Articles: Press Release
Olympic Gold Medalist David O'Connor
Tops List of Eventing and Driving Champions Crowned at Fair Hill
Marty Bauman (508) 698-6810, email@example.com
FAIR HILL, MD—November 1, 2001—The thirteenth annual Fair Hill International
Festival in the Country brought a record number of eventers and an
impressive line-up of drivers, horses, and ponies to the beautiful Maryland
countryside for four days of championship competition, October 25 – 28,
USET Fall Eventing Championship CCI***
In eventing, 2000 Olympic individual Gold Medalist David O’Connor, The
Plains, VA, eked out a victory in the United States Equestrian Team (USET)
Fall Eventing Championship CCI***, topping a record field of nearly 100
entries, with riders representing Ireland, Mexico, Canada, Belgium, India,
Finland, Australia and the United States.
The USET Fall Eventing Championship CCI*** is one of the most prestigious
eventing competitions, one of only two three-star competitions held in the
United States each year.
Over four days of competition, the leader board changed daily. Five-time
U.S. Olympic veteran Bruce Davidson of Unionville, PA, on Squire’s Cap, tied
with Cathy Wieschhoff of Lexington, KY on Rainbow Magic following Day 1 of
the dressage phase. By the time dressage concluded on Friday, Darren
Chiacchia of Springville, NY had moved into the lead on Windfall. Moving
into second place on Jenga was Bonnie Mosser of Coatesville, PA. Three-time
U.S. Olympic veteran Karen O’Connor of The Plains, VA was third riding Grand
Slam while Thursday’s co-leaders, Davidson and Wieschhoff, had dropped to
fourth, along with Peter Green of Upperville, VA.
Following Saturday’s cross-country phase, Olympic Gold Medalists Phillip
Dutton of Australia and David O’Connor were separated by less than one
point. Dutton, the defending champion, who won team Gold Medals at the 1996
and 2000 Olympic Games, led with a score of 58.4 penalties on Cayman Went
after receiving 0.4 time penalties in the cross country phase. O’Connor
matched Dutton’s 0.4 time penalties for a two-phase total of 58.8.
“Because of the terrain here and how the course is laid out, it’s always
hard to make the time,” said Dutton who spent the early-morning hours with
his wife Evie when she delivered twin girls just 6 hours before the
cross-country phase began. “My horse went well which I appreciated as I was
a bit worn out from the night before.”
On Sunday, O’Connor won his record fifth U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) Fall
Eventing Championship with a penalty-free stadium jumping ride.
O’Connor, who won his fourth overall Fair Hill title (his 1995 USET title
came as the top U.S. finisher behind Australian David Green), finished with
a three-phase score of 58.8 penalties after completing the stadium jumping
phase fault-free on The Native.
Defending champion Dutton was the event’s last entry and entered the ring on
Cayman Went with a score of 58.4 penalties. He appeared to have the
fault-free ride he needed to win his third Fair Hill title until his
seven-year-old Thoroughbred knocked down the rail at the last fence on
course for five jumping penalties and a final score of 63.40.
“I really owe this win to my horse,” O’Connor said. “I came out
of the turn to the triple combination very badly and I didn’t have the
stride to the fence. This horse tries so hard and he really saved me.”
O’Connor also finished third overall on his other mount, Tigger
Too, with a score of 71.40, while David O’Brien of Southern Pines, NC was
fourth with a score of 73.20 on Fox In Flight.
Beale Morris of Middleburg, VA received Fair Hill’s award as the
top finishing amateur rider for her 15th place finish on Eastern Shore.
Michael Pollard of Columbus, NC received the USET’s Markham Award as the top
placing Young Rider (up to age 21) for his 30th place finish on Chumba
Wumba. Gina Miles of Creston, CA was honored as the top finishing rider
competing in a CCI*** for the first time. She placed 17th on McKinlaigh.
John Williams of Middleburg, VA was honored for having the Best Conditioned
horse, his mount Sloopy.
USCTA Area II Championship
For novice equestrians, this year’s Fair Hill International hosted the
United States Combined Training Association (USCTA) Area II Preliminary,
Training & Novice Horse Trials' Championships. Beth Wheeler won this East
Coast Championship aboard Double Hierarchy, following dressage on Thursday,
cross-country on Friday, and show jumping on Saturday.
