July 2015 Issue - page 10

Page 10
July 2015
Devon Plans Multi-Million
Dollar Improvements to Grounds
Devon’s Board of Directors
gathered during the 2015 show to
discuss making Devon a thriving
event for future generations.
"Devon's future is the
priority," said Chairman Wayne
Grafton in a press release, "so the
Board gathering proved fruitful
for us because we were able to
touch upon several ideas and
explore many critical areas that
need improvement."
"Our goals are quite clear,
and are summed up in our mission
statement," said President Richard
O'Donnell. "In short, we want to
by Suzy Lucine
This year marked the 50th
time Lore Homer of Oreland,
Pennsylvania, competed in the
Devon Carriage Pleasure Drive.
During these five decades, she
drove three of her Morgans as
well as a few horses belonging to
friends. For most of these drives,
her husband, Bernie, and her
daughter, Karen, accompanied
the now 85-year-old whip. Other
times, friends from the horse
world joined her.
Lore made her first entrance
through the white gates of the
Wanamaker Oval on the Devon
Horse Show grounds in Devon,
PA, in 1964, sitting in a Brewster
Bronson Wagon. The vehicle was
pulled by her three-year-old Mor-
gan mare, Turnpike Kay Date.
In the late 1970s, she started
competing with her roan Morgan
gelding, Dawnhill Storm Cloud. He
won the Single Horse Four Wheel
division of the drive eight times.
While competing, Stormy was
usually hitched to either a Croy-
don Wagonette cart or a Brewster
Wicker Lady’s Basket Phaeton.
And this year, for the tenth
time, she drove Sunny Acres
Ebony Nite, her black Morgan
gelding, through the same gates,
now called the Dixon Oval.
When Lore purchased Ebo-
ny, he was the reigning four-time
Grand National Morgan Parade
Horse Finals Champion. He
adjusted well to his new role of a
carriage driving horse, and won
the Single Horse Four Wheel
division of the Devon Carriage
Pleasure Drive numerous times,
including this year at the age of
Devon Squabbles Continue
think people started talking more
about Devon.”
He understands that his
group’s press release created
some tension, but it’s not some-
thing that he is feeling. “The
truth is I don’t have any tension
toward anybody. Our entire focus
is education about and cultivation
and preservation of the traditions
and the culture at the events held
at the Devon show grounds.” He
says that his group’s plans are
still evolving, but he’s hoping
to get National Historic Site
recognition for the Devon Show
grounds, as further insurance that
the area will be protected and
He developed the organiza-
tion’s website
devon.org) partly as a tool to
educate, and partly as a space
where people can display artifacts
from Devon’s history. He says
he has heard from grandchildren
of past Devon competitors, who
want to share their memories.
“There’s no basis for any tension
[with DHSCF Foundation],”
he says. “There hasn’t been an
issue. We’re not looking to raise
money that is intended for them.
We want people to come to us to
learn more.”
Going forward, Macel says
that his organization is going to
focus on education. “The concept
of the group is to be a tool for
education, and a resource for
preservation. Step 1 would be to
make sure everyone who is aware
of the culture and traditions has
an opportunity to read more about
them, share stories in a public
forum.” The public forum could
eventually be a physical space—a
Devon museum, where mem-
orabilia and pictures and other
artifacts of Devon’s history are
First and foremost, though,
Macel believes the best way to
protect and preserve Devon is
to encourage people to go to
the horse shows, support the
(Continued from page 8)
Lore Homer, 85, competing in Devon’s Carriage Pleasure Drive for the 50th year, drove Sunny Acres
Ebony Night to the Single Horse Four Wheel win. She is accompanied by Ebony’s former owner, Cali-
fornian Art Perry, and her groomsman and husband Bernie.
Photo by Bob Moseder
Local Exhibitor Reaches the Half Century Mark at Devon
21. He also won the Single Horse
Scurry class this year for the
seventh year in a row.
Fifty Years Ago
Lore had read about Devon’s
Driving Marathon (as the five-
mile drive was originally called),
in the local newspaper. Most
horse enthusiasts in the Philadel-
phia area knew about the Devon
Horse Show, and if they didn’t
attend as an exhibitor, they went
as a spectator.
