The 2012 Dressage at Devon (DAD), taking place at the historic Devon Horse Show Grounds in Devon, PA from September 25 to September 30, promises to be better than ever. One of the highest-rated FEI events outside of Europe, Dressage at Devon attracts world-class riders from North and South America and Europe.
Breeds at Their Best – What’s New
DAD is excited to announce the addition of a 3-year old Sport Horse Prospect Championship. The champion will be named based on the combined score from the 3-year old in-hand and Materiale classes.
“This new championship will provide a “bridge” between the 3 year old in-hand and Materiale classes in dressage. We are very proud to introduce it at the 2012 Dressage at Devon,” said Melanie Sloyer, Breed Show Chairperson.
The pros agree.
"The 3 year old championship award being offered at Dressage at Devon 2012 is an exciting new concept. The three year olds already competing in in-hand and Materiale classes will have their scores combined to determine an overall 3 year old Sport Horse Prospect champion. This is a great opportunity for these horses to shine in the fall of their three year-old year,” said Kristi Wysocki, a WSEF ‘S’ Dressage Judge and ‘R’ Dressage Sport Horse Judge and who currently serves as the USDF Sport Horse Committee Chair.
Scott Hassler, the USEF Young Horse Coach and former chair of the USDF Sport Horse Committee explained. “This new championship – and the reason I’m behind the program – is that the more information we have about a horse the better. So seeing a horse being ridden in addition to the conformation standards judged in the in hand classes offers a more complete picture. I think it’s great that Dressage at Devon offered to do a test program this year. I don’t like pushing a horse but Dressage at Devon provides a natural platform since these horses will already be there Devon for the breed show.”
Boxes at their Best
Back by popular demand, is the box decorating contest in which box holders go all out to make their boxes stand out. Judging will be held Saturday afternoon.
Ladies Hat Day
Devon would, simply, not be Devon without its Ladies Hat Contest. All ladies who arrive in fancy hats (not baseball caps please!) will be admitted free of charge September 28. Judging will take place in the afternoon.
Lead Line Class
The lead line class is fast becoming a favorite at Dressage at Devon. Limited to 30 riders under the age of six, this class allows tomorrow’s stars to get a taste of true showmanship in the Dixon Oval.
Aussie Guy McLean
Back by popular demand, Guy McLean will again amaze the audience with his equine partners – Hope, Sequel, Pride and Spinnaby – who have delighted audiences all over the world. A true horseman, Guy and his horses have won the hearts of thousands. Guy McLean and his Australian horses have entertained, inspired and educated thousands of Australians from all walks of life. It is an event for children, families, horseman and the general public not to be missed. Guy’s exhibitions will be featured throughout the show.
Delaware Valley Combined Training Association Quadrille
The term quadrille came to exist in the 17th Century, within military parades, where 4 horsemen and their horses performed special square shaped formations or figures. The word quadrille is probably derived from the Spanish word "cuadrillo" (diminutive Spanish, meaning four) and from the Latin "quadratus" (meaning square).
Quadrille is most simply defined as team riding that definition doesn’t come close to describing the precision and expertise shown by the DVCTA. Their performances will be featured throughout the six day show.
The 2012 show will be the first for Iberian horses. Of Spanish descent, these fabled equines of the middle ages, Iberians are included in the baroque category. They are strong and agile and possess rare qualities that make them uniquely well- suited for classical dressage.
The three-day Breed Division attracts top breeders from coast to coast. The more than 60 classes feature 17 specific breed classes. Spectators might expect to see Trakehners, Oldenburgs and Hanoverians. But there are also those not seen so frequently in dressage such as Arabians and Friesians.
The Born in the USA Breeder’s Award, which recognizes the achievements of sport-horse breeders in the United States, is becoming a true crowd favorite. This is, of course, in addition to the United States Dressage Federation Breeder’s Championship (USDFBC) sponsored by the Great American Insurance Group. Exhibitors across the nation compete at qualifying events for the champion and reserve-champion foal, filly, colt/gelding, mare and stallion. In this final event, the winners are invited to compete in their respective classes, to select the best of the best.
The Perfect Step
Dressage at Devon is also pleased to announce that the new footing in the warm up area is now complete, giving horse and rider the benefit of consistent footing from schooling to the show ring.
