Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wrapping Up the Wrap Ups

It's Thursday.  We've had a few days to recover.  Tents, decorations, and straw bales have all been removed from the competition grounds.  The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International is a thing of the past, and the Fair Hill NMRA has taken its place for another 350 days or so.

There's been some fun wrap-up articles, photos, blogs, helmet cam videos, etc posted this week, and I thought you (and I) might appreciate having some links all on one spot.  Thanks to all of you who came, covered the event, and cared enough to post something about it.

EventingNation, besides providing lovely coverage all weekend of the event, posted this helmet Cam video on Wednesday from CCI 3* competitor (and 4th place winner) Doug Payne.

The Chronicle of the Horse had some nice wrap-up articles, including a great one from the press conference on Sunday.

They also had a nice article about Ellen Doughty, who came from Texas and placed sixth in her very first 3* competition.

And Sinead Halpin wrote a blog post for The Chronicle, discussing her disappointment after her fall on cross country day Saturday.

Doug Payne is blogging for The Chronicle as well, as discusses his weekend (finishing 4th on Crown Talisman), along with videos of his dressage test and his helmet cam video (again).

The Chronicle also did a nice article about Werner Geven and his hot pink attire for the weekend.

Here's a post from Erin Sylvester's blog about her weekend at Fair Hill.

Here's some photos and a quick video from Boyd Martin's website.

And here's a recap of cross country day from Boyd Martin.

Here's video of Boyd's fantastic dressage test with Pancho Villa.

A nice post from Katie Murphy on EventingNation.  Katie placed second in the YEH 5 year old division.

Here's a fun post from super-volunteer Holly Covey, about what she brings with her when she volunteers on cross country day.

Here's a video on YouTube of Allie Blyskal and Sparrow's Nio, and their cross country trip on Saturday.

A little "Behind the Scenes" post from CCI2* competitor Mary Macklin's groom, Katherine Rizzo

And speaking of Mary Macklin, here's a post from her, as well, about her weekend.

Here's a little local coverage from the Cecil Daily.  This one's about dog agility.  And this one's about the event itself.

Here's a little insight from CCI 3* winner Jan Byyny, and a summary of her fantastic weekend.

A quick recap and some photos from Ryan Wood, 2nd in the CCI2*

And finally, a dog's perspective from Fair Hill on Sunday.  Fun!

I'm sure there's more stuff out there that I haven't found.  Have YOU found anything else that you'd like to share?

Also, there's LOTS and LOTS of photos posted from all different people on our Facebook page.  Check them out if you haven't already!

Monday, October 21, 2013


This is my son.  He is four.  Yesterday at dinner, the first dinner I'd been home for since Tuesday, he told me, "Mama, I had lots of fun at Fair Hill.  But I am still really angry at it."


He doesn't want to hear about Fair Hill any more.  Fair Hill that has taken his mom away from him for a week.  Fair Hill that kept his mom in front of a computer even when she was home.  Fair Hill that kept his mom up late and made her grumpier than usual.  His sister is one.  She was a little more resilient, but I think she will be happy to have Mama home all the time, too.


My husband doesn't volunteer AT Fair Hill.  But does he volunteer FOR Fair Hill?  You betcha.  He's been a single dad all week.  He took vacation time to stay home with the kids, while I went to "work" at my "job" at Fair Hill.  Air quotes added by him, because I got a 100% raise this year, from zero dollars to zero dollars.


Head of Security Brian says he rarely takes vacation from his job.  But he takes vacation the entire week of Fair Hill so he can work his butt off doing anything and everything that needs to be done.  Including staying all night to watch the Fair Hill Club tent and the Country Shops tent and keep them safe.


Office Manager Sandy was expressing her appreciation to her husband and her daughter, who took care of the cooking and the cleaning at home this week so she could just focus on herself.  She went in early and got home late.  And this is just the beginning of her Fair Hill, as she still has plenty of wrap-up work to do.  "It takes a village," she says.


For every volunteer at Fair Hill, and there's an army of them, there's a family member holding down the fort at home.  Or maybe a dog.  Or a horse.

For every competitor at Fair Hill, there's a small army of others who groom, feed, bathe, support, remind to breathe, cheer, photograph.

And for every competitor at Fair Hill, there's someone at home.  Holding down the fort.  Feeding the dogs.  Mowing the lawn.  Cleaning up the dog poop.  Cleaning the stalls.  Supporting.  Cheering.


