Source: Devon News Release
IF YOU HAVE YOUR NAME ON A TROPHY HERE
YOU'VE ESTABLISHED YOURSELF ~ JANE GASTON
DEVON GRAND AMATEUR OWNER HUNTER CHAMPION
AND LEADING AMATEUR OWNER HUNTER RIDER TITLES
GO TO LUMIERE AND JANE GASTON
Jane Gaston of The Plains, Virginia and Lumiere dominated the Dixon Oval during the last two days of competition in the Amateur Owner Hunter 35 and over division. Wearing her shadbelly from M.J. Knoud's that she has had since she was 16, Jane and her wonderful 10 year old chestnut gelding won 3 out of 4 of the over fences classes amassing a total of 30 points to secure the division Championship, the Grand Amateur Owner Hunter Championship and the Leading Amateur Owner Hunter Rider titles. The duo saved the best for last, laying down a flawless last trip which was rewarded with a 90, the highest score of the division. Jane couldn't have been more pleased with her second trip to Devon in the last 30 years with Lumiere, "He was spot on awesome. He loves what he does. He enjoys it, and he's just cool."
Lumiere has been in Jane's life since he was four, when Jane purchased the 16.2 hand Oldenburg by L'Ami from Bob Crandall. He lives at Whitewood Farm in The Plains, which is a working cattle farm with racehorses on it owned by the Orhstrom family. "They have about 2,000 acres total and it's great because they have Hackney ponies, so they come through, they foxhunt through there, hounds come through, the carriages come through....so we have a Devon experience almost every day. "
The Dixon Oval is one of Gaston's favorite places to show. "I love the size of this ring. It's just a big galloping ring. There's so much room that wherever they place the jumps in it, you can find room to do so many things. I love to gallop in there."
THE GRAY SLIPPER RETIREMENT CEREMONY
Bridget Hallman purchased Slipper in November of 2000 from Meredith McLaughlin and Don Stewart. He had just been imported when Bridget saw him in a paddock at The Barracks in Virginia and immediately fell in love. Bridget then called Louise Serio, and said she had to come see this "interesting horse". He was hairy, skinny and very spooky. However he had the most amazing trot. When Louise saw him she agreed he was a diamond in the rough, or so they hoped. Everything did not come easy with Slipper. He was so spooky and not easy to ride due to all his athletic ability. The first time Bridget ever picked up the trot on him she was bounced right out of the tack and lost both her stirrups and reins. Right then Bridget knew she had to have this horse.
Once at Derbydown, Louise formed a strong bond with him. Along with Amanda Lyerly they figured out how to direct all his natural talents. Louise calmly and patiently let him work thru his trust issues, which was not always easy. All this time Bridget waited for her turn to ride her dream horse. As Louise and Slipper began forming their legendary partnership it was hard for Bridget to wait her turn. But she knew deep down she had something special and wanted to give him his time to mature. Bridget and Slipper eventually formed just as strong a bond as he had with Louise. He truly was a team effort, with Amanda giving him his good luck ride in the ring in the mornings and Louise's expert riding and training. This allowed Bridget to do the one thing she always knew she had to do. Trust this amazing horse. And with her faith in Louise, Amanda and Slipper, her dreams all came true. Slipper is truly the horse every little girl dreams of having.
Slipper's amazing resume includes:
These past 11 years have been a life changing, true fairy tale. Slipper's spooky and quirky ways never went away, but that's what made him so special. Every win was a victory in some way or another. Be it spooking at the end of the ring or just trying to stay with his incredible jump. Louise Serio has been frequently quoted saying, "Slipper taught me more than I ever taught him". Looking back at all that was accomplished is remarkable. He was the epitome of what a great hunter should be. He had the movement, style, stride and scope for days. He could lope down to the hugest of oxers and effortlessly fire into the air. It would feel like you were in the air forever. This is the kind of jump that gives you goose bumps. He would give you so much confidence that when you came out of the ring you didn't think you won, you knew you won. But win, lose or draw at the end of the day you were walking back to the barn on Gray Slipper and nothing else mattered.
Slipper will be retiring here in Pennsylvania at a farm just down the road from Louise's Derbydown Stables. He will go out in the fields and roll in the mud, and be a horse. But he will be forever spoiled by all who love him with many carrots.
Bridget and Slipper could never have achieved all this without the help and support from her mother Penny Hallman. They would also like to express a special thank you to Louise Serio, Amanda Lyerly, Dr. John Steele and all the staff at Derbydown Stables.
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