Fair Hill International: A beautiful fall weekend

I was up at Fair Hill this weekend covering the event for COTH. This was my 11th year in a row going and it’s always my favorite because it’s the best time of year. When I first started going, there was still the long-format, so things have changed a lot over the years, but it’s always well-run and just a good time.

I wasn’t feeling as excited this year because I’m still bummed about my run at Loch Moy. It’s just really got me feeling less confident. But I put that aside the best I could to cover dressage on Thursday. I also did coursewalk photo galleries for the CCI** and CCI*** in an effort to try something different with the coverage for the magazine.

My coworker Sara joined me on Friday and we shot dressage all day. Overall, I wasn’t that impressed with the dressage this year in the CCI***. Maybe it’s because many of the top riders weren’t there and the field was small, but there wasn’t any one horse that I thought, “Oh, he’ll win the dressage”.

My weekend took a bad turn when my car wouldn’t start on Friday evening. We tried jumping it, but it wouldn’t even turn over, so we left it there overnight and I got it towed in the morning (apparently the tow truck got stuck in the mud to make things worse). I ended up being distracted throughout the day on Saturday worrying about my car and if I was going to be able to go home the next day. It turned out that the shop it was towed to couldn’t figure it out and thought maybe it was a problem with the anti-theft system, so I had to have it towed to a Ford dealership, who wouldn’t be able to look at it until Monday. So, a huge towing bill later, the car decided to start when we checked on it on Sunday night! So, a huge headache for what turned out to be nothing (I hope. The car is currently at the Ford dealership at home to see if they can figure out why it would randomly not start).

So, back to cross-country. It was a picture perfect day and even though we had a very heavy thunderstorm on Friday morning, the footing held up enough that not too many people withdrew. It was also a safe day, which was nice. They didn’t change too much on the cross-country which made it kind of difficult to get some new shots, but I think I got some good ones.

Show jumping day was also gorgeous. Hannah Sue Burnett won the three-star and was a very gracious winner for the second time. Connor Husain won the two-star and was quite overwhelmed which was cute. I always love Fair Hill because you can stand right in the warm up arena for dressage and show jumping and hear all the gossip and the way the top riders were coached. Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin got help from dressage rider Michael Barisone, while a lot of the riders were getting help from Lauren Hough for the show jumping.

Here’s a link to all of our coverage from the weekend along with a ton of photos. Hope you enjoy it!

Now I’ve got two weeks before the ATCs with Oh So. I’m going to try to get a cross-country school in to practice with my lower leg. I had a really good ride this morning on the flat, so at least I’m feeling confident there!

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