Tales from Blue Chip Champs: 90-year-old owner’s ‘pride and joy’ wins national title

Devon Grimes scored her biggest win with victory in the Joshua Jones UK discovery championship at the Blue Chip Championships on Miss Silver Dollar, much to the delight of Yorkshire-based owner and breeder Peter Wilson.

“Peter is 90 years old and this mare is his pride and joy.  He still looks after her even though he can hardly walk and his biggest regret is not being here to see her win; he usually comes to all the shows with us but staying away here would be too much for him,” said Devon.

Miss Silver Dollar – a now 14-year-old mare by the Irish Draught stallion Rebelara – had last jumped affiliated competition in 2012 at British novice level with Nicola Bell but spent the last four years out of competition and in the field as she was without a rider until Devon took up the reins six months ago.

“She jumped at unaffiliated level up to 90cm until four years ago and Peter just wanted to see her compete again.  And this mare is so kind.  She lives with Peter and although he has to cross a main road with her from the field, she goes at his pace and is so careful,” explained Devon, who regularly goes over to ride Silver Dollar.

“She is so calm and is so easy to do in every way, she’s the best I’ve ever had and stays level-headed despite racing against the clock.”

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Devon rides the mare in a short pelham with roundings and no martingale.

“It’s the same tack she has always worn, she goes well in it so there doesn’t seem any point changing it and she doesn’t need a martingale,” added Devon.  “This is my fourth visit to the Blue Chip championships and I have never even been placed before, to win a sash and a rug is a big surprise.”

Full report from the Blue Chip Championships at Hartpury will be published in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 18 April