Devon Horse Show Maintains Its Earliest Traditions

From its very beginning in 1896, the Devon Horse Show has been a celebration of sport and recreation, and a few traditions have survived to today. Image via the Devon Horse Show.

It started as a summer escape to the country, where wide open landscapes offered abundant space for sport and elegant inns offered a fashionable retreat.

Then, of course, a little competition arose from the recreation, and the Devon Horse Show was born.

“In the very beginning, the railroad was everything. Immediately the thought was to get people out into the country from the city,” said the King of Prussia Historical Society’s J. Michael Morrison in a CBS Philly staff report. “You had carriage rides, you had horseback riding, you had lawn tennis. Later you had golf.”

And the stop in Devon quickly became a sought-after destination.

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“The Devon Inn was probably the largest and most opulent of all the inns along the railroad,” he said. “People brought their horses and their carriages with them when they came to recreate, so a marvelous stable was built.”

The first Devon Horse Show played out in 1896, and it only grew from there.

Throughout the years, the horse riding has evolved, but a few events remain true to the origins of the Show, namely the tradition of fancy hats and sidesaddle riding.

“Sidesaddle is the only appointments class where you’re being judged against a historical standard — is your clothing appropriate to what a lady would have worn?” said Veronica Finkelstein.

Read more about the historic Devon Horse Show from CBS Philly here.

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