The Fair Hill International hosted a wide variety of driving competitions,
including the USET Four-in-Hand Driving Championship, the AHSA Single Horse
Championship, the AHSA National Combined Driving Pony Championships (for
singles and pairs), and the final leg of the Jaguar Triple Crown of Driving,
presented by Driving Essentials/Glinkowski Carriages. The advanced driving
competitions served as United States Equestrian Team (USET) selection trials
for the 2002 Four-In-Hand and Singles Driving World Championships, to be
held in Jerez, Spain and Conty, France, respectively.
The USET Four-In-Hand Championship
Jim Fairclough of Newton, NJ was named the USET Four-In-Hand Champion after
sweeping all three phases of the competition, thereby ending Tucker Johnson’
s streak of four consecutive championship titles.
Fairclough took an early lead after the dressage phase with a score of 47.04
penalties. He cemented his lead with a strong performance in the marathon,
winning that phase with a score of 103.30 penalties. Fairclough made it
official on Saturday, winning the USET Four-In-Hand Championship by placing
first in the concluding cones phase, with only 10.0 penalties. His
three-phase score totaled 160.34, topping Tucker Johnson’s second-place
score of 303.40. A five-time USET champion, Johnson, of Oldwick, NJ was
named Reserve Champion.
“It was nice that I did well on the first and last days,” said Fairclough
who previously won the Championship in 1982 and 1994 and who has been
runner-up eight times. “I didn’t do as well as I would have liked in the
marathon, but then again, everyone had trouble with it.”
AHSA Singles Driving Championship
Kate Shields of Middleburg, VA took an early lead in the American Horse
Shows Association (AHSA) Singles Championship with a dressage score of
45.80. Nancy Johnson of Lincoln, MA took over the lead on the second day of
competition with a score of 113.92 penalties following her win in the
marathon which she finished with 63.52 penalties. By the time the cones
phase concluded, Johnson had won the AHSA Singles Driving Championship with
a score of 121.42 penalties.
Fair Hill Pairs Classic
Five-time USET Pairs Champion Lisa Singer of Chadds Ford, PA set the stage
to successfully defend her title in the Fair Hill Pairs Classic when she
topped the dressage competition with 47.68 penalties. She placed second to
Canada’s Andre Paquin in the marathon, but still led with a score of 119.59
after the first two phases. Pacquin stood second overall with 132.66
penalties before Saturday’s deciding cones phase. Singer successfully
defended her title in the Fair Hill Pairs Classic with a score of 139.09,
concluding with 19.5 penalties in cones.
Jaguar Triple Crown of Driving, presented by Driving Essentials/Glinkowski
The Fair Hill International singles and pairs horse driving competitions
served as the final leg of the Jaguar Triple Crown of Driving, presented by
Driving Essentials/Glinkowski Carriages. Saturday’s cones phase featured a
dramatic showdown for the Jaguar Triple Crown title with Nancy Johnson in
Singles and Lisa Singer in Pairs running neck-and-neck as they entered the
final day. Johnson, who had entered Fair Hill with a score of 226.48, led
Singer, a two-time Triple Crown champion, who came to Fair Hill with a score
of 227.22, following the Laurels and Gladstone Driving Event legs of the
Jaguar Triple Crown.
Johnson’s Fair Hill final score with Canequin’s Look Out earned her the
Jaguar Triple Crown. “I wish we were better in dressage,” she said, “but I
really couldn’t ask any more of him in the marathon and cones. I’m really
very proud of him and I look forward to receiving my new carriage,” she
added referring to the new Glinkowski carriage she’ll receive from Driving
Essentials for winning the Triple Crown.
Singer placed second to Johnson in the Jaguar Triple Crown. Although she
successfully defended her title in the Fair Hill Pairs Classic, Singer
missed out on a chance for a record third Jaguar Triple Crown Championship
when she scored 19.5 penalties in cones. Singer, who like Johnson, won her
division at both Fair Hill and the Gladstone Driving Event, needed a clean
drive in cones to edge Johnson in the Jaguar Triple Crown.
