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USET National Pair Horse Championship to Highlight Driving Competition at 2003 Fair Hill International

Fair Hill, MD—September 24, 2003—The U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) National Pair Horse Championship will highlight the driving competitions at the 15th annual Fair Hill International Festival in the Country at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Area in beautiful Fair Hill, MD, October 23-26, 2003.

Several of the nation’s leading drivers will be on hand to compete in the Championship. Heading the list is Larry Poulin of Petersham, MA, an eight-time World Championship veteran. Poulin has won the USET Pairs Championship five times (1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, and 1995). He will be making Fair Hill one of his first competitions following his return from the 2003 Pairs World Championships, where he helped the U.S. finish eighth out of 20 teams.

In addition to the USET Championship, the 2003 Fair Hill International showcases numerous other top driving divisions. Fair Hill’s Advanced Singles and Four-in-Hand competitions will serve as selection trials to determine the horses and drivers who will represent the United States and Canada in the 2004 Singles World Championship in Flyinge, Sweden and those who will represent the United States in the Four-in-Hand World Championship in Budapest, Hungary.

Among the many notable drivers competing in the various divisions are Fred Merriam of Newfane, VT; Bill Long of Southern Pines, NC; and Boots Wright of Lobelia, NC.

Merriam was the individual Bronze Medalist at the 2002 Singles World Championship. He is also the defending champion in the Fair Hill International Advanced Single Horse division. Long, meanwhile, has been one of the most successful Four-in-Hand drivers in America, having been selected to compete in six World Championships (1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, and 2000). Wright, a long-time horsewoman, has also been very successful as a Pony Four-in-Hand driver. In the 2003 Pony Driving World Championships in Austria, Wright helped the U.S. earn a sixth place finish out of 15 teams competing.

Besides outstanding driving competition, this year’s Fair Hill International features exciting eventing championships— the 2003 Pan American Eventing Championships, the Fair Hill International CCI***, and the USET Fall Eventing Championship.

Since there was no eventing at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the Fair Hill International has been chosen by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (International Equestrian Federation – FEI) to host this year’s Pan American Eventing Championship. Horses and riders from throughout North and South America and Bermuda are expected to compete for team and individual medals.

The 2003 Fair Hill CCI***, which regularly draws Olympic and World Championship veterans, will function as the final phase in a three-event competition for the nation’s top eventing horses and riders. Nunn Finer Products will award one of its new Wofford Cross-Country Classic saddles to the rider who completes the Morven Park CCI*, the Radnor Hunt CCI**, and the Fair Hill International CCI*** with the lowest cumulative score. John Nunn of Nunn Finer Products and legendary eventing rider and coach Jim Wofford, on whose custom eventing saddle the Wofford Classic was based, will present the saddle at the Fair Hill awards ceremony.

Olympic medal-winners Phillip Dutton of Australia, Karen O’Connor, Nina Fout, Linden Wiesman, and Bruce Davidson regularly compete at the Fair Hill International, as does defending Champion David O’Connor, the 2000 Sydney Olympic individual Gold Medalist and 2002 World Equestrian Games team Gold Medalist. At last year’s USET Fall Championship, David O’Connor topped the field during his last appearance with his long-time partner, Custom Made, owned by Xandarius LLC, who was retired following the competition.

The 2003 Fair Hill International hosts exciting equestrian competition for several ability levels from Pony Club to CCI***. In addition to world-class international competition this year’s event will host the inaugural United States Pony Club (USPC) President’s Cup competition. The President’s Cup is an Invitational Games competition open to the top four Pony Club Senior Games teams from the 2003 USPC Eastern Championships, which took place in August. Members of the invited teams, comprising youngsters age 14-16, will serve as the honor guard for the Pan American Eventing Championship closing ceremonies.

In a prelude to the 15th annual Fair Hill International, this year’s Fair Hill will host its second 100-Mile Endurance ride as well a 50-Mile Endurance ride on October 18, 2003.

While top-level equestrian competition makes the Fair Hill International a rare treat for spectators, the amenities at Fair Hill round out the event to provide an ideal family outing. The Country Shops boast 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.

This year, dog agility trials return to Fair Hill with over 200 canine competitors. The Stuart Family Miniature Horses will perform driving, hunter/jumper and obstacle jumping demonstrations along with talks on the care of miniature horses. Friends from the Winterthur booth will offer quick crafts for children and a family sign-up opportunity, and spectators can learn more about the Chesapeake Bay and environmental concerns at the Chesapeake Foundation Booth.

The 2003 Fair Hill International Festival in the Country will benefit Christiana Care Health System, one of the Chesapeake region’s largest not-for-profit health care providers. Christiana Care, which began in 1888, serves the people of Delaware, as well as neighboring areas of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It maintains a teaching hospital which specializes in cardiology, cancer and women’s health services, and has trauma and neonatal intensive care units that offer an exceptional degree of care.

For further information on the 2003 Fair Hill International, please call (410) 398-2111 or visit


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