―May 7, 2019 at Devon, Pa. (Courtesy of Phelps Media)
The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair is excited to be offering the $50,000 Arena Eventing Class once again. The event, which is presented by Anonymous, Douglas and Cynthia Howe, Salt Works and Malvern Bank, will return for its third year after immense success during its first two years.
This year’s class will take place on Sunday, May 26, at 7 p.m. It will focus on highlighting two out of three components of the classic three-day eventing format which showcases dressage, show jumping, and cross country. In order to qualify for this unique opportunity, both horse and rider, though not necessarily as a combination, must have attained a be qualified to compete in a CCI3*-L eventing competition.
The course will again be designed by Olympic gold medalist Captain Mark Phillips, former coach of the U.S. Eventing Team, and will consist of a combination of cross-country and show jumping obstacles in the iconic Dixon Oval and the Wheeler Ring to highlight the best of the eventing discipline. Forty riders will try their hands over the challenging track.
“I think that they have a really good format at Devon, where they have the first round against the time and then they take all the clears and the best twelve through to the second round against the clock. I think it works really well from a horse and rider’s point of view in terms of the fact that they are not going too fast the first time around,” Phillips said. “In the second time around, you’ve got the best horses and riders. That is what makes Arena Eventing so exciting.”
“Arena Eventing fits in well at Devon. The advantage that Devon has is the use of the two arenas. You have more scope there to do more interesting things on the course than you do at [venues that have] a much smaller arena, like in Toronto or New York,” Phillips expressed.
Out of the 25 total jumps, horse and rider pairs will have to navigate 15 standard cross country jumps and 10 show jumps over a 1,000 meter course. Cross country obstacles will have a fixed height of 1.15 m, show jumps will be a maximum of 1.20m in height, and brush fences will be built up to 1.40m and spreads up to 1.60m. Fault penalties will be given for any knockdowns and exceeding the course time limit. Prize money for competitors will be awarded up to 12th place and there is no entry fee.
In addition to the support of Captain Mark Phillips, riders of both disciplines have embraced Devon’s Arena Eventing. Some of these prolific riders include the current coach of the U.S. eventing team, David O’ Connor, Rio Olympians Phillips Dutton and Boyd Martin, and Irish international show jumper Kevin Babington.