John White Claims Carriage Pleasure Drive Championship at Devon Horse Show

John White

Edited Press Release

Devon, Pa. – May 29, 2022 – Carriage competitors made their debut at the 2022 Devon Horse Show on Sunday, eager to perform before the judges in hopes of taking home a Devon blue ribbon. At the conclusion of the final judging in the Champion Drive-Off, it was John White who took home the Carriage Pleasure Drive Championship.

The popular and time-honored discipline of driving has been part of Devon’s history since 1896, while the Carriage Pleasure Drive has been an established flagship event for over 50 years, entertaining exhibitors and spectators alike on the Sunday before Memorial Day each year. Immediately following the initial inspection, competitors tackled a 4.5-mile drive through the picturesque neighborhoods of Devon, Pennsylvania, before returning to the showgrounds for the final judging. Immaculately turned out horses, carriages, whips and passengers gracefully paraded around the Dixon Oval in the hopes of claiming the coveted Devon blue ribbon.

Richard O’Donnell

After claiming the win in the Horse Unicorns and Four-In-Hands, White qualified for the Champion Drive-Off. Impressing the judge and topping the field of competitors, White was named the prestigious 2022 Carriage Pleasure Drive Champion. In addition to receiving the Third Susan Addis Challenge Trophy with his Heavy Dog Cart, he also claimed the champion ribbon and the Robert & Virginia Weaver Challenge Trophy. White wowed the crowd with his two front-facing Lipizzan horses from Hungary and two Kladruber horses from the Czech Republic.

Michael Pontz

Michael Pontz took first place in the Pony Single Harness Two-Wheeled Vehicles and was presented with the Martin Auctioneers Inc. Perpetual Trophy. Richard O’Donnell’s win in the Double Harness-Pairs Tandems class marked his fourth consecutive year earning the Devon blue and fourth time etching his name on the Orleton Farm Challenge Trophy. O’Donnell also walked away with the Pleasure Drive Amateur Whip Award, as well as the Susie S. Buchanan Perpetual Trophy, for best exemplifying the traditions of carriage driving at the highest level.


Richard O’Donnell – Double Harness – Pairs/Tandems Winner

On his horses:
“They are Hackney Clydes, Teddy and Billy. Billy is the younger of the two. When I say younger, Teddy is 18 years old and Billy is 17 years old. They are not brothers, but they are bred the same. They are from Canada. We bought them in Canada young and brought them home, and we took them to Devon the first year and we didn’t do a thing. I thought ‘oh boy I wonder if we did the right thing’ well, I know we did the right thing. We stuck with them and we knew they were going to do well. [Billy] just a sweet heart of a horse, Teddy is a little more draft-y but that’s the Clyde in him. I can’t control that. Billy’s conformation in my opinion is beautiful; he’s a nice horse. They do ride and drive, we foxhunt these horses, it’s been a lot of fun with them, we do a lot with them. Especially with having them at home. We are fortunate, we can go out and do 700 acres of driving, so we are very fortunate to have it so close to us.”

On his passion for driving:
“I’m not going to retire yet, but the thought has come up. We will definitely be back and put another loop on that trophy! We are working very hard, I thought I was the 5th time on the trophy this time but I think I goofed. It is what it is, you do the best you can and it’s a lot of fun. Placing in the ribbons, it’s great but it’s being here, it’s turning out horses that are beautiful. Look at the shine on the harness; they do look great and they look like they perform well, and I think they did! The judge obviously liked them and liked the carriage.”

On his carriage:
“This is a very unusual carriage, it’s a Spider Phaeton and it was built in 1890 in Philadelphia, PA. It came out of a collection I was very familiar with, and my wife and I bought it together; we buy all of our carriages together. We just bought another one two weeks ago to bring next year, but this will have to come back because it does so well! But we do have a nice collection of vehicles and we love it. This is called a Lane, a Spider Vehicle, Spider Phaeton — very elegant looking vehicle, and obviously the judge likes it. You don’t know what the judge is going to judge you on. He mentioned to my groom something about her stock [tie], I still don’t understand so i’m going to have to ask him. He didn’t knock us down for it, which is great, but if I was in there with stiffer competition, he might’ve and you never know. He looked at her coat, he looked at their buckles, he asked about the watch, he asked about the traces. It’s kind of very interesting when you look at the whole thing, what he’s looking at. He even touched the harness, and looked at the buckles on the harness and I’m surprised he even did that, but I guess he was looking to see if they were stiff, and they’re not. I oil them so they are nice and pliable.”

