Show World

A Sidelines Blog Sponsored by Showcase Properties

Triple Play for Canadian Dressage Olympian Ashley Holzer at Devon CDI-W

October 02, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

OTTAWA, ON Oct. 2 2013 — Fresh off the heels of victory in the Saugerties series, Toronto native Ashley Holzer took top spot in three of four classes on two different mounts at the renowned Dressage at Devon CDI-W/J/Y event held this past weekend in Devon, Pennsylvania.


Holzer, currently residing in New York, opened Devon in a big way capturing first place with 72% in the FEI Grand Prix for Special, coming in well ahead of her competition on Jewel’s Adelante, Elaine Cordia-Van Reesema’s 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding sired by Don Schufro. The pair has developed a strong partnership in their short time together with a string of first place finishes in their last few competitions.


Photo - Ashley Holzer and Jewel's Adelante - First Place in the FEI Grand Prix for Special at Dressage at Devon CDI-W held Sept. 26-29, Devon, PA. Photo credit -

Photo – Ashley Holzer and Jewel’s Adelante – First Place in the FEI Grand Prix for Special at Dressage at Devon CDI-W held Sept. 26-29, Devon, PA.
Photo credit –


Taking fourth place in the Grand Prix for Special was David Marcus of Campbellville, ON and Don Kontes, Deborah Kinzinger Miculinic’s 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding sired by Don Schufro, on a final score of 66.511% followed closely by Tom Dvorak of Hillsburgh, ON and Viva`s Salieri W, Augustin Walch`s 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion sired by Viva Voltaire, with 66.298% for fifth. Megan Lane of Loretto, ON rode to sixth on 66.021% on Caravella, her 12-year-old Canadian Dutch Warmblood mare sired by Contango.


Later that same day, Holzer had her second triumph dancing under the lights with Breaking Dawn, P.J. Rizvi’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Akribori, in the Grand Prix for Freestyle earning a score of 72.830%.


“I was extremely pleased with both Jewel’s Adelante and Breaking Dawn. They both delivered outstanding performances to win their tests. Jewel’s just finished an exceptional event at the NEDA show in Saugerties last week so coming here so quickly after it and producing at that level again is a testament to his capabilities,” commented Holzer. He’s really a joy to ride down the center line.”


When asked what it takes to successfully show in back to back competitions, Holzer commented, “It takes a great deal planning to handle tight show schedules without hitting fatigue levels that impact your tests. You need to plan properly to ensure that you continue enjoy the competitions. Knowing your horse, making sure you are prepared for each class, knowing the schedule well enough that you anticipate additional time to prep onsite if you need to, shipping early to know the rings in advance especially if your horse is running tense or nervous, and having downtime in-between, if that’s what your horse needs. We went home between Saugerties and Devon so Pop Art could get his pasture time; he loves it, it’s important to him mentally. Understanding what your horse needs physically and mentally is extremely important and that takes time and experience both in the ring as well as on the road.”


Photo - Ashley Holzer and Breaking Dawn - First Place in the Grand Prix for Freestyle at Dressage at Devon CDI-W held Sept. 26-29, Devon, PA. Photo credit -

Photo – Ashley Holzer and Breaking Dawn – First Place in the Grand Prix for Freestyle at Dressage at Devon CDI-W held Sept. 26-29, Devon, PA.
Photo credit –


Holzer’s long-time sponsor, Irving, rode the Grand Prix for Freestyle on Holzer’s 2008 Olympic partner Pop Art, a 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Amsterdam, to a fifth place finish with a score of 69.809%. 2012 Olympians Jacqueline Brooks of Cedar Valley, ON, and D-Niro, Brookhaven Inc’s 14-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding sired by D-Day, took sixth place on 69.298%. Marcus rode to seventh on his second mount, Deborah Kinzinger Miculinic’s Chrevi’s Capital, her 13-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding sired by Chrevi’s Lavallo, earning 68.830%. Cheryl Meisner of Chester, NS and Tango, John Risley’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Obelisk, took 12th place finishing on their final score of 67.213%.


Wins for the Canadian Athletes Kept Coming


Holzer and Breaking Dawn went on to take second place in Saturday’s FEI Grand Prix Freestyle on a final score of 76.525%. Irving placed sixth with Pop Art earning 72.300% in only their sixth start together, a placing that Holzer described as ‘heart wrenching’ for the thrill as a trainer that may have been greater than her own success. Brooks and D-Niro earned 69.475% for their efforts coming in ninth. Meisner and Tango secured tenth on 69.425%. Marcus and Chrevi’s Capital’s score of 67.975% placed them 11th.


In Sunday’s finale, Holzer teamed up again with Jewel’s Adelante for the Grand Prix Special where the duo earned another first place finish, this time with a final score of 73.708%. Lane and Caravella took fourth place with 68.458%. Diane Creech of Caistor Centre, ON and Devon L, Doug Leatherdale’s 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding sired by De Niro, rode to a sixth place finish earning a score of 66.438%.


“It was incredible here at Devon. I was very pleased with both my horses’ performances this weekend,” said Holzer. “I’m so happy for Brittany, Jill, Lindsay and Jacqueline too. We’re a team, and it’s a wonderful positive experience working and showing with them. You don’t win these classes by yourself; it takes a huge support team, and especially owners who give you the room to work with their horses to get the best out of them at every performance. They support their riders and horses in so many ways; we couldn’t do it without them. I’m so thankful for the awesome team we have, they make each show an encouraging and fun atmosphere and I always show best when I’m having fun.”


Brittany Fraser of New Glasgow, NS and All In, her eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding sired by Tango, continued their recent successes by taking second place in both the FEI Prix St Georges with 71.754% and the Intermediaire 1 on 71.228%.


Dvorak cracked through the top five in all his tests with his second mount of the event, Ribot, Carla Bahr’s 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding sired by Riverman, taking fourth in the Prix St Georges earning 69.605%, fifth in the Intermediaire 1 on 68.904%, and fourth in Sunday’s Intermediaire 1 Freestyle, earning 69.600%.


