Devon is the last qualifying event before selections are made for the U.S. team that will go to the World Equestrian Games in Stockholm, July 25 to Aug. 5, and because the Swedes do not tolerate even trace amounts of drugs in horses, Devon will abide by the same standards.
Rudd thinks the disallowance of the anti-inflammatory drug Butazolidin, in particular, may explain the absence of some of the spring's most successful riders. For instance, Hap Hansen, who has won four of 10 American Grandprix Association events this spring, will not be competing at Devon.
The U.S. team won the last World Games, in 1986, in West Germany, where the use of Butazolidin is more tightly restricted than in the United States, Rudd said. She said she thought the total ban in Sweden was unreasonable.
Six U.S. horses and their riders will head overseas, she said, but they will continue competing against each other at a string of European shows, before four are selected to compete in Stockholm. The other two will become alternates.
"To qualify, do the shows in Europe and to go on and do the world championships really takes a lot out of a horse," Rudd said. "They do a lot of jumping, get a lot of muscle soreness, and this is just an anti- inflammatory kind of painkiller."
The World Games qualifications will be based on performances in three events: the open-jumper speed class event Sunday afternoon at 4:30; the open- jumper time-first jump-off, scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, and Thursday evening's $50,000 Devon Grand Prix, which is being defended by George L. Lindemann Jr. of Greenwich, Conn.
Twenty jumping riders will vie for the World Games slots. They include the 1988 Seoul Olympics silver medal team of Joe Fargis, Lisa Jacquin, Anne Kursinski and Greg Best, who was also an individual silver medalist.
Among local riders, Debbie Shaffner of Ambler, who was named top open- jumper rider last year, will be back to defend. The honor is based on seven competitions, the three World Games qualifiers and open-jumper events Monday, Wednesday, next Friday and June 2.
Michael Matz of Collegeville, a member of the 1986 World Games team, will compete on his horse, Schnapps. And Rudd will defend last year's victory in the $10,000 Open Speed Stake, which will be held next Friday.