Up to the Challenge

Fair Hill takes center stage as it hosts the second 5 Star event in United States.

From The Hunt Magazine, Fall 2021

By Michael Bradley

Photos by Jim Graham

When Lillian Heard was growing up on a small horse farm in Maryland, the idea that one of the world’s premier eventing competitions would take place near her home wasn’t even a consideration. Now, she’ll be riding in the first-ever Fair Hill 5 Star competition this October at the Cecil County property’s venerable grounds.

It’s a remarkable opportunity for the local standout, who’s participated in other 5 Star events in Kentucky and Europe. “There aren’t many 5 Stars in the world, so it’s a huge deal to have another one on this continent—not to mention in my backyard,” says Heard says. “During my career, if you wanted to do a 5 Star in a month other than April (when the Kentucky competition takes place), you had to raise $30,00 to travel abroad. That’s tough on the horse. You show up in Europe with a little less of a horse.”

There are six other 5 Star eventing competitions around the world. The Fair Hill meeting will be the seventh. Eventing’s three-discipline contest requires riders to excel in dressage, cross country and show jumping. The 5 star level is the top of the sport. “It attracts the best horses and best riders from around the world,” says Boyd Martin, a highly decorated eventer who competed in the Tokyo Olympics. “There are just a few events at this level in the world. The prize money and the difficulty of the course attract the A-listers.”

Read the full article HERE: The Hunt-Fall-21