beginning of 2006 is a time to say "Hail and Farewell" to friends who
will not be with us in the New Year.
says a sad farewell to two old friends - to North Georgia, the Chatsworth CIC***,
and to the Foxhall
Georgia, held at Bouckaert Farms, in Chatsworth, Georgia, was always beautifully
run by Carl Bouckaert's expert crew. It is difficult to realize we will no longer
be driving into that lovely green valley - Ted and I called it "The Emerald
City" - heading for another super competition. No more fire breathing dragon
on the Cross Country course; no more Captain Mark Phillips designed water complex
which suited Preliminary, Intermediate and Advanced levels equally well; no more
super performances by the best in the sport of Eventing in their last preps for
Rolex or Badminton - Phillip Dutton, Kim Severson, Karen O'Connor - they all ran
well at North Georgia (Kim is pictured at the right jumping the fence in the
water on He's Got Rhythm, in 2004.); no more roast beef dinners at the Dalton
Depot, with its model trains in the foyer and its real freight trains right outside
the window; no more lunches at the picnic tables in the stable quadrangle; no
more happy memories from Chatsworth.
Foxhall CCI*** ran the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous and that's the
truth! Remember Jim Richards telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution that
Foxhall offered more prize money than Badminton? (and the AJC printed
it) - Foxhall didn't, though one year it came close. Remember Jim Richards telling
the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Foxhall would attract crowds
of more than 100,000? (and the AJC printed that as well) - unfortunately,
that prediction never came close to coming true. Jim tried, he tried very hard.
The Flower Show seemed like a great idea; but, it didn't work. Why would the people
of Atlanta go to the Atlanta Hunt Meeting; but, wouldn't touch Foxhall with a
stick? - who knows?
Press Center was sort of a microcosm of Foxhall. It went from a reasonable size
tent with insufficient electrical outlets and insufficient phone lines; to a bigger
tent with a full service bar and a full time bar tender and hot luncheons (and
insufficient electrical outlets and insufficient phone lines); to a perfect size
tent with plenty of electrical outlets and phone lines; to absolutely NOTHING
last year. Ironically, the Atlanta Journal Constitution never sent
a reporter, though the Dalton newspaper did in a year when there was no longer
a Press Officer, so the regular equestrian reporters helped him out as best they
more the best competitors in the sport of Eventing ran their Three Star horses
at Foxhall over another great course designed by Mark Phillips. (Part of eventingetc's
actually a photograph of Phillip Dutton jumping onto the island at Foxhall.) The
happiest memory of Foxhall is each year's winner sipping Champagne from the beautiful
silver trophy. (Steve Bradley, the 2005 winner and one of only two Americans
ever to have won the Burghley CCI****, in England, is pictured above at the left
drinking Champagne from the great trophy.) No more great competitions and
happy memories from beside the Chattahoochee.
shall be done for an encore? A couple of brash young upstart competitions will
try to fit into the shoes of North Georgia and Foxhall - they will find those
shoes too large for a while; but, in a few years they'll grow into them and we
will all have brand new sets of recollections.
now let's all say, "Thanks for the memories," to
Carl Bouckaert and Jim Richards, while we yearn for Dalton, the Carpet Capital
of the World, and wish that we were Way Down Yonder on the Chattahoochee.