As I sit here on early Wednesday morning moaning at the aspect of another bout of miserable hot weather and wondering about the advisability of moving back home (just kidding here, HOME is Vermont and I know those winters!) other, stronger people are preparing for an autumn filled with nifty horse events.

If you happen to have an opening in your busy schedules for the weekend of Sept. 15-18 there is the Devon Fall Classic at the Devon Show Grounds on Route 30 in Devon, Pa. The Devon Fall Classic was first held in 2012, and it was an immediate success, both with exhibitors and with spectators.


Exhibitors love it because it gives riders who may not be able to qualify for the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair a chance to show in the famed Dixon Oval to the enthusiastic applause of huge crowds. Spectators love the easy-going, family oriented fair, the rides and games and especially the live music.

Why should you do this, you ask? Well, I will tell you.

If you have a child who has striven mightily this year and improved her riding all out of proportion to what you might have expected (even to winning locally and looking to the future) this is a taste of the big time for that child. We should all look above ourselves, you know? And television is simply not enough. It is also not enough just to look around us at our own level.

You have to have a longer vision, a vision of much better than yourself, if you want to succeed. This is a good place to begin that vision. Small enough to start a dream but not so big that you become overwhelmed. A place to take a break from the dust, flies and grim determination of the summer season and get a little starry-eyed. If you have a kid that is willing to put in the sweat equity of horse work it is important to give them a break to get some stars in their eyes.

Now, on the other hand, if you wish to ride where the champions have ridden without having to suffer the grueling consequences of achieving that with the associated physical pain and the total extermination of your budget, I have good news for you, too. Canter for the Cause — which was canceled last Preakness because of the threat of an outbreak of an equine communicable illness, remember? — has been rescheduled for Oct. 9 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Entries close Oct. 1 at 5 p.m. and they are telling us that the entry deadline is firm! The underlining and the exclamation point is theirs, so I believe them.

But you can whip out that credit card and go straight to or call them at the Pimlico Ticket Office at 877-206-8042 so really, there is no excuse for not getting your hoof (oops, foot, of course I meant foot) in the door.

Here are the general requirements: proof of negative Coggins test within 12 months AND proof of Flu/Rhino vaccination with 90 days, all riders must wear approved helmets, riders must sign a waiver and juniors (under 14) must be accompanied by an adult.

There is one non-negotiable no-no which is "no colts, stallions or ridglings". If you have to ask what a ridgling is, never mind, you don't have one.

There are three groups starting with the War Admiral, which is the walk-trot division, then the Secretariat, for the walk, trot and slow canter group and then on to, hold onto your helmets, the Seabiscuit group, for the walk, trot, canter, and gallop riders.

There will be official Pimlico outriders on the course to lead the way and you will have the opportunity to walk through the starting gate and have your photo taken by the official track photographer in the winner's circle. All entrants will also get a souvenir saddle towel from Maryland Saddlery, which along with the Jockey Club and The Equiery, are the sponsors for this ride.

This benefits both the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance so you certainly can't complain about the $50 a trip cost, can you?

As for me, I am going out to buy a huge canvas to paint on. This thing will be 3 feet by 4 feet and I have been asked to paint a wonderful big, black Percheron stallion on it. The task of filling a canvas that size is formidable to me, truly almost overwhelming. I will probably wind up staring at that canvas for quite a while before I get the courage to take up the brush and smack some paint on it.

So spare a thought for me, sitting there staring at that blank canvas, OK?