Devon Horse Show Traditions

Since 1896, The Devon Horse Show has been held in late May through early June in Devon, Pennsylvania. It is the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed equestrian competition in the United States. The traditions are rich at the Devon Horse Show, from the country fair, ladies day luncheon, to vendors row and food, we’ll walk you through some of the well known sights and experiences from this exciting event.

Photo Credit: Devonhorseshow.net

Carriage Driving

The carriage driving four-in-hand events are some of the most exciting to watch at the Devon Horse Show. When spectators first came to the Devon Horse Show back in the early nineteen hundreds, many showed up in horse-drawn carriage. The coaching division (pictured above) is one of the most traditional. These elaborate carriages are fully equipped with uniformed grooms and footmen and adorned with all the details they would have had when new, including packed sandwiches, candle lit headlights, and umbrella holders. Every night through Friday there is a different coaching class to test the horses and drivers. Some are judged on beauty and authenticity, while others are judged on speed and how fast they can go through a difficult course of orange cones.

Saddlebred

Some of the most traditional equestrian sports stem from the Saddlebred industry. The Saddlebred is exhibited in several different divisions including five-gaited, three-gaited, fine harness, pleasure, park, and western. The traditional ‘saddle seat’ attire includes jodhpurs, collard dress shirt, vest, black gloves, boots, and a top hat. Don’t be alarmed if you see fashion stylist Carson Kressley ringside (or showing) at the Devon Horse Show. He is a Saddlebred traditionalist and has been showing at the Devon Horse Show since 1986. “There is so much tradition here. There is no other place that has the ambience that Devon has. You can go shopping, there’s a big crowd, it’s the charm of the Main Line, the blue and white…..we don’t have another horse show that’s like this.” – Carson was quoted on Devon from an article published at US Equestrian here a few years back.

Photo by: Equestrianstylist.com

Pony Hunt Teams 

Perhaps one of the most exciting events for the children is the pony hunt teams. The children and ponies competing at the Devon Horse Show are the top competing ponies in the country (top 30 get qualified). For pony hunt teams, a group of 3 riders (in the same size division) plan a theme to dress up together in costume for this event. The riders have to jump a full course of 8 jumps in a single-file line until the final jump where everyone jumps together in sync, not to mention – all according to a song they choose to play over the loud speaker. Anything and everything goes in this class, and the kids (and ponies) get a kick out of this class since Devon is the only horse show that offers this exciting opportunity.

Photo by: Equestrianstylist.com

Leadline

Devon Horse Show features the best in all breeds, but also all ages. Leadline is not just a show for the little rider, but also the handler. Handlers are to dress to impress with fashionable outfits coordinating both pony and rider. Usually there are over 80 leadline entries between the two divisions, under four years old, and four years old and up.

Weather in Devon, PA can be sporadic, so we recommend bringing a versatile jacket ‘just in case’ it rains or the wind is blowing. The Goode Rider Warm Up Jacket is the perfect piece to include in your Devon Horse Show packing list. This 3 in 1 Jacket is super versatile and fashionable at the same time. Outer layer is water repellent for those rainy days, its zips in and out and can be worn with or without the underlayer, depending on temperatures. The inside layer is a knit jacket that can be worn separately.

Best of luck to all of the competitors showing at the Devon Horse Show this week! It is a huge accomplishment to compete at the Devon Horse Show, and the memories will last forever. If you’re attending, be sure to grab some traditional Devon tea sandwiches and a box of fudge – you’ll go back for seconds, for sure!

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