The tents are struck, the stables are gone, and about 200 horses and riders have returned to their far away homes. Like Brigadoon, the enchanted experience of Fair Hill International has completed its twenty-sixth annual appearance and has once again faded into history.
In many ways, this year’s edition surpassed all expectations – more horses, more riders, more vendors, more sponsors – than in any event in recent memory.
From the outset, record entries in both the Three-Star (55) and Two-Star (122) Divisions promised an exciting four days of competition and they didn’t disappoint.
Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda thrilled the crowd with a fault free performance in the show jumping phase to win The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) CCI***. Overnight leader Boyd Martin, Cochranville, PA settled for the Reserve Championship title with a single rail down on the young Master Frisky.
The crowd was on the edge of their seats as the top riders were set to compete. Jennie was jubilant at the end of her double clear round to score 48.2. She reached down to pat the neck of the Irish Thoroughbred, owned by Nina Gardner, and then thrust her fist in the air pumping her arm with excitement.
The audience quickly hushed as Martin entered the ring because he had no rails in hand. They collectively groaned when Master Frisky had one down at the Liverpool for four faults and a final score of 51.4.
Jennie also received a special prize generously donated by The Dutta Corporation, free round trip air transportation to any European three-star event of her choosing. Mr.
Dutta, founder and chairman of The Dutta Corp., was on hand
to congratulate the riders and promised great things in the future for Fair
Hill and the sport of eventing.
"We are delighted to be a part of the eventing community. It wraps up my vision of giving back to the Olympic disciplines,” said Dutta. "I am extremely delighted to be a part of you (Fair Hill International) for the next six years and hopefully we can grow together."
Julie Richards, Newnan, GA and Urlanmore Beauty were flawless in the show jumping phase to win The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) CCI**. The 2004 Olympic team bronze medalist completed the three-phase competition without incurring any faults, winning off the dressage score of 43 penalties, a mere six tenths of a penalty ahead of runner-up, Kim Severson, Charlottesville, VA and Cooley Cross Border.
A crowd estimated at 12,725, undoubtedly encouraged by the crisp fall weather, passed through the gates during the four day festival. In addition to the exciting high-performance eventing competition, they were treated to an array of “special events” that provided something for everyone.
- United States Pony Club President’s Cup Games
- Brand New Kids’ Corner, featuring pony rides, mini horse carriage rides, corn box (think sandbox), arts & crafts
- Dog Agility Demonstrations
- Appalachian Music (Saturday) and Dixieland Music (Sunday)
- Falconry, featuring a spectacular flying demonstration by a peregrine falcon on Friday evening
- Country Shops with over 50 vendors
- Food Court with a broad variety of selections to suit every palate
- Classic Cars
These things are listed because it is very likely that most of you didn’t get the chance to see them all because you were too busy working hard to ensure the success of this magical event.
How can we thank you, volunteers? You spent hours and hours – painting fences, stringing rope, cutting grass, playing host and hostess at the VIP Tent and at the Owners’ Club, servicing the electrical power grid, performing IT work and maintaining an expanded WiFi network, decorating – not only the cross-country course but also hundreds of mums and bales of straw - to enhance the natural beauty of nature’s surroundings.
We owe you a debt we can never repay, but we hope you receive your reward by knowing that you are an integral part of a spectacular show that just wouldn’t happen without you. It’s impossible to single out the hundreds of volunteers that make it happen so we’d just like to say this: “You know who you are and you have our eternal gratitude.”
Charlie Colgan, Executive Director, Fair Hill International