish this division would catch on and become something. I think there is a need for it because there are those overgrown large ponies that need something to do. They are nice horses and they can't always compete against the big warmbloods. I think this is a really good division, especially at this height."
Earlier in the day, Louise Serio piloted Rock Star, owned by Jennifer Burger of Buffalo, NY, to the championship honors in the hotly contested Performance 3'3" Hunter division. With 16 entries, Serio and Rock Star earned scores of 86 and 87 over fences for two blue ribbons. Earning the second place honors in the under saddle and today's first over fences class was Barbara Ann Merryman and Eastwood, owned by Steeple Chase Farm of Greenwich, CT, for the reserve championship.
"Rock Star's rounds were absolutely amazing today," smiled Burger. "He has great style and he loves it doing the 3'3" divison It's fun for him because he can do it so easily, and it keeps him in shape."
Burger added, "Louise originally found Rock Star, so there's a great connection that goes to way back, and I can tell that they are both having a great time when I watch them ride. They trust each other, they rely on each other; it's beautiful to watch."
In the Gold Ring, it was the Children's Hunters that were the main event. Kristen Bowman of Lancaster, PA, and Noble Blue were at the top of the standings for the Children's 14 & Under Hunters, earning the championship honors, as well as the division's Circuit Championship and the Children's Hunter Grand Championship. The Children's 14 & Under Hunter reserve championship went to Tyler St. Bernard and Tesoro, owned by Dayna Jodzio of Pipersville, PA. The Children's 15-17 Hunters were next and it was Maggie Pollard of Warrenton, VA, and Azuro 105 who took home the championship prize, as well as the Circuit Championship. Barn mate Kathryn Maginnis of Centreville, VA, and Fargo followed with the reserve championship.
"I've had Noble Blue for about a year and he's always very calm," said Bowman. "He's always nice and relaxed. This week we will be doing our first National Hunter Derby together. My trainer, Phoebe DeMott, always tells us to have fun before we go in the ring."
This week, the Brandywine Valley Summer Series is a World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) member event. The WCHR is an awards program started by the American Hunter-Jumper Foundation and now carried forward by USHJA. The awards are presented, on both a national and regional level, to Pony, Junior, Amateur, Professional, Adult and Children's hunter riders who accumulate the most points at WCHR designated horse shows throughout the year.
The Brandywine Valley Summer Series will continue tonight with the Marshall and Sterling Children's/Adult Jumper Classic, as well as the $5,000 Show Jumping Hall of Farm High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic and the $3,500 North American League Low Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic, all getting underway at 6p.m. in the Dixon Oval. Tomorrow, the highlight event will be the $5,000 Get Real Get RAW USHJA National Hunter Derby.
For more information about the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, please visit http://brandywinevalleysummerseries.com.
Photo Credit: Cathleen Driscoll and Color Me Blue won Small Hunter Championship at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.