Witness the Historical Tradition of Coaching at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair

Devon, Pa. – May 4, 2017 – The competitive sport of coaching, a time-honored Devon tradition, allows spectators a unique glimpse into 19th century life. As one of the few venues where competitive coaching can be seen, Devon Horse Show‘s coaching division is open to entries driven to authentic Road Coach or Park Drag. Held in honor of Robert A. Weaver and John M. Seabrook, this division reminds us to reflect on the beauty and versatility of our equine athletes.

 

 
The coaching division is always one of the most popular events at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. Photo by Kenneth Kraus.

 

On Sunday, May 28th, spectators can enjoy the grand Carriage Pleasure Drive down the street, a parade of vintage vehicles on their way from St. David’s Church to the famed Dixon Oval. John Peacock of Essex, England will judge the horse division accompanied by Marsha Himler of Stillwater, NY judging the pony division.

 

“It’s great fun for the folks that live along the route, they bring their families together and picnic on the lawn and watch all of the varieties of vehicles go right by their front door,” said Wayne W. Grafton, the chairman of the Board of the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. Carriages will make their way down the stretch of rural country road in two sections: the horse division first followed by the pony, light commercial, and farmers’ divisions.

 

Once everyone has returned to the Dixon Oval the pinning for the best turnout and presentation of awards will take place. Each exhibitor in the Carriage Pleasure Drive will receive a bronze plaque and six ribbons will be awarded in each section.

 

The Coaching Championship will take place on Friday, June 2nd in the Dixon Oval and the trophy and champion ribbon will go to the coach having won the greatest number of points in qualifying classes for the division.

 

John Peacock will also judge the coaching division and competitors will be judged on a variety of factors including performance, manners, presentation and appointments. In coaching, the road coach is traditionally a more durable carriage used for public transportation on a scheduled route. This is different than park drag, which is the lighter and more elegant version of the former with seats on top instead of enclosed.

 

 
Competitors in the coaching class are inspected for appointments, cleanliness, proper fit of the harness and the overall harmony of the presentation. Photo By: Brenda Carpenter.

 

Competitors in park drag will be individually scored on driver’s skill and turnout, the combination of the coach, horses, attendants and harness. The skills portion is objective, judged on time and the driver’s ability to navigate the course of cones with the fewest knockdowns. Turnout is subjective and variables include quality of turnout and horses, matching of the harness to the horses, groom’s livery, carriage lights, boots, safety equipment and more.

 

“The Devon Coaching truly is elegant and one of many favorites by exhibitors and spectators,” said Devon President Richard O’ Donnell.

 

Show Co-Manager Peter Doubleday, the voice of the Coaching Division for decades agrees with O’Donnell’s assessment, noting, “Second in popularity only to the Open Jumpers, the Coaching Section is highlighted each of the five nights and is truly a ‘Devon Tradition’ like no other.”

 

The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is the longest running and largest outdoor multi-breed competition in the United States. With the grandeur of Philadelphia’s prestigious Main Line setting the stage, the event features a world-class field that annually ranks among the most prominent internationally. The event also includes the Country Fair that offers world-class shopping, rides and games for kids, multiple dining options and special entertainment events.

For more information, please visit www.DevonHorseShow.net.