We sent an e-blast to our readers to find out what they thought of the 2007 Washington International Horse Show and Fair Hill Festival in the Country. The response was enormous and there were just too many comments to print in the December “2007 Internationals: Overview” printed column. Below you will find direct quotes and comments from our readers.
Fair Hill International
We asked our readers the following questions:
1) Did you attend FHI this year?
2) Did you enjoy yourself?
3) Is FHI able to fulfill its goal of being an all-encompassing Country Festival? Why or why not?
4) Do you think it should remain a joint event with dog agility?
5) Do you think driving is an important component to FHI?
6) Will you go back?
Here is what our readers said:
Kathy Plummer (Bel Air)
3) Yes they do fulfill their goal. The Festival has something for everyone.
6) Yes. I am an Volunteer Mounted Patrol outrider on Saturday but I do enjoy going up to watch the other events on Friday and Sunday.
Pat Parrish (Brandywine)
3) Yes. Good entertainment for kids, horse folks, and dog folks.
4) Yes. This was the first year I watched the dog agility and had never seen it before. It was a hoot!
5) Absolutely. It was the reason I drove three hours to go to FHI. I only wish they had some vendors selling driving equipment.
6) Yes, if they have driving.
Jean Bosley (Sparks)
1) I attended FHI on cross-country day.
2) The driving was phenomenal to watch. I’m torn now between which I like better, driving cross-country or the good, old-fashioned cross-country!
3) The dog agility and the vendor area gives the entire day a Festival feel. Every component has its place at Fair Hill and makes it a great place to take non-horse people and families for a day in the country. Fair Hill can add things if necessary, but don’t take anything away!
5) I would never have taken the time to attend just a driving competition, so the addition of driving as part of Fair Hill was a stroke of genius.
Judy Seeherman (Brookeville)
3) Yes, but they need to work on the Trade Fair, it gets smaller every year with only expensive stuff. It would be nice if stadium started earlier than 1 pm on Sunday, we never go because no one wants to wait around till then on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe they could switch sometime with the driving. I was very happy they again provided orders of go with admission. Also it was very nice that they discounted the admission for arriving late on Friday. Knowing that in the future will make us come regardless of the arrival time. Better food this year as well.
Lyn Christie (Mt. Airy)
1) Yes, we have attended every FHI since it’s been on the new course…..and for a lot of years on the old course. We bring new people to the event every year to introduce them to the sport of eventing.
2) Really liked that this year they had orders of go available without having to buy the program on the way in and lug it around all day.
3) The trade show is suffering; it has gotten a little worse each year for the past 5 years. I would like to see more vendors represented.
4) Sure, I don’t think that detracts at all.
5) I would like to understand driving more than I do; it’s fun to watch but the announcers don’t really explain what is involved.
6) Every year! I had an idea that I think could work……it would be really interesting to have one of the 3 day riders wear a microphone so they could describe what they are doing/thinking on course. I think Phillip Dutton would be a perfect candidate for this.
T’mi Finkle (Marbury)
2) I loved being there! I also enjoyed seeing the creative work that was done to set up the obstacles. It was a lot of walking but well worth the effort.
3) Yes! It was like being 2000 miles from home or in a slice of time from long ago.
4) It adds a nice touch, but I would prefer to see more “Carriage Dog” type events, as they are more horse related.
5) Yes. Driving is almost a lost art/skill. What once was a main tool of life, is now only kept alive at such events.
Lisa Singer (Chadds Ford, PA)
5) Yes. It draws a crowd to the event and is the financial backbone for the event. The year they dropped the driving there was a lower gate count.
6) Of course!
Karla Stoner (Frederick)
3) Yes, I think so. A few more vendors might help and another food vendor would be helpful.
6) Oh Yeah!
Kathy Beauchamp (Princess Anne)
3) I like the country festival atmosphere and this year was great.
Steve Brown (Annapolis)
2) Very much
Robert Hodge (Hollywood)
1) I attended the FHI this year and thought it was the best yet…perfect weather and the cross country course looked great! WOW-those jumps!
2) I very much enjoyed it!
3) There was a lot to do on Saturday and Sunday – loved the music by Rebecca Pitre.
4) Why not…dogs and horses go together.
5) I love the driving and hope to see it continue.
6) I would definitely go back.
Cindy Smith (Chambersburg, PA)
3) Yes, but I miss the sheepherding demonstrations.
Jill Blackburn (Darlington)
4) Sure, why not.
5) That’s why I went. To see something I never get to see.
6) Yes, if the admission price stays as is.
Melinda Russell (Stewartstown, PA)
1) I did. It was my second year as a (Saturday) volunteer and spectator. I love it!
2) I did. After the driving is completed (I work in a hazard – timer this year), I love watching the dog agility, and then the cross country. I’d like to come two days some year soon.
3) Reading the list of activities on the site, it seems like there is a lot of agriculture covered. I don’t have young children anymore, so missed the animals and hay maze, and other activities. The impression I get of FHI is of a fancy horse show with the other things brought in for the non-horsey spouse and kids. The apple butter cooking and farm museum event down the street seems more like a “country” festival. But, does FHI have to do everything? Perhaps a renaming, or just dropping the “Festival in the Country” moniker is needed.
4) FHI was my first exposure to dog agility. I really like seeing the dogs and owners/trainers do what we do as drivers and riders do with our horses, and be able to see a course completed in a few minutes. With the Marathon phase of driving and the Cross Country riding, you don’t get the opportunity to see the entire performance of a competitor. The dog agility is a nice addition to the atmosphere, and brings in a nice cross audience. Dog people get to learn about horse sports, horse people and spectators get to see the dog agility.
5) Absolutely. Combined driving has been a “stepchild” to eventing and other riding sports. The exposure this sport gets at FHI is wonderful–and the level of horsemanship and reinsmanship exhibited by the advanced drivers is impressive and inspirational.
6) Next year I hope to come back as part of a competitive team in Intermediate or Advanced Pony Pairs.
Also, I have noticed an increase in coverage of Driving events, particularly CDE’s in your pub. Thanks! I also want to compliment you on the coverage you give to national and local legislation and issues affecting the equestrian community. So many of the horse magazines (the free ones that are mostly ads) do not have any editorial worth reading. I just wish you did PA news, too!
Tracy Staffor (Preston)
3) I think so.
5) Yes, it was a lot of fun to watch, especially with the kids.
6) Sure will.
Reader wishing to be listed as Anonymous
3) Not sure.
4) Dogs seem to be taking over the upper end of the cross-country galloping lanes. It is sort of a controlled mayhem.
5) Absolutely. Everyone I spoke with who watched it found it fascinating. Some commented that if they knew where other driving events were being held, they would make a point to attend them.
6) I always do.