Maya Markowski of St. Clements, ON rode Lumiere, her 10-year-old Canadian Warmblood sired by Lynx, to ninth place on 67.018% in Friday’s Prix St Georges and made her mark Sunday in the Intermediaire 1 Freestyle test coming in third place with their final score of 70.525%.


Evi Strasser from Ste. Adele, QC rode Rigaudon Tyme, her nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding sired by Rosario, to sixth with 68.640% in their Intermediaire 1 test. Irving rode Dio Mio, Windhaven Farms’ 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding sired by De Niro, to seventh place on 68.421%, while Chris Von Martels of Ridgetown, ON took Zilverstar, his nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood sired by Rousseau, to an eighth place finish with 68.333%.


Young Rider, Tanya Strasser – Shostak of Ste. Adele, QC rode her 2013 NAJYRC partner Action Tyme, Evi Strasser’s 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding sire by Aktuell, to finish in the top two across all her tests this weekend earning 66.974% in Friday’s Team test for second place, 67.605% in Saturday’s Individual class for first place and ended the three day competition with another first place finish in the freestyle test on a score of 70.650%.


For complete results visit:

Victoria Colvin and Kelley Farmer dominated $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at Devon Horse Show and Country Fair

June 09, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

By Sara Cavanagh


Victoria Colvin, who had dominated Junior Weekend, and Kelley Farmer, who had dominated the hunter divisions on Monday through Wednesday, on Sunday dominated the $25,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.


Colvin, 15 of Loxahatchee, Fla., won the two round Derby on Dr. Betsee Parker’s Inclusive, winning the first round with a score of 187 and the second round with a 189.5 for a total of 376.5


Farmer was second on Commentary with a score of 373, third on Skorekeeper with a score of 364.5 and fifth on Mythical with 361.


Hope Glynn on SVS Caremunde Z was fourth, also with a score of 361, but she won the tie breaker.


The first round of 29 horses competed over a regular course of hunter fences, with options of jumping bigger fences for added points, then the top 12 returned for a second round over a handy hunter course.


“My plan in the handy was to put in a nice, smooth round, just hoping to get in the top three,” said Colvin. “I liked the courses. The options were like mirror images.


“Inclusive is a very sweet horse,” said Colvin. “He’s the easiest horse to get prepared. I’ve been riding him for two years. He was a little green when I got him. He’s easier now. He’s a very laid back horse.”


“He has a very powerful jump over an oxer,” said Colvin. “It’s hard to stay on.”


“I’ve never done a Derby at Devon before,” said Colvin. “It’s amazing to win anything at Devon. It’s such a prestigious show.”


Commentary had been an event horse ridden by Marilyn Little, and Farmer said she heard about the mare through a friend.


“She had just finished a two star event the day before I tried her,” said Farmer, who only got the mare a few weeks ago. “She hasn’t had much time to learn to be a hunter. I knew I was throwing a lot at her, but if they jump those things (event fences), you know they’re going to be brave.”


“In the first round, she over-jumped a shade,” said Farmer. “Then in the second round she realized she wasn’t eventing.”


“I was just hoping that she’d get in the top 12 and qualify for the Derby Finals,” said Farmer.


Devon Update – June 2, 2013

June 04, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

USHJA International Hunter Derby Closes Show in Style

By Devon Walder


The final day of Devon was off to a beautiful start; the sun was shining, a nice breeze was blowing, and spectators lined the stands waiting for the first Hunter Derby rider to enter the in-gate. The ring was filled with hunter-style jumps–natural wood, shrubbery, a crisp hedge roll top, and numerous branches decorated a series of obstacles. The Derby is a unique set of classes, with fences set to different heights so riders can chose the high of low option for varying points. As the riders warmed up in the ring, the stands buzzed with excitement and anticipation.

Kelley Farmer

Kelley Farmer

Kelley Farmer started off the day on Mythical, setting the bar high for other riders with a round 1 score of 181. In total Kelley rode 5 horses in the derby. On Taken she had a refusal at an oxer, saluting the judges and dismissing herself from the ring. She came back in on Commentary with a round 1 score of 171, followed by her ride on On Q and finishing up with Skorekeeper. Mythical, Commentary, and Skorekeeper all made it into the second round. Victoria Colvin pulled ahead in round one beating Farmer’s 181 on Mythical with a 187 on Inclusive. Round one finished strong, and as round two began the competition was tight. All riders scored above 100 in their second round, many above 170. Kelley Farmer swept the field scoring a 197 on Skorekeeper and an amazing 202 on Commentary, but it was Victoria Colvin, the last rider of round two, who sent the stands into a roar with her total combined score adding up to over 376, earning her first place. Farmer tied up second and third on Commentary and Skorekeeper respectively.

Victoria Colvin

Victoria Colvin

With that, Ringmaster Alan Keeley sounded the closing call and brought the 2013 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair to an end for another year.The final day at Devon ended with riders and spectators in high spirits. These past two weeks we have seen some of the best horses and riders in the world. We have seen endless excitement, beauty, showmanship, and teamwork. Like always, the Devon Horse Show does not disappoint. Next year we can surely look forward to even more spectacular events and welcome some new riders into the Dixon Oval.



Children’s Day Delights Young and Old

By Mimi Killian


The fine weather of the last day of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair brought throngs of families through the gates to enjoy Children’s Day activities throughout the show grounds. The final Sunday was sponsored by Bach to Rock, Devon and all were welcomed admission free.


There was quite the crowd of excited tots at the Pavilion, dancing to the live music provided by Bach to Rock and Kirsten Sowers and making some of their own as well! The Itty Bitty Hat Parade had dozens of little milliners choosing all manner of decoration to adorn there adorable straw hats and showing them off to fair-goers as the promenaded through the grounds.


