Standing Ovation For Devon's Newest Favorite, George Williams

2002 Dressage at Devon was miraculously spared from Hurricane Isidore's rain showers today and created the perfect atmosphere for hailing the show's newest favorite, George Williams. Winning the Grand Prix for freestyle with an impressive score of 70.840%, Williams was far the best rider of the pack, riding a test of world championship quality with trainer Klaus Balkenhol's influence surfacing.

Aboard his delightful Westfalian mare Rocher, Williams produced a class act ride in which the extended trot, the piaffe and passage were the highlights. Rocher's overall coolness with the upper level exercises was clearly visible in her floppy relaxed ears and rhythmically swinging tail, never showing a sign of stress or uneasiness. Even though the contact with the bit seemed soft, it could have been more steadier. But that was the only detail worth a remark in their otherwise superb test. Ohio based George Williams is definitely in for the Freestyle victory and will deal with hardly any competition, if his mare maintains this top shape.

In second place were outsiders Pam Goodrich and Melville. Goodrich, who already competed at this level in Devon in 2001, has shown definite improvement today. There were no significant dips in her test and the horse was alert to his rider's aids during his performance. With 64.880% on the score board, Goodrich settled for the red ribbon.

Nancy Polozker and Hilcodion came close to Goodrich's score, but were just 0.120% short. With 64.760%, the earned their third position and a good starting position for the Grand Prix freestyle.

It was an exciting day today at Dressage at Devon. View all scores with break down and reports with photos of every class at

By Astrid Appels