So why do we do it?

Well, this helps:
Rupert took this photo of sunrise over the Fair Hill Club tent on Saturday
And also this:
Andrea took this shot of CCI3* winner Jan Byyne hugging Inmidair after her winning stadium round.
And this:
Andrea took this shot of Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda on the CCI3* Cross Country course
But I am guessing we do it because we are a family.  There's a loyalty here.  Founding members who still work hard, every year, 25 years later.  Volunteers who have been helping at Fair Hill every year for 25 years.  Maybe you don't see a family member for a year.  But when you see them again, the following year, there's a hug to give and some pride to share.  Because, yeah.  WE DID THIS.
Warm-up ring stewards on Saturday
Electricians Roger and Vickie Hucker dance with Silly Goose and Val
Executive Director Charlie Colgan and his wife Audrey enjoy the live music
A volunteer Outrider and her very large volunteer Outrider horse
Fence decorator Sue, who gets roped in to doing this because she is a student of Judy Thayer.
Kathie Troutman's decorating crew.  I am positive Katie will be calling every single one of you to help again next year - the decorating was PHENOMENAL this fall!
Judy and her fence decorators.  Yes, ladies, you'll get a call next year, too.  Anyone who will wade in to the middle of a water jump to attach a banner to a fence gets a call next fall.
Sharon, Brian, and Ruth.  If you think we're letting these awesome folks do anything else next fall, you're crazy.
It is, however, still nice to be done, and to be home with these cute faces.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fair Hill Sunday

The Dutta Corporation Fair Hill International has ended, and two worthy ladies have been crowned champions.  We would like to extend huge congratulations to local competitor and frequent Fair Hill International volunteer Allie Blyskal-Sacksen and her horse Sparrow's Nio for their win in the CCI 2* Division.  We're very proud!
Thanks to Shannon Brinkman for the photo
And we'd also like to congratulate the big winner on the day - Jan Byyny and Inmidair took home the title in the CCI 3* Division.  There were many tears in the awards ceremony, and Buck Davidson, who placed second, said he couldn't think of a better person to win than Jan.

Jan Byyny also won, from The Dutta Corporation, a round trip all-expense paid trip to Europe, to be used some time in the next year for the competition of her choice.  Jan said in the press conference that this prize was amazing and she was very very grateful.

Congratulations to Jan Byyny and Inmidair, winners of The Dutta Corporation Fair Hill International CCI 3*!
Thanks to Shannon Brinkman for the photo
Our thanks to The Dutta Corporation for their title sponsorship in what we hope is the beginning of a long relationship.  Thanks to all our sponsors, vendors, and exhibitors.  Thanks to our spectators - we are pretty sure there were more of you this year than in years past.  We hope you had a great time!

And, last and MOST, thank you from the bottom of our hearts to our amazing group of volunteers.  From fence judges to fence decorators, from those who put up galloping lanes to those who will pick up every piece of trash off the ground next week, from those who gave you a program to those who created the program, from those who were there to help competitors to those who were there to help spectators...  There was an army of volunteers at Fair Hill International this year, and we thank you all.  You are what make this event possible.  Our hats off to you.  And don't worry - we'll call you next year!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fair Hill Saturday

I had grand plans of writing something fancy for the blog this evening, but.  Ya'll, I'm tired.  I'd like to drink a beer, watch Grey's Anatomy on the DVR, and go to bed.  So how about we do a little summary, throw you some links, and show you some pretty pictures.  Deal?

It seems like Derek's course design was quite a test.  Those who came through clean said it was great.  In the 2* there were more than a handful of double clear rounds.  In the 3*, however, there were only 4.  One of which, I am DELIGHTED to report, was from our very kind course walk host from Friday, Kim Severson.  Way to go, Kim!!  You can find all the scores here, and then keep checking that link on Sunday for stadium.

Or, you can just COME on Sunday, and cheer on your favorite riders!  The Horse Inspection will begin at 8:00.  The CCI 2* competition will begin at 10:00.  And (after the $3,000 PRO Rider Challenge at lunch) the CCI 3* will begin at 1:00.  Please see this link for the full schedule, as there's plenty going on tomorrow beyond just the stadium jumping!

