Professional Hunters Take Center Stage on Opening Day of Brandywine Valley Summer Series

Devon, PA - June 27, 2012 -Blue skies greeted competitors for the first day of the Brandywine Valley Summer Series horse shows presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS). The professional hunter divisions were the highlight in the Dixon Oval, where Patricia Griffith, Phoebe DeMott, Paul Mathews, and Sandy Ferrell all rode to top finishes with their talented mounts. Riders were thrilled to return to the prestigious Devon Show Grounds for the two-week competition running through July 8, 2012.

The First Year Green Working Hunters kicked off the competition in the Dixon Oval today. Patricia Griffith and Sutherland, owned by Lyn Pedersen of Greenwich, CT, were the leaders, winning the first round with a score of 84, and also earning the top call in the under saddle class. Louise Serio and Casino, owned by Bridget Hallman of Oyster Bay, NY, were right behind Griffith, winning the second over fences class.

Today marked Griffith and Sutherland's debut in the First Year Green Working Hunter division.  "We just got him the last two weeks of Florida," explained Griffith. "I did him once in the 3'3" Pre-Greens and he was champion his first time out. He's a lovely horse, great mover, he's brave."

Griffith added, "It's great to be back at Brandywine. The Dixon Oval is such a great ring to ride in. It is nice being here after Devon, when it's a little on the quieter side and we can just concentrate on the horses."

The Conformation Hunters were up next and it was Phoebe DeMott and Noble Blue, owned by Kristen Bowman of Lancaster, PA, that claimed two blue ribbons. They won the second over fences class and then went on to win the under saddle. The winner of the first over fences class was Trending, ridden by Lyman T. Whitehead and owned by Nina Winoker of Greenwich, CT.

"Noble Blue is a really nice horse," stated DeMott. "He also shows in the Children's Hunter with the owner. He takes a lot of leg; he's a quiet horse. He makes mistakes sometimes and you don't want to make him mad, he's only seven years old."

Paul Mathews swept the Second Year Green/High Performance Hunter division aboard Carino, owned by the Willcox Family of Bridgewater, VA. The pair scored a 79 during their first round, but came back with a score of 85 during their second round. They also earned the top call during the under saddle, claiming each of the division's blue ribbon honors.

"I thought Carino was really good," commented Mathews. "He's only seven years old, so he's a little green, but I was really happy with the way he jumped. He's a really soft and easy ride, he's elastic, yet sort of sensitive; he's fun and jumps really easily."

Wrapping up the hunters today was the Performance 3'6" Hunters. Sandy Ferrell and Say What, owned by Rodney Bross of Monkton, MD, topped the second over fences class with a score of 84. The winner of the first over fences class was Jennifer Bauersachs aboard Secret Life, owned by Lee Kellogg Sadrian of New York, NY.

"I just started riding Say What for Rodney, and he loves to win, he likes to jump, which is really fun from a rider's perspective," noted Ferrell. "He wants you to put a loop in the reins, which is my favorite kind of ride, so we get along really well. He's a little horse, but he's got a lot of talent and he just wants to jump. He was third in our first Derby at Swan Lake last week, so we will be doing the Derby here on Sunday."

The second annual Brandywine Valley Summer Series will continue tomorrow with the conclusion of the professional hunter divisions, where championship and reserve championships honors will be awarded. This week's highlight event will be the $10,000 Johnson Horse Transportation USHJA International Hunter Derby on Sunday, July 1. The second week of the competition will feature the $5,000 Get Real Get RAW USHJA National Hunter Derby.

For more information about the Brandywine Valley Summer Series, please visit

Photo Credit: Paul Mathews and Carino swept the Second Year Green/High Performance Hunters at the Brandywine Valley Summer Series. Photo By: Rebecca Walton/PMG.