May 23, 2016

It's Almost Devon Time

By Maggie Junkin

May has always been one of my favorite times of year.  Spring in Philadelphia.  The weather gets warm, the spring flowers bloom, and the Mainline prepares for my favorite horse show of all: THE DEVON HORSE SHOW!

Growing up in the suburbs of Philly as a young equestrian I have been fortunate to visit the show almost each year.  I competed in the Lead Line division as a 4 year-old and have been lucky enough to compete in the pony divisions.  I hope, in the future, to compete in the junior hunters there as well.

What makes Devon so Special?  There are so many reasons. Where do I start?

1. The Devon Blue
This is one of the few horse shows I can think of that has a color theme.  “Devon Blue” is seen throughout the show grounds, from the stands, to the stabling areas, to the fair grounds.  It’s Devon Blue everywhere!

2010--decked out in my Devon Blue. 

2. It’s Where Champions Meet
There is always someone to admire or be inspired by.  Sit in the stands and soak in the talent.  Learn from the best and appreciate the dedication it took to get there.

3. Devon Lead Line
Don’t miss the Devon Lead Line class that takes place on Saturday afternoon of Junior Weekend in the Dixon Oval.  This is cuteness overload.  Young lead liners with their adorable ponies and finely attired handlers strut their stuff for a coveted Devon ribbon.  But don’t worry because everyone goes home with a prize.  A Devon baby blue ribbon and a lollipop to thrill these tiny equestrians. 

4. Pony Hunt Teams
Pony Hunt Teams are so much fun, not only as a spectator, but also as a competitor.  Pony Hunt Teams are made up of three pony riders in the same division. Teams choose a theme and dress in costumes while jumping a course to music.

Maggie Junkin as Olaf in the Fabulously Frozen Pony Hunt Team.

5. Shopping
From clothing to art, needlepoint belts to jewelry, and equestrian gear to engraving, there is plenty to browse.  I love the Devon Booth, where you will find all things Devon.  This is a great place to pick up a keepsake or that new Devon sweatshirt you wanted.

6. Good Eats
They do not cook your usual horse show food here.  Devon provides guests with a variety of options.  From healthy choices, to pizza, burgers, their famous tea sandwiches, and oh, can’t forget those Devon Fries!  For the adventurous, the carnival side offers batter-dipped treats from funnel cake to fried Oreos, cotton candy, and fresh-squeezed lemonade.

7. The Carnival
Being a horse show exhibitor occasionally leaves you with some downtime.  Devon offers some carnival entertainment.  A Ferris wheel provides the backdrop to the Dixon Oval and offers a sky view of the horse show.

8. The Grandstand
I think it is a dream for many young equestrians to compete in a beautiful ring surrounded by the Devon Blue Grandstands. 

9. The Candy booth
Where you will find sweat treats... from Devon fudge to a variety of candy choices, and Lemon sticks.  The candy booth is a favorite for all Devon guests.

10. Grand Prix Under the Lights
The highlight of Devon Week.  Gather together with your equestrian friends to watch top athletes compete in the Devon Grand Prix.

That memorable night in 2013 when McLain Ward shared his blue ribbon with me. 

Maggie Junkin is a 13 year-old who competes in the Large Pony Hunter Division with Shaded and the Children’s Hunter Horse Division with Tommy Bahama.  She is committed to animal rescue.  Her favorite rescue to support is Danny and Ron’s Rescue.

Maggie trains with John Mastriano of Tustin Farm in NJ.  She lives with her family, five dogs, and three cats in Jenkintown, Penn. Maggie is thrilled to have qualified Shaded in the Large Pony Division for The Devon Horse Show 2016.