As the kids and there families made there way to the Midway, many stopped and took advantage of the caricature artist’s talent in the MetroKids gazebo. What better way to memorialize a great day at Devon than a fun drawing of you doing what you love best?


It wouldn’t be Children’s Day at Devon be without pony rides. Over behind the East Grandstands, hundreds of kids waited patiently to take their turn around the schooling ring passing the Farm Explorer mobile farm in all its late spring glory.


Families enjoyed that last burger, last lemon stick, and last ride on the Ferris wheel and said farewell to Devon until next May.


Devon Horse Show – Grand Prix!

June 01, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Best of the Best

By Veronica F. Finkelstein


What does it take to make a champion hunter horse? It takes a good, quiet mind and personality. Hunter horses have to arrive at a showgrounds they may never have seen before, step off the trailer, and perform without any evidence of nerves or excessive excitement. It takes athleticism which is showcased in correct, forward movement. It takes good conformation, or build, with all the parts in place so the horse can stay sound and perform for many years. Of course, it takes a little good looks and charisma to truly make it to the top. Here in the United States, breeders are creating the hunters of the future with all these attributes. The Devon hunter breeding classes are an opportunity to show off these future stars.


Competitors come from far and wide to compete in hunter breeding classes. Yearling Alika Bay came all the way from Tennessee to compete this year. Breeder Lynlee Dutton is excited to see the results of her hard work. She explains that Alika Bay, known around the barn as Piper, has been champion every time she’s shown but “there’s nothing like being at Devon.” Unlike Piper, who spent hours on the trailer, other hunter breeding horses hail from much closer to Devon. Appaloosa cross Impre’ Czario, owned by Julianna Potteiger and handled by Emily Belin hails from Ephrata, PA. Impre’ Czario won the Yearling PA Bred Colts and Geldings class. Thoroughbred Nygel hails from Coatesville where he is owned by Cheryll Francella. He was shown to first place in the 2 Year Old PA Bred Colts and Geldings class by William Howland. The best young horse this year has had no shortage of success in the hunter breeding ring. Sabrina handled by Bucky Reynolds and owned by Donna Struve was named best young horse. This beautiful bay Warmblood 2 year old filly rose to the top of all the young horses shown this year at Devon.


Best Young Horse Sabrina and Bucky Reynolds

Best Young Horse Sabrina and Bucky Reynolds


Handlers come from all locations as well, and many have made hunter breeding their specialty. Raymond Francis has produced and shown some of the top hunter breeding horses over the past four decades, including many winners at Devon. He handled top hunter pony yearling Land’s End Miss Moppet at Devon as well as several well-presented horses. Emily Belin is newer to the hunter breeding scene but has also had her share of success. Her Drum Roll Please won the young hunter under saddle in 2011 and his full sibling, De Feiner Star, won several classes at Dressage at Devon. This year, she not only handled Impre’ Czario but several winning horses and ponies as well. As a result of her success, she was named leading handler. If these hunter breeding horses are the future stars of the show ring, it looks like an exciting future.



Tradition Continues at Devon

By Veronica J. Finkelstein



The 2013 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair has featured a little of everything. A little rain, plenty of sunshine, record-breaking 90 degree temperatures, light snow, and even jumper rider Mclain Ward winning a Saddlebred class. But nothing could have been more business as usual as the hours ticked down to the Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon. The boxes began filling with spectators armed with picnic baskets and wine and cheese plates from the Garden Café. The rows of benches around the ring were filled with those lucky enough to secure a special yellow wristband for a front row seat. In the gold ring, the schooling was underway. Olympians like Beezie Madden and Kevin Babbington shared the ring with aspiring junior riders like Michael Hughes and riders from Australia, Columbia, and Venezuela.

Grand Prix Jumper


Variety gave way to tradition. The night ended as it has seven times before, with Ward leading the victory gallop. His path to the top of the class of 28 wasn’t easy– course designer Olaf Peterson Jr. planned a difficult course. The bogey fence was the Abba Equine Health Oxer which riders approached both on a bending track as well as a more angled approach. Again and again, horses misjudged the width and the back rail was tipped by a hind hoof and fell. Even the time allowed proved to be a challenge. On Cortes C, Madden missed the time allotted by one tenth of a second and the crowd sighed in disappointment. By the time the first round was through, there were five to jump off-Devin Ryan on No Worries, Callan Solem on VDL Torlando, Andrew Welles on Boo Van Het Kastenjehof, Ward on Rothchild, and Madden on Vanilla.


Ryan set a blazing track in the jump off, showing the remaining riders how a clear path could be accomplished. His tight rollback to the Wells Fargo jump showed he was in it to win. He stopped the clock at 36.124. Next to go was local rider Solem. Her handsome gray stallion beat Ryan’s time but had one rail down. Welles entered the ring next and walked out as the new leader with a time of 38.815. Next was Ward. He took all the fast options including a hairpin turn to the triple combination and an even tighter rollback to the Wells Fargo jump. He stopped the clock on 33.564 and it was all Madden’s to win or lose. She was on track pace-wise but an early rail made it clear that McLain had won. Madden finished on eight faults.


And with that, the victory lap commenced. Ward was in first place followed by Welles in second and Ryan in third. As the crowd cheered, spectators began wandering back through the Country Fair, stopping for one last souvenir to remember a terrific night. This year may have had a little of everything, but some traditions are here to stay. With this notch in their belt, Ward and Rothchild have become the new Devon duo to beat.



String Band Gets Devon in the Grand Prix Spirit

By Caroline Goldstein


The Philadelphia Eagles Pep Band helped stir up excitement before Grand Prix as they roamed the Country Fair grounds today performing for visitors. The string band, made up of Brian Saunders, Tony “Skull” DiMeo and Bruce Mulford, has been performing at Devon for 15 years. “It’s a fun event here,” said Saunders.

The band has been at Devon throughout the show and will also be performing tomorrow and Saturday. The performances were organized by Houghton Enterprises.


