All posts by Nancy Jaffer

Devon has some new twists

It’s nearly time for that treasured tradition, the Devon Horse Show. You’ll be planning to do the same things you always do, from attending the featured $225,000 Sapphire Grand Prix on the evening of June 1 to enjoying the fudge and lemon sticks and taking in the country fair.

But there are some innovations this year, the most exciting of which will be the debut of arena eventing on Sunday night May 28. Both the Gold Ring and the Dixon Oval will be used for a combined course of cross-country and show jumps, laid out by former U.S. eventing coach Mark Phillips of Burghley 4-star fame.

Expect to see eventers Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton participating, along with several show jumpers. This is the perfect way to wake up what is generally a sleepy evening at the show.

Another new attraction is the Dog Show at the Horse Show May 25 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free after 5 p.m. Why not enter your dog for a $5 fee and try the K-9 Stake, the Lead Line Costume Parade or the Speed/Weave class?

Don’t miss Australian showman Guy McLean from May 30 through June 3. You’ll love his work without bridle and saddle, commanding his own little herd of obedient horses.

For tickets, go to or phone (610) 688-2554. Unless you want to stand mushed against the rail, advance purchase seating is a must for the Sapphire Grand Prix.

Kevin Babington and Mark Q, winners of the 2016 Sapphire Grand Prix at Devon. (Photo copyright by Nancy Jaffer)


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It’s time to hit the trail

Hunter and trail pace season is under way in New Jersey, with lots of opportunities for riders of all levels to get out and ride now that the weather finally is cooperating.

The Somerset Hills Pony Club’s pace is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. May 6, starting at the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation’s parking lot on Fowler Road. For more information, contact

The Standardbred Pleasure Horse Association’s Happy Spring Trail Pace is set for 10 a.m.-1 p.m. May 7 at Whispering Winds Equestrian Center, 222 Easy St., Howell Township. The fee is $30 for non-members of the pleasure group and $20 for members, with lunch included. The ride is mostly flat trail.

For more information, contact Suzanne at or go to

The Somerset County Park Commission’s Lord Stirling Stable at 256 S. Maple Ave. in Basking Ridge will hold the Rutgers Equine Science Center Private Horse Hunter Pace May 21.  There is room to go around all the jumps.

Participants may register from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Open, Family, and Junior divisions are offered. All riders must wear an ASTM/SEI approved equestrian helmet. Western riders are welcome.

On May 21, the Readington Trail Association will hold a trail challenge for both English and Western riders from 9 a.m.-noon at the Round Valley Youth Center, 1124 Stanton Lebanon Road in Lebanon, Hunterdon County. It’s not a pace, but involves 10 judged obstacles you might encounter on the trail. There also is an opportunity for a short trail ride. The footing is said to be excellent for barefoot horses. For more information, go to



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A new 4-star trophy is in the works

A new 4-star championship trophy will be given at Rolex Kentucky in memory of Roger Haller, whose celebration of life during last year’s Rolex weekend drew scores of the biggest names in eventing to pay tribute.

The designer of the cross-country courses for the 1978 World Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park and the 1996 Olympics, he served as a judge, technical delegate, organizer and perpetual proponent of the sport, serving all its various associations. Roger was a walking rulebook and always willing to help where needed for the betterment of the sport before dying of cancer at age 70 in 2016.

Ann Haller, Roger’s widow, said eventing Olympic medalist and artist Kerry Millikin will be designing the trophy. Meanwhile, Ann just became the competition manager for the Fair Hill International in Maryland.

“We hit the trifecta with Ann. She has organized events, stewarded FEI eventing competitions, and has been the press officer at events across the nation. She has a true 360-degree view of competitions. We couldn’t have asked for a better partner to join us,” said Fair Hill International’s executive director, Carla Geiersbach, stated.

Ann will coordinating technical aspects of all of the events that Fair Hill International runs throughout the year.

