Saturday, April 27, 2013

What have YOU been doing this spring?

Have you been riding? Preparing your event horse for one of our upcoming Horse Trials?  Maybe you volunteered for our recognized Horse Trials last weekend (THANK YOU, volunteers!).  Maybe you're getting your driving horse fit and ready for the Elk Creek combined driving event?  Are you keeping track of Rolex this weekend?  EN is doing some lovely live updates.  Best of luck to our eventing friends riding there this weekend!

What have WE been doing, around Fair Hill?  Just a little preparing for our 25th anniversary of the Fair Hill International, is all.  Tomorrow we have some plans to plant some trees in the stabling field (we had to remove a couple trees to grade the stabling area so it wouldn't flood the tents, and we're replacing those two trees with, I think, SIX new ones.  In a different location, obviously.)  And our awesome course builder, Derek, has been hard at work already for the fall event.  He's been working on the Spring house water.  It now has a wall removed, and the entire water complex is larger.  Sod was put down this week, and it looks like it's going to be an awesome new challenge for our 25th anniversary year!  Check it out:

Spring house is way over on the left.  Sod is just starting to be laid down.  This was from last Saturday.

Derek's guys, laying sod.

Here's the finished product!  Spring house on the right.  Pretty new sod.  Ready and waiting for October 19th!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Foxcatcher 2013

All photos courtesy of our fabulous ride secretary, Louisa Emerick
137 horses and riders.  7 vets.  At least 40 volunteers.  18 HAM radio operators.  2 farriers.  At least 137 more people crewing and supporting the 137 riders on course.  And a core group of 10 or so crazy, awesome people who, year after year, work hard to bring you the Foxcatcher Endurance Ride.  That's all it takes for a successful event!  Well, and a little cooperation from Mother Nature always helps.

A few snippets of stories from some of our competitors:

Sue Greenall, winner of the 25 mile ride, went through TWO trucks to get here from Vermont, and eventually caught a ride with Meg Sleeper and Dave Augustine after she made it as far as New Jersey before she broke down again.  When I last spoke to her, she had no idea how she was going to get home...  :-)
Not Sue.  Or Meg.  But, hi, happy competitor!

Meg Sleeper, who gave Sue and her horse a ride to the event, didn't arrive until early Saturday morning because storms in New Jersey kept HER from driving to Maryland on Friday afternoon.

Meg, by the way, finished 10th in the 50 mile ride.  And her homebred horse, Syrocco Cadence, won the Best Condition award.  It was a repeat of 2011, when Cadence and Meg won BC.

Meg's husband Dave finished 14th, with another homebred Syrocco Harmony.
Dave Augustine and Harmony

We're delighted to announce that for two years running, Meg and Dave have managed to keep their horses attached to their trailer or to themselves the entire ride.  They are notorious escape artists, those horses of theirs.

Foxcatcher website's "poster child" Tom Hutchinson finally came to visit us again, all the way from Maine.  This time he brought along 2 junior riders:  Calla and India Orino.  They finished the 50 mile ride in 24th place, and the girls tied for the First Finishing Junior award.
Farrier was kept busy on a muddy day

14 year old Austin Shaffer proved he's experienced enough to ride with the best of them, even at his young age.  He rode as an unsponsored junior, and finished fourth.  His mom, Deb Shaffer, won the 50 mile ride with a ride time of four hours and fifty minutes.  Austin's dad, Neal, finished 23rd.  That's one heck of an endurance family.

Speaking of endurance families, long-time Foxcatcher supporter Bob Walsh brought his grandson, Riley, to ride the 25 mile ride with him.  Grandsons keep you young, I think.  Bob joked all day that he was having to hustle to keep up with Riley.  They finished round about 34th in the 25 mile ride.
The Bob Walsh endurance family
Riley Carroll.  This was his first AERC ride.

Think that endurance horses can only go down the trail?  Think again.  Sweet little Bene, ridden by junior Savannah Johnson (first to finish junior in the 25 mile ride, and 7th overall) does it all.  He hunts.  He events.  He does Pony Club.  And he's an awesome little endurance horse, whom at least 6 different people have piloted over the years.
Savannah and Bene

We had a great ride this year, with many thanks to all who made it happen.  All our volunteers.  Our HAM guys (who, by the way, thoroughly enjoy coming here.  They do it for free, they come from far away, and they said they've never worked with such friendly competitors.  So, thanks, riders, for being nice to our radio guys.  It really does get noticed).  Thanks to the folks at Fair Hill DNR who keep the trails in great shape.  Thanks to Frank Stafford for manning the tractor on yet another muddy Foxcatcher.  Thanks to my dad for creating and maintaining the Foxcatcher website.  And thanks to my husband, and to all the significant others of everyone involved, who stayed at home taking care of the kids (both two legged and four!).  We couldn't make this ride happen without you!
Pulse timers
Pulse takers
Lise Lavender, Volunteer Coordinator
My baby girl.  She helped score.  Thus, all the mistakes...
PS - We found a pair of half chaps and also a set of keys at Foxcatcher on Saturday.  If you're missing something please contact Louisa, our Ride Secretary.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Why Endurance?

