Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Maggie Deatrick Conquers Fair Hill International's 2*!!

It was an impressive weekend for Blue Hill Farm's client Maggie Deatrick and her own Divine Comedy, who took their turn around the tough international 2* track at Fair Hill!  Not only did this pair earn an impressive 52.2 in the dressage, but they also cranked around the XC, posting one of the cleanest double clear rounds of the day.

Dante and Maggie over the first!
What a treat to listen and observe the coaching/client relationship between Missy and Maggie in the warmup before watching Maggie take that advice onto the XC course.  I think all of our hearts were pounding as they headed out of the start box, but to hear the course commentary on the loud speaker as they progressed throughout the more difficult questions on course (brilliantly, I might add) was just thrilling!  Dante and Maggie just tore up the course and handled the brush combination and second water like seasoned pros.

After XC they leapt up the score board to sit 11th in the standings heading into stadium.  Dante tried his heart out, but unfortunately pulled 4 rails, proving that the XC at Fair Hill International always results in a tired horse for Sunday.  Regardless of the rails, Maggie has to be so proud of her awesome thoroughbred gelding - and Missy is so happy with their performance.

As Maggie has already expressed on Facebook and through her chronicle of the weekend on Eventing Nation (yes, she writes for EN too) pulling off the weekend at Fair Hill wouldn't have been possible without the entire team at Blue Hill Farm!  Many thanks go out to working student extraordinaire Brigitte Aikelin for making Dante sparkle and shine.  Dante also thanks Brigitte for making him happy and comfortable post FHI, b/c that boy deserves some serious TLC now that the big weekend is in the rear view mirror!

Photo Credit Lisa Thomas, Mid-Atlantic Equestrian Services

Friday, October 10, 2014

Unveiling of Fork In The Road - A Short Film on Margaret McIntosh!!

Over this past summer, a very special film was in production, a film short documenting the equestrian voyage of our friend Gigi McIntosh.  There was a wonderful collaboration of area notables, such as Jessica, Missy and the Blue Hill Farm team, as well as clips from other influential people in Gigi's career (Bruce Davidson, Mary Hazzard, Jan Smith) from Chesterland.

The end result is the wonderful mini-documentary on our resident para-equestrian, Margaret "Gigi" McIntosh, who during an event in 1999 suffered a life-threatening crash. Through unexpected odds, Gigi battled her way back to do the one thing she's loved doing her whole life...riding horses.

Many thanks go out to the film crew who created this beautiful story.
directed by: Cindy Connors & Brian Troy
director of photography: Brian Troy
field producer & 2nd unit camera: Bethany Ditnes
field producer: Julia Fisher
editor: Brian Troy
audio engineer: Donna Weinsteiger

Fork in the Road from Brian Troy on Vimeo.

Gigi also wanted to express her gratitude to all of those involved on this project.  Below is her note that I received yesterday.

"Once again, Blue Hill Farm has rallied around a special project. Missy and Jessica, thank you so much for your enthusiastic support for this effort!

I was truly touched by the tears and cheers accompanying our tack room screening yesterday and the collective, "Awwww..." at Hobbs' appearance on-screen.

Many thanks to the on-screen talents of Jessica, Missy, Brian McIntosh and Mary Hazzard at Blue Hill and, across the road at Chesterland, to Bruce Davidson and Jan Smith!

Devon and David, Carli and Brigitte produced an immaculate barn as a back-drop and Rachel turned Rio out beautifully as well as wrangling Hobbs in the flower garden!  The farm, itself, played a central role in the cinematography and never looked more beautiful with many thanks to Margarito, Oscar and Ignatio!

Many thanks to Pari Nurrish for the still photography at Blue Hill and to Lisa Thomas and Susie Tuckerman for the Chesterland photographs!"  ~  Gigi

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gigi Inducted Into Equestrian Hall of Fame at Stoneleigh Burnham!!

On September 27th, I had the great honor of being inducted into my high school alma mater's, Equestrian Hall of Fame at the Stoneleigh Burnham School in Greenfield, Mass.  Of course, our first stop on campus was the barn where we were greeted by the current Director of Riding, Mina Payne (a classmate of my sister Ricki's at Stoneleigh) and shown to the "Wall".

With my niece, Michele, Charlotte and my sister, Ricki
My introduction to the following panel discussion included the premier of 'A Fork in the Road', the moving mini-documentary about my equestrian career. (Very well-received with a few tears and a standing ovation!)   Great questions ensued from the students and faculty, regarding: one's favorite school horse, balancing college level academics with sport and goals before retirement. I told them that I had no intention of retiring and would be riding off into the sunset....

Before we set off for cocktails, my family surprised me with a lovely portrait given by an old family friend and superb equine artist, Susan Sponenberg!

Cocktails and a surprisingly (not what I expected after four years of boarding school "cuisine") delicious dinner were followed by the award ceremony itself.

My tribute, delivered by the current Headmistress, Sally Mixsell, had my brother (a retired Chief of Police) in tears. Stoneleigh Burnham was very important to my mother, a 1946 graduate and a long time member of the board of directors, and Sally's heartfelt comments regarding my family's close ties to the school and my equestrian experience just overwhelmed him.

My "back to my roots" weekend continued with a quick visit to May and Denny Emerson in Strafford, VT.  Susan McLean and I spent a beautiful afternoon talking to May and Mimi Leslie and watching Denny ride and teach.  I worked for the Emerson's for seven summers when I was in high school and college, including 1974 and 1976 when Denny won a team Gold Medal at the World Championships at Burghley and was an alternate for the Bromont Olympic team.

In a fitting commemoration of the weekend, I asked Denny to autograph my copy of "How Good Riders get Good". His sage advice on becoming a  successful International competitor certainly worked for me....twice!

Once again, I marvel at the good fortune I have enjoyed in my life! Thanks, again, to all of you, my family, friends, teachers and supporters who have made it all possible!