Devon Horse Show Grounds Plan Major Improvements for 2010

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Dressage at Devonb's Saturday night spectacular, perhaps the biggest spectator attration in U.S. dressage. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Dressage at Devonb's Saturday night spectacular, perhaps the biggest spectator attraction in U.S. dressage. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

KENNETH J. BRADDICK

DEVON, Pennsylvania, Sept. 2–Dressage at Devon expects to have new state of the art footing for the 2010 event in an upgrade of facilities at one of the top dressage competitions in the United States.

The show grounds in the heart of Philadelphia’s tony Main Line is finalizing preparations for Dressage at Devon’s six days of sport horse breeding and performance classes Sept. 22-27.

The show grounds have begun to show their age in recent years, with unprecedented torrential downpours creating serious problems with the competition arenas in 2008.

The Devon Horse Show management, in response to to questions from dressage-news.com, said: “Over the past few years since the inception of new footing materials and systems, in addition to our annual maintenance of the Dixon Oval and Gold Ring, we have been monitoring the usage of these new materials at many shows to determine how they have performed over time at outdoor venues with heavy usage.

“We believe that enough time has now elapsed to get an accurate idea of which materials have performed well under the conditions required at Devon.

“We plan to make our final decision following the Dressage at Devon horse show and to make major improvements in the rings and other significant areas of the show grounds prior to the Devon Horse Show in 2010.”

The postage stamp-sized facility hemmed in by some of America’s most expensive real estate is used for the hunter/jumper Devon Horse Show and Dressage at Devon. Both shows draw top competitors and crowds of spectators rarely seen at horse shows in the United States. Dresage at Devon is an event operated for a therapeutic riding association.

Both American and foreign visitors to the intimate show grounds of World Cup competition, charming equestrian shopping malls and the ambience of beer gardens under the shelter of mature trees have made Dressage at Devon an annual pilgrimage for almost a half century.

In recent years, however, the facility has shown its age with sagging stables, vendor buildings in need of repairs and footing not up to current standards.

The difficulty for Dressage at Devon is that it is a tenant and does not have the capability of making changes to the grounds to suit the needs of dressage.

However, organizers of the Devon Horse Show and Dressage at Devon were discussing changes that would be implemented for 2010 to meet the needs of both disciplines.

In response to questions about media relations, Nan Daley Demchur, Dressage at Devon show manager, said that steps have been undertaken to address concerns and that a professional media relations company had been engaged for the 2009 Dressage at Devon event.