Thursday, October 11, 2012


With less than a week before the first dressage ride at Fair Hill, preparations are in overdrive.

The Country Shops tent being raised
If you haven't been here when the grounds are just a lovely state park, then you might not realize what a monumental task this is.  It's a public park.  With hikers, mountain bikers, people walking their dogs, and trail riders galore.  It's a fantastic park.  But to put on an event like Fair Hill International?  A LOT has to be brought in.  So for the next week we will have a huge, tireless group of people working hard to get everything in place.

The new, improved Stabling tent in its new, improved, hopefully drier location.
Tents have to be erected to provide some shelter for vendors, sponsors, and horses.  There is no running water in the park, at least not where we are located.  So huge tanks of water are shipped in, and filled multiple times over the course of the week, for the horses to drink, for the vet box, for the caterers.  There's limited electricity, so we set up generators and light towers and string lights in all the tents.  Trash cans and recycling containers and dumpsters come in for trash.  Porta-pots are delivered by the dozens.  Galloping lanes are put in place, final painting is completed, jumps are decorated, tables are placed under tents, phone lines are installed, speakers are placed in trees all over the grounds so you can hear the play by play during the cross country phase.  Emergency piles of gravel are placed in strategic locations, since it always, always rains during the event.  Golf carts are rented for the week, as are tractors to do a variety of tasks.  Bleachers are brought over from the nearby Fairgrounds.  Stadium jumps are delivered, straw bales and mums are placed.  Horses start arriving.  Dressage rings are set.  Rings are dragged.  Rings are watered and then, inevitably, it pours overnight.

And that's Fair Hill.  Come back in a few weeks and you'll see little sign that we were ever here.  There's cross country jumps scattered around, and there's a few rings with nice footing.  And beyond that...  Acres and acres of rolling fields and quiet beauty, and hikers and bikers and trail riders.

A little last-minute painting of the info booth.  And hey, look!  There's the Kids Corner tent in the background!

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