A special Parade of the Hounds will be part of the fifth annual three-day Plantation Field International Horse Trials and Country Fair, according to a press release.
Huntsman Ivan Dowling will parade a pack of spectacular hounds on Sunday at a mid-morning break during the final day of the event. This year is a special celebration as Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds celebrates being a registered pack of foxhounds in the United States for a century. Originally from England, the pack has been crossbred with American bloodlines.
The three days of Eventing competition, known as the triathlon of the horse world, will take place at picturesque Plantation Field, once part of the King Ranch, just outside of Unionville. On Friday, September 21, the Dressage phase will be held and admission is free. The parking fee for the Saturday, September 22 cross country day and Sunday, September 23 show jumping day will be $20. The fee includes admission to the grounds for everyone in the car and a program.
Plantation Field is located at 387 Green Valley Road, Unionville. Competition each day will take place from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. with main events beginning late morning each day. The shops and country fair operation begins at 9 a.m. Proceeds benefit the Cheshire Land Preservation Fund and The Barn at Spring Brook Farm. For more information see www.plantationfieldhorsetrials.com.
Also, every car though the gate on Saturday or Sunday will be entered in a raffle to win a lesson from a member of the 2012 Olympic team.
Dowling, as Huntsman, steers the hounds on a daily basis, training the younger hounds and overseeing their activity and development. At Plantation Field, Dowling and his Whipper-in will demonstrate, in full dress, riding with 20 to 25 hounds, as they gallop a lap around the ring.
Dowling will speak to the crowd about his love of the sport and the importance of open space. 'Without fox hunting there would not be the open space for riding; this local sport has helped preserve land from being developed,' he said.
'Plantation Field is offering something new events for the family this year, including a jousting demonstration during competition on Sunday,' said Denis Glaccum of Plantation Field's executive committee. 'Those doing the demonstration have been performing at Renaissance Fairs all over the region. We're also looking for two 'celebrity squires' to hand the lances to the jousters.'
Featured during the three-day event will be members of the United States Olympic Equestrian team, including Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton of Chester County and Karen O'Connor of Virginia. 'We are excited to have the Olympic team members at Plantation Field. Thousands of people from this area have been watching them compete in London and now they can see them in person at Plantation Field,' Glaccum said.
'Plantation Field is important for the riders because the Eventing competition results are used to qualify for national and international championships,' said Plantation Field's Amy Ruth Borun. 'We are expecting more than 200 riders from Canada, the Midwest and East Coast to compete during the three days. Plantation Field is one of a few three-star competitions along the eastern seaboard. Some of the best riders and horses will be here.'
Eventing is comprised of three varied and challenging phases of competition, including dressage, cross-country jumping and show jumping. Dressage consists of an exact sequence of movements ridden in an enclosed area. Judging is based on balance, rhythm, suppleness and obedience of the horse and harmony with the rider. Cross country includes jumping of fences over a three-mile course and requires both horse and rider to be in excellent physical condition. Show jumping tests the technical jumping skills of the horse and rider.
'Plantation Field is the perfect setting for the Eventing competition,' Glaccum said. 'Chester County is a Mecca for all types of equestrian pursuits. Championship horses have been bred and trained in the county and some of the top riders in all disciplines of riding and jumping have called Chester County home.
'The county is also known for its history and preservation of open space. One of our beneficiaries is the Cheshire Land Preservation Fund. The Fund helps preserve our pristine open space and farm land. Our other wonderful local charity is the Barn at Spring Brook Farm. The Barn provides free animal-assisted activities for children with disabilities.'
Besides the Eventing competition and enjoying the spectacular view, spectators will be treated to a country fair. 'This is a family-friendly event,' Borun said. 'There will be activities for children, food and shops with equestrian themes. Plantation Field is the perfect venue to spend time with the family.'
Also new for 2012 is a tailgating competition. 'Tailgating is a wonderful tradition,' Borun said. 'It's part of the festive atmosphere. The Whip Tavern will judge the 'Festive Fall' themed tailgates and prizes will be awarded. Space is limited, so those interested should contact us.'
A limited number of tickets are available for the VIP Sunday Branch, held ring-side on Sunday, for the Show Jumping phase. Tickets can be purchased through the website, www.plantationfieldhorsetrials.com. The seats are the best ones in the house to view the Show Jumping.
Glaccum added, 'We're expecting large crowds this year. Plantation Field International Horse Trials provides sponsors with a unique opportunity to showcase businesses. We are still accepting sponsors, program advertisers and vendors. Those interested should visit www.plantationfieldhorsetrials.com.'