Excitement Builds As Dansko Fair Hill International Is Underway

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

USEF CCI** and CCI*** Eventing Championships Highlight Schedule 

Fair Hill, MD-Some of the world's best eventing horses and riders have gathered to compete at the Dansko Fair Hill International, October 16 -19, at the Fair Hill Natural Resource Area in the heart of beautiful Cecil Country, Maryland. 

The Fair Hill International is celebrating its 20th year of presenting world-class equestrian competition as well as a wide array of family activities and attractions during its Festival in the Country. This year's Dansko Fair Hill International features both the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) CCI** Fall Championship as well as the USEF CCI*** Fall Championship. 

The Eventing Championships are popular with spectators for their ultimate combination of speed and precision, endurance and boldness in both horse and rider. The CCI*** Championship is one of only two eventing competitions of such high caliber in the country, and it regularly draws some of the world's best horses and riders.

The addition of the CCI** to the competition schedule for the first time this year paves the way for a new generation of horses and riders to compete at Fair Hill. 

"There is a lot of excitement surrounding the beginning of competition on Thursday," said Charlie Colgan, Executive Director of the Fair Hill International. "People are buzzing about the addition of the CCI** and are eager and excited to see some of the world's best horses and riders in action in both Championships."

Following Wednesday's veterinary inspections, the dressage phase of both the CCI** and CCI*** take place Thursday and Friday. Saturday will feature the heart-pounding cross country phase and Sunday will conclude with the final phase - stadium jumping. 

Legendary riders such as four-time Olympic veteran and two-time Fair Hill Champion Karen O'Connor and 1990 Fair Hill Champion Charles Plumb, whose father and grandfather are both USEF Fall CCI*** Eventing Championship winners as well, are expected to compete for top honors.

Last year's Fair Hill Champion, Phillip Dutton, is expected to compete as well. Dutton, a two-time Olympic Team Gold Medalist, was also Champion at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2008 and represented the United States as a member of the Three-Day Event Team during this year's Hong Kong Olympic Games.

To complement the top-notch equestrian competition, Fair Hill's ever popular Dog Agility Trials, which draws over 400 canine competitors, returns this year.

New to the Dansko Fair Hill Festival in the Country this year is The Art and Sport of Falconry With Live Birds of Prey, taking place on Saturday and Sunday. 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 be on hand participating in 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, and live music will be provided by Rebecca Pitre's Whoa Buddy Productions. Visitors may want to watch JoAnn Dawson's musical production, "HorsePlay," on Saturday. The play uses actors and horses to chronicle the relationship of man and horse throughout history. 

Also returning are the Country Shops, boasting a wide variety of shopping and dining, featuring vendors of tack, jewelry, artwork, pet needs, exceptional apparel and fine gifts for the approaching holiday seasons.  The Fair Hill Club 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 nearly 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.  Now sold in over 3,000 leading independent 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