Laurels at Landhope International Combined Driving Event and Autumn Celebration Also Combines Art and Horses, Along With Other Great Events
RELEASE: August 27, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: By Stephanie Lawson
Great artists and great horses both call the Brandywine Valley home. September 11-13, artists and equestrians will join forces to present an international equestrian competition that features a juried show and sale of original works of local sporting artists. The Laurels at Landhope International Combined Driving Event & Autumn Celebration, one of only two international events of its kind in the U.S., benefits from and also contributes to this unique culture that makes the Brandywine Valley a stunningly beautiful place to visit.
Famous for its artists, including three generations of Wyeths and Howard Pyle, who established the Brandywine School of American Illustration, southern Chester County, PA, is also horse country. Horsemen and artists, including Jamie Wyeth and George “Frolic” Weymouth, are often one and the same, and as a community, they have permanently protected and preserved more than 32,000 acres of the spectacular rural landscape so that horse sports can continue to flourish. Among this gorgeous open space is the 44 acres on which The Laurels is held. Proceeds from the event raise funds for the Brandywine Conservancy and Cheshire Hunt Conservancy, which preserve open space and support the Brandywine River Museum, as well as The Large Animal Protection Society and New Bolton Center, which improve the lives of horses.
Visitors to The Laurels at Landhope International Combined Driving Event & Autumn Celebration will see the best drivers from Canada, Mexico, and the United States compete in an exciting, three-phase event. Combined driving requires a unique partnership between horse or pony and driver that relies on training and trust. An offshoot of ridden three-day eventing, it features the elegance of dressage, the excitement of cross-country and a cones course, an intricate test of skill and precision. Dressage is held Friday, marathon on Saturday, and cones on Sunday.
Concurrent with the equestrian competition is the juried show and sale of original art, featuring nearly a dozen accomplished local artists, many of them also equestrians. Among the artists are:
• Sculptor George McMonigle, former Senior Director of Sculpture for the Franklin Mint and elected member of the National Sculpture Society and the Society of Animal Artists, who now works mainly in bronze.
• Gordon Allen, illustrator of more than 20 books on fishing, hunting, waterfowl and other sporting subjects, whose etchings and paintings en plein air are shown and collected nationwide.
• Laurels at Landhope board member and lifelong equestrian Jean Dunphy, whose return to painting coincided with her move to Unionville, PA, where she and her husband ran one of the country’s most prestigious thoroughbred nurseries. Having studied in Rome, she specializes in murals and paintings of horses and dogs.
• Beth Secor, a lifelong equestrian whose passion for art has taken her to England and Africa. Reviewers have praised her “rich, vivid use of color and sense of fun.”
• Sandra Severson, whose award winning paintings have been exhibited at the Kentucky Derby Museum, International Museum of the Horse, and Museum of Hounds and Horses, and which reside in public and private collections in Europe, Brazil, and Morocco as well as North America.
• Photojournalist and artist Ray Lawler, whose works in a variety of media are inspired by his travels to more than 50 countries.
Beyond horses and art, The Laurels offers jazz, antique cars, terrier races, activities for kids, shopping and even a luau. Kids Corner, with games, face painting and crafts, runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Trade Fair runs throughout the weekend and features a variety of vendors offering jewelry, art, antiques, collectibles, equine/canine inspired giftware, equine and equestrian equipment, elegant country-style apparel, farm equipment, carriages, and carriage appointments. The Barbone Street Jaz