Fiona’s Woofings: “A Dog’s-Eye View of Dressage at Devon”
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Posted by Fiona Shaw McCormick (a.k.a.: “That Doggie in the Window”)
Four Paws Up
• As Cole Porter’s dog, Andy, wrote, “Begin the Beguine.” Rather than the dance of which Andy wrote, for journalists privileged to attend this horse show the beginning has got to be Ginny Simon and her crack team of media specialists. From the moment an equestrian journalist sets his or her petite foot on the Devon grounds, Ginny and her squad do their best to meet the majority of our needs. So I give a humongous woof out to Ginny for sending the press releases by which you, dear readers, have been kept abreast of the breed and now the performance competitions at Devon. Why, this great lady, when she realized there were no snacks or treats for journalists of the canine persuasion, went out and bought some. That’s what I call above and beyond the call of duty.
• Yes, the performance divison that is currently underway definitely earns the highest score a rational dog can award. From the four year old classes up to Saturday night’s Grand Prix Freestyle, the competition at Devon is amongst the best to be seen on the shores of these United States. While I have yet to master the art of communicating with hounds from other nations (the [to my ears] extraneous “eh’s?” and elongated vowels of even my Canadian sisters and brothers throw me for a loop), I find it really exciting to meet dogs (and riders) from beyond our borders. Why, this year we have a rider from Korea, Dong Seon Kim, who aspires to ride for his homeland at the Olympic Games in Brazil. (I wonder if his fellow citizens produce kimchi dog biscuits? If they do, I bet it is delicious! Simply food for thought.)
• Now that he has completed his “European Retirement Tour,” Axel Steiner (one of – if not THE – favorite dressage judge in my pantheon of judges) still favors premiere US shows with his acumen. Even when I leave to the side for the moment the fact that Axel is married to the talented artist and photographer, Terri Miller, he is one impressive fellow. If and when you stop running around the country to bestow your wisdom upon us, we will all miss you, Mister Axel!
• The ladies’ hat competition on Fridays is always one of this dog’s most-looked-forward-too events. (Is that okay English grammar? I can never be sure.) This year the group of properly chapeau’d ladies seemed to me a bit smaller than usual, but what they may have lacked in quanitity they made up in quality. Why, there was even a dog wearing a miniature version of her owner’s hat who trotted out into the Oval. At the risk of seeming to be filled with an overweening pride, I believe it was no accident that the owner and pulchritudedness pup were awarded the loving cup.
• Larry tells me that it really isn’t fair to all the rest of the terrific vendors who fill out the enclosure here at Devon when I want to pick out two for special mention this year. (I will make it up to the other great merchants in future years.) The super family who follow the horsy crowd from show to show and are “Show Chic” earn my admiration because they bring the best member of their family, the standard poodle whose name is “Arlo,” to all of these shows. Aside from the fact that Arlo’s legs seem to me unconscienably long, he and his tribe are really nifty. The other tradesperson who I love is the president/owner/operator of Harbor Sweets/Dark Horse Chocolates, Ms. Phyllis LeBlanc. I remember as if it were only yesterday my first year at Devon when Larry snatched a Dark Horse chocolate goody out of my mouth. I love you, anyway, Ms. Phyllis.
You have, no doubt, already noted that there are no events at Devon that merit a “two paws down” score. This is simply such a high class show . . . well, there it is. Take my personal dislikes with a grain of cat litter if you wish.
• Only ONE water dish for the entire show grounds!?! Are you guys and gals kidding me? Oh, sure, responsible dog owners will be seen carrying a collapsable water bowl and a bottle of H2O, but will it break the bank to spring for a few more containers from which we parched pooches may refresh ourselves? Those awesome volunteers who help make Devon much of what it is will do their best to keep us safe from dehydration.
• This may be perceived as gilding the lily, but a comfort station or two (plastic bags with a clearly marked waste container nearby) will put an end to the askance looks to which our human owners/handlers are occasionally subjected. We’re not talking rocket science here, folks. It’s just a stand with some plastic bags, after all.
• I am going to stop there before the show’s management thinks that we dogs are asking for the moon. (Although we will still bay at that celestial body.) You boys and girls are doing a darned good job. Anybody out there doubt my word? Just go back and read those “Four Paws Up” events.
If you or someone in your dogs’ circle of friends (have your canine companion pass the word to dogs attached to all those tails they will sniff in the days ahead) have any questions about Dressage at Devon and its extremely dog-friendly dispositon, drop a note to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will get back to you via return mail as my daily routine permits. Until I may have the pleasure of hearing from you or my sister and brother canine Americans, I remain
Posted on Mar 6, 2010
Posted on Mar 29, 2016
Posted on Oct 15, 2013
Posted on Aug 7, 2017