When we reviewed Devon Eret’s application for our Amassador Program in 2021, it was an automatic acceptance. She embodies the core values that Saratoga Horseworks strives for every day – perseverance, dedication, and a passion for horses. In 2018, Devon was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer, and not only beat it but continued showing during her treatments. Today, she works as a Realtor in Colorado and competes in AO Hunter/Equitation with her gelding, Gary, at the Colorado Horse Park. Keep reading to learn about what being an equestrian means to her, how she handles her horse show nerves, and her favorite riding exercises.
Being an equestrian hasn't been a linear road for Devon. She grew up Eventing, stepped away from horses during her college studies, got married, returned to the Hunter/Jumper world, and then got her cancer diagnosis the same day as she purchased Gary. In true horse girl fashion, Devon credits Gary for being her lifesaver during that time. She continued riding and showing during her extensive treatments, which is one of her greatest achievements. When asked about the best part of being an equestrian, Devon says, "I have always known there is something special about being in this world. Within the last few years I have realized part of it is that we are so incredibly lucky to have a passion. So many people go through their lives without passion and sense of purpose. As equestrians, we have horses in our bones and we are so lucky to have a sense of drive, excitement and happiness. The lifelong friendships are pretty special too!"
Devon and Gary made the switch from 1.20m Jumpers to the AO Hunter/Equitation rings where they've been cleaning up. In 2021, the pair took their first trip to the Colorado Hunter Jumper Association Medal Finals where they won the Ruth Ayres Medal. This year, they were named 2022 Adult Eq 18-35 Circuit Champion at Summer in the Rockies as well as 18-35 AO 3’3” Hunter Circuit Champion. Devon currently has her eyes set on qualifying for 3 CHJA Medals for the 2022 Finals. She's accomplished one qualification so far and we have no doubt she'll get the others in no time. Horse show nerves have affected her in the past, but she's learned how to manage them after being fortunate enough to show consistently over the last couple of years. Here's what works for Devon to stay focused in the show ring:
- Eat a light, but nutritious breakfast. I always opt for a protein smoothie with 30g of vegan protein powder. It gives me energy without upsetting my stomach.
- I try and get to the show a MINIMUM of 1 hour before I ride. That way I can unpack everything, braid my tail, slowly get dressed and get a few minutes to myself before I get on.
- If I have time, I like to go look at my ring and get an idea of where the jumps are/my course. I talk through it with my trainer before I go in the ring, but this way I have a better sense of where things are
- I also found that if family/friends are coming to watch, I will tell them ahead of time where to go and that I will see them after I compete. I used to get so distracted when I would have to manage others before I rode. This way works best for me and people understand!
When she's not horse showing, Devon can be found spending time with her husband, building her career, and sharing updates on Instagram. Although a Hunter/Eq rider, she appreciates the difficulty and finesse of dressage, and applies basic dressage theories to her flat work while schooling Gary at home. To enhance her riding, she'll drop her stirrups for a few minutes when she hacks. When it comes to the dreaded No Stirrup November, she says, "I am personally not a big fan of No Stirrup November because I believe you should be working on this all year around. It has really improved my leg position and overall position in the saddle."
Lastly but certainly not least, Devon says her favorite Saratoga Horseworks products are The Saratoga Bandages and Oasis Dress Sheet. She explains, "I use the bandages on a DAILY basis while hacking and they have lasted forever! And the dress sheet is only used at shows, however it is GORGEOUS and I love how it turned out."
We can't thank Devon enough for allowing us to feature her story, and for being a great part of the Saratoga Horseworks team. Follow along with her and Gary on Instagram by searching @dwomanslawn. Be sure to use her coupon code DE15 to get 15% off your next order with us!