The string band is perhaps most well known as the Philadelphia Eagles Pep Band. They have been performing at all of the Eagles’ home games, and select away games, for the past 18 years. The band wrote and recorded the current arrangement of “Fly Eagles Fly” and gave the fight song that official title. The group first got together 34 years ago, and they were originally a rock band. “Over the course of time, we started doing different things,” Saunders said.


They transitioned into a string band with a saxophone, banjo and bass. Their first job was at Clementon Amusement Park. From there they went on to play at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, and they continue to play at various casinos.





The band has made other high profile appearances as well, including at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration and as Ed Rendell’s campaign band during his gubernatorial campaign. “We’ve had a lot of big events,” Saunders said.


As you see the string band make its way around the Devon grounds in the next few days, feel free to request any song; they are not easily stumped, Saunders said. People have asked for a variety of songs over the years, and Saunders said they are ready for anything. “They’ll be shocked to see we’ll still play it on the banjo, bass and saxophone,” Saunders said.


The band’s visit has become a tradition at Devon, and there is even a painting of them for sale in the Art Gallery. The Eagles Pep Band looks forward to visiting Devon each year and playing for the crowds. “This is a happy group of people,” Saunders said. “Not only are they happy, but they’re also very appreciative.”


Devon Friday Fun!

June 01, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Gambler’s Choice Keeps Spectators On Edge

By Devon Walder


Spectators crowded the stands for tonight’s Gambler’s Choice as the riders warmed their horses in the Gold Ring. The Gambler’s Choice, a traditional Devon class, requires riders to create their own course, choosing jumps based on their points and difficulty. What makes the Gambler’s Choice difficult is the course selection–it requires riders to pick jumps they know they can tackle, while also balancing their turns and gathering as many points as possible. Mistakes, like down rails, don’t earn points, and the fence is then unusable for the rest of the course, so riders must pick carefully.


The sun was only beginning to set when Laura Chapot took to the ring on Bradberry, quickly sweeping the course and setting a high score for the other competitors. Her tight, precise turns made up for two of her down poles, and it seemed as though Laura would hold the lead, as riders came and went, coming close but never meeting her score. For many, the 120 point diagonal oxer was particularly challenging. It was one of the most-knocked fences tonight. Every rider tried the joker fence, a 200 point, airy, skinny obstacle set to five feet, two inches. For some, taking the “gamble” paid off, but for others, the 200 point deduction moved them back in the ranking.


Kevin Babbington on Shorapur

Kevin Babbington on Shorapur


When Kevin Babbington entered the ring, his horse soared over the jumps with ease, barely coming close to the rails. The competition was fierce as he sailed over the last jump and galloped through the timers, and the spectators roared when he beat out Chapot for first. Unfortunately, his approach to the joker was not quick enough, and even though he cleared it, the time allowed had passed. Shorapur remained in first, however, seemingly sealing his place as the list of competitors dwindled. But then with only two riders to go, Todd Minikus rode in on Tuxedo, tearing through turns, flying through the air in a spectacular show of athleticism and talent. It quickly became clear that he would challenge Babbington’s score. The air was tense with anticipation as the numbers stacked up on the board. When he broke through the timers, a score of 1140 flashed across the screen as the sun set, and that set a score that proved untouchable for the rest of the night. When the final competitor left the ring, Minikus rode in to a thunder of cheers and whistles. In second was Kevin Babbington, and Laura Chapot came in third after her strong opening ride.


Todd Minikus on Tuxedo

Todd Minikus on Tuxedo


This year the Gambler’s Choice kept riders and spectators on their toes. Just as it seemed one rider pulled comfortably ahead, another came and swept the ring. Until the very end, the competition was intense in a true show of power, skill, and teamwork between horse and rider. Next year should prove to be just as wild. Be sure to make it out and enjoy the show!



Volunteers: The Backbone of the Devon Country Fair

By Caroline Goldstein


Year after year, dedicated volunteers keep the Country Fair up and running. This year, there are at least 1,017 volunteers who together are working 2,030 shifts throughout the show. The Country Fair is operated and staffed entirely by volunteers. The Volunteer Coordinators work to keep it all organized.


While the official volunteer sign-up schedule comes out each year in mid-March, the coordinators and chairmen are constantly recruiting new volunteers, said Betsie Stone, Volunteer Coordinator. Chairmen recruit at Bryn Mawr Hospital, at local high schools through service organizations and through various companies and organizations. Other volunteers also often bring in friends and family to help. “It is a lot of word of mouth,” Stone said.



The new Devon website allows new volunteers to register, and then the volunteers sign up for shifts through an online program called Shiftboard. The Shiftboard website has helped increase the number of people volunteering over the years, particularly because it allows for more flexibility in scheduling. “People can go on and see at the last minute where help is needed,” Stone noted.


Volunteers can also sign up at the annual Volunteer Party, which is held each May. Stone mentioned that she loves this party because it creates a community among the volunteers and allows everyone to get to know one another. Many of the volunteers have been participating for years. “A lot of the volunteers have been here for twenty plus years,” Stone said.


The Volunteer Coordinators’ goal is to make volunteering at Devon as enjoyable and easy as possible. All volunteers receive a pass for the entire show and parking passes for the days they volunteer. Stone mentioned that part of the fun is that the volunteers generally do not work in the industry in which they are volunteering.

“You do something that you normally wouldn’t do,” she said. Stone hopes that the number of volunteers continues to grow each year. “Volunteers are the Country Fair, without them, we simply wouldn’t survive,” she said.



Performance Riders Show Their Stuff in the Ring

By Devon Walder


In the performance classes tonight carriages, Saddlebreds, Hackneys, and Friesians brought more competition to the ring, demonstrating their unique and graceful stylistic riding. In the carriage classes, drivers maneuvered their horses and and carriages between cones in a course. The Saddlebreds exhibited in both Western and English classes, and the Hackney ponies strutted their stuff in the fine harness classes. The Friesians, with their flowing manes and tails, floated around the ring. In the Friesian pleasure class, Annika Bruggeworth took the championship, and Carson Kressley took home the reserve. The performance classes came to a close with the three-gaited Saddlebred class and the One-Armed Bandit.



