Thursday, April 23, 2015

April Updates

Spring has finally arrived!  It’s been a busy few weeks at Fair Hill International with endurance and Horse Trials.  Our Foxcatcher Endurance ride was held on Saturday April 11.  Despite the rain the week of the ride the trails and the base camp held up and stayed in excellent shape.  Forty seven riders started the 50 mile ride, with 40 of them completing.  Amy Warrington rode Mind of His Own to the win, with a ride time of four hours, twenty six minutes.  Meg Sleeper’s Syrocco Cadence took home the Best Conditioned award.  Sixty seven riders started the 25 mile ride, with 59 of them completing.  Aimee Hall rode In XHess for the win, with a ride time of two hours, thirty six minutes.  Jim Brosious’ Solar El Nisr took home the BC award.  We had a great team of volunteers, including many St. Augustine Pony Club members.  Many thanks to all for making this a successful ride!  Full results can be found on the Foxcatcher website.

Our first Horse Trials of the year just wrapped up on Sunday.  It was a busy one, with CIC one, two, and three star divisions along with Training, Prelim, Intermediate, and Advanced divisions.  We had a full house, and three very full days of competition with three dressage rings running at the Gallaher Road site as well as one more ring at the Fairgrounds.  Cross country ran CIC three star and the Advanced divisions at the Gallaher Road site, while all other divisions ran in the Sawmill Field.  Matthew Brown came all the way from California to pick up the win in the CIC three star with Super Socks BCF.  Waylon Roberts, part of the Phillip Dutton Eventing team, rode Bill Owen to the win in the CIC two star division.  And the highly successful Remington XXV, who was a reserve horse on the 2012 Olympic squad for Boyd Martin, picked up a win in the CIC one star division with his young rider Camilla Grover-Dodge.    We saw lots of familiar faces in the top spots of our other divisions, with Ryan Wood winning Advanced, and Mara DePuy and Sally Cousins picking up wins in the Intermediate divisions.  Full results can be found at our Horse Trials website.

Executive Director Carla Geiersbach spent the weekend on a quest to meet and thank every single volunteer we had at the Horse Trials.  How many volunteers does it take to run a Horse Trials, you may ask?  You’ll have to read her blog post to find out!  Our friends and neighbors at The Fair Hill Inn donated a Sunday Supper for Two to one of our lucky volunteers, and the winner of that lovely prize is Bri Beiler, who volunteered on Saturday for us as a fence judge.  Thanks to the Fair Hill Inn, and many many thanks to all the volunteers who came out to help.  We can’t run an event like this (or ANY event, for that matter) without our volunteers.  Thanks for all that you do!

With the start of the competition season also comes the start of cross country schooling season.  We have fifteen schooling sessions scheduled for the year, with the first one slated for (but unfortunately cancelled because of wet conditions) Tuesday.  So we will try again this Saturday from noon – four.  Check out the schooling page for all the info you need to know.

We have two Horse Trials scheduled in May, plus a Combined Driving Event and another Horse Trials in June.  Once we get started we don’t stop to breathe until after The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International in October.  Speaking of which – the dates for that are October 15 – 18, 2015.  Put it on your calendar and join us!  Preparations are already well under way – I hear that we’ve got a couple brand new coffin jumps already completed.  We’re looking forward to showing them to you this fall!

Happy Spring, friends!

The FHI Team

Monday, April 20, 2015

How Many Volunteers Does it Take to Run a Horse Trials?

