Elli Yeager Wins R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship During Junior Weekend at Devon Horse Show
The second day of Devon Junior Weekend brought top junior riders together for another chance to claim winning prizes and carve their names into Devon history. This year, it was 15-year-old Elli Yeager who secured first place honors in Section C of the ASPCA Maclay and was awarded the prestigious R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship High Point Award trophy for earning the highest score of 23 points.
The large number of entries for the ASPCA Maclay was split up into three sections of about 40 riders each, with Coco Fath and Hillside Farm LLC’s Class Action taking the win in Section A, Tanner Korotkin earning the title in Section B aboard Missy Clark’s Zapfier, and Section C honors being awarded to Elli Yeager riding her own Copperfield 39. Course designer Allen Rheinheimer utilized natural hunter fences to build a technical course featuring tight turns, a broken line and a double combination going towards the Wheeler Ring.
While parts of the course proved difficult for some riders, Yeager executed a flawless trip in the ASPCA Maclay on her seasoned equitation partner. The 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding navigated the track with ease, and the solid partnership between horse and rider was obvious. Yeager has been riding Copperfield 39 since she was 11 years old and knows him well, but this year marked only her second time competing at Devon. In addition to her win in the ASPCA Maclay, she also topped her section of the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search.
Judges Timmy Kees and Brian Lenehan awarded Yeager with a second place prize in her respective section of the Washington Equitation Jumper phase and a third place ribbon in her section of the Dover Saddlery/USEF Hunter Seat Medal. These top placings put 23 points to Yeager’s name, which earned her the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship High Point Award trophy. Originally, the R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch Equitation Championship was a championship class with the best riders riding for the title, but this year the format changed to a high-point award instead.
Trained under the tutelage of Stacia Madden since last season in Florida, the pair just came off a high note competing at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows prior to the start of Devon. In addition to Copperfield 39, Yeager owns another equitation horse named Alant, as well as a Medium Junior Jumper and a High Junior Jumper. “I think it’s a familiarity with her horse. She’s had this horse since she was 11 years old. They really have a partnership. They’ve been through a lot together. When you really want to count on a situation they know each other so well,” said Madden of Yeager and Copperfield 39’s partnership. “I feel like I could send them in any ring in any course and they would be able to execute.”
Yeager is no stranger to making sacrifices for her riding after moving from her hometown of Westlake Village, CA, to New York with her father. This allows her to be closer to her horses and train more frequently at Beacon Hill Show Stables in Colts Neck, NJ. The well-spoken young rider also balances a demanding school schedule with her riding endeavors. She is currently a student at Laurel Springs online school. “I try to get out as much as I can. I’m busy a lot with school, but I usually make it out every weekend if not sometimes during the week. Sometimes, I won’t ride that day, but later that night I’ll go see them and give them treats,” said Yeager.
In Section A of the ASPCA Maclay, Yeager’s barn mate Coco Fath was able to celebrate her final year at Devon after nailing the course and riding to a win with well-known equitation horse, Class Action. She will switch gears to the jumper ring next as she heads to Langley, British Columbia to compete in the Thunderbird Nation’s Cup competition. After a break this summer, Class Action will return to show at the Hampton Classic Horse Show with Fath in August.
Tanner Korotkin pulled off a stellar course in Section C and advanced to the flat phase to earn his spot in the winner’s circle aboard Zapfier to make trainers Missy Clark and John Brennan and the rest of the team at North Run proud.