Devon – Ladies Reign at Devon

May 30, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Hat Contest and Tea Make for Exciting Ladies’ Day

By Caroline Goldstein


Ladies’ Day was a success once again, as about 300 women paraded their hats around Devon and enjoyed the second annual Ladies’ Day Tea.The day, sponsored by Dressage Collection, began with the hat contest, and participants showed off their creativity as they passed the judges in the Main Grandstand. This year’s judges included Emmy winning television star Carson Kressley, 6abc’s Alicia Vitarelli, NBC10’s Bill Henley, Patrick Champalou from Cartier, Brenda Waites Bolling from Millinery Boutique in New York, Sheila Connolly of SCB Consulting and Beth Beverly from Diamond Tooth Taxidermist. “A lot are return judges who have a background in millinery, fashion or the equestrian world,” said Ladies’ Day Chairman Jen McGowan.


The judges certainly had some difficult decisions to make as the contest entries ranged from hats to fascinators to outfits such as a Great Gatsby themed duo.

The judges looked at four categories. The “Best of Devon” category was for the hat that best captures the spirit of Devon. “Most Fascinating” was for the best fascinator topper. “Best Hat to Toe” was for the best overall ensemble. The grand prize ribbon was awarded for “Best in Show,” which is the hat that best incorporates the “Proper Toppers” British theme of this year’s event.


Tiffany Arey, Best in Show

Robin Sweet won “Best of Devon” for her picnic basket hat. Jasen Rhinehart, with a cream colored ensemble, and Emily Galloway, whose fascinator featured butterflies, both won “Most Fascinating.” Amy Holzapfel won “Best Hat to Toe” for her pink dress and pink hat with flowers. The grand prize winner in the “Best in Show” category was Tiffany Arey for her lavender dress and hat with flowers in shades of purple and white. “I love all of the creativity and effort everyone puts into their hats,” said Ladies’ Day Chairman Jeanne Dechiario.


Each of this year’s winners received a package from Kiehl’s, and the “Best in Show” winner also received a gift card from Uber limousine service and a package from Cartier. The Ladies’ Day Tea in the Devon Club followed the hat contest. Guests were treated to champagne, tea sandwiches, scones and other treats. The Ladies’ Day Tea was first offered last year as a way to continue the Ladies’ Day festivities.

“It’s just a great way to get gals to dress up together in the middle of the day and it’s a great Devon tradition,” said Ladies’ Day Chairman MaryKay Bergan.


In It To Win It

By Veronica J. Finkelstein


The open hunter divisions continued on Wednesday with many familiar names appearing in the jog order. The first year green hunter stake class was won by Mythical ridden by Kelley Farmer. Second went to Kingpin ridden by Amanda Steege. Another of Farmer’s mounts, Dancing Solo, rounded out the primary color ribbons in third place. Farmer has been making the most of her trip from Lane Change Farm in Kewick Virginia, riding six horses in the open hunter divisions. The first year green hunter champion was Kingpin with Mythical in reserve.


The second year green hunter stake class was won by Queen Latifa with Jamie Taylor in the irons. Queen Latifa picked up ribbons in all four over fences classes, winning each class other than the handy class where she placed third. Second in the stake class went to Fredrick ridden by Maggie Bracco. Third place was awarded to Small Celebration ridden by Taylor Adams. The second year green hunter champion was Queen Latifa with Small Celebration in reserve.


The green conformation hunter stake class could have been renamed the Kelley Farmer show. She rode all three of the top horses in this class and had a fourth mount that also finished in the ribbons. The green conformation hunter stake class was won by Quotable. Second went to Dancing Solo. Third place was awarded to Back Story. The green conformation hunter champion was Back Story with Quotable in reserve.


Leading Lady Rider, Kelly Farmer

Leading Lady Rider, Kelly Farmer


The regular conformation hunter over fences class was won by Showman ridden by Scott Stewart. Showman has made his third trip to Devon his most winning one yet, picking up ribbons in every class in this year’s division. Second went to Taken with Farmer in the irons. Third place was awarded to On Q also ridden by Farmer. The regular conformation hunter champion was Showman. Back Story was reserve in this division as well, coming in reserve overall in both conformation divisions.


The high performance hunter stake class was won by Mythical ridden by Farmer. Second went to Dedication, Stewart’s mount. Third place was awarded to Zidane ridden by Steege. The high performance hunter champion was Dedication. This marks the second year that the handsome bay has been champion at Devon. Mythical was reserve champion in this division, adding a second tricolor ribbon to the reserve champion Mythical earned in the second year green division.


When all the hunter rounds were in the books, Farmer handily emerged as the leading lady rider and overall top rider. Queen Latifa was the high point mare. Back Story was the grand hunter champion, an impressive feat for the first time competing at Devon. Only time will tell if Farmer’s winning ways will continue in Sunday’s hunter derby.


Sidesaddle: A Slice of History

By Veronica J. Finkelstein


This afternoon, Devon spectators were treated to a special slice of history as the sidesaddle riders entered the Dixon Oval. Sidesaddle riders use a special saddle and equipment that allows the rider to side sideways with both legs on one side of the horse. This type of riding is known as riding “aside.” In comparison, most contemporary riders ride with one leg on either side of the horse, or “astride.” Sidesaddle riding was invented as a necessity back in historical times when women were not permitted to wear pants and horses were a major form of transportation and recreation. Sidesaddles allowed a lady to travel and even foxhunt while still remaining modest and well-attired in a skirt.


Although skirts are no longer compulsory in our modern world, sidesaddles have continued to be a part of the show ring. Sidesaddle riders may compete, aside, in regular dressage, three-day eventing, jumper, and hunter classes against their counterparts who ride astride. Some riders, like Devon Zebrovious, not only compete in a sidesaddle but actually regularly foxhunt aside. Others horses, like Martha King’s Rockstar, compete both aside and astride, depending on the competition.


