The Amateur Owner Hunter divisions wrapped up on Saturday at the Devon Horse Show and County Fair, with each section awarding the grand champion title to the athletes who accumulated the most points throughout two days of competition. The Devon Grand Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Champion was awarded to Becky Gochman and Catch Me, while the Devon Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Champion was presented to Stephanie Danhakl and Enough Said.
Becky Gochman and Catch Me. Photo by Phelps Sports
Gochman was also awarded the title of Grand Amateur-Owner 3’6” Hunter Champion with her longtime and famed partner Catch Me, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding. The gelding, who has been made into a Breyer Horse Model, placed well throughout two days of competition to earn a total of 33 points. The pair’s first place finish in the $3,000 Amateur-Owner Over 36 3’6” Hunter Stake, presented by Lugano Diamonds, helped them seal their championship win.
The most emotional and meaningful win of the day for Gochman, however, was the presentation of the Sambalino Award to Catch Me. The award is presented to the hunter that, in the opinion of the judges, best models the classic hunter horse in movement, style and presence. The perpetual trophy was donated by Gochman herself in honor of her late partner Sambalino, a chestnut gelding who won countless amateur-owner awards but tragically passed away from colic in 2014. Gochman was incredibly moved to have the trophy awarded to Catch Me, another horse of a lifetime for her.
“I think I gave away all of my ribbons and trophies from today, but I had to keep the ribbon that said ‘Sambalino’ on it because I still believe that Sambalino was my soulmate,” shared an emotional Gochman. “He was very special to me in every way. I never thought that I would get another horse of that caliber, but Catch Me is that horse. Part of me always thanks Sambalino for that. I think he there in my heart and he helps me every bit of the way. I have his horseshoes above my doors in my home in Wellington, he is with me in every way. To win the Sambalino Trophy with Catch Me is very special.”
Stephanie Danhakl and Enough Said. Photo by Phelps Sports
The Devon Grand Amateur-Owner 3’3” Hunter Champion, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds, was presented to Danhakl and Enough Said, a 13-year-old Warmblood. The pair has been partnered together for six years and know each other well, which they demonstrated through consistent high placings over two days of competition. Danhakl scored a total of 32 points, after securing the Devon blue in two out of three over fences classes. Trained by Scott Stewart, Ken Berkley, and Nancy Ciesluk, Danhakl was well prepared to compete at the Devon Horse Show. Up next, Danhakl will head to the Upperville Colt & Horse Show.