Major revisions to the historic Devon Horse Show grounds, which have been ongoing throughout the year, will be complete for the 2017 show, which runs May 25 to June 4 in Devon, PA.
Stall interiors have been renovated and supporters of the restoration program will be honored with a horseshoe plaque on the Wall of Honor. Lighting in the Dixon Oval and Gold Ring has been improved with additional lighting and backlit cupolas that will be lit from underneath. Two large LED sign boards, visible in the country fair section, have been added. The East 4 grandstand is now a double decker tent with 148 extra seats.
Additional facility improvements include the addition of tent roofs in the vendor area behind East 2 and 3 grandstands to make them more all-purpose and weather resistant. Handicap accessible bathrooms have been added on the east side of the grounds. Behind the east grandstands by the Clydesdale's Corner Pub, the picnic table area has been doubled to twice its previous capacity. A $25,000 landscaping project added many new trees and shrubs to the grounds.
A new $50,000 Arena Eventing Class on Sunday evening, May 28 at 7 pm will be the first in the show's history. Presented by Mid-Atlantic Packaging, this class will include 40 eventers who will take on a course of cross country and show jumping obstacles designed by Olympic gold medalist Captain Mark Phillips, former coach of the U.S. Eventing team.
“[Arena Eventing] is always a big success. It's really exciting because they are going a lot faster than the jumpers go," noted Phillips. "In other places, they have had sellout crowds because the crowd really gets behind it. The ones I've been to have always been a great atmosphere. Obviously the first year at Devon is a little bit of a learning curve. It's starting off at 40m per effort, which is a bit more spaced out then they are for normal show jumping, so riders can gallop a bit faster than they do in a grand prix."
Riders of both disciplines have embraced Devon's Arena Eventing. These prolific riders include the current coach of the U.S. eventing team, David O' Connor, Rio Olympians Phillips Dutton and Boyd Martin, and Irish international show jumper Kevin Babington.
To be eligible for this class, athletes must have received a qualifying score in a CCI** or be jumping at 1.40m in show jumping.
Of the 25 total jumps, horse and rider will have to navigate 15 standard cross country jumps and 10 show jumps over a 1,000 meter course. Fault penalties will be given for knockdowns and exceeding the course time limit. Prize money for competitors will be awarded up to 10th place and there is no entry fee to enter.
"We were going to do it over two rounds and take the top horses through to the second round, but in the first round you use both arenas, the Dixon Oval and Gold Ring," explained Phillips. "In the second round, just the top riders who went through go under lights just in the Dixon Oval."
Athletes interested in competing can contact Elly VandeMerkt for more information about the entry process by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All sponsors, owners, riders, and other financial supporters can make their reservations first for a table in the Devon Club by emailing email@example.com or calling (610) 964-0550 x204. For tickets or more information on the Devon Horse Show visit devonhorseshow.net.