Here's some links from our friends at EventingNation, with some nice recaps of the day:
2* Live Updates, in case you want the play-by-play
2* Full Recap
3* Live Updates, in case you want the play-by-play
3* Full Recap (and a photo of Kim Severson!)
Entertaining Press Conference recap, and some video

If you follow our Facebook page, you'll see a few different photo albums from today - one from Shannon Brinkman, one from Andrea Collins, and a couple shared from Facebook friends.  It's fun to see everyone's different perspectives, different angles, and different things they saw.  Love the photos - please do share yours with us, as well!

Hope to see you Sunday for the final day of The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International!  And here's some photos from Andrea and from Rupert:
Amazing sunrise over the Fair Hill Club tent
Selector Bobby Costello uses an FHI golf cart for a better view.

Warm-up area stewards

Scouts selling water

Love the ponies!

DRN Rangers Rachel Temby and Wayne Suydam

Teeny tiny box turtle!
Scheeler Seeds corn box
Photographer Shannon Brinkman
Outrider mule
Sallie Cousins and Ideal Contini
Phillip Dutton and William Penn
Sinead Halpin and her horse with the really long name, Manoir de Carneville

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda
CCI 3* leaders Jan Byyny and Inmidair
Doug Payne and Crown Talisman
Course builder Eric Bull and our main man, Frank Stafford, playing in the water
Here you go, kids from Hearon Mead Farm!  Thanks for coming!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fair Hill Friday

It's been a busy busy day at The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International.  CCI 2* dressage.  CCI 3* dressage.  Young Event Horse Championships for the four and five year olds (results found HERE).  Coon jumping demo.  Dog agility demos.  Kids Corner and the ever-popular Scheeler Seeds corn box.  And a fantastic course walk for Pony Clubbers and volunteers, given by CCI 3* rider Kim Severson.

It sounds like everything went well for the day.  The weather could not have been more perfect.  There was plenty of traffic through the gate and through the Country Shops tent.  And our FHI merchandise booth did a LOT of business.  All is looking well for a successful Cross Country Saturday.

Saturday details:  The CCI 2* horses will begin at 9:06 AM.  There's a quick lunch break from 12:30 - 1:10 or so, and the the CCI 3* horses will be on course for the afternoon, until about 4PM.  The full list of ride times can be found here.

There's plenty more happening tomorrow besides the cross country - Dog Agility, Mini Horses, Chincoteague Pony Drill Team, Live Music, Falconry, Face Painting and other crafts in the Kids Corner Tent, and (if you all left any corn in the box) the Scheeler Seeds corn box.  For a full schedule please see the website here.

OK, so enough about Saturday.  Let's see what happened today!  Shannon sent photos, of course, and I'll add a few of my own from the Kim Severson course walk.

FAB shot of Bruce Davidson and Mr Bojangles at the water jump for the Young Event Horse Championship 5 year old division
Bruce and Mr Bojangles maintained their lead from Thursday and took home the 5 year old Young Event Horse Championship.  Congrats!
Here's Lillian Heard and Quarlotta jumping out of the water in the 4 year old Young Event Horse Championship.
Lillian and Quarlotta in the victory gallop - winners of the 4 year old Young Event Horse Championship.  Congrats!
Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda hold the lead in the CCI 3* going in to Cross Country.
Nobody was able to top Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa - they are the leaders in the CCI 2* division.

And here's photos from the course walk with Kim Severson.  She was so friendly and informative - I think we all had a great time!  Thanks, Kim, and best of luck tomorrow on Fernhill Fearless!
Kim walks the Springhouse water for us (and for her)
Kim talking about the Sunburst jump with the REALLY deep ditch
The whole group at the Sunken Road
Boyd Martin and his little group stalked us the entire time.  Here's Kim AND Boyd talking about the Chesapeake water.

Hope to see you all tomorrow for Cross Country!  Take lots of pictures, and post them to our Facebook page!  Or Instagram them, hashtag #FHI2013.  Or Tweet them, #FHI2013.  Let's see if we can get a trend going!

I'll leave you with a Bruce Davidson victory gallop.  Because who doesn't love MORE Bruce Davidson!

Reflections from Winners Past

It's our 25th Anniversary this year, and to celebrate we've organized lots of fun special touches at The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International (incidentally, it's also Dutta's 25th anniversary!).  From our special logo, to the FHI museum, to great photos of past winners in the program, to our awesome Welcome Party last night in the Fair Hill Club tent, we've got lots of way for you to help us celebrate.

Andrea took some photos from the Welcome Party last night, which I will pepper in here and try to make some sense of for you.  And Chelsea Vecciarelli gathered lots of great insights from past riders and owners, which I will share with you here.
Full house at last night's party!

