Fair Hill, MD - October 16, 2014 - Three week s on the road traveling across the country from California to Maryland, and a first-time ride at The Dutta Corporation Fair Hill International, was only part of the challenge Matthew Brown, Petaluma, CA, set for himself to "get outside of his comfort zone". Happenstance, an 8-year old Holsteiner gelding owned by Mary McKee, Penngrove, CA, put in a steady, nice test, scoring 40.1 penalties, to put them on top of the leaderboard as half of the 112 CCI** entries had completed the dressage portion of the competition. According to Brown the ride was the "icing on the cake" to the whole journey that the partnership has made in the last two years. He credited his work on accurate transitions for the top score today.
Lauren Kieffer, The Plains, VA, was equally as pleased with her ride on Jacqueline Mars' Landmark's Monte Carlo. The 8 year-old homebred Irish Sport Horse/Thoroughbred gelding Kieffer described as "very, very broke" scored 43.0 penalties to lie second behind Brown and Happenstance. "This test is really suitable for him, he might not be the greatest mover but he is very accurate," explained Kieffer. She is also competing two other Landmark young event horses belonging to Jacqueline Mars in the USEA Young Event Horse Championships this weekend. "I feel so lucky to have three of Mrs. Mars homebreds here," Kieffer exclaimed.
Currently in third position on a penalty score of 43.8 is Stoney Brook Farm's 7 year-old American bred Thoroughbred- cross, SBF Cortez. Rider Boyd Martin credited the positive performance to the quality and class of the young horse who is newer to the level. "It was unfortunate when I broke my leg earlier this year, and my horses missed some competitions. This horse has a lot of quality and has only done this test a couple of times. I am very fortunate to be riding this horse," said Martin, the highest placed American eventer representing the United States at the Alltech World Equestrian Games, Normandy, France, last month.
Dressage competition resumes at 8:00 a.m. Friday, with the second half of the CCI** competitors and the full division of 45 CCI*** competitors to perform for their respective international Ground Juries. Competition officials this year for the CCI*** include President Susan Baxter (GBR), and members Christina Klingspor (SWE) and Wayne Quarles (USA). Judging the CCI** are President Jane Tolley (GBR) and Mark Weissbecker (USA). Rounding out the international panels are Technical Delegate Jonathan Clissold (GBR) and Assistant Technical Delegate Sue Ockendon (CAN).
Taking place concurrently in the William T. duPont, Jr. Main Arena is the United States Eventing Association (USEA) 2013 East Coast Young Event Horse Championships. The Young Event Horse Championship for four- and five-year old horses of any breed is being held for the sixth year at Fair Hill International. This competition focuses on education and preparation of the event horse, judging Conformation and Type, Dressage, and Jumping/Suitability and Potential. Leading in the Five-year old Division after Conformation and Dressage judging today is Oldenburg gelding Riot Gear, owned by Kenney Sport Horses and ridden by Eileen Kenney. "He is a lovely horse," Eileen explained, "he has grown a lot since last year, where he competed here as a four-year old. There is a lot of atmosphere here but the big ring is wonderful for the young horses."
Standing second is Landmark's Jungle ROC, a Dutch Warmblood/Irish Sport Horse cross, owned and bred by Jacqueline B Mars, and ridden by Lauren Kieffer. Following closely in third place is KBLB Event Horses LLC's French Thoroughbred Vagabon de Champdoux, ridden by Will Coleman III, who had an active morning with three entries in the Five-year old Division.
The current leader in the Four-year old Division is Dawn Erdman's Warmblood/Thoroughbred cross, Rule of Thumb, ridden by Melissa Hunsberger. "He is a very cool horse - very upper level type. He loves to jump, he is cocky and bold," Melissa shared about last year's overall champion in the Future Event Horse Championship.
In second place is Curiosity Fuerst, a Hanoverian/Holsteiner mare owned and ridden by Eileen Kenney. "She did great, really kept it together. She is getting stronger. She is a much different type that her brother," Eileen said, referring to current Five-year old Division leader and full brother Riot Gear. Rounding out the top three is Valley of Knowledge, an off-the-track Thoroughbred owned by Courtney Cooper and Neal Camens, and ridden by Courtney, who discovered the horse on the thoroughbred rescue site, CANTER, in January.
Young Event Horse competition culminates Friday with the Jumping/Suitability and Potential judging, where points will be added to today's Conformation and Dressage scores to determine the USEA East Coast Champion Four- and Five-year old Young Event Horses. The Jumping competition will begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Saw Mill Field at Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area.
Visitors to the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Festival in the Country can once again look forward to the fashionable Country Shops, which feature over 40 vendors selling tack, jewelry, artwork, pet needs, exceptional apparel and fine gifts for the approaching holiday seasons. The VIP Tent offers fine dining, while visitors seeking a more casual snack or meal will find pubs around the Fair Hill grounds serving classic Maryland crab cakes and other treats. John & Friends will be appearing at the food court during lunch on Saturday, sharing a taste of old-time Appalachian music. On Sunday, the Riverside Carnival Band, one of the mid-Atlantic's leading New Orleans jazz bands, will be performing throughout the day.
A newly renovated Kid's Corner will be making a debut, offering a variety of activities for the younger set. Mike Depuy returns with his Art and Sport of Falconry demonstration on Saturday, including several live birds of prey. Miniature horses will be performing on Saturday, courtesy of the DelMarva Miniature Horse Club.
The popular canine demonstrations will be highlighted with some new and exciting opportunities for dog owners. In addition to Dancing Dogs and Dog Tricks demonstrations, all dog owners are invited to participate in a "show and go" practice Agility class that will let them test their dog's potential for agility competition.
Classic cars will be on hand Sunday (weather permitting) for those who want a chance to reminisce about their younger years, as well as for younger people looking to connect with icons from an earlier era.
The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Festival in the Country benefits Union Hospital of Cecil County, in Elkton, MD. The hospital, whose mission is to enhance the health and well-being of the residents of Cecil County and its neighboring communities, has been caring for area families and neighbors for more than 100 years.
For more information on this year's Fair Hill, including how to purchase tickets and complete schedule information, please call (410) 398-2111 or visit www.fairhillinternational.com.