This was the third and final riding surface to be redone and has been, by far, the largest of the three projects. For the third year in a row, Equestrian Services International was engaged to provide the all-weather footing. This year, however, the project went much deeper, literally, than installing a new surface. The entire schooling area was excavated to install a new drainage system. Brett Raflowitz, the founder and president of ESI, broke it down by the numbers: the schooling area at Devon is 135’ by 250’. Massive earth moving machines dug up mountains of soil and then installed almost a mile of drainage pipe which is set into 3,500 tons of drainage rock. That’s 700,000 pounds, the equivalent of 42 elephants. Once the schooling area was reassembled, 800 tons of sand was mixed with the felt product that creates the footing.
Redoing the schooling area completes the three year, three phase project to make all of the riding surfaces at the Devon Show Grounds FEI compliant.
The thrilling Performance Division begins Thursday September 27 and runs to Sunday, September 30. One of the highest-rated FEI events outside of Europe, Dressage at Devon attracts competitors from around the world to the Dixon Oval and Gold Ring.
Most Dressage at Devon classes are FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) level, including four Grand Prix classes, the level of Olympic competition. Musical freestyles classes, like dancing to the music, are favorites.
Olympic medalist Robert Dover calls Dressage at Devon “the standard by which all American horse shows should be judged.” It’s an opportunity for spectators who want to stay on American turf to see Olympic veterans coaching and training as well as riders and horses who aspire to an Olympic medal. Riders have included some of the top names in dressage such as Ashley Holzer, Carol Lavell, Lars Petersen, Hilda Gurney and George Williams.
“Education has always been the backbone of Dressage at Devon and this year, dressage education will be the beneficiary of our efforts. We’re very excited to be able to contribute to this effort on a stronger financial level. Our programs will cover a broad range, from amateurs to professionals, and children to adults,” said president and CEO, Lori Kaminski.
Dressage at Devon 2012 is already lining up educational programs for equestrians and spectators including “Emergency - What to do before the vet comes” as well as USEF training sessions.
Spectators who participated in Dressage with the Experts last year know how much the expert commentary can add to watching the event. With credit-card sized radio receivers, spectators and competitors can listen to live commentary about the ride they are watching – in real time. The insights provided help seasoned dressage riders understand nuances and make spectators new to dressage aware of the movements and challenges faced by the riders. Radios can be pre-ordered online at www.dressageatdevon.org (click on the online store) and picked up at the show at the gazebo across from the food stands.
Additionally, Forums will be held by industry experts with content for amateurs and professionals alike.
Fun for All
Back by popular demand, Guy McLean, an accomplished, self-taught, thinking horseman who accomplishes amazing feats with his equine partners, will hold a number of exhibitions throughout the show.
Plus, the always appreciated Delaware Valley Combined Training Association Quadrille will perform in perfect time. The quadrille is an equine version of a square dance of French origin composed of five sections and (originally) performed by four (human) couples.
From Gourmet Brunch to Burgers and Beer
Dressage at Devon caters to all culinary tastes. For visitors for whom food is central to their day out, there’s a great selection – from hot dogs to wine and cheese.
Spectators and competitors can sample ice cream, funnel cakes, soups, sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers and fries. Or they can splurge on wine and cheese followed by hand-made chocolates for desert.
Back by popular demand, Brandywine Catering will be serving salads, sandwiches, soups, as well as full dinner selections each day. So, no matter what your taste, you are guaranteed not to leave hungry!
Fall Festival Shops
The International Fall Festival Shops includes plenty of shops for the most discriminating browsers and buyers. There is, of course, attire and accouterments for the well-dressed horse and rider but there is plenty for the more casual shopper such as jewelry, artwork, dinnerware, gifts, antiques and more. And don’t forget to stop by the souvenir shop to take home Dressage at Devon memories!
Dressage at Devon extends special thanks to their sponsors that include: Bit of Britain, County Saddlery, Dubarry of Ireland, HorseTech, Iron Spring Farm, Malvern Saddlery, Performance Saddlery, SmartPak, The Dressage Connection, and The Horse of Course.
Dressage at Devon takes place from September 25-September 30, 2012 at the Devon Horse Show Grounds, located on US Route 30, in Devon, PA.
Reserved seating for Dressage at Devon is available at http://www.DressageatDevon.org and general admission tickets will be available at the box office during show hours for $10 each.