Â The annual Hermitage Classic makes a welcome return Sept.13-15 at the picturesque 700-acre Hermitage Farm. Dozens of skilled equestrians will thrill fans by tackling the most difficult course to date.
Aside from the horse-filled action, the weekend promises to have a plethora of entertainment in music, local merchants, and food. There is no better way to spend a weekend with the familyâ€“â€“ added to the fact that for the first time general admission is free of chargeâ€“â€“The Voice-Tribune decided to give readers a low-down to the Classic and all that it has to offer.
Friday, September 13
When: 9 a.m.Â
The dressage stage allows onlookers to see the horses and drivers in all their splendour, going through an intricate set of manoeuvres and poses, while drivers guide their steeds through specified patterns and gaits to demonstrate the skills and obedience of the horse all before the watchful glare of the strict judges.
Saturday, September 14
Cross Country Marathon
When: 10 a.m.
With approximately 40 competitors lined up for this yearâ€™s Classic, one of the most anticipated events will undoubtedly be the cross country portion of the competition. Drivers will take their horses and carriages around seven mile length course over the rolling landscape of Hermitage Farm, culminating in a set of brand new obstacles and hazards that are sure to wow the crowds. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to claim the best spots in the house.
Strategically placed at the most exciting stage of the cross country race, with water hazards and obstacles aplenty, ticketed guests can sit back in the hospitality tent, eat, drink and enjoy the thrills and spills of the race. Live music, courtesy of the Dixieland Band, while food, courtesy of catering laid on by Wiltshire Pantry, will feature a multitude of delicious options such as focaccia sandwiches with house roast Beef, arugula and horseradish, heirloom tomato and ricotta tarts as well as a selection of fresh fruits and cheeses. Tickets available online at www.hermitagefarm.com for $100.
Fun for the Kids
This year Hermitage is excited about the Classic Kid Zone, where courtesy of Honey Hill Farms, a mobile petting zoo as well as pony pulled carriage rides will be on hand to keep the little ones entertained amidst the backdrop of competition.
If that wasnâ€™t enough, six in hand Clydesdale draft horse demonstrations will come courtesy of the Brelee Clydesdales from Troy, Ontario who will make an appearance on both the Saturday and Sunday of competition.
Sunday, September 15
Â Cones Competition
When: 10 a.m.Â
Testing the fitness, agility and nerve of competitors the cone competition promises to a be a tense but exciting affair as drivers aim to negotiate the cones course without knocking any down and being strictly penalized. Contests are often won and lost here alone. Guests again are encouraged to arrive early to stake a place.
Korbel Champagne Brunch
When: 11 a.m.Â
What better way to wake up to the competition on Sunday than to indulge in a champagne brunch courtesy of Korbel and Wiltshire Pantry? Under the great tent, directly opposite the cones competition, attendees will be treated to mouth-watering options such as: spinach and roast wild mushroom frittatas, brioche casserole with local peaches and maple syrup as well as a selection of classic French breakfast pastries and assorted savory baguette sandwiches. Tickets are $45 and are still available online at www.hermitagefarm.com.Â Not available on the day of the event.
Aside From Horses…
If that wasnâ€™t enough, throughout the weekend, Hermitage will play host to a smorgasbord of local vendors during competition, including: Tenth Post Handwovens who will have an on-site loom to show how they make textileâ€™s for the modern home, Hound Dog Press will be selling some of their favorite posters, cards and stationery, as well as Gift Horse â€“ a local shop that focuses on handmade jewelry, clothing and accessories.
All events are free unless otherwise noted.