Ann Jones (Owner - The Foreman)

Winner 2004 and 2007
Ridden by Phillip Dutton
1. The Foreman doesn’t have any special breeding. He came from Charles Town racetrack. He is a little horse with a big heart, although, he is a little quirky and a bit of a lunatic. He won’t retire or fox hunt–he totally blew up and wouldn’t deal with it. Today, my 19 year-old granddaughter is riding him and, well, they are about the same age.  He's 19, I believe. And he seems to know the difference between Phillip riding him and my granddaughter. He takes care of her.
2. Regarding Fair Hill International:  It’s a great venue and I’ve enjoyed being involved over the years. I also have horse going this year. I'm looking forward to the event.

Jimmy Wofford says a few words

Phillip Dutton
4 wins - 2 on The Foreman
1996 Sky's Prospect (Nina Gardner)
2000 Drizzle (Mr and Mrs. Vettorino)
2004 and 2007 The Foreman (Ann Jones)
1. Fair Hill is always a prestigious event so to win it a few times was very rewarding
2. -Drizzle.  Was imported by Amanda Warrington and ridden by her.  Sarah Cousins then rode him before his owner Augie Vettorino sent him to me.  I'd just come back from the Sydney Olympics so I didn't have a lot of time to get to know him
3. -Sky's Prospect-  Nina Gardner bought him off Jack Fisher and brought him along to preliminary level.  Nina sent him to me after that.  He was a very fast reliable Cross Country horse
4. -The Foreman. He was pretty green the first year he won.  "Chip" is a great USA TB that loves the sport and really tried hard in each phase.  After this win he went on to be 2nd at Rolex and Burghley in the one year.  His other win came after coming back from an injury .
5. The organizers of Fair Hill have made a huge impact on the sport in the USA by hosting this event.  The highlight of the event is always the experience horses and riders gain from riding over the cross country course and the Fair Hill terrain.

Long line for yummy food

Hannah Burnett
2012 Harbour Pilot (Jacqueline Mars)
2010 St. Barths (Mr. Richard Thompson)
1. It's an amazing feeling to win Fair Hill. One of my favorite moments is being in the VIP tent after winning on St Barths with Dick Thompson and getting pictures with the trophy. Being blessed enough to win twice is beyond words.
2. Both Harbour Pilot (William) and St Barths (Nike) are extremely special to me. Besides being amazing athletes and true winners at heart, they have the best owners the sport has ever seen with Jacqueline Mars and Richard Thompson. These horses have proven that anything is possible with the support and love that owners and a great team behind you give.
3. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers that make Fair Hill one of the very best 3-days in the world.

Recognizing owner Nina Gardner for her long-time support of Fair Hill International

Nina Gardner - Owner
1996 - Sky's Prospect
Rider - Phillip Dutton
1. Sky is a failed race horse by Tanks Prospect out of First and Ten. I bought him from Jack Fisher who was very impressed with his jumping ability and was about to train him as a timber horse. I bought him thinking that he would become a field hunter for my husband, but in the process of "remaking" him, I fell in love with his temperament. Two weeks after I bought him we started competing in combined training; meanwhile we were cubbing with Green Spring Hounds. Sky is a very kind gentleman. He hunted on the buckle any place in the field, and, in fact, became a Masters horse after he retired from eventing. He wants to please and always gives his best effort. He was a successful preliminary competitor when Phillip Dutton took over his ride. Sky's biggest accomplishment was going clean around Burghley. He was on Australia's short list for the '96 Atlanta Olympics, but was injured in the final competition before the Olympics. Later that year he won FHI with no time or jumping penalties on cross country. He won the Green Spring Hunter Pace, fast time, beating a legendary timber horse, Ivory Poacher.
2. Sky is retired now in Glyndon MD at our daughter's farm where he is our grandchildren's favorite. He lives outside all year round with our other retirees and is the boss of the herd.
3. The main change is the new main arena. Also, a significant difference between then and now is elimination of the the classic format.
4. Yes I will be attending this year with two horses in the 3* and one in the YEH 5 yr old class.
5. FHI is and has been a great local opportunity. We have attended regularly since its beginnings when we lived in MD.

