Devon, PA - June 28, 2012 -The summer sun at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series horse shows presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) shone brightly over the Dixon Oval as Paul Mathews rode Carino to a dominating performance in the Second Year/High Performance Hunters. After claiming all five of the division's blue ribbon awards, the talented duo returned to ring to claim the Grand Hunter Championship. Professional riders Louise Serio, Phoebe DeMott and Sandy Ferrell also took home championship awards for their efforts.
Paul Mathews and Carino, owned by Terry Morrison of Ann Arbor, MI, were the stars today at the Devon Show Grounds. With their lovely hunter rounds they earned the top call in each of the Second Year/High Performance Hunter classes today. The pair also swept the classes yesterday for the championship honors. Ashley Holtz of Wellington, FL, followed in the reserve position about finishing second in both of today's classes aboard Summer Catch. With a clean sweep of the Second Year/High Performance Hunters, Mathews and Carino topped their week with the Grand Champion Hunter honors.
Over the last two years, Mathews has brought Carino along slowly, allowing him to showcase his potential. They began in the Pre-Green Hunters in 2010, before moving up to the First Year Green Working Hunters mid-way through 2011. "He's only seven years old and he hasn't shown a lot, but he's been really good for us," stated Mathews. "As he gets more made he's just getting better at everything as we go, we've been taking it actually pretty slow with him. We want him to have a long career."
Later this week, the pair will compete in the fourth USHJA International Hunter Derby. Owner Terry Morrison is simply focused on allowing Carino to come up through the hunter ranks with Mathews in the irons. "Terry has been really helpful to us, allowing us to do what the horse needs throughout the whole process," he commented. "She just enjoys having him, seeing him show occasionally and watching him develop. We are very thankful to her for that."
The First Year Green Working Hunters were the first to get underway this morning with their final over fences class and handy class. Louise Serio and Casino, owned by Bridget Hallman of Oyster Bay, NY, took a strong lead early in the division with a score of 87 over the handy course. They also placed third in the first class with a score of 82. Their excellent placings today coupled with a win yesterday vaulted them to the top of the standings to take home the championship award. Patricia Griffith and Sutherland, owned by Lyn Pedersen of Greenwich, CT, had two first place finishes yesterday as well as a third and fourth place finish to today to pick up the division's reserve championship.
"Casino was great, he loves it here," noted Serio. "It was a nice handy course, you kind of had to take an inside track because there really wasn't an outside track anywhere, but he was really good. He was very happy in there; he's very brave, very honest. He's fun to ride, lots of scope, and a great horse."
Serio added, "Casino's ride is changing a little bit now, it's kind of evolving in that he was really, really slow before and now he's carrying you a little bit more, so his ride is getting better all the time."
The Conformation Hunters were next, and once again it was Phoebe DeMott and Noble Blue, owned by Kristen Bowman and Lancaster, PA, that were at the top of the standings. With a win in both of today's over fences classes and two blue ribbons from yesterday the pair earned the championship award. Following in reserve, Lyman T. Whitehead and Trending, owned by Nina Winoker of Greenwich, CT, earned a blue ribbon and three second place ribbons throughout the division.
"I thought everything felt really good today," said DeMott. "All in all, I thought he jumped great; he's just really fun. He's brave and he's great turning. The more you challenge him, the better he jumps. I had a lot of fun with him today."
Sandy Ferrell also took home a championship tricolor, winning the under saddle today and an over fences class yesterday in the Performance 3'6" Hunters with Say What, owned by Rodney Bross of Monkton, MD. The reserve championship went to Patricia Griffith riding Monte Cristo for owner Paula Kennedy of New Canaan, CT. At the end of the Ferrell commented, "He's a great horse. We might do the Derby together, but if not, he will be back next week. This is a great show and we're excited to be here."
Later tonight, the highlight event in the Dixon Oval will be the $1,000 Pennsylvania Horse Show Association's Hunter Classic, which will get underway at 7p.m. Tomorrow, the hunters will highlight the Amateur-Owner divisions, followed by the Junior Hunters on Saturday. The first week of the Brandywine Valley Summer Series will conclude on Sunday with the $10,000 Johnson Horse Transportation USHJA International Hunter Derby.
For more information about the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, please visit http://brandywinevalleysummerseries.com.
Photo Credit: Paul Mathews and Carino won the Grand Champion Hunter title at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.