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Category: Eventing Archives

Maryland’s Native Son David O’Connor & His Olympic Journey

Competing for the United States Equestrian Team at the 2000 World Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia will be Maryland-bred David O’Connor. This will be David’s second Olympics. His mounts are Rattle N Hum (owned by David Lenaburg or Rockville), Giltedge, and Custom Made. David’s road to Sydney began here, in Maryland, with the Redland Pony Club, for whom his mother, the indomitable Sally O’Connor, was D.C. David recently shared with us how he got started in eventing. EQ: David – how did you get started in eventing? David: Well, when I was little, my mother wished for one of us [David’s brother is the well-known announcer, Brian] to be involved with horses. So she went to her friends and peers at the time, Mike [Plumb], Bruce [Davidson], etc., and asked what would be the most important thing for her sons to do if they were to make their career in the eventing world. They told her to give us as much cross country experience as she could. So the next thing we knew, we were riding cross country, literally across the country. 3,000 miles and three and half months later, I think she misunderstood what they were talking about! EQ: Do you have any special memories of Redland? David: Gymkhana with Jim Ligon, pick-up games, fireman games, apple dunking games … I remember jumping down a grid in the...

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The Best & The Worst of the 2004 Fair Hill International

Survey participants comment on the Fair Hill International Fair Hill International Marketing, PR & Ticketing awkward web site-list of riders, score sheet doesn’t fit on one screen so reading results was difficult Event did not seem to be well advertised this year as compared to last year. Attendance seemed lower too. I thought the information provided was fine. I am also on the emailing list so it made it even easier to be contacted. The information was very helpful, but it would have been nice to also have the rider’s times as well. Their web site was very late in getting the dressage schedules up. Very poor publicity – only saw it in a couple of horse mags – no local signage (i.e. banners etc.) at event site main road – and we were by 2 weeks before competition – other places, our own event included have large signs saying that it is coming etc. Web site is hard to find I used your website for any info I needed and it was very thorough….but…You had very annoying drop down menus which floated on almost every page. This slowed down my computer (pentium III) and caused my computer to crash (I had to re-boot each time) when I tried to print directions and your grounds/course map in preparing my trip. I wanted the grounds map in order to plan...

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What is Eventing?

by Katherine Rizzo (2007) Eventing is a unique equestrian sport that combines several elements of other disciplines into one sport. The three phases of eventing are dressage, show jumping, and cross-country. In the dressage phase, horses and riders are asked to perform a series of movements on the flat and are judged on well they execute these movements and how accurate a test they show. In a horse trial (typically run over one day), the show jumping phase is next. For this phase, the jumping obstacles are located in an enclosed area and are made of rails that can fall if tapped by the horse. Riders are assessed penalty points for any rails that are knocked down or stops the horse might have. The final phase of eventing is cross-country. Here the jumping obstacles are set in an open field where varied terrain plays a part in the difficulty of the course. The fences on this course are solid and do not knock down. Obstacles can include drops, banks, water crossings, and ditches depending on the level. At a Three Day Event, the cross-country phase is done before show jumping and the entire event is run over three to four days. The levels of eventing start with Beginner Novice, which is a good introduction to the sport. From there you move on to Novice, Training, Preliminary, Intermediate, and Advanced....

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2007 Fair Hill International Review

Equiery Readers Respond! – The 2007 Internationals Review 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) 1) Yes 2) Yes 3) Yes they do fulfill their goal.  The Festival has something for everyone. 4) Yes 5) Yes 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) 1) Yes 2) Yes 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....

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Making the Jump to Prelim

Article and photos by Katherine O. Rizzo Of all the equestrian sports, eventing has historically been considered one of the higher risk sports simply because of the high rate of speeds and non-moveable jumps on the cross-country course. However, as many horse enthusiasts will attest to, injuries can occur at any level and in any equestrian discipline. So, why all the hoopla surrounding safety in eventing? In 2007, there were nine rider deaths internationally, all related to cross-country falls. This number is staggering and prompted an FEI Safety Forum, held in Copenhagen, Denmark this past January. Chaired by U.S. Olympic gold medalist (and former Marylander) David O’Connor, the forum looked at data collected over the last five years and began initiating steps to promote the overall safety of the horse and rider. At the national level, Malcolm Hook, Chair of the USEF Eventing Technical Committee, proposed a rider qualification rule change that was approved in February and will go into effect on December 1, 2008. The intent of the rule is to “require riders to develop a more solid base of experience before moving up to the next level of competition” and although the official rule only directly affects the move from Training level to Preliminary level, the trickle down effect is hoped to lead to more qualified riders at all levels. Ready for Prelim? Under the new rule,...

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Eventing IS Safer

May 2008 by Steuart Pittman, Jr. Dodon Farm – Davidsonville, MD Results from the March running of the Red Hills Horse Trials in Tallahassee, Florida, have (again) sparked the safety debates. Half truths and uninformed commentary are flaring across the internet right now at a pace that makes 570 meters per minute feel like a trot. I feel compelled to lay out what I consider to be relevant facts in the hope that Marylanders will keep these debates “balanced and on the aids.” Red Hills is a high-profile event run on terrain that is wooded and hilly. The crosscountry courses twist, turn and undulate. It is very unlike our Fair Hill, Rolex in Kentucky, or most of the events leading up to it in Florida and South Carolina. Having been there myself and discussed the course with many of my peers, I have found that riders don’t like crosscountry at Red Hills much, even though it is beautifully built and draws thousands of local spectators. This year’s courses at Red Hills were not much different than in years past, but the results got people talking. Olympian Darren Chiacchia suffered a terrible fall that left him for weeks in intensive care and from which he is still recovering. Darren’s fall took place early on the Preliminary cross-country course when his horse hesitated at a table and then jumped. The horse...

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