Articles: Press Release
David O’Connor Leads USET Eventing Championship at Fair Hill
Fred Merriam Leads USA National Single Horse Driving Championship
Contact: Marty Bauman or Beth Gold, 410-620-3206
FAIR HILL, MD—October 26, 2002— Sydney Olympic Gold Medalist David O’Connor
of The Plains, VA rode Custom Made one step closer to a fairytale finish to
his horse’s illustrious career as he moved back into the lead in the U.S.
Equestrian Team (USET) Fall Eventing Championship at the Fair Hill
Meanwhile, Fred Merriam of Newfane, VT, individual Bronze Medalist at the
2002 World Singles Driving Championship, drove a clean cones course to
maintain his lead in the USA National Single Horse Driving Championship.
O’Connor has announced that this year’s Fair Hill International is the final
competition for his Olympic Gold Medal mount, a 17-year-old Thoroughbred
owned by Xandarius LLC. Finishing Saturday’s cross country with a two-phase
total of 44.61 penalties, O’Connor is one day away from an improbable repeat
of 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.
“This is really an amazing weekend for me,” he said. “It’s been a storybook
book career with Custom Made and all I really wanted was for him to have a
great weekend and go out in good form. The fact that it’s happening like
this is a dream. For us to have a chance to win, well, I was lucky enough
to have it happen with Wilton Fair, to have it happen again is way more than
I have any right to hope for.”
Standing second with 46.80 penalties after riding penalty-free on cross
country is 21-year-old Will Faudree of West Grove, PA and Antigua, his
family’s 13-year-old Australian Thoroughbred. Close behind is Heidi White
of Unionville, PA who also went clean on cross country and has a score of
48.41 on Northern Spy, her 9-year-old English Thoroughbred. Faudree and
White, the only two to make the time on Saturday, are both trained by
two-time Australian Olympic team Gold Medalist Phillip Dutton who is fourth
with a score of 49.60 on Dusky Moon, an 8-year-old Thoroughbred.
“He jumped every jump beautifully,” White said. “Then he landed and
galloped away. He seemed to get better as the course went on. He really
couldn’t have been better.”
Faudree, who grew up on a West Texas farm, was introduced to eventing at a
Karen O’Connor clinic when he was 10 years old. He won the USET Markham
Trophy as the highest-finishing young rider at the USET Spring Championship
at Foxhall last April and is now in a position to possibly win it all in the
USET Fall Championship at Fair Hill. “This is just unbelievable what is
happening to me,” he said. “I am very fortunate to have a great horse and
to have the best teacher in the world in Phillip Dutton.”
The eventing championship concludes with the stadium jumping phase starting
at 11:00 am on Sunday.
The Fair Hill International’s driving competition is being run under an
unusual format with the cones phase coming on Saturday before concluding
with the marathon on Sunday. Merriam, who took the lead in the USA National
Single Horse Championship when he finished Friday’s dressage test with a
score of 39.67 driving his Bronze Medal World Championship horse, Gadwood
Lightwing, owned by Nicholas Mercede, maintained his score and his lead with
a clean cones round, one of only two on the day. Merriam’s World
Championship teammate, Nancy Johnson of Lincoln, MA, remains in second place
with a two-phase score of 42.50 with her Canequin’s Look Out.
Chester Weber of Ocala, FL maintained his lead in the Four-In-Hand horse
division with a score of 63.40 with his team. Jim Fairclough of Newton, NJ,
driving a team owned by Jane Clark, remained in second with a score of
73.27. 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, kept her lead
with a score of 55.80 penalties driving her pair owned by Mimi Thorington.
In second with a score of 57.80 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 kept the lead in the
Singles competition with a score of 45.00 with his pony, Harry. Miranda
Cadwell of Southern Pines, NC moved into second with a score of 56.33
driving Red Robo, owned by Kate Rivers.
In the pony Pairs competition, Tracey Morgan of Beallsville, MD maintained
her lead with a score of 57.93 driving the pair show co-owns with Susan
Deutermann. She is followed by Muffy Seaton of Bluemont, VA who has a score
of 64.20 with her pair. In the pony Four-In-Hand division, Katie Whaley of
Southern Pines, NC held the lead with a score of 62.50 with her team over
Kelly Valdes of Unionville, PA who has a score of 79.43 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 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 on
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