Devon Hunter Breeding moved from Thursday to Sunday

Was very disappointed to hear this. For several reasons, but here is one: having HB on Thursday, in the middle of the show, means many more spectators and contact with the performance divisions, thus more exposure for breeding and in particular for American-bred horses. With Devon being one of the few big shows for this division, and typically considered the most prestigious, it almost feels like HB is being relegated to an afterthought.

I’m not a breeder or a professional, just an enthusiastic owner. A little less enthusiastic at the moment.

I’m curious what others think.

From the Devon e-mail:

2014 Schedule Changes Reflect Exhibitor Priorities

With the 2014 Prize List in production, the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair announces scheduling changes will be made to the annual 11 day event. The changes have been made so that the schedule better coincides with the needs of the exhibitors.
While the Junior Weekend, Thursday, May 22 - Saturday, May, 24, schedule remains the same, Memorial Day weekend does include a location change to the Pleasure Carriage Drive on Sunday, May 25. Last year, after days of rain left the fields at the original starting point, St. David’s Church, totally unusable, the Pleasure Drive was judged at the grounds. The coaches and carriages then followed a 4.5 mile circuitous route leading back to the grounds for the award presentations. This change of venue was very successful for both the exhibitors and spectators, so much so that the Pleasure Carriage Drive will begin at Devon again in 2014.
The professional Hunter divisions have been streamlined. They will still occur over three days, Monday, May 26 - Wednesday, May 28, but the classes have been consolidated so that all of the 1st year, 2nd Year and Green Conformation classes will occur on Monday and Tuesday and all of the High Performance and Regular Conformation classes will occur on Tuesday and Wednesday.
One of the most significant changes for 2014; the International Hunter Derby will take place on Thursday, May 29, beginning late morning. The horse breeding classes will take place on the final Sunday, June 1.
“We hope that moving the Hunter Derby to be contiguous with the professional Hunter divisions will entice more riders to stay and participate,” said Devon co-manager, David Distler. “The final Sunday, being devoted to breeding classes, will offer a peaceful, quiet environment to get the yearlings and two-year-olds ready for the ring. There will also more stalls and more parking available. The switch is a win/win.”
The Open Jumper Stake, which has taken place for the past two years in the afternoon, will be moved back to the evening session on Saturday, May 31. It had long been one of Devon’s most exciting evening events, attracting thousands of spectators. The class will take place at the beginning of the evening session. The Grand Prix of Devon will remain in place, Thursday, May 29.
“All of the changes we’ve made this year are a plus, all really positive,” said Devon co-manager, Peter Doubleday. “Schedule changes are hard to make at Devon, it’s a long and tightly packed schedule, but we are happy to adapt as needed. The schedule alterations have been made very thoughtfully, and hopefully the exhibitors will be able to accommodate the changes this year.”

This topic has been discussed (and argued over) but I’ll repeat my opinion

I think it is a great thing. For the horses, it will be a much calmer atmosphere and far less stressful since we won’t be ushered in and out as fast as humanely possible. For the people, we won’t have to worry about being rushed out only to sit in rush hour traffic

I can’t for the life of me understand why people think there will be LESS people there to watch. It’s on a weekend, which means MORE people will be able to show up. The majority of the people who even bother to watch on thursday were only there for the grand prix so really didn’t give a shit about the HB. Now, more people actually interested in HB will be able to attend.

I understand that it used to be a big deal on thursdays b/c of the presentation of winners, but that doesn’t happen anymore so why not embrace changes that will make it easier on the people AND the horses…after all, it’s supposed to be about the horses, right??

While I see you’re very valid points to why you are upset, I am happy about the schedule change as it gives me the opportunity to show if I decide to! Though, I know my filly probably cant compete with the levels at Devon, it’d be fun just to say we went!

They don’t even have a lot of the vendors open on Sunday and they run out of fudge by Friday. Bah humbug.

Why in the world would you think there would be MORE spectators when the show is basically over??? The pros and their clients will be gone, there are no other classes to attract people who would watch out of curiosity, and the fair is pretty much over and vendors sold out/leaving. Even on our old day (which has been HB day for as long as any of us can remember), the Devon souvenirs were seriously depleted, as were other booths. After both the GP and Derby, well, good luck shopping.

I will give it this year before passing judgement, but thinking we will have more spectators is a pipe dream. IMO.

If you think that there won’t be a good turnout for true HB spectators then you don’t have much faith in the classes. Very few true hunter breeding people are able to come on a week day, but on a weekend it becomes far more possible. I have heard really good feedback from people who have always wanted to come but couldn’t afford to take off a day of work just to watch.

My issue w/ the complaints about the change is that not a SINGLE argument has anything to do w/ the horses. It’s been really selfish…shopping, food, tents being taken down, no people to watch, etc.

I thought it was pretty light in turnout on Sunday… and that was with the derby!

[QUOTE=lauriep;7440544]Why in the world would you think there would be MORE spectators when the show is basically over??? The pros and their clients will be gone, there are no other classes to attract people who would watch out of curiosity, and the fair is pretty much over and vendors sold out/leaving. Even on our old day (which has been HB day for as long as any of us can remember), the Devon souvenirs were seriously depleted, as were other booths. After both the GP and Derby, well, good luck shopping.

