For junior superstar Emma Kurtz, delivering four amazing rounds atop the stunning Evermore to sweep the Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under division was a piece of cake. The judges also selected Kurtz and Evermore as the winners of the Angelo Perpetual Trophy for exemplifying classic hunter style.
Evermore is a fairly new ride for Kurtz, who said the 6-year-old gelding set foot in the Dixon Oval for the first time on Friday. Kurtz and Scott Stewart both showed Evermore at WEF and Kentucky in the Juniors and First Years, respectively, before heading to Devon.
“He’s pretty impressive, but I had no expectations at all for him,” Kurtz explained. “I know he’s an amazing horse, but he’s still green, so sometimes he makes mistakes; it’s normal. And then after I won both classes the first day, the second day was the same thing. The handy was a little difficult, so I wanted to have a smooth round and not scare him or anything. He jumped it great, so it was good.”
In addition to the division championship, Kurtz and Evermore rode away with the Overall Small Junior Hunter Championship and the Devon Grand Junior Hunter Championship.
“It was incredible,” Kurtz smiled. “We just kept having to keep circling back. It was funny. I think I have five new saddle pads.”
Emma’s mother, Chris Kurtz, said she was very proud of her daughter.
“It’s a very unique situation for us where she doesn’t own anything of her own,” Chris explained. “Her dad is a high school math teacher. To be able to do this at this level… just the people and the support are incredible. Amanda (Lyerly) looks out for her and is always coordinating things for her. She obviously has to ride well and keep the rides, but the generosity of people has been overwhelming.”
|Emma Kurtz and Evermore|
Kurtz also earned the honor of second-best child rider on a horse, while the top honors went to McKayla Langmeier. Lucy Deslauriers earned the third place recognition, and Coco Fath earned enough points for fourth.
“It’s amazing,” Langmeier said. “I actually thought Emma was going to get it. The week started out really well because I had my horse in the equitation that I’ve known forever, and then John (Brennan) was so nice to let me ride his two hunters. It’s such a prestigious horse show, and it’s an anniversary year, which makes it even more special.”
The Overall Large Junior Hunter Championship was awarded to Teddy Vlock and Grey Street, who also earned the championship in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division.
Vlock, who only began riding four years ago, said Grey Street was his first junior hunter. Over the course of a year, the duo went from being unable to claim even a reserve championship to being crowned circuit champions at WEF and winning at Devon.
“He’s a horse of a lifetime for me,” Vlock said. “Not only is he a famous horse, but he’s also helped me get some exposure. I’m really grateful to him. My other horses are actually easier for me to find the jumps on, but I just have such a good connection with him at this point that I ride him better. The more rounds I get with him, the better it gets. He’s been awesome all year. He’s number one in the country right now.”
|Teddy Vlock and Grey Street|
The reserve championship in the Large Junior Hunter 16-17 division went to Hunter Siebel and Pure Abundance.
In the Large Junior Hunter 15 and Under division, Kaitlyn Williams and Rockette earned enough points to come away with the championship. McKayla Langmeier and Levland were awarded the reserve championship honors.
The Small Junior Hunter 15 and Under championship went to Emma Kurtz and Evermore, while the reserve championship was earned by McKayla Langmeier and Maraschino.
In the Small Junior Hunter 16-17 division, the championship was claimed by Hunter Siebel and Krave, with Bergen Sanderford and Perspective picking up the reserve championship.