Saturday, October 16, 2010
Fair Hill, MD-October 15, 2010-Youthful enthusiasm combined with practiced precision led the way at the 22nd annual Dansko Fair Hill International Festival in the Country. The thirty-three horse field includes a broad range of competitors, including Olympians and riders that have just returned from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Amateur rider and former Young Rider Nate Chambers, Vienna, Virginia, was really pleased with the performance of his 14 year-old warmblood gelding, Rolling Stone II. Taking the lead after lunch with a penalty score of 46.6, Chambers said, "He really knows his job and enjoys it. He was moving well and a lot of fun to ride today. I'm working full-time now as a financial advisor, so I am not riding as much. I've been working on my show jumping mainly." In second place in the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) CCI*** Fall Eventing Championship is last year's CCI** winner, Hannah Burnett, Ocala, Florida, riding Richard Thompson's 9 year-old Thoroughbred gelding, St. Barth's. Burnett, also a former Young Rider, and St. Barth's currently carry a penalty score of 49.4. The third place competitor, on a score of 51.8, is Molly Rosin, Baltimore, Maryland, riding the Minyan Syndicate's Hungarian warmblood gelding, Havarah's Charly. "I carried my whip around the outside of the arena and found out that is an error of course," said Rosin of her two-point error. "I was so proud of him for keeping on task with the wind and the flags flapping. He's been going so well."
The three overnight leaders in the Dansko Fair Hill International/USEF CCI ** Fall Eventing Championship breathed collective sighs of relief to hold their lead going into tomorrow's cross country test. Clark Montgomery, from Chatsworth, Georgia, one of the first to go in the rain Thursday, riding Holly Becker and Kathryn Kraft's 7 year-old Irish Sport Horse, Loughan Glen, remains on top with a penalty score of 45.3. He was also last to go today in the windy but bright conditions, and stands tied for 4th place with his wife Jessica's 9 year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Universe. Second place contender Erin Sylvester from nearby Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was delighted with her 9 year-old Trakhener gelding, No Boundaries. "He was great. The rain really didn't bother us. He went right out and performed. I have gotten some help from Silva Martin. Boyd Martin is riding my 3-star horse. He'll give him a better ride than I can right now." Holding third place from yesterday's first half of dressage competition is Sharon White, Summit Point, West Virginia, riding Adrienne Classen's 8-year old Thoroughbred, Russian Roulette. "It's fun to have the ride on him. He is just the sweetest horse. We will see what happens on Saturday." The cross country competition of the USEF CCI Fall Championships will start at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, beginning with the CCI** division.
Taking home top honors in the Spalding Labs/USEA Young Event Horse Championship for 5 Year-old horses is Lucia Strini's Dutch Warmblood gelding Artesian, ridden by Will Coleman, Gordonsville, Virginia. "He is such a talented horse," said Coleman. "He is an incredibly powerful mover and jumper. He is very scopey and careful. I have just been riding him for a month as Lucia finishes college. He has all the raw ingredients to be a good international horse for Lucia." Coleman went on to say, "I think this program is wonderful. It is my first opportunity to compete in this format. The program aims to do the right thing and showcase young horses. With all young horses, it is the versatility of the program at home that produces results."
Winning the 4 year-old division of the Spalding Labs/USEA Young Event Horse Championship is Boateng, a Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Tyler Abell and Matt Flynn, and ridden by Matt Flynn, Gladstone, New Jersey. "He was imported in April, and has just done two Novice horse trials. He is part of a sales program of imported horses that I have. Bess and Tyler Abell have been great owners to ride for. They really enjoyed coming here and watching," said Flynn. "This has been a good program for getting people interested." Flynn rode last year's 5 year-old winner, BreakThrough, and commented "he has done well this year and will do his first Intermediate level event at the Virginia Horse Trials next month." The Spalding Labs/USEA Young Event Horse classes focus on the education and preparation of the event horse in a correct and progressive manner. Qualifying competitions are held throughout the year, culminating in annual East Coast and West Coast championships.
This year's Festival features a wide array of family entertainment and attractions at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area in the beautiful countryside of Fair Hill, MD. Among the favorite events returning to the Dansko Fair Hill International Festival In The Country is The Art and Sport of Falconry With Live Birds of Prey, taking place on Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Master Falconer Mike Dupuy brings his audience up close and personal while he and his birds provide an unforgettable educational experience for people of all ages.
Members of the United States Pony Club will also be on hand for the return of the President's Cup Invitational Games. During the Games, riders in teams of five will compete in a variety of challenging and entertaining relay races. Races will take place at 9:30 a.m. and again at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, then 10:00 a.m. Sunday. Awards will be presented to winning teams on Sunday.
The Kids' Corner will also return this year, offering a variety of activities for the younger set. Miniature horses will be performing at 11:00 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Don't miss JoAnn Dawson's musical production, "HorsePlay," on Saturday. The play uses live horses and riders to chronicle the relationship between man and horse throughout history.
New to the Festival in the Country will be an exciting puppet show by Jack Foreaker. It will take place near the Trade Fair on Saturday, and is sure to be a big hit with the younger crowd! Classic cars will be on hand on Sunday (weather permitting) for those who want a chance to reminisce about their younger years, as well as for younger people looking to connect with icons from an earlier era.
This year's Dansko Fair Hill International also welcomes the Professional Riders' Organization (PRO), and is part of the 2010 PRO Tour Series. The Professional Riders' Organization was founded in 2009 by event riders Phillip Dutton, Buck Davidson, Craig Thompson, Laura VanderVliet and Allison Springer with the thought that professional event riders have a special obligation to promote and strengthen their sport. PRO is dedicated to improving the standards of competition and promoting safety while working to attract new fans, sponsors and participants to the sport of three-day eventing. PRO sponsored insightful cross country course walks with top riders on Friday.
Visitors to the Dansko Fair Hill International Festival in the Country can once again look forward to the popular Country Shops, which feature over 40 vendors selling tack, jewelry, artwork, pet needs, exceptional apparel and fine gifts for the approaching holiday seasons. The VIP Tent offers fine dining, while visitors seeking a more casual snack or meal will find pubs around the Fair Hill grounds serving classic Maryland crab cakes and other treats. In fact, the Maryland Department of Agriculture named the Fair Hill International as a "Maryland Top Event!"
The Dansko Fair Hill International Festival in the Country benefits Union Hospital in Elkton, MD. The hospital, whose mission is to enhance the health and well-being of the residents of Cecil County and its neighboring communities, has been caring for area families and neighbors for more than 100 years.
Healthy feet, healthy body, healthy planet. That's the spirit behind Dansko. Founded in 1990 by husband and wife team, Peter Kjellerup and Mandy Cabot, both former horse trainers, Dansko shoes, boots, and sandals are now sold in over 2,500 premium retailer locations across North America. Dansko is the leader in all-day comfort footwear.
For more information on this year's Fair Hill, including how to purchase tickets, please call (410) 398-2111 or visit www.fairhillinternational.com.