This year’s famed Devon Horse Show and Country Fair kicked off on Thursday morning in typical fashion with Junior Weekend taking center stage in the Dixon Oval. The country’s leading junior riders went head-to-head for top honors in the opening day’s highly-competitive equitation divisions. This year, it was barn mates Madison Goetzmann and Alexandra Worthington who frequented the winner’s circle to make the team at Beacon Hill Show Stables and head trainer Stacia Madden proud.
For years, the Devon Horse Show has been the place “Where Champions Meet” every May to earn top prizes, leading rider titles and bragging rights. The most talented and discerning riders throughout the United States set their sights on qualifying for the prestigious horse show, which has been running since 1896. Devon also provides equitation riders with the chance to accumulate valuable points toward year-end finals.
Worthington piloted her own Outshine to the blue ribbon and a high score of 94 in Section B of the WIHS Equitation Classic Jumper Phase, which was California split, then rode to another victory in Section B of the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal. Her mount, a 2007 Westphalian gelding, has been making the transition to the equitation ring after Worthington purchased him a little more than a year ago.
“He used to be a hunter with Greg Crolick in Michigan,” Worthington shared. “We got him in Florida in 2017 and have been transitioning him into an equitation horse. Having the hunter background has really worked to his advantage. He is able to be so smooth and flow around the courses.”
For Worthington, showing at the Devon Horse Show was just a dream when she visited the iconic venue years ago while visiting her grandmother at nearby Bryn Mawr Hospital. She shared her thoughts on showing at Devon, “It is actually really special to me. The hospital [Bryn Mawr Hospital] that the show benefits is where my grandmother died and I visited Devon in 2009 before I was really serious enough to show here. I was visiting her in hospice and then I visited the show grounds on that trip and I knew I wanted to show here one day. It is really, really special to me and my entire family.”
Goetzmann, who is 18 years old, executed flawless rounds throughout the day riding San Remo VDL. She claimed the win in Section A of the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search and also topped Section A of the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal, held in the Wheeler Ring.
Like Worthington, Goetzmann, who hails from Skaneateles, New York, was determined to make sure her last time at the Devon Horse Show as a junior was a memorable one as it marks her final year before aging out. Riding veteran equitation horse San Remo VDL, owned by Elizabeth Benson, Goetzmann was confident that she could pull off a win. The pair’s stellar partnership was demonstrated in October 2017 when they secured the highly-coveted ASPCA Maclay National Championship title together.
“San Remo is a very special horse to not only me but to the whole Beacon Hill family and the Benson family, who own him,” said Goetzmann. “He is 18 years old this year. Right after Maclay Finals, he went up to Cazenovia, New York and was in a field all winter and he just came back about a month ago. We started working with him again, then showed him a few times at Old Salem so he could make one more comeback at Devon.”
Goetzmann couldn’t have been more thrilled with San Remo’s performance on Thursday. “He was super. I couldn’t have asked for a better horse. Obviously, he’s probably the most incredible equitation horse I will ever sit on. After we do the Ronnie Mutch tomorrow, he will go back up to Cazenovia and spend the summer out in the field before coming back for indoors one last time. You could say he is pretty special.”
After achieving the highest-scoring round of the day in the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search, Goetzmann was awarded the Honey Craven Perpetual Memorial Trophy, donated in 2004 by Jane Macelree.