Jimmy Wofford "roasts" David O'Connor

David O'Conner
Most Wins - 5
1993 Wilton Fair (Wilton Fair Group)
1997 Giltedge (Jacqueline Mars)
1999 Rattle N' Hum (David Lenaburg)
2001 The Native (Jacqueline Mars)
2002 Custom Made (Xandarious LLC)
1. It's always been the cross country for a 3 star in the country. It's the most educational 3* for the horses that there is. And it's always been that way since day one. For a long time it was really only the professionals who won it, and I think that was a reflection of the quality of competition.
2. The course developments have followed the changes of where cross country has gone. Staying true and appropriate. Here at FHI, the weather plays a significant role. Not everybody gets to deal with mud. For example two or three years ago we ran all our students because we wanted them to know what the conditions were like. And of course the weekend of 1993 is a weekend we will talk about for the rest of our lives - the rain and muck.
3. Regarding this weekend:  You're seeing who the top 2* are horses are and from my point of view you’re looking for stars who are going to move up to and get a glimpse of what the future holds.
4. Thank you to all the people that have been involved over the 25 years. Fair Hill has truly grown and will continue to grow in the next 25 years. It puts our riders on the international playing field.

One of our "Silver Volunteers" Fran Loftus. who headed up the committee for the 25th Anniversary celebrations

Gina Miles
2006 - McKinlaigh
1. Winning Fair Hill in 2006 was very special to me and an important part of my career with McKinlaigh.
2. My first trip to Fair hill was in 2001. McKinlaigh was only seven years old and the two of us had only competed in 2 advanced events. As a competitor from the West Coast I was awestruck by the excitement and tradition of the festival. I was giddy when Bruce Davidson Sr. walked by and said hello. And I was absolutely thrilled to be competing alongside my idols and heroes that I had only read about in magazines. I had a full support crew there with me including my husband, my mother, my two-year-old son and my coach from California, Brian Sabo. My young advanced horse wasn't very good in dressage or very fast cross country but I did finish as the highest first time three-star rider and take home the Amanda Warrington trophy. We also got noticed by the selectors and made it onto the winter training list   That was a very special Fair hill for me.  Probably as much as the year that I won.
3. Fast forward to 2006. McKinlaigh and I now had several excellent achievements. We had been to the World Equestrian Games, finished third at the inaugural World Cup final in Pau, competed at Rolex three times and made a trip to Burghley. However, the two and a half years before our win at Fair Hill where marred by several setbacks. Two wind surgeries, surgery on an ankle and a pulmonary bleed on cross country at Rolex for McKinlaigh and a broken leg for me. Coming into this Fair Hill,  I now had a very young child and this time my support team was  important to stay behind with the baby. My mom being able to do that for me was a huge gift to give me the rest and concentration I needed.
4. Putting in three solid performances, McKinlaigh finished on top of the leaderboard. That win was definitely the turning point from our rough times leading forward to future successes and our Olympic silver.

During Jimmy's roast, Fran holds up a picture of Michael Tucker dressed in a cow costume, back when FHI used to be held on Halloween weekend.

Mark Weissbecker
1994 Best Seller (Birch Hill Farm)
1998 Brevity (Mr. & Mrs. Edward Linde)
1. I remember coming out of the show jumping arena in 1994 having jumped a clear round and clinching first place.  Mark Phillips walked up to me and said, "Well Mark, you finally got all your ducks in a row!"  It was nice to do a repeat performance on another of my off the track babies in 1998.
2. Both of these horses came to me directly from the track and so we learned everything together from the ground up.  The common link between them was their kind, quiet nature and natural aptitude to do what this sport requires.
3. Except for their quiet, willing nature they were quite different altogether.  Best Seller was extremely tall and long whereas Brevity was named such because he was a tiny, little package, "brief" as it were.  Best Seller was the "scopiest" horse I've ever ridden.  I was fortunate that he came along and taught me so much fairly early on as I needed to be much more accurate on little Brevity as the fences got bigger.  I was fortunate that both horses were "allergic to wood" and rarely did a rail come down.
4. Fair Hill is such a beautiful venue especially when the sun shines!  I remember once riding on show jumping day when sleet whitened the ground.
5. There is something about the low key, friendly atmosphere that makes this event unique.
Tim Dutta says a few words, with Trish Gilbert (who was one of FHI's founders and remains an integral part of the organization)
Art work displayed on the Fair Hill Club tent
Thank you to all who made the Welcome Party a success!  And a special thanks to Barbara Bateman and her Fair Hill Club tent crew - they were in full party mode and they are great hosts!