Originally this drive was
open to four-in-hands only. The
first year, the participants gath-
ered at the Radnor Hunt Club for
lunch before they hitched their
teams and drove to the Devon
Show grounds. When Lore first
entered in it in 1964, the hitching
and preliminary judging was held
at nearby Blackburn Farm, when
the drive was open to all turnouts.
This continued until the hitch-
ing area was held at nearby St.
David’s Church, and then in the
past two years, the hitching has
taken place in a business parking
lot across from the show grounds,
and on the side streets near the
show grounds. Then the prelim-
inary judging took place in the
Dixon Oval, before the exhibitors
took off on the five-mile drive
through the surrounding coun-
tryside, before returning to the
Dixon Oval for final evaluation
and ribbon presentations.
Starting with her strong
innate abilities with her horses,
Lore learned more about driving
by asking questions, watching
others and reading. Since her
humble beginnings, she has con-
tinued to learn from her years of
various experiences, and talking
with others involved with the
sport she loves so much.
Because of her success,
Lore continues to give an annual
carriage pleasure driving clinic for
the Brandywine Valley Driving
Club. For the last 20 years, she also
has been employed by the City
of Philadelphia to test the city’s
carriage horse drivers, so they
may earn a license. Lore also is a
licensed judge with the American
Driving Society and the United
States Equestrian Federation, and
a technical delegate for pleasure
driving for both organizations.
To condition her horses for
the annual Devon Carriage Plea-
sure Drive, Lore drives her horses
one hour, every other day of the
week, for five miles each day.
She drives them on the roads of
Springfield Townships, just out-
side the Chestnut Hill and Mount
Airy areas of Philadelphia.
If family or friends want
to take an enjoyable carriage
ride, Lore will load up the horse
and carriage and drive to near-
by Wissahickon Valley Park or
Valley Forge State Park. Once
she unloads horse and carriage,
and hitches, there are miles of
groomed trails in both of these
parks that she can use. It’s no
wonder her friends come back
often to spend time with Lore
driving through these beautiful
Her horses are used to
driving with traffic and seeing
people with their pets along the
way, so they are relaxed and
trot along happily on the Devon
drive. Home owners surrounding
this five-mile drive plan picnic
lunches and set up lawn chairs
and blankets on their front lawns
so they can watch the beautiful
horses and ponies, hitched to
gorgeous antique vehicles. It’s
become a great tradition for the
locals as well, who invite family
and friends to come watch this
incredible event pass in front of
their properties.
“Devon is a very prestigious
show,” Lore said. “It’s also the
closest show for me to attend
every year. When you’ve been
doing this as long as I have, you
make many friends who enjoy
doing what I do, so it’s always
fun to spend time with them at
Devon every spring.
“When at Devon, I also en-
joy shopping in the boutiques and
walking around Devon’s Country
Fair area.”
Even though she turned 85,
Lore plans to continue to compete
in this event for as many more
years as possible, because “I love
my horses and I love the sport of
carriage pleasure driving,” she
heighten the show's profile on a
global scale and, equally important,
make the necessary improvements
to the facilities that will make Dev-
on viable for the next 120 years."
The Board discussion now
leads to the creation of a long-
term strategic plan - a visionary
blueprint that is highlighted
by a multi-year, multi-million
dollar improvement to the show
grounds, with dramatic increases
scheduled to the purses of the
horse Show competition.
"The plan features addi-
tional box seats for patrons for
optimum views of the Dixon
Oval," said Grafton. "An addi-
tional structure will provide a
phenomenal new VIP suite for
our corporate guests who would
now have incredible vantage
points of both the Dixon and
Gold Ovals."
"Beyond reinvigorating the
property, we also anticipate the
equestrian exhibitor community
will be happy to know we plan
on increasing the prize money
of Thursday's Grand Prix Night
and also establish an additional
Grand Prix-like experience on
Tuesday each year," O'Donnell
Parking, an annual challenge
during the Show, will be reengi-
neered to better accommodate
spectators and afford the stronger
revenues for the organization.
Vendors will benefit through
additional shops.
The leaders were quick to
point to this year's success as
a benchmark to improve upon
through the new plan.
"We could not be more
pleased with the show this year,"
said Grafton. "We are way ahead
of last year on many fronts,
especially at the gate and Country
Fair sales as well as an increase
in competitors."
(Continued on page 17)
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