Categorized | Living, People

Dressage at Devon 2008

By Sally Silverman, AML Contributor

Threatening skies didn’t hamper the world class competition<br>(Photo Courtesy of Dressage at Devon)

Threatening skies didn’t hamper the world class competition
(Photo Courtesy of Dressage at Devon)

While the 34th Annual Dressage at Devon took a beating from the elements, the event proved once again that it is world class. Through six days and inches of rain, Dressage at Devon drew competitors from across the nation, and officials from around the globe to participate in what is one of the highest-rated international dressage competitions and the most complete breed show outside of Europe. Dressage is an ancient equestrian discipline and the fastest growing equestrian sport in the USA today. It has been called poetry in motion and ballet on horseback. This year, the 34th annual Dressage at Devon Horse Show was presented by Horseworld Ltd. and DressageClinic.com.

Rain, rain go away…<br>(Photo courtesy of Kevin E. McPherson)

Rain, rain go away…
(Photo courtesy of Kevin E. McPherson)

Between September 23rd and 28th, 550 horses competed at the Devon Horse Show grounds in Devon, Pennsylvania. The event relies on help from approximately 450 volunteers, and typically draws crowds in excess of 35,000. Olympic medalist Robert Dover calls Dressage at Devon “the standard by which all American horse shows should be judged.”

Highlights of the Breed Show, the earlier part of the event, included the first ever Foal Championship in the United States. It was won by an engaging chestnut filly, Chiquita HTF of Hilltop Farm in Colora, Maryland. Numerous local competitors took part, and 31 individual breeds, from the tiny Weser-Em ponies to the stately black and white Queen Drummer horses were represented. Nokota horses, natives of the Western US, competed for the first time, with five local entries. Kathryn Jones of Coatesville and her Little Miss Ouri took home the blue.

Devon Horse Show Grounds<br>Dressage at Devon 2008<br>(Photo Courtesy of Kevin E. McPherson)

Devon Horse Show Grounds
Dressage at Devon 2008
(Photo Courtesy of Kevin E. McPherson)

The Grand Prix, the highest level of dressage competition, is always the highlight of the Performance Division of Dressage at Devon. The individually choreographed routines of the Musical Freestyle are performed under the lights to sellout crowds on Saturday night. This year, three Olympic veterans shared the top three placements: Lars Petersen of Denmark in first, with Canadian Olympians Ashley Holzer and Jacqueline Brooks second and third, respectively. Even muddy footing and intermittent showers couldn’t keep spectators from the tradition of dancing in the Dixon oval following the awarding of the ribbons.

Officials declared the first-ever Leadline class at Devon a success as well. Seven entries were led into the Dixon Oval on ponies buffed and braided. There were the requisite beribboned pigtails and at least one mom in dress and bonnet. Incredibly, Olympic veteran Lendon Gray, judging the event, announced the all of the scores were tied, so each of the competitors was awarded a ribbon!

Malvern Junior rider Elizabeth Kelemen took home the ribbons at Dressage at Devon.<br>(Photo Courtesy of Dressage at Devon)

Malvern Junior rider Elizabeth Kelemen took home the ribbons at Dressage at Devon.
(Photo Courtesy of Dressage at Devon)

Of particular interest to local spectators was Susan Springsteen of Uwchland, PA who received honors for being the highest scoring amateur competitor at the show with her two horses, Oskar and Fanale. Junior Elizabeth Kelemen of Malvern placed first and second in her two classes on her horse, Palomos.

In addition to the competition, visitors to Dressage at Devon enjoyed world-class shopping, a variety of great eating options and entertaining exhibitions. Chair of the show Jim Hall was pleased with the show. “It was wonderful to see people’s enthusiasm despite the less than ideal weather conditions. And from all of the judge’s comments, the quality of the competition was also something to be applauded,” said Hall.

Mark your calendars. The 35th Annual Dressage at Devon opens on September 22nd, 2009 and continues through September 27th. The show benefits Thorncroft Therapeutic Horseback Riding Inc. More information and complete results go to: www.dressageatdevon.org.

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