Thursday, 24 August 2017 22:45

Three Horse Shows

Written by  Mary Irene Dolan

Come see what the crowds are excited about at three big horse shows this September!

It’s that time again … Hooves hit the ground and crowds cheer them on during the equestrian event-packed month of September. Take your pick from the family-friendly Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show, action-packed Devon Fall Classic and world-class Plantation Field International Horse Trials—or plan your month to see all three!


If It’s Labor Day, It Must Be Ludwig’s

Kicking off the fun, the 74th Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show should be on your list of Labor Day weekend plans. At home in Glenmoore, just off the intersection of Routes 100 and 401 that bears its name, Ludwig’s Corner’s 33-acre grounds pack in plenty to enjoy. There’s a reason this three-day affair—September 2 to 4—has been a favorite tradition for decades. And it keeps getting better!

Start off with Family Fun Day on Saturday for good old Country Fair and Midway festivities. For starters, take the kids on a hay ride or pony ride, play pioneer games—like egg toss, 3-legged race and stick horse steeplechase races. Then try bungee jumping, the bucking mechanical bull, a 25-foot rock climb or an inflatable jump for even more excitement.

Animal lovers will want to hang out with llamas and alpacas from Silkie’s Farm, check out creepy crawlers big and small, watch the Mounted Parade of Hounds in the Main Ring, and maybe even enter their animal companion in the Costumed Pet Parade—sponsored by Lulu’s Rescue and totally free to register.

Speaking of animals, don’t forget about the main reason you’re here—the horses! Watch as riders of all ages and from different parts of the region compete in events like Ladies Side Saddle, Leadline for children, Hunter and Pony Derbies, and the marquee event—the $5,000 Mini Prix Jumper Classic on Monday.

Be sure to catch Sunday’s traditional Carriage Exhibition to see spectacular horses, harnesses and carriages as they take a Pleasure Drive through the showground’s surrounding countryside.

When you get hungry, grab delicious country fare at the fair from Yellow Springs Catering including BBQ, hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken, wraps, salads, stuffed portabella mushrooms and ice cream. Check out the boutique vendor tents, open daily from 8 a.m. until closing.

Catch the ever-popular Ludwig’s Corner Car Show on Monday—featuring classic cars and antique tractors—while you gear up for the main event!



Not So Little Devon Fall Classic

Everyone knows about the upcoming international competition at Dressage at Devon at the end of September and, of course, the big, 11-day Devon Horse Show in May, but the 6th annual Devon Fall Classic has made a name for itself and gets bigger and better each year. From September 14 to 17, the Devon show grounds will be alive with an exciting all-jumper competition, family fun and much more.

Watch as horses and riders clear high jumps and weave through obstacles, racing for the fastest time. Riders represent ages from five to adults as well as a variety of experience levels.

Don’t miss the Welcome Stake on opening night, Open Speed Stake Friday night or the Grand Prix event in the Dixon Oval—the $25,000 Devon Fall Classic, closing Saturday’s action.

While you’re there, join in the festivities of this year’s theme “Boardwalk Nights,” featuring boardwalk rides, games, boutique shopping and live entertainment every evening in the picnic grove.

Enter your canine companion in the What a Good Dog Contest on Saturday and stay late on Sunday after the end of the show for the annual Plant Sale, with plants supplied by Main Line Gardens.

You’ll want to be sure to join “Yappy” Hour on Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. for special people and pup treats—plus fun like ticketed beer and distillery tastings, still TBD. And hang out for brunch the next two days, noon to 2 p.m., with fun themes of Ladies That Brunch on Saturday—with a possible fashion show and champagne—and Jazz Brunch on Sunday.

Check the website for updated information closer to opening night.


Plantation Field International Horse Trials PHOTO COURTESY AMY DRAGOO

World-class Fun at Plantation Field International Horse Trials

Diehard equestrian fans, rejoice! The Plantation Field International Horse Trials are back for their 10th year of Three-Day Eventing, this year partnered with the Retired Racehorse Project! Unionville’s 350-acre grounds will be packed, September 14 to 17, for heart-pounding, hardcore, competitive fun with equestrian favorites—dressage, show jumping and cross country—plus fun for all ages.

Get in for free on Friday and enjoy dressage all day in the main arena, along with the Vendor Village, open every day, to see why the Horse Trials have gained a reputation for having the Best Shopping Ever. Along with saddle and tack shops, you’ll find jewelry, country clothing, antiques, artwork, furniture, accessories, outerwear, sweets, treats and more for sale. So something is sure to catch your eye.

Hungry? Enjoy the foodie fare at the Food Court with burgers, barbecue and organic treats. Thirsty? Head to the Kennett Brewing Company Beer Garden all weekend and quench your thirst in the most tasteful way.

Saturday is for show jumping, plus Kid’s Corner opens up for fun for the little ones—complete with a towering rock wall, mechanical bull, face painting, petting zoo and carnival games—all free with your carload’s admission.

Round out the excitement Sunday with all-day cross country races, the Pro High Jump competition and, arguably the star of the show—the Cross Country Tailgate “Best of Theme” Competition. Celebrity judges will make their way through the tailgate parking site, viewing, sampling and sipping to determine who best embodies the theme “A Day at the Races.” Participation in the competition: optional. Relaxation and good times: mandatory!


Retired Racehorse Project

Thoroughbreds have long been prized for their agility, speed and “hot-blooded” spirit. With that firey temperament, it’s no surprise the main claim to fame for these horses is on the racetrack.

But with a typical racing career lasting only 5 to 6 years, the thoroughbreds’ fate afterwards is uncertain without retraining. Is there any hope? Yes, according to the Retired Racehorse Project.

This charitable organization is celebrating the Plantation Field Horse Trials’ 10th anniversary by kicking off a multi-year partnership with the horse show, honoring this majestic breed. The goal is to inspire horse lovers and offer retired thoroughbreds and their riders the chance at a second career.

Thoroughbreds are well suited to eventing—which draws on the horses’ strength and willingness to learn—and is showcased at Plantation Field. The Racehorse Project is a resource to owners, trainers and breeders alike to bridge the gap between the worlds of racing and eventing. And, most importantly, to show there’s always hope.

Come see the second act in the life of these amazing animals at Planation Field!



If You Go:

Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show
Sept. 2–4, 8 am to dusk; $3–$7
1325 Pottstown Pk., Glenmoore

Devon Fall Classic
Sept. 14-–17, 8 am; $2–$5
23 Dorset Rd., Devon

Plantation Field International Horse Trials
Sept. 14–17, $20/carload
387 Green Valley Rd., Unionville