Weather and fashion dominate at Fitch’s horse trials
MILLBROOK — Brutal heat and steady downpours are par for the course for Fitch’s Corner Horse Trials participants. This past weekend (July 22 to 24) was no exception. The horse trials started on Friday, when heat advisories were in effect across the Northeast. In a concession to the weather, the dress code was relaxed and jackets were waived for the dressage phase of the competition.More than 275 horse and riders teams were given starting times, and despite the challenging weather only a fraction withdrew before completing their rounds.Perhaps, the most compelling story of the weekend was the appearance of Boyd Martin’s Neville Bardos. The horse survived a horrific barn fire that claimed the lives of several mounts in Martin’s barn just two months ago. Neville was entered “hors concours,” which translated from the French means “outside the competition.” Though he wasn’t scored, Martin rode the horse in all three phases of the competition and his ride in the stadium phase had spectators visibly moved. Martin went on to ride four other mounts in the preliminary division, as well as competing in three other divisions. Martin is currently the leading rider in national standings.Fitch’s Corner Horse Trials, in addition to being a popular event among competitors, also is a social event. So much so, that New York Times “On the Street” fashion and society photographer Bill Cunningham comes every year to photograph the goings on.The entertainments for spectators include shopping, refreshments, a classic car parade and a luncheon to benefit the Millbrook Rescue Squad. The luncheon has traditionally been an opportunity for those attending to spiff up and show off their Kentucky Derby-style hats. This year, attendees appeared to fully embrace that aesthetic. Beribboned and bedecked men and women came in boaters, cloches and straw hats. One man wore a garland of flowers on his head and a woman dressed entirely in yellow wore a beehive-shaped concoction adorned with bumblebee pins. During the luncheon, event hosts Fernanda Kellogg and Kirk Henckels presented the Fitch’s Corner Award to Millbrook Hunt members Dick and Donna Verrilli, recognizing their decades-long involvement with the Millbrook Hunt and the community at large. For complete results of the competition go to www.evententries.com/livescoring.