Devon, PA- As the professional hunter divisions came to a close at the Devon Horse Show, Scott Stewart ended up on top to claim the Devon Grand Hunter Championship aboard A Million Reasons.
Stewart and Dr. Betsee Parker's A Million Reasons earned the championship in the High Performance Working Hunter division, racking up a total of four blue ribbons and one red ribbon to secure the Devon Grand Hunter Championship. The High Performance reserve championship went to El Primero and Louise Serio, who was also crowned Leading Lady Rider.
"I had hopes for A Million Reasons, to be honest," Stewart said. "She's been pretty consistent. This is only her third horse show of the year. She was champion in WCHR week in Florida, then we did Kentucky, and she was champion, then we came here."
Despite the light show schedule, A Million Reasons came ready to win. At home, Stewart prepared the mare by jumping her around a four-foot course a few times in the weeks before Devon. "She likes a light schedule," Stewart said. "She's a mare, but she doesn't really act mare-ish. She's almost more like a stallion. She's a little lazy off your leg. The hardest part is having her focused on what she's doing because it's easy for her. She rides like she's 18h, and she's only 15.3h. Her style is just to go with her head and neck out."
In addition to the championships, Stewart accumulated enough points to earn the Leading Hunter Rider award for the eleventh time, while A Million Reasons also took home the Leading Mare Award,
"It always feels great to win," Stewart said. "Devon is a special show for me. It's huge with tradition. It's always a great thing to win here. I try to think less and less about getting the Leading Hunter Rider award because it makes you crazy, but it's always a thrill to get it."
Dr. Parker, proud owner of A Million Reasons, said the little mare keeps everyone laughing with her charming personality. "Scott and I collaborated on her, and we really thought that he was the kind of ride for that mare," Dr. Parker commented. "We felt that she required a certain sensitive temperament of a rider in order to get the best out of her. She's emotionally complicated. We laugh about her a lot because she has a lot of opinions."
Another one of Dr. Parker's talented hunters, Cold Harbor, took home the championship in the Regular Conformation Hunter division with rider Hunt Tosh in the irons. Tosh said Cold Harbor, who goes by Larson at the barn, is his horse of a lifetime. The talented gelding also earned the championship in the Regular Conformation Hunters at Devon last year.
"He has just been incredible," Tosh said. "He's such a classic hunter. Betsee has been so gracious, and she's such a wonderful owner for us. He was great all week. He's one of the best feelings to ride, and just to have a horse like that... so beautiful, a wonderful mover and can jump and all that... he's truly what you look for in a hunter. He's proven to us that when it counts, he tries to win."
Dr. Parker added, "Cold Harbor has broken all the records for Regular Conformation Hunters in this country that can be broken. No horse in history has won it more times than he has. He's a very mannerly, good-tempered, kind, generous horse in every way. He's a real, true dream horse."
Even Tosh's 9-year-old daughter, Maddie, loves Cold Harbor. Dr. Parker and Tosh plan for Cold Harbor to be Maddie's Junior Hunter when she is ready to compete in the division. "Maddie rides him at home," Tosh added.
"He is sweet enough to let her get on him and hack around. He's her favorite horse in the barn, but it's hard not to let him be your favorite horse in the barn. He's just one of those horses that is that special."
The division's reserve championship went to Kelley Farmer and Baltimore.
Continuing the hunter action at Devon, the feature $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby will take place on Thursday. The final highlight event during the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair will be the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*, which takes place on Thursday evening.
The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is the longest running and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. With the grandeur of Philadelphia's prestigious Main Line setting the stage, the event features a world-class field that annually ranks among the most prominent internationally. The event also includes the Country Fair that offers world-class shopping, rides and games for kids, multiple dining options and special entertainment events.
For more information, please visit www.DevonHorseShow.net.