7/19/2011 By: Devan Horn
My name is Devan Horn, and I am an 18-year-old Endurance competitor from Kingwood, Texas. This will be my third year competing in the Young Rider Endurance event held annually in July, but as this is the first time we’ve been welcomed into the official Championship FEI event, this year is certainly special! I’m helped along this path by my loving parents, (Mom who pays, Dad who crews!), my friends, and my mentor, boss, and friend Darolyn Butler-who’s amazing horses I ride in all of my competitions. DJB Sameil and I have definitely worked hard to get here, and are looking forward to proving ourselves, and our sport, worthy of notice!
To qualify for the Endurance 4 Star event, my horse and I had to meet the standard age criteria, and qualify through other FEI competitions. We both had to have 3 events ranked 2 star or higher, and for endurance riders, that means a lot of miles! Endurance riders at this competition will have at least 200 competitive miles to their names, and many of us have a lot more. And honestly, that is only a drop in the bucket compared to our conditioning hours (yesterday, Sameil and I got in a good 5 hours of continuous, slow flatwork on our Texas trails). Our journey began at last year’s Young Rider competition, where Central Team earned the silver medal. I decided right then and there to start planning for next year’s ride!
But what started out as an easy process (get qualified and go!) turned into a wild ride. My barn was furnishing 4 horses to compete in the 2011 World Equestrian Games, and it became our job to obtain the qualifying rides for our overseas clients. Completely by accident, I obtained a Certificate of Completion on Sam, whom I was qualifying for Mauricio Gaitan, a Columbian rider in the WEG. When my main endurance horse, whom I had planed to compete on this year , was sold by my farm, I found myself only qualified for the 4 Star competition on Sam! Glad to have a horse to compete on, I transferred all of my plans and attention to him.
And then things got even better! I was granted the opportunity to attend the Test Event in Euston Park, England-the Pre-WEG, a week before Young Riders. I found out that USEF was going to allow me to go and represent America about a week ago, and have been scrambling ever since. Sam’s conditioning has been thrown into overdrive, the trailer’s being scrubbed and readied, and my whole team is rushing to get everything done-because I’ll be flying directly from the Pre-WEG into Lexington for Young Riders! My trainer, Darolyn, will be attending as well in both locations, and we’re both working hard to ensure everything runs smoothly. These days have been full of frantic packing for both events, and tons of preparation. With all the hard work out of the way, Sam and I are concentrating on having fun and enjoying ourselves before the race!
Photo: Completing last year's Young Rider Endurance championship on DJB Deste Jazzman. Photo provided by Devan Horn.