With Arena Eventing growing in popularity throughout the US, The Devon Horse Show joined in the enthusiasm by showcasing the sport of eventing to the masses at this year’s inaugural Arena Eventing competition.
The new exhibition class, which consisted of a combination of solid cross country and show jumping fences, drew large crowds despite the pouring rain in Devon, Pennsylvania. The entry list was the who’s who of international level eventing, with local PA rider and Olympian, Boyd Martin, involved in the creation of this first annual arena eventing competition. Together with Beth Clark, Kevin Babington, and Devon’s own Wayne Grafton, the exhibition was able to raise $50K in sponsorship backing through Mid-Atlantic Packaging, attracting the best riders in the sport.
Cross country fences were shipped in by builder Eric Bull from Fair Hill International for the Captain Mark Phillip’s designed course. Together these two-course designers pulled off the amazing feat of building out the course, which weaved between the Dixon Oval and the Gold Ring, in under an hour!
The course was judged like a traditional show jumping course, with penalty points for a knockdown or refusal, and elimination after 2 refusals or a rider fall. The top 12 riders who went clear in the first round were invited back for the timed jump-off over a shortened course within the famed Dixon Oval. Those top riders in the jump-off included other familiar faces in the top level of the sport such as Waylon Roberts, Justine Dutton, Boyd Martin, Doug Payne, Ryan Wood, Erika Nessler and Lisa Marie Fergusson.
Ultimately it was two of our well known Ocala-based riders, and leading lady riders in the sport of eventing, who topped the final results for the evening. Congratulations go out to Sara Kozumplik Murphy, aboard Rubens D’Ysieux, this year’s winner of the Ocala Horse Properties’ Eventing Prix, held at Scott Keach’s Southern Cross Equestrian. Clearly, this duo has a talent for riding fast and clean in this format, and we couldn’t be happier for their recent winning streak!
Jenni Brannigan, who is based next to Southern Cross Equestrian, was hot on Sara’s heels with her long time partner, Cambalda, who had also just wrapped up a remarkable weekend winning the CIC 2*at the Virginia Horse Trials. Congratulations to both these ladies and to all the riders who came out for this inaugural event at The Devon Horse Show. We hope to see this arena style eventing competition carry on as it is great exposure for the future of the sport!