Coaching at Devon: A Beautiful Spectacle to Behold
Monday, May 12, 2014
If you can envision a lifestyle without automobiles, then you should be on hand at the Devon Horse Show & Country Fair during the evenings of May 26 through May 30. One of the most traditional classes each year has always been a showcase of Devon. Eleven four-in-hands of horses and ponies, harnessed to their historic coaches, will grace the Dixon Oval and be evaluated by a very prominent English judge, Colin Henderson. The five classes that cover these nights include a broad representation of the age old specialty of coaching.
On Monday evening, the coach's appointments will be inspected, along with the cleanliness and neatness of the harness, appearance of the horses or ponies, and the over-all picture. An all-day process of shining, cleaning, and polishing goes into the finished product for the judge to evaluate.
Tuesday evening brings the pride and joy of the driving world for a pleasure competition that includes an individual pattern prescribed by the judge. Movement of the horses/ponies and the coach, along with the skills of the driver, or whip as they are called, is under the watchful eye of the judge.
The final three evenings for this section offer a range of different obstacle courses to negotiate. From a mirror image format where two coaches drive a pattern at the same time, to a cloverleaf pattern against the clock, the versatility of these turnouts will be tested in many ways as they compete for the coveted Devon blue ribbon.
This year's entrants include competitors from five different states, with six different breeds of horses and ponies represented. From Illinois, the Werry entry is put to a private vehicle called a Park Drag built by Brewster & Co. of NY in the year of 1902. Showing out of their home base of Newton, NJ, the John White entry is put to a Road Coach, the type of vehicle used for public transport in early England, that was built in 1890. These are just two of eleven competitors coming to this year's Devon.
This horse show competition represents the ultimate achievement in the sport of pleasure driving. Devon is one of three stops left during the year that provides a gathering place for these amazing coaches and four-in-hands and their proud owners.
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About The Devon Horse Show & Country Fair
May 22 - June 1, 2014
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The Devon Show Horse Show & Country Fair, founded in 1896, is the nation's oldest and largest multi-breed outdoor horse show. It is one of 16 United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Heritage Competitions. The 11-day event attracts over 100,000 visitors annually and is one of the largest volunteer based fundraising events in the country. Proceeds from the event benefit Bryn Mawr Hospital. While attracting top competitors from around the world for events such as the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon (Thurs., May 29), the event remains one of Philadelphia's premiere traditions, offering great food, boutique shopping, and rides, games, and events for the whole family. Tickets are on sale now, click HERE to purchase!