Hylee’s Triopoly won the Single Horse Driving Championship with owner/driver Karen Schell, accompanied by PJ Crowley. Credit Equiscape Photography
This year marked the 51st year for the annual Devon Carriage Drive, which covers 4.5 miles through Devon’s back roads and neighborhoods. Along the route, residents line the road to watch and wave as exhibitors pass their properties, and share their joy for horses by inviting friends to a picnic lunch on their front lawns.
Karen Schell of Northampton, PA, drove her nine-year-old Morgan gelding, Hylee’s Tripoly, to a second place finish in the Single Horse Four-Wheel division. Karen has only been driving ‘Trip’ for the past five months under the direction of PJ and Tara Crowley of Kendalwood Farm in Zionsville, PA.
‘Trip’ went on to win the Pleasure Driving Turnout class for Single Horses in the Dixon Oval on Monday night, pulling a 1908 wicker basket Studebaker Stanhope. He went on to win the Single Horse Driving Championship. “Trip is very sensitive, smart and a love bug,” Tara said. “He loves his job and has no bottom, he just loves to work.”
Rachel Shoemaker of Willisbrook Farm in Malvern, PA, drove her Saddlebred mare to top honors in the Single Horse Two-Wheel division of the Carriage Drive.
In the Horse Pairs competition, Jody Vesty Hess of Bryn Taran Farm in Spring City, PA, was back in the winner’s circle of the Dixon Oval. Last year, Jody won the Pair Horse division of the Carriage Pleasure Drive with the Morgan gelding, CRMF Hanoui. His partner was a Saddlebred/Belgian cross. Going solo, the Morgan won the Single Horse Carriage Pleasure Driving division.
This year, ‘Lenny’ was hitched with another Morgan, JDS Manilla Ice, fondly known as Milly. Dr. Linda Weinberg of Phoenixville, PA, owns both Morgans. The duo was second in the Horse Pairs division of the Carriage Pleasure Drive, and won the Horse Pairs Scurry class. They finished the show as the Horse Pairs Champion.
“Lenny has been hitched as a pair for a few years, but this is the first year for Milly,” said Jody. “Lenny is a solid citizen, while we are teaching Milly to do a new job. They both have a lot of presence so you just notice them.”
For the eighth consecutive year, 93-year-old Roberta Odell of West Chester, PA, won the Light Commercial and Farmers division with her popular white mules.
Paul Martin of New Holland, PA, has been coming to Devon since he was a kid. This year he realized a dream by winning a coveted Devon tricolor award, and for perhaps the first time in Devon history, Paul, his wife Karen, and their team put two four-in-hands, both pulled by German Sport Ponies, in the ring at the same time. “Jeremy Smith, a trainer and horseman, has helped us through this as well as Mark Schofield, a top trainer in the United States for coaching horses,” Paul said. “It certainly takes a team!"
Tuesday night, Paul’s four-in-hand, pulling a Brewster Park Drag, was reserve in the Four-In-Hand Suitable for Pleasure Opportunity class. Wednesday night, Paul’s four won the Four-In-Hand Authentic Road Coach or Park Drag Timed class. For the second year in a row, they won the Jet Run Perpetual Trophy in this class. Reserve was Paul’s other four, driven by Anna Nordin.
Friday night, in the final two classes for the Four-In-Hand Coaching division, Martins’ four-in-hand entries switched places. The Brewster Private Road Coach driven by Anna Nordin won the Weaver Challenge Trophy in the Four-in-Hand Coaching Timed Obstacle competition. Anna was the only competitor to drive clear to place her at the top of the class. Paul was reserve in this timed obstacle class.
It was a dream come true for Paul Martin as he received the Devon tricolor. When all the points were tallied, Paul had won the Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Foster Bright Perpetual Trophy and championship apron. “It couldn't have finished any better,” Paul said. “I've been reserve champion here for several years, and I got my bucket list championship tonight!"
Last year, the Devon Horse Show added an Open English Pleasure division. It was so popular that the committee added the Open Pleasure Driving division this year. For the second year in a row, a Morgan from Mike Goebig and Dwayne Knowles’ Broadmoor in Kutztown, PA, won the Open English Pleasure Championship, and this year, another Morgan from Broadmoor won the Open Pleasure Driving Championship.