Fair Hill just received a $100,000 allocation from the Maryland legislature that could help boost its chances to host a new fall 4-star. Fair Hill is one of two finalists for the designation; the other is Great Meadow in Virginia.

Discussing the legislative support and vote of confidence that will be reflected in massive upgrades to the Fair Hill facility, Carla said, “We think that speaks volumes about the support for the project. The improvements to the turf track and the grandstands will benefit all the different disciplines that use the special events zone.”

Roger Haller. (Photo by Nancy JaffeR)
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Retirement for Nick Skelton and Big Star

Olympic show jumping individual gold medalist Nick Skelton always said he’d retire when Big Star did, but his farewell is coming earlier than planned.

Although he had hoped to show this summer, plans to compete at Geneva and Olympia last December were scuttled when the horse came up with a slight injury. Although word was Big Star would be jumping again this past January, it was decided he didn’t owe anyone anything and it was time to bow out.

The retirement ceremony for both Nick, 59, and the stallion will be held at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May. Their last competition was the Royal Winter Fair, where I was lucky enough to see them jump.

Nick Skelton and Big Star at Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair last year, their final show together. (Photo copyright by Nancy Jaffer)


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McLain’s Number One!

Winning the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final Sunday vaulted McLain Ward to number one in the world rankings. He’s been there before, but with another U.S. rider, Kent Farrington, being number two at the same time, Americans dominate the top of the standings.

Five of the top 10 were in Omaha over the weekend for the jumping final, where McLain led all the way through five rounds with HH Azur to take the title on his 17th try. McLain’s closest competition was Romain Duguet of Switzerland on Twentytwo des Biches, who had 4 penalties to the winner’s total of zero.

Kent didn’t come to Omaha because he thought his best candidate for the competition, Creedance, wasn’t ready for such a test.

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Kursinski and three others named to Show Jumping Hall of Fame

Olympic show jumping medalist Anne Kursinski of Frenchtown will be inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame next month at the Devon Horse Show.

A veteran of three Olympics, she finished fourth at the 1988 Games at Starman, owned by Fran Steinwedell, who is also being inducted into the Hall. Fran’s other horses included Livius, on whom Anne took team and individual gold medals at the 1983 Pan American Games.

Anne, a two-timeAmerican Horse Shows Association Horsewoman of the Year, is also an author, trainer and active in equestrian governance, serving on the USEF board of directors.

Fran was president of the Flintridge Riding Club, where she worked with Jimmy Williams to develop show jumping on the West Coast. She initiated the Grand Prix of Flintridge, the second ever held on the west coast and one of the first FEI World Cup Qualifiers in the west. She was also a founding member of the American Grandprix Association (AGA), and she has served on many boards including the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association (PCHA) for 20 years. She was PCHA Horsewoman of the year in 1992.

The mother of Francie Steinwedell Carvin, who won both the ASPCA Maclay and the USEF Medal classes as a junior, Steinwedell was the first person ever to reach 35 years as a member of the USET Gold Medal Club.

Also being inducted is The Natural, the first show jumper sold for $1 million. He won the 1987 World Cup finals with Katherine Burdsall (now Heller), who also rode him on the 1986 U.S. gold medal world championships team.

The horse also was shown by Katie Monahan (now Prudent), Terry Rudd, Rodney Jenkins and Alice Debany, who won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup with him at Spruce Meadows in Canada.

He was retired in 1994 and died in 2008 at the age of 31.

Recognized for his many governance roles, Walter B. Devereux III who will be inducted posthumously was a polo devotee who served as president of the National Horse Show Association.

Walter owned several hunters and jumpers with his wife Bunny and their daughters, Lindly and Anne, also rode and competed. Always ready to do what he could to help support the sport, Devereux purchased and then permanently loaned the legendary jumpsd Sinjon to the USET, where he became a hugely successful mount for Olympic riders George Morris, Kathy Kusner, and Bill Steinkraus. Sinjon won many international competitions around the world with those riders, participated on 19 winning Nations’ Cup teams, and helped the U.S. win a team Silver Medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics with Morris in the saddle. Sinjon was inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1999.

