Test of Focus and Fitness at Dansko Fair Hill International

Fair Hill, MD – October 14, 2011 – Horses and riders that stayed focused and showed supple and correct form were rewarded with top scores in the second day of dressage competition at the 23rd Dansko Fair Hill International  CCI ***,  CCI**, and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) Fall Eventing Championships. Boyd Martin, West Grove, PA, rode his own Ying Yang Yo, a 15 year-old Thoroughbred, in a fluid and forward test to score 40.4 penalties and take the lead.

“He’s a good old horse who has been with me for a while. He had a nice, soft, accurate test with a bit of flash today.” Ying Yang Yo has only recently returned to upper level competition after a three-year stint doing lower level horse trials with Eliza Woolf. “This is the horse I moved to America with, we came over in a cargo plane. The last time I rode him in international competition was at Rolex in 2008.”

Standing second in a close competition for the top placings is Can’t Fire Me, ridden by Becky Holder, Fairburn, GA, and owned by Phil and Melissa Town and Tom Holder, with a score of 44.2. “I am over the top about Teddy’s performance today. He was totally with me from the first movement to the last. He has earned a soft spot in my heart with his work effort and how much he has improved. But this is not a dressage show, there is much to do tomorrow, “ exclaimed Becky. Just 0.4 penalties behind Can’t Fire Me is Veronica, owned by Team Rebecca and ridden by Karen O’Connor.  The 8 year-old Dutch mare received a penalty score of 44.6. “I haven’t had a horse with her aptitude in a long time,” said a delighted Karen.

In the CCI**, the last to go proved to be the best today. Wolf, an 8 year-old Dutch gelding ridden by Susan Beebee, Vass, NC, had a steady test that scored 41.7 penalties. “Wolf is a very nice horse, I am lucky to get to ride him,” said Susan. “He is just lovely, and only just started eventing about a year ago.”

A very close competition at the top of the CCI** standings saw Who’s A Star, an 8 year-old Irish Thoroughbred owned by Neal Camens and Courtney Cooper and ridden by Courtney take second in the overnight standings on a score of 45.8. “He is our first homebred – it’s pretty special to have him go well and respond to the pressure,” said Courtney. Tied for third place with a score of 47.5 are Mystic My, ridden by Andrea Leatherman, Rock Hill, SC, and Double Rivers Really Cool, ridden by Kadi Eykamp , an Australian currently living in Dallas, TX.

All the top riders agreed that the real competition would be decided by tomorrow’s performance on the demanding cross country course. “This is one of the toughest three-stars in the world,” said CCI*** leader Boyd Martin. “This is a long, grueling, typical Fair Hill. It will require smart riding, fit horses, and plenty of gas in the tank.” The cross country competition begins at 9 am Saturday with the CCI**.

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) 2011 East Coast Young Event Horse Championships crowned two new champions today. The overnight leader in the Five-year old division, Royal Tribute, a bay 17.2 hand Oldenberg gelding ridden by Doug Payne, Pottersville, NJ, won the overall championship with a record score of 91.01. “This was a very good test for all of the horses, we were able to get into a nice rhythm and show the horses to their best,” said Doug. “We will give him a break and then start with a Training level event in the spring. This is a very exciting horse for the future.”

In the Four-year old division, Corneel, a grey 16.2 hand Dutch Warmblood ridden by Kelli Temple, Round Hill, VA, confidently jumped around the beautifully presented jumping test of show jumping and cross country obstacles to secure a final winning score of 89.47. “I couldn’t have asked for him to do any better,” commented Kelli. “The course was beautiful, inviting, well laid out to get horses into a rhythm. This was a great way to introduce these young horses to eventing without the pressures of regular competitions. Great prizes too!”

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 on Saturday, October 15. 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 Clubs will also be on hand for the USPC President’s Cup Invitational Games. During the Games, riders in teams of five compete in a variety of challenging and entertaining relay races; awards will be presented to winning teams on Sunday.

The Kid’s Corner will also return, 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. New to the Festival will be Singer/Songwriter/Entertainer Ray Owen of Gettysburg, PA, who will present three fun-filled shows for the whole family on Saturday.

The popular canine demonstrations will be highlighted with some new and exciting opportunities for dog owners. In addition to agility and flyball demonstrations, all dog owners are invited to participate in a “show and go” 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.

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.

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, socks and apparel are now sold in over 2,500 premium retailer locations across North America. Dansko is the leader in all-day comfort.
For more information on this year’s Fair Hill, including how to purchase tickets, please call  (410) 398-2111 or visit www.fairhillinternational.com.

Photos: Boyd Martin Returns to Top Form with Ying Yang Yo; Doug Payne and Kelli Temple  Credit: Shannon Brinkman