Toronto, ON - Diane Creech of Caistor Centre, Ontario, and Devon L, a 13-year-old chestnut Hanoverian gelding owned by Louise and Doug Leatherdale of Leatherdale Farms, put in nearly flawless performances in the Grand Prix and the Freestyle to earn the pair the win of the $20,000 Royal Invitational Dressage Cup at the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, Ontario. "The Royal is the highlight for all of our Canadian riders," said Creech. "Being invited is already very special. Only the top four riders get to go. We already felt honored to be there, but to win is like a dream come true. It makes us very proud." Creech and Devon L finished second to David Marcus and Chrevi's Capital in the Grand Prix on Wednesday, Nov. 6, where they scored 67.801 percent to begin the show on a strong note. The following night, Creech and Devon L took it up another notch. The pair's outstanding freestyle effort earned them a score of 75.417 percent, giving them a clear lead over second-placed Marcus and Chrevi's Capital (72.917 percent) and securing the win of the coveted Canadian prize.
"Devon was spectacular in the ring - he had all the power but stayed focused," Creech said. "I was so proud of him because the atmosphere was electric. Afterwards, I was so happy to call Doug and Louise who were unable to attend. I am so grateful to them for supporting me and having the trust in Devon."
Spectators clapped and cheered as Creech piloted Devon through their freestyle to a soundtrack assembled by Karen Robinson. Creech shared that her coach, Lars Petersen, told her that Devon had so much presence during their freestyle that it gave him goose bumps. "Diane's horse was wonderful," said Elizabeth McMullen, who judged the famed Canadian competition at 'C'. "Lots of power, lots of rhythm. The horse really makes you sit up and pay attention. He's just lovely."
Devon L is by De Niro x EM Wibranda by Wolkenstein II. The pair placed second in both the Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Special at the Saugerties CDI-W in August. They had equally impressive results during the 2013 winter season in Wellington, FL, where they will compete again this coming season and debut a new freestyle designed by Robinson.
"As a Canadian, this is a very big deal," said Doug Leatherdale about the win for Creech and Devon L. "We purchased his dam from our friend, Hans-Henning von der Decken, with Devon in-utero and shipped her to our farm in Minnesota, where he was born. We raised him and gave him to Diane to train. We couldn't be more pleased with the result."