This time next week we will be finished with the 2013 Foxcatcher Endurance ride.  Start time for both the 25 mile and the 50 mile rides is 7AM on Saturday April 13th.  The 25 mile riders have six hours to complete, so they have to be off the trail by 1PM.  The 50 mile riders have to be off the trail by 7PM - they have 12 hours to complete.  So in exactly one week from me typing, tired riders and happy horses will be resting at ride camp for the night before heading home in the morning, or will be on the trailer heading home after a lovely spring ride.
Hoof Print Images, 2012

We explained last year a bit about WHAT endurance is.  There's also a nice explanation about endurance on  The Old Dominion's website - find it HERE.  So I thought maybe this year we'd talk a little bit about WHY people ride endurance.  Why spend 12 hours riding your horse?
Hoof Print Images, 2012

I'm sure there's myriad of reasons.  Seeing different landscapes, enjoying the trail and the scenery.  Spending so much time riding your horse that you grow to learn all his little nuances.  What makes him tick.  Is he feeling ok?  Eating ok?  Drinking ok?  Peeing and pooping ok?  No lie - this is the endurance rider's checklist:  Is my horse EDPP?  Eating. Drinking.  Peeing.  Pooping.  If all those things are happening, you likely have a healthy horse.  If one of those things is amiss, you may well be calling it a day early.
Hoof Print Images, 2012

There is, of course, the race aspect of endurance.  Some people are in it to win it.  Or at least to come in the Top Ten.  Some are riding simply to complete, simply to finish the job.  The AERC's motto is "To Finish is to Win."

For some, endurance is a family affair.  Junior riders need a sponsor - very often a junior rider will complete a ride with a family member.  It's family bonding.  Making memories with those you love.
Hoof Print Images, 2012

For some the challenge is in how fast you can go while still keeping your horse at its very best.  The riders completing in the Top Ten can compete for the coveted Best Conditioned award.  Horses are judged by the vet on soundness, quality of gait, pulse recovery, impulsion.  Those scores, along with scores for finishing time and weight carried, are converted to BC scores.  The highest score is the Best Conditioned horse winner.

For some, endurance is a good "bang for your buck" equestrian discipline.  For a 25 mile ride, your horse will see a well qualified vet at least three times for a thorough exam, plus have his pule taken at least three times.  You have six hours of competition time.  You get a ride tee shirt, you get free dinner the night before, coffee and snacks for breakfast, and sometimes lunch after you're done.  All for the low low cost of $60.  Can you do that in dressage?  Eventing?  Hunter shows?
Hoof Print Images, 2012

For many, and definitely for me, endurance is appealing because of the PEOPLE.  Never before have I met such friendly, down-to-earth, generous folks.  People who truly care about the welfare of their horse.  People who will yell up to you if you've missed a ribbon (because you were chatting too much to your friend) and tell you that you're off course.  Friendships of a lifetime are made on the trail.  Thinking of our Foxcatcher "team" who put on this ride, I think there are only three of us (out of ten or so key people) who have actually ridden an endurance ride.  The others were roped in at the beginning, but have stayed simply because of the people.  It's such a pleasure to run an endurance ride.  There's such gratitude from the riders when the ride is completed.  There are wonderful people in this sport, and that keeps us all coming back for more.
Hoof Print Images, 2012

Please join us next Saturday for the 2013 Foxcatcher Endurance ride.  We always need volunteers, and we always love spectators who want to learn more about the sport.  See you there!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Welcome The Dutta Corporation!

Fair Hill International is excited to welcome The Dutta Corporation as the title sponsor for the 2013 Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Festival in the Country.  Welcome to the team, Dutta Corp!

All the information, including The Dutta Corporation's involvement with the U.S. Eventing Team, is highlighted in the press release below:

United States Equestrian Federation and The Dutta Corporation Enhance Partnership
 From the USEF Communications Department

Lexington, KY -The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and The Dutta Corporation increase their partnership as Dutta Corp. will become the Official Shipper for the U.S. Eventing Team as well as Title Sponsor of the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Festival in the Country and the Dutta Corp. /USEF Three-Star Eventing National Championship.

"The Dutta Corporation has been an outstanding partner as a sponsor of the U.S. Dressage Team," said John Long, USEF CEO.  "Dutta Corp.'s decision to support the U.S. Eventing Team and Fair Hill International solidifies its commitment to the USEF and equestrian sport."

"We're delighted to welcome The Dutta Corporation as our Title Sponsor," said Trish Gilbert, co-president of Fair Hill International. "It should be noted that both of our organizations are celebrating twenty-five year anniversaries in 2013, a tribute to the success and longevity of our individual efforts."

In addition to sponsorship, The Dutta Corporation will provide travel for the top-placed U.S. rider at the USEF National Three-Star Eventing Championship at Fair Hill to be used for an international competition agreed upon by U.S. Eventing.

"The Dutta Corporation is pleased to support the sport of eventing. We have enjoyed working with the U.S. Eventing Teams traveling to international competitions including the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. We are looking forward to extending our association with this sport to include shipping the horses for all of the eventing tours for the U.S. Eventing Team. We are especially excited about becoming the Title Sponsor of the Dutta Corp. /Fair Hill International Three-Day Event. We know this is an important fixture on the eventing calendar and are pleased to be able to contribute to its continued success. We hope that the incentive of a European trip underwritten by The Dutta Corporation as a prize to the top-placed U.S. rider at this three-star competition will help to enhance the stature of this event which has served as a qualifying competition and USEF Selection Trial for the World Equestrian Games and the Olympic Games."

J. Tim Dutta founded The Dutta Corporation as an international horse transportation company that is owned and operated by horsemen, now celebrating 25 years in business. The company's specialty is shipping dressage, eventing and show jumping horses as well as polo ponies overseas to 16 countries worldwide every week, to and from anywhere in the World. Dutta Corp. ships for the world show circuit and can provide valuable assistance in planning, layover, show entries, and logistics.

The vision of the United States Equestrian Federation® is to provide leadership
for equestrian sport in the United States of America by promoting the pursuit
of excellence from the grassroots to the Olympic Games, based on a
foundation of fair, safe competition and the welfare
of its human and equine athletes.