Devon, PA— Special fillies and colts strutted their stuff on the opening day of Dressage at Devon. These youngsters demonstrated the power of North American breeders when all of Tuesday’s champions were awarded above 81% on the way to their tri-colors. A full day of classes ran late into the night at the continent’s premier breed show as the young horses kicked off six days of great competition celebrating the show’s 35th Anniversary.
Taking home the top honors of Young Horse Champion, as well as the Colt Championship, was El Paso ISF, a yearling son of UB40 that was bred by Iron Spring Farm. The chestnut KWPN colt with flaxen mane and tail demonstrated stellar movement and exceptional presence as he won the Yearling Colts class over 16 other talented youngsters. Not to leave any top ribbons on the table, the colt also won the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Colt Championship. El Paso ISF is a previous winner at Dressage at Devon; he took home the blue ribbon last year in the Weanling Colts class.
Close on El Paso’s hooves was Dazzle, bred by Victoria Lamas Wanner and owned by Taylor Minnucci. The striking KWPN dark brown filly by Jazz started her DAD experience by winning the Two-Year-Old Filly class, was awarded the Filly Championship and finished off the day by being named Reserve Young Horse Champion. “This filly is so special. I sold her as a yearling, but I’m back here at Devon to help her new owner,” said her breeder who selected Jazz for her mare Zizarma by Special D in order to achieve the ideal combination of sensible and hot.
Another repeat Dressage at Devon winner was Marmara, who this year won the Three-Year-Old Filly class, as well as the Filly Reserve Championship. Marmara, by Licotus out of the Landadel mare La Montana is owned by Nancy Holowesko, and was bred by Eric Sathoff.
Royal Tradition, by Royal Prince out of a Puritano mare, took home the Foal Championship for breeder and owner Christine Loudon of Lebanon, Ohio. The colt had the high score of the day when he received 82.8 from judge Hilda Gurney. “We had a very, very good day,” said a thrilled Loudon, who also bred the colt’s dam.
For Loudon, a retiree, this has been a labor of love for nearly five years, as she tried to get her mare in foal. With the efforts of Paard Hill Farm and Denise Osborne, along with Hilltop Farm, Loudon persevered. She continues, “To pick a sire I went to Hilltop Farm and they evaluated my mare. I looked at the stallions, watched them being ridden, their movement and just fell in love with Royal Prince. I can’t say enough good things about Hilltop and the Osbornes. I have been trying to have a foal since 2006. There was a lot of heartache that happened before this, but that really makes it special!”
Finishing with the Foal Reserve Championship was Quintessa MF, bred by Maryanna Haymon, who has five horses showing at Dressage at Devon. The Columbus, SC resident explains, “These horses are my kids and grandkids.”
Quintessa MF is by the popular stallion Quaterback out of EM Rising Star MF by Rotspon. “I chose Quaterback specifically for this mare,” Haymon said. “This mare needs a fancier trot and more elegance and Quaterback delivers that. I wanted to strengthen a quick hind leg when I bred him to Rising Star. I see that Quaterback is consistently passing on his trot and canter. He gave us exactly what we were looking for as a sire for this mare. Quintessa could go all the way based on her gaits.”
Haymon has a strategy when selecting mares and stallions. She explains, “ When I breed a horse I keep in mind that I want something that I can handle and ride. I do all the work at my farm. They have to have a good mind and temperament. You also have to have a good work ethic. If you don’t have a work ethic, you don’t have an upper level horse. I love what I have at the farm. I can handle them; I hold them for farrier; worm them out in the field. They load and clip. I do it by myself.”
Another Haymon entry, and a personal favorite, Duet MF by Don Principe out of EM Rotina by Rotspon, claimed the Great American Insurance Group/USDF Breeders Filly Championship. Haymon comments, “Prince (Don Principe) and Duet are two of the best I’ve ever had. There is something extraordinary about them.”
And just to show how small the horse world really is, Haymon says, “Hannes Burning is showing Duet today. He is here from Germany and is the son of Don Principe’s breeder. How great is that!”
More breed competition continues on Wednesday with the stallions, mares and geldings competing for top prizes.