Dressage at Devon Presented by WTDirect Attracts Big Fields and Quality Horses for the 33rd Annual Competition
RELEASE: September 26, 2007
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Joanie Morris
Lexington, KY - Baseball is baseball, but baseball at Fenway Park or Wrigley Field is a whole new ballgame. Horse racing is horse racing but watching the field come around the turn at Saratoga provides goosebumps race after race. Show jumping is show jumping but at Spruce Meadows the mountains make a difference. Dressage is dressage but Dressage at Devon is a completely unique experience. Located in Berwyn, Pa. the 33rd consecutive running of the show has attracted some of the country’s best horses and riders, including Individual Gold medalist from the 2007 Pan American Games, Christopher Hickey and last year’s Grand Prix winner, Courtney King. King is bringing six horses from her Bedford, New York base to Devon this week including her two Grand Prix stars Idocus and Mythilus.
“Devon is a very special show,” said King, 29. “It’s the only show in the states that has a fun party atmosphere, to ride at night with the lights with everyone cheering you on. As far as yearly shows, there is nowhere else that gives you that feeling.”
Horse shows have been held at the Devon Horse Show Grounds for over 100 years and the intimate atmosphere and crowded stands make for an historical experience for riders and spectators alike.
“It really is one of the most prestigious shows,” said King. “There are some shows where getting tacked up again and going into the prize giving doesn’t seem special. But to be in the main arena there receiving prizes, you really feel special going out there.”
King looks forward to her horses at Devon this year, her classy veteran Idocus has been to Devon three times and seems to thrive in the atmosphere. The 17-year-old KWPN Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Christine McCarthy is incredibly experienced and consistent and King hopes that her experience in the atmosphere at Devon will help the less experienced and very different Mythilus.
“Idocus seems to love that show, I hope I don’t jinx myself,” she said. “He gets fired up and excited in the warm-up, I always look forward to showing him there. It will be interesting to see how Myth reacts - he’s only ever shown during the day - to the crispness and the atmosphere that goes with riding under the lights.”
Mythilus is a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Richard Malloch. He oozes power and presence in the ring and has won his only other two Grand Prix starts. King thinks he has continued to improve.
“Mythilus has shown good improvement since the last show,” she said. “He’s a pretty green grand prix horse. At the stage a lot of metamorphosis going on: he gets strong, then a little confused then strong again. He’s changing week to week. He likes a firm contact, really get into him and ride. He’s a big powerful horse.”
Idocus is more of a sensitive ride and King says that even though they couldn’t be more different they complement each other and her riding style.
“They are both really talented horses,” said King. “Basically couldn’t have two more different horses. Idocus doesn’t like to be touched a lot. He has to be ridden really sensitively, that feel will help any horse. He is very confirmed. I know he likes to be ridden softly so I don’t always get into him and jazz him up and get the movement. Riding Myth helps me get more out of Idocus. Both horses help me a lot to ride the other one.”
Idocus was sixth in the Rolex World Cup Final in Las Vegas last summer gaining valuable international experience in a venue with lots of atmosphere. He and King then made a summer trip to Europe to contest the highly competitive CDIO*** in Aachen, Germany. With an eye on the 2008 Olympics, they gained experience in front of some of the most prolific judges in the world. Idocus came back to the U.S. and did some breeding but has been lightly worked since his return about six weeks ago.
“Idocus is feeling really fresh,” said King. “Myth gives me goose bumps sometimes, he has so much power and when that is tuned into you it’s an incredible feeling. Idocus is very elegant but doesn’t have that power.”
King looks forward to the level of competition she has come to expect at Devon. With over $50,000 in prize money and awards and more than 35,000 spectators over the six days, Dressage at Devon has become a destination on the dressage circuit.
“Looking at the day sheets, there is a lot of really good competition this year,” said King on Monday, September 24. ‚ “That makes it really fun because all the top riders are so spread out it always makes you try a little harder when you are all there together.”
Dressage at Devon presented by WTDirect gets going with the first of the Breed Show classes on Tuesday, September 25. With more than 70 breed classes this is one of the largest showcases for sporthorses in the U.S. Please see: www.dressageatdevon.org for more information.