“I was trying to go fast in the straights and steady on the turns,” Singer
said. “I was hoping to go clear but the sand builds on the covers of the
corners and the balls went down.”
AHSA Pony Driving Championships
In the AHSA Pony Driving Championships, the dressage phase saw Tracey Morgan
of Beallsville, MD take the lead in the Pairs division with 49.92 penalties.
Muffy Seaton of Bluemont, VA, was in second place with 53.12 penalties.
Jack Wetzel of Aiken, SC topped the Singles division with 47.00 penalties.
On day two, both Morgan and Wetzel maintained their leads. Morgan earned a
two-phase score of 126.25, while Seaton again came in second, posting a
two-phase score of 129.88. Wetzel maintained a narrow lead in the Singles
division with a score of 121.28, just 0.20 points ahead of Allison Stroud of
West Grove, PA and her score of 121.48.
In the deciding cones phase, Seaton’s 14.5 penalties gave her a total score
of 144.38 and the victory in the AHSA Pairs Pony Driving Championship.
Morgan, with 36.5 penalties in cones, dropped to third, while A.J Meyer of
Newton, NJ, earned Reserve Champion by winning the cones phase with a score
of 8.5 penalties, for a total score of 160.22.
Jack Wetzel’s 16.5 penalties in cones gave him the sweep of all three phases
and the win in AHSA Single Pony Championship with a combined score of
137.78. Betsey Cowperthwaite, also of Aiken, SC, placed second in marathon
and cones, earning Reserve Champion with a score of 152.83.
While taking a break from the equestrian competition at the Fair Hill
International, visitors enjoyed the variety of shopping and dining
opportunities despite the unseasonable chill in the air. The Country Shops
featured vendors of tack, artwork, pet needs and fine apparel. The Fair
Hill Club offered fine dining, while visitors seeking a more casual snack or
meal flocked to Blue Marlin Catering’s pubs around the Fair Hill grounds and
the classic Maryland crab-cakes.
The Equine Health Pavilion, sponsored by Cosequin, featured educational
opportunities with experts from the New Bolton Center at The University of
Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Smartpak (custom packager of
daily supplements for equine feed), and Pennfield Feed together with
Kentucky Equine Research, a leading equine nutrition, research and
consultation company. Talks, demonstrations, and autograph sessions with
international stars of eventing and combined driving rounded out the
opportunities in the Equine Health Pavilion.
The Fair Hill International also hosted Michael Muir, president of U.S.
Driving for the Disabled, and his Horsedrawn Journey Across America on the
final leg of their cross-country drive. Muir and a devoted crew of
supporters drove his four-horse team of Stonewall Sporthorses, big,
beautiful Warmbloods that are remarkable for their leopard-spotted coats,
from California to Washington, D.C. Through their Horsedrawn Journey
Across America, which began on January 28, 2001 in Mission San Diego, CA,
they brought their message of hope and inspiration to everyone who is
challenged by disability. They know that many disabled people continue to
enjoy horses through carriage driving, since the carriage levels the playing
field. They have been working to raise support for and encourage membership
in USDFD nationwide.
The 49-year-old Muir, from Woodland, CA, has been living with multiple
sclerosis since age 15. Initially paralyzed from the neck down, he has been
in and out of bed or in wheelchairs, but he "just keeps on going,” he says.
“My passion for the horses has kept me strong," added Muir, winner of a team
Bronze medal at the World Championship for Drivers with Disabilities held in
Wolfsburg, Germany in 1998
The 2001 Fair Hill International was sponsored by Cosequin, the United
States Equestrian Team, Banner Life Insurance, Bit of Britain, First Union
Private Capital Management, Glenmede Trust, Jaguar, Nawpac, Outback
Performance Wear with Gore-Tex Fabric by Outback Trading Company, Ltd.,
Pennfield Feeds, Practical Horseman, Scudder Financial Services, Southern
States Cooperative, Supracor, Thornhill Enterprises, and Thoroughbred
Charities of America, Ltd.
The Fair Hill International Festival in the Country returns to the Fair Hill
Natural Resources area for its 14th installment October 24 – 27, 2002. For
full results and more information on the Fair Hill International, please