At Devon, sidesaddle riders have their own division where they are the stars. Like all hunter classes, sidesaddle classes are judged on the manners and performance of the horse. Unlike other classes, turnout is more critical. The rider may be judged on the suitability of her clothing and saddle, which are often actual antique pieces that have been preserved for decades. The judges may even peer inside her sandwich case to ensure she has an appropriate sandwich (no red meat, the scent might confuse the hounds). The type of horse is judged, as the horses in this division should be suitable for a lady to hunt to hounds. In total, not only must these horses perform on the flat and over fences but everything must be historically accurate.


Martha King on Rockstar

Martha King on Rockstar


It was an elegant day in the Dixon Oval as the sidesaddle competitors showed off their skills on the flat and over fences. The ladies sidesaddle hack was won by Pricilla Denegre on her long-time partner Garnet. This pair has won the sidesaddle hack several years running and is always a force to be reckoned with at Devon. The ladies sidesaddle over fences was won by Martha King on her horse Rockstar. Of course, since the competitors are ladies it was all “glowing,” no sweating, as they lined up for ribbons under the mid-day sun.

Devon – Busy Day in the Rain

May 30, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

High Performance Hunters Take On the Rain

By Devon Walder


As expected, this Tuesday at Devon the High Performance Hunters competed under low-lying clouds and light rain. Fortunately, the footing in the Dixon Oval stayed just dry enough for the riders to show their talent in the ring. Neither horse nor rider seemed to mind as the rain spotted hunt jackets and saddles–their eyes were set on bringing home the blue.


The high performance hunter class did not disappoint, despite less-than-desirable weather. Each rider worked in perfect tandem with their horse in a beautiful balance that demonstrated what hunter classes are all about. Teamwork proved key for competitors and their horses, keeping a smooth, even pace, and floating easily across obstacles. Kelley Farmer, riding Taken, was the picture of perfection scoring a 92.00 in her course and placing first. Scott Stewart took home second, and Kelley Farmer followed up on Mythical in third. In the handy class riders showed off their skill for seamless communication, riding bending lines and a trot fence.


Amanda Steege, on her handsome bay Majestic, earned the blue with a score of 87.00. Greg Crolick, who unfortunately went off-course in his first round hunter class, came back with second on Carson, and Hope Glynn took home third. The sky began to lighten as the riders trotted into the ring for the under saddle course, but the rain continued. Out of the nine riders in the under saddle and confirmation class, Scott Stewart riding Showman took home the blue with Kelley Farmer, on Backstory, and Matthew Jenkins on Brooklyn finishing second and third.


The High Performance Hunters put on a beautiful show this damp afternoon at Devon. The rain certainly did not bother horse or rider, and the time and patience put into practicing and training paid off for the competitors.


More Than a Jump

By Devon Walder


The jump courses at Devon are all uniquely planned by various course designers around the world. Each course brings new challenges and obstacles for horses and riders, testing competitors’ skills with every turn. Course design is more than just jump placement. Designers must understand how different obstacles will look to horses and riders, how distances between fences will change the pace, and how turns will effect the angle of the jump. Of course, the fences at Devon are always beautiful and interesting, but they all pose different problems.



There are different types of jumps, from oxers, to single fences. The oxer, for example, is a two (or three) standard fence with a spread; whereas a typical fence has only one set of standards. Lines, or a combination of more than one fence with a desired number of strides in between, come in different forms as well. There are simple lines, bounces, and triples. Riders must know their horses’ individual movements so that lines can be completed safely and accurately. Bounces, with only a landing in between two fences, have different challenges and require horses and riders to be extremely athletic. The approach to fences is also important. Coming into a single fence or line at the right angle can make all the different between a smooth, safe ride, and disaster. Turns can help riders cut down on time, decrease speed, and find the right spot to a fence.


Designing courses is no easy task, nor is riding a course. There are many different ways to take on a course, and riders’ must know their horses well to make the best, safest decisions. In the end, those winning the blue have learned how to adapt to different courses and have come out riding with confidence and strength.


Back Barn Tours Bring Spectators Behind the Scenes

By Caroline Goldstein


Devon visitors who have always wondered what takes place behind the scenes in the barns were treated to a guided tour of the back barns this Tuesday afternoon. A little rain could not stop these tour guides from giving visitors a peak into the riders’ preparation for each appearance at Devon.


The tours, which ran from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., began at the Pavilion and showed off the entire grounds. “It’s an opportunity to give visitors a behind the scenes guided tour,” said chairman Lisa Estabrook. The tour guides gave each group a bit of Devon history, walking them past the grandstands and the Dixon Oval. Then it was back to the stables, where the groups were able to meet a coachman for the Brewster Private Road Coach. Next was a stop at the equine ambulance and a walk past the Farriers. The tour concluded with a stop at the Rodney Hicks Stable, where Janet Crawford Hicks showed the visitors the different types of Hackneys in the stable and answered questions about the care and preparation required to show the ponies and horses at Devon.



The contributions from the stables are a large part of the Back Barn Tours. “I’ve been very fortunate to have individuals who are excited about the opportunity to educate guests,” Estabrook said. The Back Barn Tours originally began as tours for special groups, and then expanded to an annual event open to all visitors. “I think it adds a personal touch to it,” Maddie Small, one of the tour guides and an Event Management intern for Devon from Conestoga High School, said of the opportunity for visitors to see what it takes for the riders to compete at Devon. Estabrook also hopes that this will give visitors a way to learn more about the show and to hopefully get involved by volunteering in the future.



Classic Carriages in Open Unicorn

By Devon Walder


In the Open Unicorn class drivers brought in their teams of horses and polished carriages in a beautiful display of classic elegance. The teams consisted of three horses, one lead and two behind, all moving in step together. As they moved around the ring, the soft jingle of harnesses drowned out the rain, bringing spectators back to the days when carriage was the only form of transport. Amazingly, these graceful teams worked in unison to maneuver turns, stops, and starts, all while maintaining a calm, collected demeanor. Taking first was Werry Brewster Park Drive, driven by Glenn Werry Jr, with their team of three beautiful bays. Second was John White, and third was William Vendettia.


