June 1, 2014--The 2014 Devon Horse Show & Country Fair completed its final day of competition on Sunday with breeding classes featured in the famous Dixon Oval in Devon, PA. Showcasing the best horses and riders in the country, the Devon Horse Show hosted 11 days of top-tier competition across multiple breeds and disciplines from May 22-June 1.
In-hand breeding classes showcased the young horses Sunday morning, starting with the Pennsylvania bred horses. The horses showed for top honors in their individual divisions by age and gender and then awarded the Best Pennsylvania Bred Horse overall. The champion was Nygel, a three-year-old colt (Art in Motion – Amy's Runaway), owned by Cheryll Francella and handled by William Howland. Nygel was awarded The Ralph D. Miller, Jr. Memorial Perpetual Trophy. He also earned The Best Thoroughbred Award and was presented The Foxwick Farm Thoroughbred Challenge Trophy.
Nygel's handler, William Howland, went on to earn the Leading Handler Award for 2014. He was presented The Michael E. Grady Perpetual Memorial Trophy. In 2013, Howland was Leading Pennsylvania Bred Handler, and he was thrilled to be the overall Leading Handler this year.
“It is quite an honor; this is a humbling experience,” Howland acknowledged. “It means a lot to win here, and it really takes your heart away. I don't care what color ribbon you get, it is very special, because Devon is the to-do. There is a lot of history here.”
“I have been coming to Devon for 30-plus years, and you never get tired of it,” Howland stated. “When February hits you go, 'Oh, it's around the corner!' I have fun coming here; we all have fun. As long as it's fun, you gotta keep coming.”
Howland, who now lives in Culpeper, VA, grew up with horses on his family's farm and has always been in the business in one way or another. “We did boarding, breaking, show horses, hunters, race horses. We had stallions, broodmares, a little bit of everything, so I was just born into it,” he explained.
Howland handled six horses in Sunday's competition, all but one he had handled before. The Best Pennsylvania Bred Horse, Nygel, earned his third championship with Howland after also taking the title in 2013 as well as winning at the Warrenton Horse Show.
“He is a good guy,” Howland described. “He is broken, and he jumps. He has good conformation. He is a handsome horse and he is athletic; I like seeing an athlete. 'Pretty is as pretty does,' they say. There are a lot of horses out there that do this that just can't perform. It happens to a lot of show horses, but I treat them all like they are mine, and you want to do the best you can. You always keep working, that's my attitude. Sometimes you'll have a horse that maybe shouldn't be in there and it happens to everyone, but you still do the best you can no matter what. You have to treat them all like they are blue ribbon winners. You do the best you can and come out with a smile no matter what happens.”
Devon Horse Show Honors Volunteers
Last night Devon Horse Show honored Bobbi Cowley and Fran Jacobs, two volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the last year to help “Rediscover Devon” and its special 118 years of history.
Bobbi and Fran were instrumental in organizing an event last fall in partnership with the Tredyffrin Easttown and the Chester Country Historical Societies. They also helped to integrate multiple vintage photos and articles about Devon’s many breeds and horse disciplines into the official 2014 souvenir program book.
Their goal of establishing a museum to display the collection of horse show and fair memorabilia has been embraced by the Devon community, and many items have been on display throughout the show in the Hospitality Room.
We would like to congratulate Fran and Bobbi for bringing Devon’s history to life for us and for future generations. We are honored to present them with our Devon Championship of the Year Award.