Anyone standing ringside at the Dixon Oval over Memorial Day weekend would have spotted the immediate joy apparent on Katharine Dade’s face as she and her pony National Treasure completed their first round in the pony jumpers — and that was even before Dade was announced as the winner. This Devon Horse Show first-timer laid down two winning trips to eventually clinch the pony jumper championship, bringing home the Leonard Tose Memorial Challenge Trophy.
And like every fairy-tale pony story, it started on Christmas.
“[National Treasure] is almost 16; she’s a Welsh pony and I just got her for Christmas this year,” Dade confided to JN in the outgate. “[This year] is my first time doing the pony jumpers!”
By any standards, Dade made quite the statement in her pony jumper debut at Devon, winning first a jump-off of six and then another with seven. Dade and National Treasure impressed the crowds at Devon and at home with thoughtfully ridden courses, not just flat-out speed.
“A lot of the time in the pony jumpers you ride crazy just for speed, but it’s important to try to keep yourself clear and clean, because that’s the only way you’ll win!” Dade stated when describing her ride. “[Treasure] is very easy, she’s very adjustable, and I just have to be able to do it myself and calm my nerves.”
Watch Dade’s first win the $1,000 Pony Jumper on Saturday:
Dade and National Treasure had their first recognized outing together less than two months ago at Fieldstone Farm in Massachusetts where they won the 1.05m Pony Jumper as well as the .90m High Training Jumper class. They also had top results at Westbrook in Connecticut, and Grazing Fields Farm was their final outing before heading to one of the most famed and atmospheric rings in the country at Devon.
Dade trains with Gretchen Anderson at Apple Knoll Farm of New Boston, New Hampshire. If this pony jumper’s debut performance at Devon Horse Show is any indication, she’ll be one to watch!
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed the barn as Apple Mill Farm. We apologize for this misprint!