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Fair Hill International Completes Record-Breaking Weekend

Source :  Fair Hill International

A record crowd of over 18,000 spectators turned out at the 2002 Fair Hill International in Fair Hill, MD, to enjoy the excitement of world-class equestrian competition that featured the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Eventing Three-Star Fall Championship, the USA National Single Horse Driving Championship and the final legs of both the FEI North American Driving Challenge and the Triple Crown of Combined Driving, presented by Driving Essentials/Glinkowski Carriages.

The weekend proved memorable for Sydney Olympic Gold Medalist David O’Connor of The Plains, VA, who made his last appearance with his long-time partner, Custom Made, owned by Xandarius LLC. O’Connor and Custom Made topped a starting field of seventy-eight eventing riders that included riders from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Pakistan, The Netherlands, and the United States, winning the Fair Hill International’s CCI*** and the USET Eventing Three-Star Fall Championship.

On the final day of competition, O’Connor’s 4 fault performance in the show jumping phase gave him an overall score of 48.61 penalties to earn him the USET Championship title for the second consecutive year and sixth time overall (1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2001).

“This was really an amazing weekend for me,” said O’Connor who won the Championship last year on The Native. “It’s been a storybook career with Custom Made and all I really wanted was for him to have a great weekend and go out in good form. The fact that it happened like this is a dream,” O’Connor said of his experience at Fair Hill.

Finishing second for the second straight year in the CCI*** was two-time Australian Olympic team Gold Medalist Phillip Dutton who had a score of 51.60 on Dusky Moon, an 8-year-old Thoroughbred. Third place went to Heidi White of Unionville, PA, who had a score of 52.41 on Northern Spy, her 9-year-old English Thoroughbred.

After the dressage phase of the competition, O’Connor sat in second place behind Darren Chiacchia of Springville, NY, with a score of 37.01 penalties. However, following the cross country phase, O’Connor took over the top position in the standings with a two-phase total of 44.61 penalties. Moving into second with 46.80 penalties after riding penalty-free on cross country was 21-year-old Will Faudree of West Grove, PA and Antigua, his family’s 13-year-old Australian Thoroughbred. Close behind was Heidi White who also went clean on cross country and had a score of 48.41 on Northern Spy. Faudree and White, both students of Philip Dutton’s, were the only two to make the time in the cross country phase.

White was pleased with the way her horse felt during the cross country phase of competition. “He jumped every jump beautifully,” White said. “Then he landed and galloped away. He seemed to get better as the course went on. He really couldn’t have been better,” she said of her horse.

In the concluding stadium jumping phase, Chiacchia jumped all the fences clean on Windfall, but had five time penalities, good for a final score of 56.6 penalties and a fifth-place finish overall. Faudree and Antigua dropped two rails for eight faults for a total of 54.8 and a fourth-place finish. White had one knockdown to finish third at 52.41 and Dutton moved up to second when he rode clean with only two time penalties. When O’Connor finished with only one rail down and his final score of 48.61, his historic win was secured.

Faudree was awarded the USET Markham Trophy as the highest placed Young Rider in the three-star championship. A Texas native, Faudree also won this award in April at the USET Three-Star Spring Championship at Foxhall. “This is just unbelievable what is happening to me,” he said. “I am very fortunate to have a great horse and to have the best teacher in the world in Phillip Dutton.”

Corinne Ashton of Boxboro, MA, was awarded the Amanda Warrington Memorial Trophy for being the highest placed of those competitors completing their first CCI***. Ashton rode Dobbin to a sixteenth place finish overall in the CCI***.

Fred Merriam of Newfane, VT, individual Bronze Medalist at the 2002 World Singles Driving Championship held earlier this year in Conty, France, won the USA National Single Horse Driving Championship, which was run under an unusual format with the cones phase held before the marathon. Merriam won the Championship when he finished with a three-phase score of 116.06 driving his Bronze Medal World Championship horse, Gadwood Lightwing, owned by Nicholas Mercede.

“All I’ve wanted to do was bring the horse along and have him do well. We’ve had a very good two years and this is really the icing on the cake,” Merriam said.

Nancy Johnson, of Lincoln, MA, a teammate of Merriam’s at the World Singles Championship, finished in second place with a three-phase score of 122.38 with her Canequin’s Look Out.

In the Pairs division, Lisa Singer of Chadds Ford, PA, who started October with a record sixth win in the USET Pairs Championship, earned the win at Fair Hill with a score of 143.94 penalties driving her pair of Morgans owned by Mimi Thorington. Singer’s win also clinched her a record third title in the Triple Crown of Combined Driving, presented by Driving Essentials/Glinkowski Carriages. Singer previously won the Triple Crown title, which includes the competitions at The Laurels at Landhope, the Gladstone Driving Event and the Fair Hill International, in 1996 and 1997. Narrowly finishing second behind Singer with a score of 144.84 was five-time USET Pairs Champion Larry Poulin of Boxford, MA driving a pair owned by Natasha Grigg.

Jim Fairclough of Newton, NJ, driving a team owned by Jane Clark, won the Four-In-Hand horse division for the second straight year with a score of 172.92. Chester Weber of Ocala, FL was second with a score of 175.08 with his team. Weber and Fairclough were teammates on the USET’s Silver Medal World Championship team at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain in September.

