Andrew Kocher Flies to First Devon Win in $50,000 Devon Welcome Stake CSI4*

Devon, Pa. – May 30, 2017 – The Dixon Oval welcomed its first international show jumping competition at the 2017 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair on Tuesday evening with the $50,000 Devon Welcome Stake CSI4*. Fifty-three horses and athletes went head-to-head for the first place prize, but it was USA’s Andrew Kocher who risked it all to come away with his first Devon win aboard MKO Equestrian LLC’s Navalo De Poheton.
Andrew Kocher and Navalo De Poheton
Sixteen combinations returned to compete over Great Britain’s Kelvin Bywater’s shortened track.

USA’s Georgina Bloomberg kicked off the jump-off with a clear round piloting Gotham Enterprizes, LLC’s Manodie II H in 38.700 seconds. However, Kocher followed and allowed the 16-year-old Selle Français gelding to gallop full speed around the 8-fence serpentine, stopping the timers in 35.270 seconds, a full three seconds faster than Bloomberg, to take over the top spot on the leaderboard.

The remaining 14 contenders tried their best to challenge Kocher’s time but were unable to catch the pair’s speedy performance.

USA’s Callan Solem and Horseshoe Trail Farm, LLC’s VDL Wizard were closest to the winning pace, finishing in 36.850 seconds for second place honors. Laura Chapot (USA) and her own and McLain Ward’s Quointreau Un Prince rounded out the top three in 36.860 seconds.

Kocher was thrilled to claim his first Devon win on Tuesday, as well as the Sylvester L. Quigley Memorial Challenge Trophy, and looks forward to competing Navalo De Poheton once again on Thursday in the $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*.

Andrew Kocher and Navalo De Poheton (Photo: The Book LLC)
Andrew Kocher (USA) – First Place
On his thoughts after the class:
“I was lucky to stay on in the jump-off! I actually had one leg over the horse – I was sidesaddle for the wrong class! It was fun, it was really fast and I got lucky!”
On his first win at the Devon Horse Show:

“Last year was the first time I’ve ever shown in the open jumpers here. I never thought I’d win one, especially not a night class! I’ve always really wanted to show here but I just wasn’t good enough to be honest! The Devon Horse Show embodies tradition and they get a crowd here every night. I had a good time and I’m really excited! I’m wondering if maybe this isn’t really happening, maybe I’m dreaming!”

