Countdown to the Gladstone Cup: Heritage Farm Seeks Ninth Title at Brandywine Horse Shows
Updated: Jul 11, 2021
Madeline Schaefer rode to victory in the 2019 USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic in Devon, PA, becoming the eighth Heritage Farm rider to win the class. Photos by Anne Gittins Photography.
Monday, July 12, Heritage Farm will send 19 qualified riders forward for the 2021 USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic at Brandywine Horse Shows in Devon, PA.
Head trainer Andre Dignelli and his team will seek their ninth victory in the event, the premier equitation championship of the summer season. Taking place in the famed Dixon Oval of the Devon Horse Show grounds, the Gladstone Cup is a test of consistency, with three rounds that combine the precision of equitation and the handiness of hunters over courses set at 3'6".
"We've made the class a priority, because we feel that it's become an importance piece to finding success in the fall season," Dignelli said. "It's important to get championship tests throughout the year, and history has shown us that supporting the class has worked well. Many of our winners in this class have gone on to win other championships." Heritage Farm recorded its first Gladstone Cup victory in 2006, when Addison Phillips took the event's second running. Maggie McAlary followed suit with a win of her own in 2007, having already captured the ASPCA Maclay National Championship and USEF Medal Final. In 2013, Lillie Keenan reversed that sequence. She won the Gladstone Cup and went on to win the ASPCA Maclay National Championship and USEF Medal Final in the same year. "Lillie and Maggie were similar," Dignelli said. "They had been big contenders, and they were the dominant junior riders of their respective years. The Gladstone Cup was another big moment that they targeted, and they checked that box on their way to other big events."
Victoria Colvin won the Gladstone Cup in 2015 aboard Clearway. Colvin received a memorable score of 98 in the second round of competition to secure the victory. Photo by The Plaid Horse.
Victoria Colvin's win in 2015 was particularly memorable for Dignelli. The then-17-year-old rider was a point off the lead heading into the second round of the Gladstone Cup when she put forth a handy round that earned her a remarkable score of 97, pushing her comfortably to the top of the leaderboard.
"Tori won so much in the hunters, so [winning] the Gladstone Cup was a natural progression for her," Dignelli said. "It was a special day and a special round. She rode all of the inside turns and direct tracks [in a course with a lot of options]. I remember it fondly."
Daisy Farish was the Hunterdon Cup champion in 2018, part of a second three-year winning streak for Heritage Farm. Photo by ESI Photography.
Keenan, McAlary and Colvin are now professionals in the industry, as is 2018 Gladstone Cup winner Daisy Farish.
"Daisy's momentum was building [at the time]," Dignelli recalled. "That was a big moment for her, and it gave her a lot of confidence going into the fall season. Then she won the [USEF Talent Search Finals—East]."
The most recent Gladstone Cup winner for Heritage Farm was Madeline Schaefer in 2019, the last time the event was held in Pennsylvania. That day, Schaefer secured her victory in the final work-off, in which the riders switched horses. She would ultimately ride Hannah Hoch's mount—the Heritage Farm-owned Carlson 83—to the victory. Hoch, who finished fourth that year, returns as a contender with Heritage in 2021.
"That was a nice win for Madeline," Dignelli said. "She sealed the deal by riding Hannah Hoch's horse and nailing the round.
"We have a strong group of riders coming into the event this year, all with different levels of experience," he added. "They've worked hard, and I'm excited at the opportunity ahead."
Meet the Riders: Heritage Farm at the 2021 USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic
Heritage Farm brings 19 qualified riders to the 2021 USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic. To qualify, riders must have recorded a win in a USEF Medal, ASPCA Maclay, USEF Show Jumping Talent Search or Overall WIHS Equitation Classic during the qualifying year.
Taylor St. Jacques and Charisma won the 2017 Hunterdon Cup, then held in Saugerties, NY. Natalie Jayne will ride Charisma in this year's event. Photo by ESI Photography.
Heritage Farm Archive: USHJA Gladstone Cup Equitation Classic Champions
Madeline Schaefer — 2019
Daisy Farish — 2018
Taylor St Jacques — 2017
Victoria Colvin — 2015
Caitlin Boyle — 2014
Lillie Keenan — 2013
Maggie McAlary — 2007
Addison Phillips — 2006