Reed Kessler of Armonk, N.Y., defended her Junior Jumper championship and Leading Junior Jumper title at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair in dramatic fashion Saturday night in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
Kessler placed both first and second, on Flight and Ligist, in the $15,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Classic to clinch the championship and the reserve championship as well as the Leading Rider title.
"It's so exciting," the 15-year-old Kessler said. "I love Devon. It was my grandparents' favorite show and my parents' favorite show. So to win these awards two years in a row is just so great."
Samantha Schaefer rode Garfield to the Large Junior Hunter (16 and 17) championship and was named Best Child Rider on a Horse.
"I didn't start off so well yesterday, so I had to come from behind," said Schaefer, 17, of Westminster, Md. "This is the first time I've been champion at Devon. "We call it the Devon curse. I've had six ponies here, good ponies, and couldn't win a championship, and the same with the horses. So it's exciting, a relief, really."
Scott Stewart's Ovation, ridden by Victoria Colvin, was Devon Grand Junior Hunter Champion, having also earned the Small Junior Hunter (15 and under) championship.
Stewart, of Flemington, N.J., and Colvin also teamed up to win the Reserve championship in Small Junior (15 and under) with World Time, and the Large Junior Hunter (15 and under) championship with Way Cool.
Colvin showed seven mounts, the maximum for any one rider. There were three ponies and four horses.
"The transition from ponies to horses wasn't hard," Colvin said. "All my horses are great, so that made it easy.
"I don't get nervous at a show," she said, but added that she does get nervous watching Daisy Farish ride her pony Ballou.
Daisy, granddaughter of the famous thoroughbred racehorse breeder Will Farish, rode Colvin's Ballou to the Small Pony championship and was named Best Child Rider on a Pony.
Farish, 9, is the youngest rider to win the Best Child Rider title at Devon.
"This is my second year at Devon," said Daisy, who rode three ponies, Ballou, Hands Up, and Hi Lite, at Devon. "Ballou is my favorite. He trusts me. Victoria is a great mentor."
"Ballou is the biggest pet," said Daisy's mother, Kelley Farish, who with her husband, Bill, has a thoroughbred breeding farm where they stand stallions and breed and foal mares.