Devon – Opening Day

May 25, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

Big Morning for Three Royal Cheers

Three Royal Cheers was the was the most regal of ponies in Pony Breeding Classes in the Gold Ring this morning.  The filly, owed by Denise Hankinson of Vixen Run Farm, Kennett Square, PA took home a blue for 2 Year Old Hunter – Filly as well as the tri-color for Hunter Pony Champion – Filly and Best Young Pony.  Handler Emily Anne Belin received the Leading Pony Handler Award.



Stormy Start to Devon: USEF Talent Search

By Devon Walder

Despite the rain this May afternoon at Devon, competitors in the USEF Talent Search came out ready to ride. The thirteen-jump course was challenging, with a long ride to the first fence, tight turns, and two water obstacles. The riders came prepared, many approaching the course with determination and confidence. Their drive to succeed was evident in both their skill and strategy.


The section A competitors took to the ring amidst cloud cover and slight winds. The first few riders seemed to traverse the course with ease, many staying under the time allowed, 78 seconds. Shortly, however, the fourth jump in the course, a widespread water jump, posed a threat to multiple riders. The jump was a single, airy pole over top a shallow pool of water. The stone standards were flanked by small shrubbery while a low hedge of branches laid in front of small “Where Champions Meet” signs. To avoid refusals, many riders took the jump at a faster speed than the rest of the course.


Of those who were able to make it through the course, twelve competitors were invited back into the ring for a flat class. The riders, with their horses shining as the sunlight reflected off their polished coats, took to the ring determined to win. In a tough class of skilled individuals, the riders were asked to counter canter and extend both their trot and canter. The competition was tight, but Lillie Keenan, number 1081, took home the blue. Number 804, Gabrielle Bausano went home with second place, and Kalvin Dobbs, number 1271, went home third.


In section B, the riders wrapped up their courses in the rain. The flat portion of the class also took place as rain pattered the helmets and saddles of the riders. In the distance thunder and lightning began to crack. Still, the riders persevered and rode with strength. Sydney Shulman, number 23, took first place and the blue, with Lilly Ulrich, number 773 in second. Number 800, Jacqueline Shilen, went home in third. And with the rain pooring down, the USEF Talent Search came to a close. Let’s hope tomorrow brings more sun!




First Night Kicks Off Devon

By Caroline Goldstein

Art, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were on the agenda Wednesday evening to celebrate the First Night at Devon.  Now in its tenth year, the evening was the opening event to the 2013 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair.


Guests were able to get an early preview of the 485 pieces of art by 58 different artists.  Many of the pieces in the ArtGallery this year are by local artists, including this year’s piece for the Devon poster.  The poster, created by Genevieve Snyder of Berwyn, features three riders in the Dixon Oval with the Main Grandstand in the background.  Snyder grew up in St. David’s and visited Devon as a child.  “I was raised on lemon sticks and the fudge,” she said.


When it came to painting Devon, Snyder was able to draw on her own experiences at the show. “To me, it’s seeing the riders all spiffy and that blue; it has to have that blue,” she said.  Snyder also used to ride, so some of her pieces focus on equestrian events.  She said that she is “absolutely honored” to have had her painting, titled “Showtime,” chosen for this year’s poster.


The poster was selected last year, and the jury that makes the selection looks for a piece that is easily reproduced and is appealing.  The poster appears on various souvenirs and publications throughout the show.  Snyder submitted three pieces for the poster, and this year’s selection stood out among those, said Sandy Floyd, ArtGallery chairman. “It was Devon,” she said.


The First Night tradition began when the show’s longtime poster artist was unable to continue working on the posters, and the selection jury needed to find a new poster artist.  First Night provides a way to see pieces from a variety of artists, and the poster artist for the following year is generally chosen on First Night.


The event is sponsored by Freeman’s Auctioneers & Appraisers, Bryn Mawr Trust, Valley Social, Haverford Quality Investing, Drexel Morgan & Co., Janney, UAS, Cartier, and Girard Partners.


This year’s best in show was a collage style painting titled “Blue Dog” by San Francisco based artist Sam Price.  There were also sculptures, oil paintings, watercolors and pastels.  Many of the artists attended First Night, including the 22-year-old Jessica Barnum, who is the youngest artist at the show.  She graduated from the PennsylvaniaAcademy of the Fine Arts this year.  Barnum, of Doylestown, has three pieces in the ArtGallery this year.  She works primarily with oil, but her pieces for Devon are charcoals on a wooden canvas.

For those who did not attend First Night, all of the pieces will be in the ArtGallery throughout Devon week.



April 26, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

DEVON, Pa.—The Wells Fargo Stagecoach will be exhibited at the Devon Horse Show on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 30 through June 1.


Wells Fargo is the official presenting sponsor of the annual event to be held May 23 to June 2, 2013 at the show grounds in Devon.


Wells Fargo will also serve as the title sponsor of the premier class, the $100,000 Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon to be held Thursday, May 30.


This marks Wells Fargo’s third year as presenting sponsor of the show.


Devon benefits Bryn Mawr Hospital, with proceeds to the Hospital approaching $15 million, over $50 million when adjusted for inflation.


John Payne and his One Arm Bandit & Company, from Shindler, Okla., will appear the last four full days of the show in the evening, from May 29 to June 1.


The One Arm Bandit show won the Professional Rodeo Circuit’s Specialty Act of the Year from 1989 through 1996 and again from 2008 through 2011.


Payne lost his right arm after an accident in 1973. Payne began in rodeos in 1987 and built up his act with longhorn Watusi steers, mustangs, mules and buffalo.


Black Mouth Cur dogs are a very intrical part of the training process.


