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United States Maintains Lead in Pan American Eventing Championship at Fair Hill International

Fair Hill, MD—October 25, 2003—The United States Equestrian Team (USET) increased its lead in the Pan American Eventing Championship at the 2003 Fair Hill International Festival in the Country. World-class riders and drivers are competing in a variety of equestrian events at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Area in Fair Hill, MD, October 23-26.

The U.S. turned in a perfect performance over the cross country course to finish the second of the three phases with its first-phase dressage score of 170.0 penalties. Canada, who scored 186.2 in dressage, is second after cross country with 301.0 and Brazil is third with a score of 1372.4.

Individually, U.S. rider David O’Connor of The Plains, VA, the 2000 Sydney Olympic individual Gold Medalist, leads with a two-phase score of 51.6 on Courting Danger. Darren Chiacchia of Springville, NY is second with 52.4 on Windfall 2, followed by Will Faudree of Norwood, NC, who is third with 53.0 on Antigua.

No eventing competition was held at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo earlier this year and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) decided to hold the Pan American Eventing Championship in conjunction with the Fair Hill International CCI***. In addition to the team and individual medals, Olympic berths are also at stake for those countries not yet qualified for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

Competing for the Pan Am championship are riders and horses from Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States. In addition, many of the United States’ top eventing riders are competing for the USET Eventing Fall Championship.

The eventing competition concludes on Sunday with the stadium jumping.

In the separate USET Championship and CCI*** competition, 20-year-old Kristin Schmolze of Montville, NJ rode a clean cross country to move into the lead with a score of 50.6 on Cavaldi. Schmolze, who won the USET Markham Trophy as the highest-placing Young Rider (up to age 21) in the USET Spring Championship last April, is in a position to become the youngest winner of the Fall Championship.

Three-time U.S. Olympic veteran Karen O’Connor of The Plains, VA moved into second place behind Schmolze with a clean ride for a two-phase score of 52.8 on Grand Slam and Julie Richards of Atlanta, GA finished cross country in third with 53.0 penalties on her 2000 Sydney Olympic mount, Hyde Park Corner.

The USET Championship and CCI*** serves as the final phase in a three-event competition where Nunn Finer Products is awarding 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 on Sunday.

The 2003 Fair Hill International is also hosting several advanced combined driving competitions highlighted by the USET National Pair Horse Championship. Larry Poulin of Boxford, MA and Lisa Singer of Chadds Ford, PA, who have won the USET Pairs Championship 11 times between them, stand one-two after the cones phase. Poulin leads with a score of 70.70 penalties while Singer, who has won the Championship a record six times, is second with 71.86.

The driving competition will conclude with the marathon on Sunday. Leading in the Four-in-Hand division after dressage and cones is USET veteran Bill Long of Southern Pines, NC who has a score of 54.68. He is followed by Jim Richards of Atlanta, GA who has 77.26. In the singles division, defending champion Fred Merriam of Newfane, VT leads with a score of 50.20. He is followed by Kate Shields of Middleburg, VA with 55.50.

While world-class 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.

Fair Hill’s dog agility trials boast over 200 canine competitors. The Stuart Family Miniature Horses are performing driving, hunter/jumper and obstacle jumping demonstrations along with talks on the care of miniature horses. Friends from the Winterthur booth 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 benefits 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.

This year’s sponsors include American Home & Hardware; Bayer; Bit of Britain; Cosequin/Nutramax Labs; County Banking & Trust Co.; Crystal Trust; Dansko; The Equiery; Glenmede Trust Company; Goldman, Sachs & Co.; The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation; Jeff D’Ambrosio Chevrolet; Lexus; Maryland Horse Industry Board; M. H. Eby, Inc.; Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit; NowPac, Inc.; Primedia Equine; Rice, Unruh & Reynolds; Sentman Distributors; Stancill’s; The Stewart Foundation; Summit Aviation; Thornhill Enterprises; Thoroughbred Charities of America, Ltd.; Wachovia; Walnut Green Bloodstock; and Wilmington Trust.

For full results and further information on the 2003 Fair Hill International, please visit


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