Fair Hill, MD - Persistent autumn drizzle did not hinder the performance of the top three contenders at the 22nd annual Dansko Fair Hill International Festival in the Country. In the lead after the first day of competition in the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) CCI** Fall Eventing Championships is Clark Montgomery, from Chatsworth, Georgia, riding Holly Becker and Kathryn Kraft's 7 year-old Irish Sport Horse, Loughan Glen. Said Montgomery of his early lead of 45.3 penalties, "He's pretty reliable for a young horse, even when he is away from home at a show. I can go in the ring, put leg on and go for it. Judges seem to like that."
Standing second in the CCI** on 47.8 penalties is local rider Erin Sylvester, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, riding her own 9-year old Thoroughbred/ Trakhener gelding, No Boundaries. Less than a point behind in third place on 48.6 penalties is Sharon White, Summit Point, West Virginia, riding Adrienne Classen's 8-year old Thoroughbred, Russian Roulette. "He is the sweetest horse and tried so hard today in the rain. We'll see what happens Saturday on the cross country. Adrienne bought him sight unseen from Australia as a 5-year old, that is how he got his name," said White of her performance today.
"Seeing these nice young horses, both in the two-star competition as well as the Young Event Horse Championship today certainly bodes well for the sport of American eventing," said Trish Gilbert, Co-President of the Dansko Fair Hill International.
The Spalding Labs/USEA Young Event Horse Championship features young horses (ages 4 and 5) competing in three sections: Conformation & Type, Dressage Test, and Jumping Test/Gallop/General Impression. The Young Event Horse classes focus on the education and preparation of the event horse in a correct and progressive manner. Leading in the 5-year old division after today's Conformation and Dressage sections is Lucia Strini's Dutch Warmblood gelding Artesian, ridden by Will Coleman, Gordonsville, Virginia. Topping the field in the 4-year old competition is Boateng, a Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Tyler Abell and Matt Flynn, and ridden by Matt Flynn, Gladstone, New Jersey. Competition gets underway Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. for the Young Event Horse Jumping section and 9:30 a.m. for the Dansko Fair Hill International CCI*** and CCI** dressage competitions.
Wednesday night's Calcutta-style fund raiser and Western-themed "Hoe-down" generated excitement and highly competitive bidding for 17 teams of CCI Three-Star and Two-Star riders. Teams are composed of 5 or 6 riders. Each rider's individual scores throughout the weekend will be combined into one cumulative team score. The three best scoring teams at the end of competition will be announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday. Bids were taken by emcee Jim Wofford, with extensive commentary on which team will prevail. Proceeds from this spirited evening will benefit the Fair Hill International.
This year's Festival features a wide array of family entertainment and attractions at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area in the beautiful countryside of Fair Hill, MD. Among the favorite events returning to the Dansko Fair Hill International Festival In The Country is The Art and Sport of Falconry With Live Birds of Prey, taking place on Saturday, October 16. Master Falconer Mike Dupuy brings his audience up close and personal while he and his birds provide an unforgettable educational experience for people of all ages.
Members of the United States Pony Club will also be on hand for the return of the President's Cup Invitational Games. During the Games, riders in teams of five will compete in a variety of challenging and entertaining relay races; awards will be presented to winning teams on Sunday.
The Kids' Corner will also return this year, offering a variety of activities for the younger set. Miniature horses will be performing on both Saturday and Sunday. Don't miss JoAnn Dawson's musical production, "HorsePlay," on Saturday. The play uses live horses and riders to chronicle the relationship between man and horse throughout history.
Classic cars will be on hand on 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.
New to the Festival In the Country will be an exciting puppet show by Jack Foreaker. It will take place near the Trade Fair on Saturday, and is sure to be a big hit with the younger crowd!
This year's Dansko Fair Hill International will also welcome the Professional Riders' Organization (PRO), and will be part of the 2010 PRO Tour Series. The Professional Riders' Organization was founded in 2009 by event riders Phillip Dutton, Buck Davidson, Craig Thompson, Laura VanderVliet and Allison Springer with the thought that professional event riders have a special obligation to promote and strengthen their sport. PRO is dedicated to improving the standards of competition and promoting safety while working to attract new fans, sponsors and participants to the sport of three-day eventing.
Visitors to the Dansko Fair Hill International Festival in the Country can once again look forward to the popular 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. In fact, the Maryland Department of Agriculture named the Fair Hill International as a "Maryland Top Event!"
The Dansko Fair Hill International Festival in the Country benefits Union Hospital 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.
Healthy feet, healthy body, healthy planet. That's the spirit behind Dansko. Founded in 1990 by husband and wife team, Peter Kjellerup and Mandy Cabot, both former horse trainers, Dansko shoes, boots, and sandals are now sold in over 2,500 premium retailer locations across North America. Dansko is the leader in all-day comfort footwear.
For more information on this year's Fair Hill, including how to purchase tickets, please call (410) 398-2111 or visit www.fairhillinternational.com.