Devon, Penn. – Canadian Diane Creech riding Wiona took the win in the Grand Prix Special on the final day of competition at Dressage at Devon. She took the win in the soggy Dixon Oval ring with a score of 63.00 percent. Placing second was Richard Klaassen, riding Casineur Moesgard with a score of 60.92. Third went to Karen Lipp with Latino and a score of 60.60 percent.
This year was Creech’s first competing at Devon and she loved the atmosphere saying it was a tremendous learning experience for both her and her horses. “This is so exciting and thrilling,” she said after Sunday’s Grand Prix Special win. Creech didn’t ride in Saturday’s Grand Prix Freestyle but said she found the atmosphere so exciting that she was whooping and hollering along with all the other spectators.
Wiona is an eight-year-old Hanoverian mare by Weltmeyer and owned by Doug and Louise Leatherdale. Creech, who is a breast cancer survivor, gave great credit to the Leatherdales for their “fabulous support and sponsorship. They are both wonderful horse people.”
"I hear so much about Devon. It’s the show to go to and my owners were super excited about it as well,” Creech said of the decision to come to Devon for her first time. Unfortunately, she said Doug Leatherdale had to have knee surgery and couldn’t come to Devon, but they’ve leant their support by phone and her own family and team have been on hand to help make this first Devon experience a great one."
Creech said when she first arrived at Devon during the time the breed competition was going on, she had to step back and just take it all in. “There was so much going on. It was a lot to take and I had a four-year-old competing as well that is also owned by the Leatherdales. He took it all very well and ended up winning the suitability class. I must say, it’s a beautiful show. For the horses, they come home and their two years older because they mature so much. They see so much here.”
Despite the sloppy conditions in the ring, Creech actually added the footing to her list of things at Devon she found impressive. “It’s amazing how much water this footing can take,” she said. “It’s been coming down quite long now and I’m sure not too many rings could take this. It varied between being soupy and having suction cups under you, but it never felt that slippery.”
Creech said she had been told that if footing was a concern, she could scratch. So, she rode around the outside of the ring before entering to test it out and while a bit under water, she felt it was secure enough for her and Wiona to go on. Creech and Wiona did have some baubles in their ride due to footing. “Yea, when I was doing some one tempis, she just couldn’t find her feet and get organized. But you don’t ride full tilt in footing like that. You just try to stay balanced,” Creech said. “She’s such a good mare. She really tries for you. She never shuts down,” she said of Wiona. “She felt at times like she was going and then she’d find her footing again. It was a little bit of an adventure ride in this footing.”
Creech said this is her first year at the Grand Prix level and winning isn’t what she’s had on her mind. “What I’m trying to do is get more experience and to get Wiona more confidence. My end goal is the WEG in Kentucky,” she said. Creech was clearly proud of Wiona’s performance of Devon. She and Wiona have a great partnership but just need more mileage. “With Wiona, we’re just working on consistency and making the least mistakes possible.” Creech said Wiona will have much more to show in the future. “Once she’s confirmed at Grand Prix, we’ll work at making things bigger and more expressive.”