Dressage. It has been called poetry in motion and ballet on horseback. Dressage is an ancient equestrian discipline, and the fastest growing equestrian sport in the USA today. In September, Dressage at Devon brings top competitors, horses, trainers and judges from across the continent and around the globe together for one of the highest-rated international dressage competitions and the most complete breed show outside of Europe. In 2016, the Dressage at Devon Horse Show will be held September 27th through October 2th at the Devon Horse Show grounds in Devon, Pennsylvania. Olympic medalist Robert Dover calls Dressage at Devon “the standard by which all American horse shows should be judged.” More than 700 horses are expected to compete with an anticipated 35,000 spectators.
Dressage, a French word meaning “training,” describes the sequential development of the horse’s suppleness, obedience and strength. The result is a breathtaking blend of power and artistry. Competition involves a series of movements based on a horse’s action, not unlike gymnastics or figure skating competitions.
Dressage at Devon opens with the three-day Breed Division, in which horses are judged for movement and conformation. More than 29 breeds are represented. The USDF Breeders Championships East Coast Series Finals and the Born in the USA Breeders Awards are among the highlights of the show’s first days. New this year is the first Foal Championship ever to be held in the United States. The combination of breed classes and performance classes gives the spectator a unique perspective. Dressage at Devon is where you can see it all, from foal to Freestyle Champion.
Thursday, the four-day Performance Division begins. Most Dressage at Devon classes are F.E.I. (Fédération Equestre Internationale) level, including four Grand Prix classes, the level of Olympic competition. Musical freestyles classes, like dancing to the music, are favorites.
The Festival Shops offer exclusive apparel, fine arts, antiques and collectibles from more than 65 vendors, and food from burgers to full gourmet meals at charming outdoor cafes. Families enjoy the weekend atmosphere, where Kids Corral provides activities for youngsters, and exhibitions are geared towards family fun. The highlight of Sunday's Family Day is the Dressage at Devon Leadline Class for aspiring youngsters.
Dressage with the Experts offers an opportunity to hear live, expert commentary on individual headsets and an electronic scoreboard, the first ever at a US dressage competition, allows spectators to see the scores for each movement, as they are assigned by the judges.
Dressage at Devon takes place at the Devon Horse Show Grounds, Route 29, in Devon, Pennsylvania. Tuesday, September 27 through Sunday, October 2. General admission is available for $10 at the show grounds during the show; children under 3 are free and children 4-12 are $5 for General Admission. Reserved seating has no discounts for children.