High Performance and Conformation Hunters Turn Up the Heat
By Veronica Finkelstein
The hunter horses were out in force on Monday. Despite the heat, many rose to the occasion with numerous scores over fences in the 90s. The stars of the hunter division, the high performance hunters, showed over fences and under saddle. Judged on movement, style, and soundness, these horses jumped four foot fences and then returned for an under saddle class where their movement was judged on the flat.
Next, the horses returned for the hack, which was won by Summer Place, owned by Pony Lane Farm and ridden by Maggie Jayne. As Ms. Jayne allowed Summer Place to nuzzle young spectators over the rail, the red ribbon was awarded to Rosalynn, owned by Dr. Betsee Parker and ridden by Hunt Tosh, and the yellow ribbon was awarded to Perfektionist, owned by Tracey Topping and ridden by Holly Orlando.
The regular conformation hunters also performed over fences. In an impressive showing, both over fences classes were won by Dr. Parker’s Cold Harbor. Cold Harbor bested the competition in each over fences class, scoring a 90 and 91 with Hunt Tosh in the irons. When asked to comment on her horse’s way of going and personality, Dr. Parket noted “he’s as gentle and soft as a marshmallow.” Indeed, the judges agreed and rewarded his seemingly effortless performance over fences. In the first class, second place went to Sambalino, owned by Becky Gochman and ridden by Scott Stewart and third place was awarded to Jessica Stitt’s Clearly. In the second class, the red ribbon went to two entries ridden by Scott Stewart in the irons-Touchdown and Sambalino.
A Conversation With Dr. Betsee Parker
By Veronica Finkelstein
Conformation horses are the triple threats of the horse world. Like all hunter horses, they are expected to jump in perfect style and to move ideally on the flat. Unlike most other hunter horses, they must also model-a class in which their every conformational flaw from musculature down to scars, are scrutinized. Given the difficulty of the conformation hunter division, finding a top conformation horse is a challenge unlike most others.
Some owners have excelled, repeatedly finding top conformation hunters. One such owner is Dr. Betsee Parker. When asked her secret, Dr. Parker is quick to defer credit to others. She noted that her horse, Cold Harbor, was discovered in Germany by Douglas Wheeler who is known for having discovered numerous top hunter horses. As Dr. Parker notes, Mr. Wheeler is a true “diamond in the rough” horseman with the ability to spot a horse before it is out showing and to see that horse’s potential.
Cold Harbor clearly has a special place in Dr. Parker’s stable-as is evident in the warmth and genuine pride with which she describes this special horse (whose favorite treat are carrots). She also revealed that her connection to Cold Harbor began last year at Devon. As she explains, she was watching a class in the gold ring and then went to the Dixon Oval to watch a different horse jump. She stayed to see the next horse-which turned out to be Cold Harbor. She was smitten from that moment forward and knew she had to buy the lovely bay gelding. Cold Harbor returned to Devon again this year and is already bringing home the blues for Dr. Parker.
Plein Air at Devon
The Art Gallery at Devon has teamed up with Wayne Art Center to present Plein Air at Devon. Wayne Art Center is well known its highly respected Plein Air Festival now in its sixth year. The term plein air is derived from the French “en plein air” meaning “in the open air”. It’s a style of painting in which the artist captures the scene entirely while painting outdoors. What better place to capture vibrant images than the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.
Wayne Art Center reached out to nine local plein air artists, Valerie Craig from Radnor, PA, Elaine Lisle from Bryn Mawr, PA Monique Lazard from Bryn Mawr, Jeremy Shires from Maplewood, NJ, Barbara Berry from Phoenixville, PA, Abby Laible from Wayne, PA, Charles Newman, from Haddonfield Township, NJ, Stewart White from Baltimore, MD, Michele Byrne from Reading, PA. The artists were on-site at Devon on opening day, and will return tomorrow to continue painting. Please feel free to observe and ask questions!
Each artist will create several works that will be exhibited and available for purchase at the Ladies’ Day Tea Wednesday afternoon and at a private event in the Devon Club on Wednesday evening. After that, they will be moved to the Gallery at Devon for the duration of the show. At the conclusion of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, any paintings not yet sold will move to Wayne Art Center. There they will join the works of thirty-four plein air artists from across the country as part of Wayne Art Center’s Plein Air Festival which is ongoing now through June 30. For more information please visit, www.wayneart.org.