On Navalo De Poheton:
“That horse is really, really fast. I’ve only had him since a week after WEF. I don’t know when the last time he jumped a class like this, it has been a while I think. There was a really terrible trailer accident coming back from Spruce Meadows a few years ago and he was in that trailer. He somehow got out, not only alive but he’s still jumping.”
On how he won:
“I was a little wide and fast to fence two in the jump-off and everybody else, I thought, went tight and slow. I was always taught that it’s much faster to go around and run than it is to go inside and slow. I think a lot of people tried to go inside and slow, and it’s not faster, ever.”
Callan Solem (USA) – Second Place
On Tuesday’s course:
“I thought [the course] was just right for the first night – hard enough and the time was tight. As always, the footing is perfect here. It’s always exciting to ride in front of the Devon fans.”
On VDL Wizard:
“I’m so happy with [VDL Wizard]. He loves it here and we had a good time. I really wanted to do six strides to the last jump, I just didn’t move enough when I landed. If I had to do it over, I think I could take Andy. Some horses really grow from the adrenaline, and some horses don’t really like it. My horse likes the excitement.”
Laura Chapot (USA) – Third Place
On Quointreau Un Prince:
“I was really thrilled with my horse. I thought he jumped super. I think the one place he lost time was over the liverpool. He saw the liverpool in the air and it surprised him, but other than that I don’t think I would change my ride at all. I’m just thrilled with him; he really put in a great effort. I think the horses jump very well off the ground here. You’re seeing every horse that is going in the grand prix tonight and I think the result ended up good.”
On the Devon Horse Show’s second year of CSI4* competition:
“It’s great to see all the people supporting Devon and I know the crowd really appreciates it. Hopefully it will continue on in the future. I think Devon has really raised the bar. People have always wanted to come to Devon, but now I think they have a reason to turn down other horse shows and go back to where there’s so much tradition.”
Andrew Kocher and Navalo De Poheton (Photo: The Book LLC)
$50,000 Devon Welcome Stake CSI4*:
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults / Time / R2 Faults / Time
8. Rothchild / Mclain Ward / USA / Sagamore Farms / 0 / 69.080 / 4 / 36.490
9. GC Chopins Bushi / Alberto Michan / MEX / Iron Horse Farm / 0 / 70.150 / 4 / 37.660
10. Tou La Moon / Charlie Jayne / USA / Alex Jayne / 0 / 68.010 / 4 / 38.950
11. Casall / Ali Wolff / USA / Blacklick Bend Farm / 0 / 67.820 / 4 / 43.980
12. E.S. Finou 4 / Aaron Vale / USA / Thinks Like A Horse / 0 / 67.240 / 8 / 38.620
Louise Serio and Kings Landing Score Green 3’6″ Hunter Championship
Louise Serio and Kings Landing (Photo: The Book LLC)
The famed Devon Horse Show is known for being the place “where champions meet,” and on Tuesday afternoon three more horse and rider pairs walked away from the prestigious Dixon Oval wearing the championship tricolor ribbon.
Louise Serio guided Kings Landing, owned by Meralex Farm, Inc., to the prize in the Green 3’6″ Hunter division, sponsored by Dr. Betsee Parker and Huntland. The Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, native had a short trip to make to the historic Devon Horse Show grounds, but made it worth her while even so, claiming the James J. Piehler Memorial Challenge Trophy on Tuesday.
The 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding finished in the second place position in the stake round with a score of 88.5 on Tuesday and took home two blues over fences with notable scores of 89 and 92 on Monday.
Louise Serio and Kings Landing (Photo: The Book LLC)
Coming off of a high note from their most recent show, the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show, Serio was excited to capture more ribbons to add to her collection for her Derbydown Stables team. Serio recently began working with Kings Landing since purchasing him from an auction in Germany as a 2-year-old and importing him two years later. She is looking forward to seeing what the future holds with the special young horse and solidifying their partnership.
Behind Serio was reserve champion Daniel Geitner and Walk the Moon, owned by Lynn Seithel. Geitner secured first place honors in the stake round after judges awarded them a score of 89 on Tuesday as well as two third place ribbons for earning scores of 87.5 and 88 over fences.
Scott Stewart and Private Life (Photo: The Book LLC)
In the Green Conformation Hunter division, Scott Stewart and Betsee Parker’s Private Life took home the championship and the Just For Fun – Two For One Challenge Trophy, while reserve champion honors were given to Maggie Jayne and Pony Lane Farm’s Standing Ovation.
The Green 3’9″ Hunter division saw Sandy Ferrell and Because, recently purchased by amateur rider Aizlynn Radwanski, rise to the occasion. The pair continued their lead from Monday and received scores of 88 in the stake and handy rounds to earn a first and second place before being named champion and receiving the Third Rowland and Helen Comly Challenge Trophy. Radwanski is eager to show Because later this week in the Amateur-Owner Hunters, and is confident that her new partner is ready thanks to Ferrell’s help.
Sandy Ferrell and Because
Louise Serio
On Kings Landing:
“[Kings Landing] felt awesome this week. He went great both days. He was a little green in the handy round today, but he really rose to the occasion. He felt wonderful and is a fantastic horse.”
On how she acquired Kings Landing:
