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Chester County Press

Brandywine Hills Point-to-Point returns with COVID-19 precautions

04/05/2021 07:40PM ● By Steven Hoffman
The precautions put in place during the past year to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have cancelled or severely limited many local events that take place annually.
Just last week, the Brandywine-Red Clay Alliance, which holds a springtime road and waterway cleanup every year, had to cut back not only on the number of volunteers, but to insist on face masks and no-contact distribution of equipment.
A week later, executive director Jim Jordan had a decision to make about another event: the 78th running of the Brandywine Hills Point-to-Point races, which serves as a substantial fundraiser for the alliance and attracts large numbers of the local equine community. It was scheduled for Easter Day, April 4.
Jordan said prior to the cleanup that he was hesitant about the upcoming point-to-point, but out of consideration for the local horse-owning and fox-hunting community, he wanted to give it a try. He said they are, as a whole, very conservation-minded, and he felt they deserved at least some semblance of celebration of the event.
This year was like no other.
Attendance was limited to horse owners, riders and press with permission. There was no tailgating, no children’s activities and no vendors. Everyone had to wear masks unless they were actually riding horses.
Everyone who came faced a tough check-in procedure with temperature-taking, registration-checking and release-signing. Once past the entrance exam, they were issued wristbands to show that they had been screened.
At the beginning of the event, some of the organizers expressed concern that the routine they had been used to was not the same. Additionally, the participation in some youth pony races had diminished and was combined two-to-one.
Still, the young riders in the large-plus-small pony races proceeded, and the crowd favorite – the lead line race for very young children – garnered plenty of enthusiasm.
Having completed the races for youth, the three-mile timber races began with the horses vaulting jumps along the course.
The results are as follows:
Junior Field Masters Chase (youth ponies): William Slater on Chewy
Farrascha Challenge Cup (youth under 13): Carly Kern on Mallory and Elllet Sharp on Fionna
Downhill Challenge: Carly Kern on Goose
Lady rider: Skylar McKenna on Aggressive
Joseph Murtagh Memorial: McLane Hendricks on Officer Sydney
Henry Latrobe Roosevelt Challenge Trophy: McLane Hendricks on Brooklyn Speights
Henry C. Baldwin Challenge Trophy: John Brophy on Grand Manan
Foxhunter Timber: Courtney Dankanich on Pincer Movement