I will give it this year before passing judgement, but thinking we will have more spectators is a pipe dream. IMO.[/QUOTE]

I agree with all of this, as well as with the person who said that it was already dead on the last Sunday when the Derby was held on that day. I get the reasoning behind moving the Derby to Thursday, but I’m not happy about having to take a vacation day if I want to watch it in person this year. Hopefully they will still live stream it and I can watch while I work. If not, I’ll just skip it. The courses have gotten more boring every year since it started anyway. It’s definitely not worth using a vacation day for it.

I do wonder if moving the Derby to Thursday will really attract more entries though - it seems like a lot to ask of a horse to compete in the regular divisions on Tuesday and Wednesday (or Monday and Tuesday if it’s a green division horse), and then do a Derby on Thursday.

I’m also not happy about the changes in the schedule for the open hunter divisions. I used to stay all day on Memorial Day and get to watch a few classes from all the divisions. Now I’ll only get to see the greens go.

Big thumbs down from me, although I certainly understand the breeders who see the change to the quieter atmosphere on Sunday for the hunter breeding as a positive.

Having been convinced that I should go to Devon this year…For me, this change is a good one. I do not have to take leave from my Job, and there will be less distraction/stress for my horses. I also prefer to drive home from Devon on a Sunday rather than on a work day.

I agree that less potential buyers and/or spectators may be there, but I am OK with that. I can do without the temptation of Fudge, and if I really wanted to get there earlier I guess I could.

No one likes change, and whether this is a good change or not, time will tell.

Atleast Devon still has hunter breeding, that is a good thing.

Maryland is NOT having Hunter Breeding at either of the first two shows at PGEC, so cross off Showplace and Maryland National.

One negative aspect is having it in the middle of the week, more potential buyers could see the horses, especially the young hunters. I sold one that was seen in the ring that day and received an offer on the other after young hunter. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.

This is likely the first step towards crossing it off the schedule altogether.

Good to get the different perspectives, both plus and minus. To add another thought - I don’t think it’s always better for the babies to have a “peaceful, quiet environment.” One of the plusses of showing my young horse in this division is he is getting prepared for future performance showing, so being around all the activity and distractions is a good thing.

Darkhorsecj, I totally agree with you. Begin as you intend to continue. If we’re doing our job right in the hunter breeding ring, these same youngsters will hopefully go back to the Dixon Oval many times over the course of their lives, so they may as well get used to the atmosphere now. If not now, when?

Devon is such a “prestigious” hunter breeding show… much like Warrenton… do you really think they are going to attempt to cross it off?

Not any time soon but yeah, if it isn’t pulling it’s weight financially I could see that happening. It is practically being held after the show is over already, that isn’t much of a leap.

^^ So sad :frowning: but, at this point there are plenty of showing opportunities in this Zone for HB babies … In CO we had one venue that held the majority of the shows, unless you wanted to drive to AZ or go all the way to Cali, and you were lucky to see 5 HB horses across all age groups, to me the HB classes here are HUGE! So I definitely won’t complain… either way it is a good opportunity to get them away from home and see the sites.

There are also several DB opportunities in the area, which is nice as well.

When I showed my weanling at Dressage at Devon, they called the top six back into the ring to announce the placings. When all six were in the ring the audience clapped and some of the babies jumped around a bit. The announcer said something to the effect of if you are good enough to be standing in this ring right now, you better get used to applause. I think that was my favorite part of the whole show!

Technically vendors are supposed to stay open through the end of the last class on Sunday.

Fudge runs out when it’s gone, always. Sometimes earlier than others.

I’ve been at Souvenirs for over 5 years now. We are never “sold out” by HB Thursday (or what was HB Thursday). Maybe low on the 3 super tweeny shirts on size XXS but we’re hardly to the bare walls by then. We’re never really low on anything (barring unexpected weather that drives sales to spike for things like jackets or sweatshirts) until the last weekend and even then we have a lot left. I can’t remember a year we ever were REALLY low on the last weekend. A lot of items we actually re-order to have fresh stock for the final weekend (tees, bb hats, sweatshirts, etc.) You might find a BETTER selection at the end of the show than the end of junior week due to reordering.

I have been at the show for HB at least the last 3 years. Spectators are thin, especially up until YHUS. Thursday during the day was never HUGE on spectators. I think you’re right that there will be fewer spectators on Sunday… but realistically spectators were really kind of thin anyway.

We DID lose a LOT of horse for the derby. A lot. Basically other than Tori’s horses (which she tended to do in the pro divisions rather than the juniors) none of the junior hunters stuck around. If you look at what horses are generally in the derbies, we lost a bunch because the derby was so far off from junior week.

I am sympathetic to anything that hurts HB, that being said-- there has to be some balance. I think this may slightly decrease participation in HB but really amp the derby entries and so, in the end, probably a good decision for us. I really don’t see HB ever going away completely… but it’s true that you never know what will happen.

I’m with Veronica on this one. I’ve been going to Devon on Thursday for the HB off and on for over 30 years. There has never been much of a crowd. Things would begin to pick up in the afternoon when people started to claim spots for the Grand Prix. Now that even the benches require a wristband that avalanche of folks has declined.

It is kind of sad to see a change in the traditional schedule at Devon but it may end up a good thing. The Derby needs some help that’s for sure. And the HB may have a better audience because the folks that come will be there to see the classes and not just waiting for the evening. I guess we’ll find out.

As for the fudge - I’m local and not a big fan so if you are coming on Sunday and MUST HAVE FUDGE, let me know and I’ll get some earlier in the week for you and bring it over on Sunday. Seriously. I live that close. :lol: