Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lana duPont Wright Inducted in to the Eventing Hall of Fame!

Fair Hill International co-President, Lana duPont Wright, was inducted into the Eventing
Hall of Fame on Saturday 9th December 2012 in Colorado Springs.

Congratulations Lana!

Lana (center) with Ginny Suarez and Lana's daughter, Lucy Dunne

Here is Jimmy Wofford’s introduction, which “says it all”!

It is a great privilege for me, to be allowed to present our final inductee into the 2012 Hall of Fame, Lana DuPont Wright. Lana is exceedingly shy, and at first she refused to attend these proceedings, on the grounds that she would have to speak in public. This being too fearsome a prospect, she declined the honor. Fortunately, her good friends, especially Donnan Jones and Kevin Freeman (both of whom are here with us tonight,) were able to convince her that she had only to appear; her accomplishments would speak for themselves. Lana reluctantly changed her mind, is with us tonight, and has asked me to make a few remarks on her behalf.

Lana probably comes by her equestrian interests from her mother, Allaire duPont, who is perhaps best known as the breeder and owner of Kelso, an unprecedented 5-time Horse of the Year. Obviously, unprecedented feats are part of Lana' s family history. She is surrounded tonight by some members of that family, her daughter and grandchildren, and supported by the memory of her late daughter, Beale Wright Morris, who left us far too soon. We are delighted they can be with us as we salute an extraordinary lady.

Lana's list of accomplishments is too long for me to list here. However, if I mention just a few of them, you will come to know Lana as I do. First of all, not many people ever win a medal at the international level, so when I mention that Lana has won medals in two equestrian disciplines, you begin to realize that you are in the presence of someone special. That those medals happened nearly twenty years apart gives you an insight into her abiding passion for all things equestrian. Not content with all this, Lana has consistently placed in endurance rides. You will search the world round, to find anyone to equal her accomplishments. When you add these to her years and years of support to our sport, from Pony Club and grass-roots events to chairing the Fair Hill Fall Championships, you begin to see why Lana is here tonight.

While her 1991 gold medal in FEI driving is impressive, her silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics led her here to the Hall of Fame. Lana was the first woman in history to ride in the Olympics as an eventer. Before Lana, women were the weaker sex; after Lana, women joined one of the few Olympic sports where men and women compete on an equal basis. Considering that eventing competitors are currently 88% female, I would especially like for the ladies in the room tonight to consider a time, not so long ago, when a glass ceiling existed. We now take it for granted that women will stand on an Olympic podium, but until Lana came along, that was not possible. I hope the young ladies in the audience tonight, especially those of you who have made lonely, secret commitment to pay the price of Olympic excellence, I hope you will pause for a moment, and pay homage to the lady who broke that glass ceiling for you, and for all future generations.

I was about to say that Lana did it alone, but of course that would not be true...she did it with her marvelous Mr. Wister. Lana laughs that she has long since forgiven Mr. Wister for bucking her off so frequently while they formed their partnership, a silver medal partnership that would change the face of eventing forever. Lana goes on to remark, and I quote:

"I am humbled by the multitude of people it takes to get "we the medalists" to the podium. In that moment, we should remember every volunteer at every event we attended to prepare for this day on the podium, from the event organizer, to the course designer, secretary, fence judges, ring crew and parking attendants. It is indeed our country that stands on the podium with us in that moment of celebration."

Lana goes on to say, "Every time we medal as a country, every volunteer along the way should close their eyes and feel that medal around their necks too. We do not get there alone. We do not celebrate alone. My sincere thank you to a country of people who made it possible for me to stand on the podium." Close quotes.

Aren't those wonderful words? The English language is a marvelous instrument. Mark Twain famously remarked that the difference between the right word and the almost right word was the difference between the lightning bug, and the lightning. I believe this, yet I found myself at a loss of words to completely describe Lana, so, I turned to the dictionary, where I found the word I was looking for...a word defined as:
1) having no like or equal.
2) Unparalleled.
3) Incomparable.
You see, the word I was looking for is "unique." Lana is unparalleled, and her achievement is incomparable; there never was anyone like Lana, and there will never be anyone like her again. In years to come, eventers will look at the list of Hall of Fame members, and they will say, "Once upon a time, there was an inductee like Lana duPont Wright...but only once, for she is indeed unique."

Ladies and Gentlemen, Lana duPont Wright.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Volunteers Make It HAPPEN!

99% of the work done throughout the year at Fair Hill is done by volunteers.  Fence judges, ring stewards, scribes, and timers for horse trials.  Pulse takers, scribes, spotters, and timers for endurance.  Hazard judges, cones crew, timers, road crossing guards for Elk Creek CDE.  Admissions folks, tailgating hosts, fence judges, dressage ring stewards and scribes, set-up, clean-up, fence decorating, volunteer care, and a million other little tasks for the Dansko FHI Festival in the Country.  A Board of directors.  An Advisory Committee, who does the brunt of the "heavy lifting" for organizing.  And an Organizing Committee, consisting of everyone (some 30 people strong) who is in charge of their own little piece of the Festival - from Dressage to Stadium jumping to Kids Corner and Admissions and Decorations and Volunteers and Operations.  And everything else I have forgotten.

Some people (John Ryan, Bodgie Reed, Judy Thayer) have been here from the beginning.  When we come up with a "new" idea, inevitably one of those three will say "we've already tried that, and here's why it didn't work."  Some people are new this year, like Kara Buttimer, who we somehow talked in to being in charge of Merchandise.  Some volunteers are asked time after time after time to volunteer at horse trials and at the Festival, and they (amazingly) always say yes.  Some people just heard about us this year and signed up to help just for one four hour shift at the Festival.

No matter what your part is in this thing we call Fair Hill, we simply cannot operate without you.  Our volunteers MAKE IT HAPPEN.  And we are so very grateful.

Mulching cross country fences

EMT Tom, and Organizing Committee Member Barbara

VIP Tent hostess Barbara Bateman, who also is the ride manager for the Foxcatcher Endurance ride in the spring

Doer of everything at Fair Hill, and organizer of FHI Dressage, Bodgie Reed

Bodgie and her dressage ring set-up volunteers

Executive Director Charlie Colgan

Super volunteer John Ryan, one of Rupert's sisters, Rupert, and his wife take down galloping lanes on Monday


And Kathie Troutman (in charge of decorations, and hospitality) does MORE painting

Cross country fence decorating

Russ and Linda.  They help with phone lines, IT, vet box, galloping lanes, dog agility set up, etc etc etc

Super volunteer, Board member, Advisory Committee member, Horse Trials organizer, cross country organizer Judy Thayer (right)

Our corn pool was such a hit last year that Kathie Troutman (right) made a bigger one this year.  Diane Trefry (left)  had her arm twisted until she agreed to take over Special Events this fall.

Diane Trefry, Board member, organizer of Elk Creek CDE, and this year Diane stepped in to take care of Special Events for FHI

The radio guys.  We actually pay these guys to nap on the job...  :-)

Pony Clubbers who did the Opening Ceremony on Thursday

Volunteer Stadium set-up crew

A gator full of fence decorations

Russ, John, and Judy work on a water jump

Diane Trefry

Diane chats with announcer Brian O'Conner 

Ed Thayer

PRO Rider Sharon White and the Presidents Cup Pony Club competitors on a course walk Friday.  Thank you, Sharon!

Joanne Kricker, organizer of outriders

John Ryan, the man behind the scenes

Rupert's sister and brother-in-law came from Canada and England  to watch Fair Hill, and somehow Rupert roped them on to helping clean up on Monday

They may well win the award for "volunteer who came the farthest"

Backing the decorations in to the storage barn

Outriders do traffic control, answer questions, and provide fuzzy ponies for petting

Add caption

Thanks for being good ambassadors, outriders!

Volunteer tractor driver, driving a very full people mover

Rupert's sister during Monday clean-up

Rupert's sister from Canada, picking up galloping lanes on Monday

Rupert, John Ryan, and Rupert's sister, pulling up the galloping lanes

Rupert Rosetti, who is involved in almost every aspect of FHI.  During the Festival he's in charge of Operations.  Which pretty much means everything that makes things run smoothly.

Roger Hucker and Russ Budd, fixers and installers of all things with wires

Russ and Linda

VIP tent volunteers Jacquie Russell and Mary Iappolo

Sweet outrider horse

 The people mover gives Pony Clubbers a ride down to the Start Box for the Pony Club course walk

Rupert, Joanne Kricker, and another outrider

JoAnn Dawson organizes (and wrote, and produces, and narrates) the Horse Play

Nicole Heinrich, DNR Naturalist, and Emily Kilby, Fair Hill historian, at the Fair Hill Information Booth, with Nicole's box turtle.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

MORE Photos From Shannon!

Shannon Brinkman sent us some more photos from FHI last weekend.  Enjoy!

If you'd like to see (or purchase) more of Shannon's photos, please see her website at

Leaders after 2* cross country, Jennie Brannigan and Indie

Leaders after cross country Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot

3* winner Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot

2* winner Connor Husain and Piece of Hope