Pleasure Carriage Drive, Old Time Elegance Through the Streets of Devon

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday afternoon began with the jingle of bells and flash of polished brass as the carriage pleasure drive arrived at the Dixon Oval.  The parade around the Dixon Oval was the last step of a laborious process that started early Sunday morning as teams of grooms and handlers polished every inch of antique carriages, braided rosettes into manes, and curried each horse's coat until the horses gleamed with dapples.  The carriages then took to the streets for 4.5 miles, weaving through the neighborhoods surrounding the grounds and delighting revelers who picnicked on porches and lawns.  
The judging began with the horse divisions. Seven presented for judging in the single harness two-wheel division, where the blue ribbon was awarded to Pamela Kister and Markie Blom showing an antique road cart.  In the single harness four-wheel division, the winner was Kristen Retter from Hollis, New Hampshire, showing a ladies wicker phaeton.  Seven competed in the highly anticipated double harness division, where the class was won by the team owned by Mr. and Mrs. Glenn A. Werry Jr. driven by Michelle Werry from Edwards, Illinois.  In the four-in-hand division, the blue went to John Frazier Hunt from Spring City, Pennsylvania who trumpeted in glory as the presenters presented the blue ribbon.  

Then the ponies took over the ring, beginning with the single harness two-wheel division, where the blue ribbon went to Karen Martin's round back gig. The blue ribbon for the four-wheel division was won by a surrey with fringe on top driven by Karen Schell from Northampton, PA. The four in hand class was won by a beautifully braided team of four welsh ponies out to a slab sided dog car driven by Evan Victoria Puddy of Ontario, Canada.  The crowd cheered for the team of four gray mules driven by Roberta O'Dell, of West Chester, PA, outfitted in denim overalls and a straw hat, as she won the light commercial/farm vehicle division.

The championship drive off culminated the afternoon's events.  The award was won by the winner of the double harness division, the team of matching bay hackneys put to a brewster cart drag owned by Mr. and Mrs. Glenn A. Werry Jr. 

A Great Start is a Perfect Ending

Sometimes the universe yields unexpected moments that are pure delight. Such was the case today when a 26 year old mare, NodAway Genevieve, making Devon her final competition, entered the Devon Pleasure Carriage Drive for the first time. It was also the first time Pamela Kister had entered the Pleasure Drive, and the first time her student, Markie Blom had ever driven at Devon. 

Kister, who spent 3 years restoring her antique road cart, has been teaching Blom for just two years.  Blom just graduated high school. The old mare and the youngster took the blue ribbon in the single harness two-wheel division.  So as NodAway heads for the pasture and Blom heads to vet school in the fall, she and Kister can marvel at the perfect moment that ushered one into the world of competitive driving, and one to a well-deserved retirement, with a Devon blue.