Day two at the 2019 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair saw the nation’s top equitation riders return to the Dixon Oval to attempt to write their name into history. The highly regarded R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship, sponsored by Dover Saddlery, was awarded to the junior athlete who accumulated the most points throughout the two days of equitation competition. This year, it was Paige Matthies of Lake Leelanau, Michigan, who earned Junior Weekend’s top equitation prize by totaling 19 points to take home the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Challenge Trophy.
Paige Matthies and Conto Blue. Photo by Phelps Sports
Matthies and her two equitation mounts, Conto Blue and Blurred Lines, dominated the equitation divisions throughout both days of competition. On the first day of the Devon Horse Show, Matthies rode to a blue ribbon finish with Blurred Lines in Section A of the WIHS Equitation Classic – Jumper Phase, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds, scoring an 89 with the 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding. Day one continued to help her earn points towards the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship as she and the 8-year-old Conto Blue finished second in Section A of the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search 3*, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds. Another second place finish in the U.S. Hunter Seat Medal, presented by Dover Saddlery, with Blurred Lines also placed her one step closer to carving her name into Devon history.
Matthies, who is enrolled in online school to help her maintain a competitive show and riding schedule, trains under the tutelage of the prestigious Ashland Farms and Northern Pines Farms. The 18-year-old athlete credits the success of both her and her horses to her trainers, Ken and Emily Smith as well as Melissa Hirt. Matthies is also a fierce competitor in the jumper ring with her two mounts, Climbus and Dirkie Z.
“We’ve been planning this for many years so I’ve always had a goal for this to happen,” Matthies commented. “I did four equitation classes for this. The first one I did was the Washington Jumper Phase which I won with an 89. That was my first class here so I was very happy to start this week off like. My favorite was probably the USET Talent Search because I’ve always wanted to do well in that class here and the USET is a big deal to me so I was very happy with that.”
Paige Matthies accepts the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Challenge Trophy. Photo by Phelps Media Group
In addition to the awarding of the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Challenge Trophy, the Dixon Oval also hosted the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship class, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds, on Friday morning. Due to the large number of entries, the class was split up into three sections, all awarding different horse-and-rider combinations a Devon blue. In Section A, Hallie Grimes and Boldly Stated captured first place, while Isabelle Song and Casper Van’T Gestelhof took home the top prize in Section B. Finishing out the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship competition, Section C saw Tanner Korotkin and Zapfier take home first place.
The course in the ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship utilized 11 fences resembling natural brush and colors to test athletes and their horses. The course featured a number of rollback turns, in addition to three lines with varying strides. Tackling the course in the first section of the day, Grimes and Can We Keep It? LLC’s Boldly Stated set the bar high with their first place finish. Training out of North Run with Missy Clark and John Brennan, Grimes expertly tackled the course, noting how the track suited her horse.
Isabelle Song and Casper Van’T Gestelhof win Section B of the Maclay. Photo by Phelps Sports
Section B saw another Ashland Farms student claim the top spot with Song and her own 17-year-old Belgian Warmblood, Casper Van’T Gestelhof. Song is ending her final junior year at Devon on a high note with her first place finish, and looks to spend the upcoming summer season showing up north.
The final section of the day, Section C, saw Korotkin return to take top honors with Missy Clark’s Zapfier. At the 2018 Devon Horse Show, Korotkin claimed another first place finish with the 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood, demonstrating his consistency in the equitation ring.