Fair Hill has the most amazing volunteers ANYWHERE!  I had so much fun chatting with the folks who helped us at our horse trials this weekend. From the dressage and stadium set-up crews on Wednesday and Thursday, to the scribes, stewards, and runners for dressage, and the stadium crew on Friday, to the xc jump judges and stadium crews Saturday and Sunday – you all are an AWESOME bunch.
Thank you, Stadium crew!
We had lots of family volunteering together: moms and daughters, dads and daughters, husbands and wives, and sisters.  We had pony club members from St. Augustine, Delaware, Cheshire, Fox and Hounds, Tuckahoe, Conestoga, Brandywine, Radnor, and Shore Riders.  We had very young jump judges in training like Carter and Mya (who has already competed in utero with her mom Jamie) and Page and ZuZu. We had several veteran jump judges with 15 or more years of experience who were easily handling all the tough xc combinations – including not only explaining the rules to me, but also thoroughly explaining exactly what happened on course when TDs came to check on rider questions.  When I commented on how amazed I was that the judges could remember everything, Randy said it best, “This isn’t our first rodeo.” How LUCKY we are to have the years of experience all our volunteers bring to the table.
Thank you Kelly, Riley, and Karen!
We had volunteers from right down the street and groups that traveled up to two hours to come and help us.  We had volunteers who were going to use their free schoolings and those who no longer rode.  We had volunteers who hiked and biked the trails of Fair Hill and enjoyed helping us because they were former riders and wanted to support all the activities at the park.  We had volunteers who brought their amazing dogs and those who knew how to set up a virtual tail gating area for the day in the bed of their trucks.  I found out we even have a vet who is a wonderful photographer and chef!

Thank you Toby the dog, Holly, and her mom Lisa!

So…how many volunteers does it take to run a CIC***, CIC**, CIC*, A, I, P, and T horse trial?Well, counting Bodgie only once (though we all know she does the work of 10 volunteers!) I personally talked with 107 volunteers.  Now, unfortunately, I am sure I missed a few folks either during set-up or over the course of the weekend, so let’s pick 110 as a nice round number.  

The winner of our raffle (selected by my impartial, non-horsey, but very supportive husband), and winning a Sunday Supper for two at the Fair Hill Inn, is Bri Beiler. Thank you to all of our fabulous, wonderful, hardworking volunteers.  Fair Hill is the special place it is because of all of you.  

Fence Judge briefing with Sally Ike.  Thank you, fence judges!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Planting The Steps

Do you guys remember, last October, walking down below the Food Court and past a yellow sign that said "Judy's Garden"?  Do you remember our Judy?  Our Judy Thayer, who we lost last summer?  Do you remember losing a little piece of your heart, and wondering how FHI would ever be the same without Judy?  Remember all that?

Yeah.  We do, too.  The loss of Judy still sits heavy in our FHI hearts.  That little patch of Judy's Garden last October was just a glimpse of a total remodeling of the old Steps.  Steps that Judy surely had a hand in.  Steps that needed a face lift.  And what better way to give a face lift than to plant them with native, sustainable, perennial plants that would provide color and beauty throughout the year?  Most of the time the Steps will simply be a pretty place for all the Fair Hill NRMA hikers, bikers, and horseback riders to pass by and enjoy.  But twice a year (in April and October) when we use the cross country course on Gallaher Road, Judy's Scaredy Cat will be placed in the garden at the Steps.  And then when we walk by or ride by, we can give a little wave and remember our dear friend Judy.

Last weekend a small group of amazing, dedicated, hard-working volunteers spent more than six hours planting and mulching the Steps.  Our eternal gratitude goes out to:  Jodie Shivery - Landscape Designer; David Roseman; Amy Estes Becker; Maria Lewis; Kathie Troutman; Annette Bickel; Paul & Jean Warren; Cynthia & Rupert Rossetti; Barbara & Coates Bateman; Ben Leader (on Friday); Bodgie Read, who delivered lunch; John Ryan, who was on site to provide moral support.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I know Judy would have been there planting right along with you if she were still with us.  Thanks for making Judy proud.

Judy's Garden last October, during The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International

The Steps, last summer

The Steps, Saturday morning before the planting began.

Plants all placed and ready to be planted, and mulch ready for spreading




And after.  I can't wait to see how it looks all throughout the year.  We will be sure to take pictures to keep you updated!

Again, many many thanks to the volunteers who came to help.  We asked.  You came.  Thank you.