DEVON, Pa.--The competitive sport of coaching, a time-honored Devon Horse Show and Country Fair tradition, allows spectators a unique glimpse into 19th century life.
As one of the few venues where competitive coaching can be seen, Devon'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.
On Sunday, May 26, spectators can enjoy the grand Carriage Marathon down neighborhood streets, a parade of vintage vehicles on their way from St. David's Church to the famed Dixon Oval.
Terry Pickett from Metamora, Mich., will judge the horse division, while Kali Knickerbocker-Maher from Pittsford, N.Y., will judge the ponies.
"For the community to come out and see the horses go along the route is a lot of fun, there is so much energy in the street," said Wayne W. Grafton, chairman of the board for the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair. "Carriages will make their way down the stretch of road in two sections: the horse division first followed by the pony, light commercial and farmers divisions."
PINNING FOR the best turnout and presentation of awards will take place in the historic Dixon Oval.
Each exhibitor in the Carriage Marathon will receive a bronze plaque and six ribbons will be awarded in each division.
The Coaching Championship will take place on Friday, May 31, in the Dixon Oval, and the trophy and champion ribbon will go to the coach having won the greatest number of points throughout their five days for the division.
Pickett will 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 vehicle used for public transportation on a scheduled route.
This is different than the park drag, which is the lighter and more elegant version of the former and was a private driven vehicle with seats on top.
Coaching competitors will be individually scored on the driver's skill and turnout, the combination of the coach, horses, appointments and the harness.
In two of the classes, the skills portion will be 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 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.