Fair Hill, MD - October 18, 2014 - Boyd Martin, Cochranville, PA and Master Frisky managed to maintain the lead in The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) CCI*** in Elkton, MD on Saturday, but it is still anyone's game going into the final day of competition as seven penalties separate the top four.
Martin picked up two time faults in the cross country phase for a two-day score of 45.4 penalties. He brought six horses to Fair Hill and he rode Master Frisky, owned by Stephen Blauner, third out of the four entered in the CCI***. Martin thought the arrangement helped his chances.
"I was pretty lucky to ride Master Frisky third because I got two chances to assess the course out," said Martin. "I had a bit of an advantage knowing what parts of the course I could take my time at where I could save up some time."
Local rider Jennie Brannigan stands second with 48.2 penalties. The West Grove, PA resident is pleased with her cross country performance on Cambalda, owned by Nina Gardner. "When I left the box today, I was a bit calm I knew this horse should jump around. I knew he was going to have his day and I was really happy with how the course rode."
Caitlin Silliman, Cochranville, Pa, is third with 52 penalties on her Holsteiner mare Catch A Star. "I felt good coming in," said Silliman. "If I ride her well she goes well. She's the kind of horse where if you give her confidence at the first five she just builds and builds the whole way around."
Martin entered the cross country phase with the top dressage score, but his time faults on the Derek di Grazia designed course opened the door for Buck Davidson, Ocala, FL and Caroline Martin's Petite Flower. Davidson, going fourth from last in the order, entered the day with a dressage score of 44.8. He had a chance to overtake the leader, but instead had a run-out with his Thoroughbred mare and they retired from the competition. Davidson fared much better with his other mount, The Apprentice, owned by Sherrie Martin. The pair incurred 8.4 penalties to end the day in fourth with a combined score of 52.4 penalties.
The sizable crowd enjoyed beautiful weather, but remnants from rain earlier in the week had its effect on the course and an adjustment was made to the CCI*** course in the interest of safety. After the first group of riders experienced trouble at fence 15A & B, the Persimmon Tree Turn and Floating Bushes, Technical Delegate Jonathan Clissold felt that the footing deteriorated too much so 15A was removed leaving the remaining riders to jump only 15B.
Victoria Jessop Tops CCI** Going into Final Day of Competition
In the CCI** Victoria Jessop of Great Britain and Middleburg, VA captured the lead on Desert Mystery before half the field even started. The faultless ride on her 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding with 41.3 penalties was especially rewarding.
"I've had him since he was three... we have a great partnership," said Jessop. "We've taken a long time because he needed it mentally, so it was a real reward today to actually sort of put it all together. He gave me a great ride. Cross country is his forte, he loves it. He's got a great gallop and he was not tired and that feels good. So, it was a great day!"
Jessop has been to Fair Hill before but this her first time in the saddle. "I have been the grunt for many years but never got to be the rider so it was pretty great."
Julie Richards, Newnan, GA and Urlanmore Beauty also rode to a double clear to stand on 43 penalties. Kim Severson, Charlottesville, Va moved up to third on Cooley Cross Border with 43.6.
The cross country course was a challenge for the CCI** field with only 76 out of the 114 starters completing the course. Dressage leader Matthew Brown, Petaluma, CA finished, but had a refusal with Happenstance, owned by Mary McKee, dropping the pair out of contention with 76.5 penalties.
The Dutta Corporation Fair Hill International, started in 1989, continues at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area in Fair Hill, Maryland, through Sunday, October 19.
Visitors to the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Festival in the Country can once again look forward to the fashionable Country Shops, which feature over 40 vendors selling tack, jewelry, artwork, pet needs, exceptional apparel and fine gifts for the approaching holiday seasons. The VIP Tent offers fine dining, while visitors seeking a more casual snack or meal will find pubs around the Fair Hill grounds serving classic Maryland crab cakes and other treats. On Sunday, the Riverside Carnival Band, one of the mid-Atlantic's leading New Orleans jazz bands, will be performing throughout the day.
A newly renovated Kid's Corner will be making a debut, offering a variety of activities for the younger set. The popular canine demonstrations will be highlighted with some new and exciting opportunities for dog owners. In addition to Dancing Dogs and Dog Tricks demonstrations, all dog owners are invited to participate in a "show and go" practice Agility class that will let them test their dog's potential for agility competition.
Classic cars will be on hand Sunday (weather permitting) for those who want a chance to reminisce about their younger years, as well as for younger people looking to connect with icons from an earlier era.
The Dutta Corporation Fair Hill International, started in 1989, continues at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area in Fair Hill, Maryland, through Sunday, October 19, offering one of the most prestigious international three day events in the world.
The Dutta Corporation is a leading international horse transportation company that is also the Official Shipper for the United States Eventing Team. The Dutta Corporation has donated free transportation for the winning horse-rider combination of this year's Three-Star Championship to any Three-Star event in Europe. Additionally, The Dutta Corporation is sponsoring the electronic scoreboard at the event.
The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Festival in the Country benefits Union Hospital of Cecil County, in Elkton, MD. The hospital, whose mission is to enhance the health and well-being of the residents of Cecil County and its neighboring communities, has been caring for area families and neighbors for more than 100 years.
For more information on this year's Fair Hill, including how to purchase tickets and complete schedule information, please call (410) 398-2111 or visit www.fairhillinternational.com.