Winning the first ever Open Pleasure Driving Championship at Devon was Centaurus Rising and owner Linda Brewer of Lebanon, PA. Linda was second in the qualifying class. “I was so pleased to represent the Morgan breed with my gelding,” said Linda, a retired school district superintendent. “This championship win was more than a dream come true.
“After being a spectator for years,” she continued, “I wanted to be an exhibitor so I could have a photograph of me showing in the Dixon Oval. And I ended up getting my photograph taken in the winner’s circle.
“Showing both nights under the lights, with a cool breeze, ‘Fuzz’ was full of himself in front of the large crowd. Their cheering was so loud I couldn’t even hear Dwayne and Mike when I drove by them. It was such a gratifying experience.”
Trainer Mike Goebig gave MIZ Saturn Star an incredible ride to win the Open English Pleasure Championship. In an interview with press as he rode back to the barn, Mike said, “"MIZ Saturn Star is 14. She's gone to our world championships for eight years and she's won a qualifier for a world championship every year for eight years. This is her last year. She's going to be bred this year and retire.”
Mike went on to tell about the last time he showed at Devon. "I showed here in 1954 in leadline, and this is my first time back in the ring since then. I've put amateurs in the ring and our Morgans won last year here, but this is the first time that I've gotten to compete with them here. We had three here tonight. It's a great win--very big.
"The crowds and enthusiasm are amazing,” Mike added. “The people are knowledgeable at this point, they are seasoned audiences, and so it's really nice to show in front of these crowds!"
Tara Wentz-Goosley of Wentz Stables in Orefield, PA, was really busy during Devon. In addition to working, showing and getting her amateurs and junior exhibitors into the ring with nine Saddlebreds, Tara was busy with her volunteer efforts as a member of the Saddlebred and Hackney Committee. She and the grey western pleasure Saddlebred, Winsdown Edgecliff, appeared on Philadelphia’s CBS Morning Show. “The show helped to promote the Saddlebreds at Devon as well as highlighting the breed’s long history competing at this show, “Tara said.
For the third consecutive year, Tara coached CH Winsdown Edgecliff and owner Lynn Finelli to capture the Western Country Pleasure class and the championship.
The Bluesmaster and Patrick McMurtrie were reserve in the Junior Exhibitor English Country Pleasure class. This duo went back in the open championship and were Reserve Champions. Patrick was the highest placing junior exhibitor in this division, in his first time showing at Devon.
Majestics Merci Beau Coup and Caroline Davis were the Reserve Jr. Exhibitor Show Pleasure Champions. Caroline is also a first-time exhibitor at Devon.
Also showing under the Wentz Stable banner, Tammy Buck rode Wednesday to the Reserve Local Three-Gaited Show Pleasure Championship.
Smith Lilly of Mercer Springs Farm rode Carrigans Anastasia to the Open Park Pleasure qualifying class and championship. Willisbrook Farm in Malvern, PA owns the five-year-old Saddlebred.
Alicia Owens of Scottfield Stables brought seven horses from her new location in Lenhartsville, PA. One gelding never made it to the show ring as he had very important duties as an ambassador for the American Saddlebred breed. CH Cumberland Crescent stood near the Ferris wheel every day and ate lots of peppermints, while meeting lots of ladies in hats and excited kids.
In addition to working and showing horses, Alicia was also one of the color commentators for USEF Network’s live feed when Saddlebreds and Hackney Ponies were showing. Ashley Russo, a Saddlebred owner and executive producer of The PEAK TV in Bethlehem, PA, also provided color commentary during these classes.
Showing under the Scottfield Stables banner, Roselanes Top Contender was the Reserve Country Pleasure Driving Champion. Owned by Alicia and her husband, David Owens, the gelding was driven by Kate Kielceski.
Last year, 11-year-old Renna Russo of Center Valley, PA was junior judging at Devon. This year, she rode Heir Highness to the reserve in the Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited qualifying class. This was the duo’s first appearance in the Dixon Oval. Renna’s grandparents, Candi and Ed Aversenti, of Bethlehem, PA, own the mare.
Alicia also coached Hope Remains and Mary Lehan to the Reserve Open Hunter Country Pleasure Championship. Ann and Mary Lehan of East Berlin, PA own the Saddlebred.
Melina Brunson of Hershey, PA, rode her own GusGus to a reserve finish in the Limit Three-Gaited Show Pleasure class under the lights on Wednesday night.