“We bought him as a 2-year-old out of an auction in Germany. He came over to America as a 4-year-old and has really been enjoying himself since then. We didn’t really start with him until he was 5, and he is 7 now.”
On the Devon Horse Show:
“I love the Devon Horse Show. I think it is a fantastic competition because it’s mostly one ring and many people come to watch. Everybody comes – from East Coast to West Coast. The competition is really good. I’ve shown here for a long, long time and I just really enjoy it. I love the Dixon Oval.”
Karen Schell Fulfills Devon Dream with Single Horse Driving Championship
Karen Schell (Photo: Equiscape Photography)
Attention shifted to the Single Horse Driving division Tuesday evening in the Dixon Oval. A long time dream of winning a Devon blue was fulfilled for Karen Schell as she drove away with the Challenge Trophy and championship win in her Studebaker carriage.
Since she was 8 years old, it’s been Schell’s dream to win a Devon blue in the Dixon Oval. It was also an impressive win for Schell as this was her first time competing with her new horse, Trip, and their practice clearly paid off to earn their first win together at the Devon Horse Show. Reserve champion in the Single Horse Driving division went to Dale Vidler in his JPR Top of the Line carriage.
Karen Schell
On her first win at the Devon Horse Show:
“It has been a lifelong dream and this year it got to happen! This is a new horse and it’s his first show with me. It’s just awesome. I couldn’t have done it without P.J. Crowley and his wife Tara, our chiropractor Dr. Pat Bona, our farrier Dave Ducket as well as our amazing team at Kendalwood Farm – Julia Thomas and Susan Kilian. It takes a team for sure!”
On Trip:
“I purchased him in January and he’s been at Kendalwood Farm for training. He was previously a show horse for the Morgan breed. We’re making a pleasure horse out of him! He loves to work in the ring.”
On competing at the Devon Horse Show:
“I’ve been coming to Devon since 1999, but I was raised in Wayne, Pennsylvania. I can remember as an 8-year-old, my grandfather bringing me over to the show and looking at the horses and telling him, ‘One day, I want to be in that ring.’ It wasn’t until later I actually got the opportunity to do just that.”
Karen Schell (Photo: Equiscape Photography)
A Historic Trophy Returns to Its Roots
Few horse shows are as rooted in tradition as the Devon Horse Show. The Devon Horse Show is the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed horse show in the country, having been held late May through early June in Devon, Pennsylvania, since 1896. Since the outset of the show, riders have competed to win highly-coveted prizes, which include silver cups and platters. Many of these trophies are donated back as perpetual trophies. These trophies remain in the Devon collection and can be seen on display during the show. Other trophies, however, were not retained. It is a rare treat when one such trophy is donated back to the show. This year, a truly special trophy, the Devon Military Jumping Contest Challenge Cup, will be returning to Devon. The trophy was awarded for a unique competition unlike any spectators will see today.
Many people do not realize that today’s contemporary equestrian disciplines are rooted in cavalry skills developed from times when horses were ridden by the military. In fact, when the first equestrian events were added to the Olympics in 1912, competition was restricted to active-duty officers on military horses. It was not until 1952 when civilians began competing in the equestrian Olympic events.
In the early 1900s, the Devon Horse Show also recognized military riders with special classes restricted to active cavalry. The Devon Military Jumping Contest Challenge Cup was the top prize for a class open exclusively to officers of the United States Army. To win this class, two riders had to compete over fences riding side-by-side on a pair of horses. The style of riding was quite different back then, with riders encouraged to sit up on the horse’s back in the air. Jumps were massive and riders competed both inside and outside the confines of the Dixon Oval.
In 1916, the trophy for this class was awarded to the team of Captain William Mitchell and Captain George S. Gibbs. Captain Mitchell and Captain Gibbs had a long history of working together stretching back to 1898 and the Spanish-American War. Mitchell enlisted in the First Wisconsin Infantry and saw duty in the Philippine Islands. Gibbs enlisted the same year in the Iowa Volunteer Infantry and also served in the Philippine Islands. The two men, who enjoyed riding and were active polo players, were assigned to the General Staff at the War Department in Washington, D.C., in 1912. A photo from 1913 shows Captain Gibbs winning a high jump contest. It is no surprise then that these lifelong friends, colleagues and skilled riders won the Devon Military Jumping Contest Challenge Cup in 1916.
The trophy has been a family heirloom kept in the Gibbs family for more than 100 years. This year, Captain Gibbs’ grandson, David, donated it back to Devon in a special ceremony.
“Until recently I didn’t know much about the trophy,” said David. “My grandfather was not riding any more by the time I came along but riding was a family tradition. My father played polo including on the officer’s team when he was at West Point. When I was younger I had a horse and did a little steeplechasing. William Mitchell is regarded as the father of the United States Air Force, but to my grandfather he was a great friend who shared a similar love of riding. I look forward to being at Devon this year to see the trophy return home.”
The Devon Military Jumping Contest Challenge Cup will return to the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair in 2017. (Photo: Brenda Carpenter Photography)