Articles: Press Release
Darren Chiacchia Takes Eventing Lead After Dressage at Fair Hill International
Contact: Marty Bauman or Beth Gold, 410-620-3206
FAIR HILL, MD—October 25, 2002—Darren Chicchia of Springville, NY moved into
the lead of the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) Fall Eventing Championship
following the completion of the dressage phase at the Fair Hill
In the USA National Single Horse Driving Championship, Fred Merriam of
Newfane, VT, individual Bronze Medalist at the 2002 World Singles Driving
Championship, completed the dressage phase in first place.
Chiacchia moved ahead of Sydney Olympic Gold Medalist David O’Connor of The
Plains, VA when he received a dressage score of 36.80 penalties on Windfall,
a 10-year-old, black stallion owned by Dr. Timothy Holekamp. O’Connor, who
led after Thursday’s opening round, now stands second with his score of
37.01 penalties on his Olympic Gold Medal mount, Custom Made, a 17-year-old
Thoroughbred owned by Xandarius LLC. O’Connor also stands third on Texas
Pride, a 10-year-old Thoroughbred owned by Claud Schoch of Bethesda, MD,
with a score of 40.20.
“This is my second year together with Windfall and things are going very
well,” said Chiacchia. “The first year with a horse is often a case of
getting to know each other and we’ve gotten to the point where we have a
real cooperation out on the course. This, of course, is doubly important
when you’re dealing with a stallion.”
O’Connor has announced that this year’s Fair Hill International is Custom
Made’s final competition and O’Connor is hoping that he can repeat the
dramatic farewell appearance of one of his earlier successful mounts, Wilton
Fair, whom O’Connor rode to the Fair Hill Championship in the horse’s final
appearance in 1993.
“It would be great to have the same thing happen with Custom Made, but we’ve
got a lot to do before that happens,” said O’Connor who won last year’s USET
Fall Championship at Fair Hill on The Native. “We gave it a lot of thought
before deciding to compete him here, but we thought it would be a real nice
way to end his three-day career.”
The eventing championship continues with the cross country phase on Saturday
and then concludes with the stadium jumping phase on Sunday.
This year’s Fair Hill International has 78 eventing entries, with riders
representing Australia, Belgium, Canada, Pakistan, The Netherlands, and the
The Fair Hill International’s driving competition began Friday with the
dressage phase and Merriam took the lead in the USA National Single Horse
Championship when he finished with a score of 39.67 driving his Bronze Medal
World Championship horse, Gadwood Lightwing, owned by Nicholas Mercede.
Standing second is Merriam’s World Championship teammate, Nancy Johnson of
Lincoln, MA, who received a score of 41.00 with her Canequin’s Look Out.
Chester Weber of Ocala, FL drove his team to a dressage score of 46.40 to
take the lead in the Four-In-Hand horse division. Jim Fairclough of Newton,
NJ, driving a team owned by Jane Clark, was second with a score of 48.27.
Weber and Fairclough were teammates on the USET’s Silver Medal World
Championship team at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain in
In the Pairs division, Lisa Singer of Chadds Ford, PA, who earlier this
month won the USET Pairs Championship for a record sixth time, took the lead
with a score of 40.80 penalties driving her pair owned by Mimi Thorington.
In second with a score of 48.80 is five-time USET Pairs Champion Larry
Poulin of Boxford, MA driving a pair owned by Natasha Grigg.
In the pony competitions, Jack Wetzel of Aiken, SC took the lead in the
Singles competition with a score of 44.00 with his pony, Harry. Sara
Schmitt of Glen Gardner, NJ was second with a score of 51.67 with her pony,
High Country Doc.
In the pony Pairs competition, Tracey Morgan of Beallsville, MD took the
lead with a score of 54.93 driving the pair show co-owns with Susan
Deutermann. She is followed by Muffy Seaton of Bluemont, VA who received a
score of 55.20 with her pair. In the pony Four-In-Hand division, Katie
Whaley of Southern Pines, NC scored 56.00 to take the lead with her team
over Kelly Valdes of Unionville, PA who received a score of 58.93 with the
team she drives that is owned by Claire Reed.
The Fair Hill driving competitions feature the final legs of both the FEI
North American Driving Challenge and the Triple Crown of Combined Driving,
presented by Driving Essentials/Glinkowski Carriages. Driving competition
will continue with the cones competition on Saturday and will then culminate
with the marathon on Sunday.
Country Shops, fine and casual dining, dog agility competition and
entertainment add to the fun, making the Fair Hill International a
family-friendly fall outing with something for everyone.
Special thanks go to the Fair Hill International sponsors - American Home &
Hardware, Artesian Water Company, Bit of Britain, Cosequin / Nutramax Labs,
County Banking & Trust Company, Dansko, First Union National Bank, General
Mills, Inc., Glenmede Trust, Intervet, Nowpac, Inc., Scudder Financial
Services, Sentman Distributors, Southern States / Agway, The National Bank
of Rising Sun, Thornhill Enterprises, Thoroughbred Charities of America,
Rain or shine, gates are open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 a
day on Saturday and Sunday. Children under 12 are admitted free.
The Fair Hill International will host the 2003 Pan American Eventing
Championships as part of its eventing competition, October 23-26, 2003. The
best eventing horses and riders from North and South America will compete
for team and individual championships.
For full results and more information on the Fair Hill International, please
call 410-398-2111 or visit