After two rounds of competition, the nation’s top junior riders returned to the Dixon Oval on Saturday evening to go head-to-head in the final round of the 2018 Junior Jumper championship at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. Following her win in Thursday’s speed class, Daisy Farish and her own Great White rode to second place in Saturday’s $20,000 Show Jumping Hall of Fame Junior Jumper Classic, sponsored by the World Equestrian Center, to claim overall championship honors, while Paige Matthies secured back-to-back Devon blue ribbons with Climbus.
Out of the original starting field of 26, seven jumped fault-free over Guilherme Jorge’s challenging opening track on Saturday.
Paige Matthies and Barbara Smith’s Dirkie Z, who won Friday’s second round, were the first pair to tackle the jump-off round and finish double-clear in 31.764 seconds.
Samantha Cohen and her own Carmen were the next combination to finish clear in the jump-off as third in the order, besting Matthies’ time by one second in 30.551 seconds to move ahead of her in the standings.
Fourth to go, Farish, who trains with Andre Dignelli of Heritage Farm, cleared the short course to take over the top spot with her 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding in 29.064 seconds.
Last to go was Matthies once again with her second mount qualified for the jump-off, Climbus, also owned by Barbara Smith. After Climbus threw a shoe in the warm-up just before returning for her final jump-off round, a team of farriers quickly went in to action to get the shoe back on.
The delay made Matthies slightly anxious, but she returned to the Dixon Oval confident and poised to produce the final double-clear performance of the class in 28.957 seconds for the win. Farish finished in second, while Cohen took home third place.
Combining Thursday’s win and Saturday’s top finish, 17-year-old Farish of Lexington, Kentucky, clinched the 2018 Junior Jumper championship and the Barry G. Balmer Memorial Challenge Trophy with 19 points as well as the Leading Junior Jumper Rider award, sponsored by County Saddlery, and the Second Richard W. Atkinson Memorial Challenge Trophy, earning the most points overall and showcasing her consistency throughout her final Junior Weekend at the Devon Horse Show.
“I have had him for three years now. I got him when he was 7 so I was able to bring him along, which was a cool experience,” said Farish of Bruce. “He turned out to be more than we ever could have hoped for. He was a horse shown to us in Florida a few years ago. I didn’t have a jumper at the time and my horse was getting older. He just seemed like a nice, sweet horse. He had a bit of an attitude but we worked through that together. My biggest classes have also been his biggest classes, which is really cool for me.”
While the win was meaningful on its own, there was something more making the day very special for Farish. “It was emotional because it’s my last junior year here. I’ll be back though. It was a really great one — one I’ll definitely remember. It is going to be a different experience [coming back] as an amateur. I was happy to finish on a good note.”