David OConnor Leads USET Eventing Championship
at Fair Hill International
Merriam Leads USA National Single Horse Driving Championship
HILL, MDOctober 26, 2002 Sydney Olympic Gold Medalist
David OConnor of The Plains, VA rode Custom Made one step
closer to a fairytale finish to his horses illustrious career
as he moved back into the lead in the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET)
Fall Eventing Championship at the Fair Hill International.
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.
has announced that this years Fair Hill International is the
final competition for his Olympic Gold Medal mount, a 17-year-old
Thoroughbred owned by Xandarius LLC. Finishing Saturdays cross
country with a two-phase total of 44.61 penalties, OConnor
is one day away from an improbable repeat of the dramatic farewell
appearance of one of his earlier successful mounts, Wilton Fair,
whom OConnor rode to the Fair Hill Championship in the horses
final appearance in 1993.
is really an amazing weekend for me, he said. Its
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 its 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.
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 familys
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
jumped every jump beautifully, White said. Then he landed
and galloped away. He seemed to get better as the course went on.
He really couldnt have been better.
who grew up on a West Texas farm, was introduced to eventing at
a Karen OConnor 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.
eventing championship concludes with the stadium jumping phase starting
at 11:00 am on Sunday.
Fair Hill Internationals 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
Fridays 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. Merriams World Championship teammate,
Nancy Johnson of Lincoln, MA, remains in second place with a two-phase
score of 42.50 with her Canequins Look Out.
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
USETs Silver Medal World Championship team at the 2002 World
Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain in September.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, Ltd.
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.
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.
more information about Fair Hill International, please call (410)
398-2111 or visit www.fairhillinternational.com.