The nation's top professionals from coast to coast brought their best horses to the Dixon Oval to go head to head for top honors in the Open Divisions. The record-breaking heat did not deter anyone from laying down their best trips, and at the end, Day 1 went to Scott Stewart, Leading Hunter Rider at the Devon Horse Show for the past eight consecutive years.
Jennifer Alfano made back-to-back trips to the winner's circle, the first time with Helen Lenahan's Miss Lucy in the Second Year Green Working Hunter over fences, and again with SBS Farms Jersey Boy in the High Performance Working Hunter over fences.
The only other professional to get a piece of the over fences action was Californian John French aboard Davlyn Farms Come Monday winning the second round in the First Year Green Working Hunter over fences. Come Monday is John's only ride at Devon this year, and hemade the most of it procuing the highest score of the day. The judges rewarded the duo's efforts with a score of 90.
Scott Stewart Pilots Touchdown To A Clean Sweep
Stewart of Flemington, New Jersey piloted his own Touchdown to a clean sweep of the Regular Conformation division winning the Model and both over fences classes. Stewart's streak didn't stop there, he went on to secure the top spots in both the First Year Green Working Hunter and Green Conformation Hunter over fences on Fashion Farm's Dedication and Becky Gochman's Empire respectively.
In recapping the day Scott said, "I thought Dedication was amazing because he hasn't shown that many times and he and Touchdown are both my greenest ones. I think Dedication only showed 4 or 5 times in Florida and he just did Kentucky last week, and I thought he was great. To walk in the ring the first time here and to be really unaffected by the environment and jump great, with that huge stride, he's amazing to ride."
Stewart is equally as proud of his own spectacularly beautiful chestnut Touchdown "He was so great with Tori (Victoria Colvin), and he got in at the last minute so that was unexpected as Tori and I had only shown him a few times. This week I decided to put him in the Regular Conformation because I had Empire in the Green Conformation, I wanted to split them up a little bit. I've only done that division one other time on Touchdown, but he was actually great the first time, and even better the second time I thought. "
Touchdown came from Germanywhere he was an approved stallion and had only done Dressage. Stewart purchased him last July, which is when Touchdown jumped his first jump. What does Stewart like about Touchdown "He's beautiful and his jump is amazing, and he's really easy. He has such a great balance, you don't even need the reins, and he's so direct for a young horse. He's so sweet. You can leave the stall door open and he'll hang his head out and he won't leave. He's really, really sweet.
Touchdown was gelded once Stewart purchased him. Stewart says, "When we got him he was attractive, but I didn't think he was going to be this beautiful, then all of a sudden he just blossomed."
Scott and Ken's River's Edge is known for producing beautiful, athletic animals, and Empire is no exception. "I bought Empire last September, and he's been great. He was champion every week in Palm Beach. He's super easy to ride, and Becky (Gochman) won a class on him in Kentucky. It was her first time doing the Amateurs on him, so she'll continue to do the Amateurs.
Scott has recently taken over the reins on partner Ken Berkley's World Cup horse Carlos Boy owned by Krista and Alexa Weisman a pairing which also proved successful today as Carlos Boy was second to Jersey Boy in the High Performance Working Hunter over fences and second to Pony Lane's Francesca in the High Performance Hunter Under Saddle. "I thought his (Carlos Boy's) was really the best round of the day for me. I took him to Kentucky to do the hunters for both weeks, so he really got in the groove of being a hunter, because I've done a little bit, but I haven't been that serious about it. So we got a little more serious about it, and actually he was second both weeks in Kentuckyin the hack as well. I thought he went great. I thought he jumped every jump great and was a real hunter today. He's so sweet and easy. He's so much fun."