This year's slogan could have been "keep calm, and drive on." This year, unfortunately, the weather was not entirely conducive to a traditional Devon pleasure drive. Typically the carriage drive begins in the fields at St. David's church before traversing a four and a half mile path through the residential neighborhoods with judging in the Dixon Oval concluding the event. Due to unusual inclement weather, including significant rain, this year's pleasure drive began at 11:30am in the Dixon Oval. The carriages then took a modified route before returning for awards in the Dixon Oval around 2:00pm.
If the weather dampened anyone's spirits, you wouldn't have known it from the glorious turnout and performances from the competitors. This event has always been one of the highlights of the show. No wonder, back when the show first began in 1896, carriages were how most spectators traveled to the show. They have been a fundamental part of what makes Devon so special throughout the evolution of the show.
Competitors on the pleasure drive are judged in various ways. Along the way, they are judged by a series of road judges who watch the horses as they perform. Drivers who fail to obey road signs and horses that show a lack of obedience are penalized. Once the carriages enter the Dixon Oval, they are judged on turnout and appearance. The judges check each carriage to see if it has all the proper "appointments," or accessories. The horses are judged on whether they are an appropriate breed and type for the specific carriage to which they are hitched. The attire of those on the carriage is judged. Finally, overall cleanliness and attention-to-detail are considered.
This year's Pleasure Carriage Drive was won by John White's Road Coach, also winning the Four-In-Hand. It may have been an atypical drive, but this team was more than up to the task. It was all smiles during the awards ceremony, with not a hint of any of the earlier rain.
Other Pleasure Drive winners:
Horse, Single Harness, Two Wheel: Gail Aumiller
Horse, Single Harness, Four Wheel: Bernard and Lore Homer
Horse, Double Harness, Pairs/Tandems: Mr. & Mrs. Richard O'Donnell
Pony, Single Harness, Two Wheel: Lisa Koehler
Pony, Single Harness, Four Wheel: Tara Miliziano-Crowley
Pony, Double Harness, Pairs/Tandems: Mary Stokes Waller
Light Commercial and Farmer: Roberta Odell