Payne is assisted in his act by his wife Judy, and when his son Lynn and daughter Amanda each turned 18, they also joined the show.


“It is very fulfilling to have Lynn and Amanda display their talents,” said Payne. “They are truly my right hand. Soon, I’ll have grandkids in the show and may slow down a little to spend more time with Judy.”


Payne displays his proficiency with a lariat during the show, and buffalo jump over his truck and climb onto the roof of the trailer.


An innovative event, the Five-Gaited Special Class will be held on Wednesday evening, May 29.


Some of the world’s top jumper riders, including Olympian McLain Ward, will test their skills and compete on Five-Gaited Saddlebreds at Devon.


Each jumper rider will have a practice session and then show the horse in the class, each going for that first place prize.


Horses will be provided by Saddlebred owners and might very well be the first of its kind.


The Country Fair is open days and evenings throughout the 11 days, with a wide variety of foods, boutique shopping and rides and games.

 Hats 2013


The Country Fair also presents a number of fun events and contests, including the very popular Ladies Hat Contest, sponsored by Cartier.


The judges are television personality Carson Kressley, who is also a Devon exhibitor, and Bill Henley from NBC10 television.


Tuesday, May 28 is one of the three Family Days, with back barn guided tours, and Sunday, June 2 is another, with Pony Rides from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a plant sale at around 1 p.m., following the conclusion of the $25,000 Hunter Derby. The third is opening day, Thursday, May 23.


Food ranges from hot dogs, hamburgers and pizzas to gourmet dining, complete with a selection of red and white wines, in the Garden Cafeteria. Of course, there are the Devon favorites, the famous Devon fudge, tea sandwiches and lemon sticks.


Boutiques carry men’s and women’s clothing, often with a horse or dog theme, oil paintings, water colors and prints, gold and silver jewelry, dog toys, salad bowls, souvenirs and collectibles.


The Ferris wheel towers over the area of games and rides and offers a compelling view of the Devon show grounds.


The ticket office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.


General admission is $10, with $5 for children 12 and under and seniors. Reserved seating tickets range from $10 to $55, depending on the day and session.


Visit the website for additional information.


McLain Ward To Defend Jumper Title at Devon Horse Show & Country Fair

April 18, 2013 By: janwest Category: General

DEVON, Pa.—Two time Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward will defend his Leading Open Jumper Rider title at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, which runs May 23 to June 2.


Ward of Brewster, N.Y., has entered last year’s Devon Open Jumper Champion Antares F, the horse he rode in the 2012 London Olympic Games.


Ward also won last year’s $100,000 Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon on Antares F, a class he has won six times in the last 10 years.


Devon benefits Bryn Mawr Hospital, with proceeds to the Hospital approaching $15 million, over $50 million when adjusted for inflation.


Again at Devon, however, Ward will have plenty of competition, including his Olympic team gold medalist partner Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y., and Laura Chapot of Neshanic Station, N.J., who has been Leading Rider at Devon five of the last eight years.


Besides swapping turns as Devon’s Leading Open Jumper Rider, Ward and Chapot have another thing in common.


Both made incredibly quick recoveries from devastating injuries, Ward last year and Chapot this year.


Last year, Ward fractured his knee in 20 pieces just four months before Devon, but, determined to show in Devon’s Olympic trials, Ward pushed himself through agonizing therapy sessions and not only was able to compete but also won himself a place on the London Olympic team with his performance at Devon.


Chapot, who suffered a serious fall on Feb. 2 at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla., which resulted in her breaking her pelvis in four places and her clavicle, also made an incredibly rapid recovery, returning to competition in just six weeks.


She, too, underwent intense therapy and spent hours in the gym to speed her return.


She celebrated her return to competition by winning two classes her first weekend back and went on to win two circuit championships, despite having missed almost half of the 12 week series.



Ward, who is an annual competitor at Devon, has praised Devon for the new footing throughout both the Dixon Oval, the Gold Ring and all the schooling areas and says he loves the enthusiastic crowds.


Other Olympic veterans who will show at Devon include Margie Engle of Wellington, Fla., Lisa Jacquin of Unionville, Pa., and Kevin Babington of Gwynedd Valley, Pa., who competed internationally for Ireland.


Other top competitors included Pan American Games team bronze medalist Todd Minikus of Wellington, Fla., Sarah Segal of Pittstown, N.J., Ken Berkley of Flemington, N.J., and Callan Solem of Chester Springs, Pa.


Junior weekend opens with three days of equitation, ponies, hunters and jumpers, followed on Sunday with the Carriage Pleasure Drive, which arrives at the Dixon Oval at 2 p.m.

Open jumpers compete Tuesday, May 28 through Saturday, June 1, with the featured $100,000 Wells Fargo Devon Grand Prix Thursday evening at 8 p.m., and the $50,000 Idle Dice Stake the last class Saturday afternoon.


Pony jumpers show Sunday, May 26, with adult jumpers on Sunday and Monday.


Five and six year old jumpers are Tuesday and Wednesday, with amateur/owner jumpers on the closing Friday and Saturday.


Hunters show Monday through Wednesday, with the $25,000 International Hunter Derby at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 2, and hunter breeding classes on Thursday.


Four-in-hand coaching is competed Sunday through Friday, while Saddlebreds, hackneys, harness horses and roadsters show Wednesday, May 29 through Saturday, June 1.


The Country Fair is open days and evenings throughout the 11 days, with a wide variety of foods, boutique shopping and rides and games.


From hot dogs, hamburgers and pizzas to gourmet dining complete with a selection of red and white wines, there is food for every palette, including the famous Devon fudge, tea sandwiches and lemon sticks.


Boutiques carry men’s and women’s clothing, paintings and prints, gold and silver jewelry, dog toys, salad bowls, souvenirs and collectibles.


The Ferris wheel towers over the area of games and rides and offers a compelling view of the Devon show grounds.


The ticket office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.


General admission is $10, with $5 for children and seniors. Reserved seating tickets range from $10 to $55, depending on the day and session.