This year’s pony competitions at Fair Hill had added meaning as drivers eyed a chance to compete in the first-ever Pony Driving World Championships in 2003. Miranda Cadwell of Southern Pines, NC claimed the win in Singles with a three-phase score of 142.86 driving Red Robo, owned by Kate Rivers. Nancy Taylor Rojo of Roxboro, NC won the concluding marathon phase and finished second overall with a score of 150.91 driving her pony, Sir Lane-A-Lect.

“My horse is 21 years old but I think he’s got what it takes to do well in a World Championship,” Cadwell said. “I would love to have the chance.”

In the pony Pairs competition, Tracey Morgan of Beallsville, MD completed a sweep, winning all three phases to finish first overall with a score of 138.88 driving the pair she co-owns with Susan Deutermann. She was followed by Muffy Seaton of Bluemont, VA who had a score of 149.84 with her pair.

In the pony Four-In-Hand division, Katie Whaley of Southern Pines, NC won with a score of 207.85 with her team. Second was Kelly Valdes of Unionville, PA who had a score of 217.55 with the team she drives that is owned by Claire Reed.

This year for the first time Fair Hill hosted a 100-mile endurance ride and it served as the USET Endurance 100-Mile Championship, the first time the USET has offered a championship at the FEI World Championship distance. The endurance ride was held on the weekend prior to the Fair Hill International. Valerie Kanavy, of Fort Valley, VA, who has previously won the USET Endurance 50-Mile and 75-Mile Championships, won the first USET Endurance 100-Mile Championship. Kanavy rode Bells Snitzel to a ride time of 11 hours and 29 minutes to top a field of 18 starters.

Placing second was USET veteran three-day event rider and combined driver Lana Wright of Warwick, MD, who finished in 12 hours, 6 minutes and 20 seconds on the former Delaware Park racehorse, Nathan’s Pride. Wright is also Co-President of the Fair Hill International. Third place went to 2001 Pan American Games team Gold Medalist Meg Sleeper who finished in 12 hours, 6 minutes and 24 seconds on Syrocco Blair.

Danielle McGunigal and In The Cards topped a field of thirty-three starters with a time of 4 hours, 34 minutes, and 57 seconds to win the 50-mile endurance ride at Fair Hill. Missing the first place award by just two seconds, Martin Paramo and Prince of Thieves finished in second place with a ride time of 4 hours, 34 minutes, and 59 seconds. Severiano Martinez finished in third place crossing the finish line in a time of five hours and seven minutes.

Fair Hill also hosted the United States Eventing Association (USEA) East Coast Championships for Novice, Training, and Preliminary levels. Finishing in first place in the Amateur-Owner Novice Level was Linda Walnes and Kestral’s Flight. Jessica Archer and Imperial Chaos topped the Junior Novice Level. Topping the Open Novice level and the Novice level overall was Lucretia Galbraith and Sellin. Ulysse, ridden by Elizabeth Reeves, was the top Young Horse at the Novice level.

Karen Clark Rubin and Southern Dancer topped the Amateur-Owner Training level and emerged the overall winner at the Training level. Jessica Brumfield and Regal Marine finished first in the Junior Training level and Alison Eastman and Boston’s Flying Colors emerged the victors of the Open Training level section.

Pam England and Katrau won the Amateur-Owner Preliminary level as well as the overall Preliminary level. Junior rider Emilee Libby and Special Excursion were victorious in the Junior Preliminary level and Marion Pomery and Tucker III won the Open Preliminary level.

Fair Hill not only featured top-level equestrian competition, but also featured top dogs and their handlers in the Grand Prix of Dog Agility and Dog Agility Steeplechase, two of the top events in the sport of dog agility. The Grand Prix of Dog Agility held at Fair Hill was a national level qualifying event consisting of a single round tournament which featured a course made up of an A-frame, dogwalk, see-saw, pipe tunnels, closed tunnels, weave poles, tire jumps, and hurdles.

The crowd was also treated to dog demonstrations put on by the Maryland State Police showcasing their dogs in the main arena, as well as to demonstrations of sheep herding dogs.

Special thanks for this year’s event go to the Fair Hill International sponsors - American Home & Hardware, Artesian Water Company, Bit of Britain, Cosequin/Nutramax Labs, County Banking & Trust Company, Dansko, First Union National Bank, General Mills, Inc., Glenmede Trust, Intervet, Nowpac, Inc., Scudder Financial Services, Sentman Distributors, Southern States/Agway, The National Bank of Rising Sun, Thornhill Enterprises, Thoroughbred Charities of America, Ltd. and Wilmington Trust

The Fair Hill International will host the 2003 Pan American Eventing Championships as part of its eventing competition, October 23-26, 2003. The best eventing horses and riders from North and South America will compete for team and individual championships. The Pan American Championships will surely add to the record-breaking success experienced by the Fair Hill International in 2002. It will be an event not to be missed.

For full results and more information on the 2002 Fair Hill International, please call 410-398-2111 or visit www.fairhillinternational.com.

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