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McLain Ward named Open Jumper Champion at Devon Horse Show

Sunday, 05 June 2022
CSI4* Devon Horse Show 2022

Photo © Emma Miller/Phelps Sports McLain Ward and Contagious. Photo © Emma Miller/Phelps Sports.


Press release from Devon Horse Show and Country Fair



International show jumping competition at the 2022 Devon Horse Show came to a close Saturday evening. A talented field of athletes and their mounts from around the world have been vying for points toward the coveted Open Jumper Championship since Tuesday. Coming off of his 12th win in the $250,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*, McLain Ward etched his name on The Little Big Man Trophy and was awarded with the Open Jumper Championship honors. With a total of 35 points earned throughout the week, Ward also received the Leading Open Jumper Rider title. After two wins during the week on two different mounts, Jessica Mendoza emerged as the Leading Open Jumper Lady Rider and was presented with the Carol Hofmann Thompson Leading Lady Rider Challenge Trophy in memory of Carol Hofmann, given by her family and friends in 2014.

Ward, dubbed the “King of Devon”, put forth a valiant effort aboard his 2020 Tokyo Olympic mount Contagious, owned by Beechwood Stables LLC, Thursday evening to ultimately earn the Open Jumper Championship title Saturday and receive the champion cooler, sponsored by Saratoga Horseworks Ltd. In honor of his Leading Open Jumper Rider title, Ward was presented with The Orchard Lodge Perpetual Trophy, given in memory of Hope Montgomery Scott. The Open Jumper Reserve Champion was awarded to Schuyler Riley (USA) and Katherine Gallagher’s Robin de Ponthual, the second place finishers from Thursday’s $250,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon CSI4*, for accumulating a total of 18 points.

Photo © Emma Miller/Phelps Sports Jessica Mendoza. Photo © Emma Miller/Phelps Sports.

Great Britain’s Mendoza made her first trip to The Devon Horse Show a special one, taking home her first Devon blue Tuesday after topping the $50,000 Jet Run Devon Welcome Stake CSI4* with her own mount Play. Friday evening, she rode her very own Dublin to the win in the $37,000 Devon Speed Derby CSI4*, clinching the Leading Lady title.

Photo © Emma Miller/Phelps Sports Laura Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman. Photo © Emma Miller/Phelps Sports.

The $74,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake CSI4*, sponsored by Hygain, was the highlighted event of Saturday evening, welcoming FEI competitors to the Dixon Oval one final time. Olaf Peterson Jr. (GER) set forth a challenging 13-effort track, with Laura Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman emerging as the only pair to navigate a clear effort. Their fault-free ride ultimately earned them the win, and they were presented with the The John Wanamaker Perpetual Trophy. Israel’s Steven Bluman rode away with second place after finishing on 4 faults in a time of 71.57 seconds, while 16-year-old Zayna Rizvi rounded out the top three aboard Exquise du Pachis for her 4-fault effort and time of 74.51 seconds.


Laura Chapot – $74,000 Idle Dice Open Jumper Stake CSI4* winner

Laura Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman. Photo © Emma Miller/Phelps Sports. Laura Chapot and Diarado’s Flying Dutchman. Photo © Emma Miller/Phelps Sports.

On the course:

“With [Diarado’s Flying Dutchman] I usually have a different plan than I normally would for most of my horses. He’s really very bouncy, so it’s really easy for him to add strides. During the last two classes that I showed in the [Dixon Oval] he was a little bit backed off going down the sides of the ring by the crowd, so he was staring at them a little bit. I knew coming to that one line that was by the crowd, I was going to add a stride to the combination so he had time to really think there. I don’t know if anyone else did that, but it wouldn’t have been a normal plan for any of my other horses but I know for him he’s just so easy to bounce up a stride and then he has time to process the jumps. I think with him, my thought is to keep him thinking about what he’s doing and not getting overly excited. He’s got all of the ability to do it, he just has to take his time when he gets there. The shadows do play a part. The Hygain fence, the second to last jump, really caught a lot of people. I noticed coming to it, the sun was really glaring off that jump. I think that made it really hard because it’s difficult for the horses to judge that. Olaf [Peterson Jr.] always builds very good courses and I really enjoy them because they are very fair. They aren’t tricky, he just builds challenging things and questions to solve but there is nothing trappy.”

On Diarado’s Flying Dutchman:

“This will mark just over a year and a half that I’ve had him. It’s been a lot of getting together and him knowing my way and me figuring him out. Even though he has a lot of energy, he’s not the typical horse for me. A lot of my horses tend to be more long strided and always leaving out the strides. With that horse, it’s a little bit the opposite approach. Even though he has a big stride sometimes it’s better for him to just take a little bit more time. He has so much adjustability, I know I always have to think about what’s the best thing for him rather than my normal ride that I like to do. He really has a lot of talent and it’s just a matter of making it more consistent. When I got him, he really hadn’t done all that much. He’s really starting to become a lot more rideable and more into my style of going.”

On The Devon Horse Show:

“It’s so great to be back and it’s nice to see the crowds come out for all of the competitions. It’s a different venue than we ever get to see anywhere else. It’s nice to be here and I hope we’re back next year!”

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