On winning at the Devon Horse Show for the fourth time in a row:
“We grew up here, a lot of hard work. 46 plus years. It’s exciting, I guess the most important thing is I’ve got great support. Terrific support. Out front, the horses are who won the class, not me. I guess the other side of the coin is, it’s such a tradition here at Devon. People ask me why I go through all of this hard work and I say I love it. It’s the earth, it’s the dirt here, it’s just the feeling that you get. It’s great to be back to Devon. There’s a lot of work in the driving, a lot of expense but you know, you set that aside. There’s no money in these classes but you try to turn out the best that you possibly can and do the best you can, and you work the horses everyday. We do work the horses at least 3-4 times a week. These horses have been absolutely phenomenal for me. I love them. If they didn’t poop, they would be in our home but they have a beautiful barn that they live in and it’s very comfortable. I’ve been about 56 years here at Devon. I was the president, the secretary, the treasurer, and the director. I love this place.”

John White – Carriage Pleasure Drive Champion

On winning at the Devon Horse Show:
“It’s always gratifying for all the hard work. Everybody and the whole team put a lot of work into it and the horses deserve it, they are great horses and they deserve it.”

On his horses:
“The two in the front are Lippizan and they’re from Hungary, and the other two are Kladruber horses and they’re from the Czech Republic. These are not related, I have some that are, but these aren’t. They’re the same breed, but they are not related. They’re both pretty rare breeds, but [the Kladruber] is very rare, there’s about 300 of them in total in the world and almost all of them are in the Czech Republic. They are all geldings. The two leaders are 11 years old and the others are 17 years old and 16 years old. I chose them because they were bred to pull carriages and the other two don’t have to do too much, so they just have to look pretty.”

On his carriage:
“This is called a Dog Cart, it’s actually called a Heavy Dog Cart because it’s more heavy weight, and a lot of Dog Carts are lighter. It was built in Belgium in about 1890 and it was in a collection in Belgium, which was from a man who was a big collector. He sold a lot of carriages to an American who lived in Virginia, and that person had them for a while and then they were sold and I bought this one. I’ve had it for 12 or 13 years.”

Michael Pontz – Single Harness Two Wheel Vehicle Winner

On winning at The Devon Horse Show:
“It’s just an honor, it truly is. It’s always been on our list and it’s the first year I’ve done it, and we just had a fantastic time and it’s incredible to be here and part of the whole Devon experience. We will definitely be back next year!”

On his horse:
“My wife and I own him together – it is our Cavalier Reserve Quarter. He’s a 5 year-old gelding Fell Pony and he’s fantastic. He’s been a little excited today. This is more action than he normally gets at our farm, but he’s done fantastic and we couldn’t be prouder.”

On his carriage:
“This is a machine carriage cart made out of Lancaster [Pennsylvania] and it’s about 10 years old. We actually bought it from a Martin auction a few years back. It rides like a dream, it’s fantastic.”


Carriage Pleasure Drive Championship
Place / Cart / Rider / Owner
1. Pleasure Drive / John White / John White

Double Harness Pairs – Tandem
Place / Cart / Rider / Owner
1. Spider Phaeton / Richard O’Donnell / Richard O’Donnell
2. Roof Seat Break / Dr. Donald J. Rosato / Dr. & Mrs. Donald J. Rosato
3. Gobin / Mary Jane Potter / Mary Jane Potter
4. Wagonette / John Rice / John Rice
5. Roof Seat Break / Wilson King / Wilson King
6. Shooting Break / John Gregory Jr. / John Gregory Jr.

Pony Single Harness Two-Wheeled
Place / Cart / Rider / Owner
1. Chapplelow’s Reserve Porter / Michael Pontz / Michael Pontz
2. Aury / Anne Joyce / Anne Joyce
3. Cricket / Leslie Bottaro / Leslie Bottaro

Horse Unicorns and Four-In-Hands
Place / Cart / Rider / Owner
1. Pleasure Drive / John White / John White
2. Roof Seat Break / John Frazier Hunt / John Frazier Hunt
3. Roof Seat Brake / Jonathan Martin / Jonathan Martin
4. 1901 Brewster Body Break / Frances & Wayne Baker / Frances & Wayne Baker

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