For most pony riders at Devon, the real fun starts after all the serious pony hunter competition wraps up.
At a show marked by tradition, the pony hunt team classes may be the most popular institution on the showgrounds. Teams of three small, medium or large pony riders pick a theme, decorate themselves and their ponies head to toe, queue up their favorite music and negotiate a course concurrently, culminating in jumping the final fence in tandem.
It’s not just the kids getting in on the action. Parents, friends and former pony riders flock to the Gold Ring to see the fanciest show ponies in the country painted and costumed. Trainers often dress up and help deliver the traditional “bribes” to the judges—usually baskets or boxes of treats like booze, candy and toys.
It’s a raucous affair that’s more festive than competitive, a real change after the nail-biting stress of championship classes. Check out all the other costumes.