Decaseconds may have begun as a photo-a-day website, but I occasionally like to break our rules and bring a mega-set of images for full immersion in a surreal event.
In this case, that event is the 2022 Devon Horse Show—a folded-together hyperspace of top-tier English riding and county fair inside an otherwise-upscale residential neighborhood outside Philadelphia. That overstuffed experience is best captured in this image of riders warming up in front of a Ferris wheel.
“Devon blue” is a lovely, light-blue shade that’s covering almost every surface at the show.
The small amount of space means the spectators are close to the action.
The warm-up ring and storage areas are likewise squeezed in amongst the barns and area homes.
In spite of the odd setting, the same special moments of human-horse connection still remain.
The maroon barns seem an… odd choice… in combination with Devon blue.
This rider got the same color-choice memo the seats did.
The warm-up ring is a place for more than just warm-ups; a lot of conversations seem to fit well into its edges.
Though the show occurred over Memorial Day, unseasonably cool weather kept many riders in winter jackets.
When I say that the horse show is taking place in a residential area, I’m not kidding: the gray house just behind the bands in this shot is a private home, outside the horse show. Everything is happening in a tiny space.
This shot doesn’t have anything profound to say beyond a bright explosion of the importance of water to horse shows: from the drinks in riders hands to the water used to keep rings from becoming dusty nightmares.
A moment of rising energy in the warm-up ring.
Jumper divisions produce some dramatic images, whether in profile…
Or three-quarter view.
This view again highlights how close the stands are to the action. Off in the distance, the concession area is also visible beyond the fence.
Dramatic jump shots are most easily obtained when the photographer is practically under the jump.
The high rise of the stands also opens new opportunities to capture horses from above, as in this shot of warm-up ring traffic.
Riders waiting to compete (or recently finished) relax in the stands.
Another view of the warm-up ring and the local homes and businesses just beyond.
Jumping must be different with such a large and visible audience.
Grays match well with bright orange jumps.
None of this would be possible without the hard work of the jump crew.
A happy face after a solid round.
Before an under saddle, many riders crowd the in gate.
Another member of the jump crew, enjoying the weather and company.
The under saddle appears chaotic to an outside observer…
But those riding are focused.