Walter also served as an officer and director of the American Horse Shows Association and the USET, as well as the FEI Bureau.

Walter, who died in 1970, served as a judge of equestrian competition. The Walter B. Devereux Sportsmanship Award is presented annually to the horseman or horsewoman who personifies the ideals of sportsmanship through commitment, dedication and service to the sport.

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Lend a hand at the Essex Horse Trials

The Essex Horse Trials, making a comeback after 19 years, is looking for volunteers to do everything from fence judging, dressage scribing and decorating to handling hospitality June 24-25 at Moorland Farm in Far Hills.

It’s a great way to meet people and become involved with an iconic event at the same time. Go to the website at or call Lisa at 201-838-5164 or Mary at 201-787-3795.

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Help the Mylestone Equine Rescue Horses April 22

Mylestone Equine Rescue’s Help a Horse Day will be held from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. April 22 at Horsemen’s Outlet, 37 Molasses Hill Road, Lebanon.

Warren County-based Mylestone has a chance to win a grant awarded by the ASPCA to equine rescues that highlight the plight of horses in urgent need. Mylestone was a winner in 2014.

You’ll find all the details here, including how you can get a special discount on Horsemen’s Outlet merchandise just by signing the Mylestone roster. Even if you are unable to attend, you can still make a difference with a donation earmarked “Help A Horse Day”.

Featured will be a silent auction (can you supply an item for this?), bake sale and tack swap. Mylestone merchandise, refreshments and more will be provided. Want to get in touch with Mylestone? Here’s the link: contact us.


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Get a jump on the competition season at the Horse Park

Here’s a new competition that may suit you as you get ready for the competition season. The Jump for Jersey Eventing Derby, presented by Rowsell Equestrian Design to benefit the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event, will be run April 23 at the Horse Park of New Jersey over a combined show jumping and cross-country course.

Set up in the park’s grand prix ring, it offers fences for novice at 2-feet, 11-inches; 2-7 for beginner novice and 2-3 for starter.

The fee for the first round is $65, which includes a jump-off round. A second full round at the same level or another level (same horse and rider combination) is an additional $20.

There will be a cash pot for each division, utilizing $10 from each first-round entry. Cash will be divided among the top three competitors, while ribbons to eighth place will be awarded.

The closing date for entries is April 15. Click here  for entry information.

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UPDATE: EHV-1 rears its ugly head in New Jersey

The B.W. Furlong & Associates veterinary hospital in Oldwick has reopened, after closing last week, when it was discovered that a patient tested positive for the neurologic variety of Equine Herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1).

“The patient is in our isolation unit, removed from our main facilities and is under the care of (Dr.) Rachel Gardner…and her team of veterinarians and technicians,” according to a statement. Seven other horses who did not show symptoms but had contact with the infected horse remain in isolation as well.

“The index horse has no history of recent travel, therefore no other horses in the area are expected to be at increased risk at this time. The potentially exposed horses have been transported via closed commercial carrier to a separate quarantine facility and will continue to be cared for by B.W. Furlong & Associates veterinarians and technicians,” according to the statement.

“The established quarantine area has been reviewed by the state veterinarians and they have confirmed that it exceeds expectations put forth by the Department of Agriculture,” the statement continued.

The practice has concluded multiple rounds of cleaning and disinfecting in the hospital, and began accepting patients again April 8.The intention of the practice was to exceed the state’s recommended biosecurity protocols.The quarantine was not imposed on Equine MRI of NJ or Furlong’s Soundness Center and ambulatory veterinary services continued without restriction.

Jeff Wolfe, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture, said there have been no other cases reported around New Jersey.

More information can be found on the American Association of Equine Practitioners website, here, and the memo from the Department of Agriculture can be found here.

For questions or concerns, clients are advised to contact B.W. Furlong & Associates or Dr. Gardner at (908) 439-2821.

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