The Horse Circus: 5.23.14

The Horse Circus

We pretend to go to the horse show but everyone really knows it’s a circus!

Bring on the clowns! And the horses too!

Every Friday Counter-Canter Culture features the important US and International Horse Shows currently under way.

Devon Horse Show Banner

The 118th Devon Horse Show

One hundred eighteen years is a long time to be in business.  So we all must excuse the illustrious Devon Horse Show, on from May 22nd to June 1st  this year, if at times it seems a little bit old fashioned.  After all, if you have the distinct honor of being the United States’ oldest and largest multi-breed outdoor horse show, and one of 16 USEF Heritage Competitions, you might as well flaunt it.  And flaunt it they do with things like this sepia-toned Official Devon Program, featuring articles on Devon’s esteemed history over the last 118 years.

Devon Prize List Cover

With age comes wisdom, and so it only makes sense that Devon apparently has it in spades.  In a recent interview with Jennifer Wood Media, McLain Ward, Olympic gold medalist and winner of the 2013 $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon, said of Devon, “I think it’s as good a crowd as anywhere in show jumping, just about anywhere in the world. They’re a horse-educated crowd, they understand the sport, they know what should and shouldn’t be happening. The atmosphere is phenomenal.”

Ward will return to Devon in 2014 to defend his title with his mount Rothchild, fresh off their win at the Longines Global Champions Tour in Antwerp, Belgium.  Winning at Devon is a big deal for any team, not only because of the prestige of the event, but also because the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon serves as the first leg of the $200,000 Taylor Harris Insurance Services (THIS) Triple Crown Challenge.  THIS awards $200,000 to the rider who can master three of the East Coast’s toughest grand prix – the $100,000 Grand Prix of Devon, the $250,000 FTI Hampton Classic Grand Prix, and the $250,000 National Horse Show Grand Prix – on the same horse within the same season.

McLain Ward and Rothchild at Devon 2013

McLain Ward and Rothchild on their way to victory in 2013. Photo © The Book LLC

New this year is the addition of Devon with the Experts.  On May 29 through 31, even the slightly less horse-educated crowd members can roll like pros simply by renting a headset on which expert commentators will share all the ins and outs of each class.  Along side grand prix show jumping, participants can learn more about some lesser-known disciplines like Coaching.  Click on the picture to learn a bit about Coaching and more of the disciplines on showcase at Devon even before you attend the show!

Coaching at Devon

Coaching at The Devon Horse Show. Photo: Alix Coleman

All in all, the traditions of the Devon Horse Show are not to be missed!  And even if you can’t make it to Pennsylvania, you don’t have to miss a minute of the action.  Every single round of competition will be live streamed on the USEF Network.  Also, I will be one of the lucky people who have a chance to check out Devon this year, so be sure to check out our Instagram for uniquely Counter-Canter Culture photos of the show!

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