Fair Hill, MD -Competitors and spectators were greeted to a full day of competition and beautiful autumn weather at the opening of The Dutta Corporation Fair Hill International CCI *** and CCI** Championships at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area on Thursday.
Following the first day of dressage competition, Kim Severson of Charlottesville, VA and Cooley Cross Border, owned by The Cross Syndicate, lead the CCI*** with a score of 45.8 penalties. Buck Davidson of Ocala, FL on Wiley Post, owned by Lisa Darden, is currently second scoring 49.0 penalties and Marilyn Little of Frederick, MD is third on Raylyn Farm's RF West Indie with 52.4.
In the CCI** Peter Barry, Quebec, CAN, riding his own Long Island T, is on top of the leaderboard with 44.5 penalties. While Barry had mixed emotions about his test, he valued the experience that his horse will gain. "It was a nice test. He was good and relaxed. I maybe had warmed him up a little bit too long. At the end he felt a little bit more subdued that I wanted him, but he worked very well," said Barry. "This is a very important show on the calendar. I walked the [cross country] course and feel that my horse will grow up and feel like a bigger horse. It is a very nice course, the footing is very nice. I feel it is an important step in his education going forward."
Phillip Dutton of West Grove, PA and Z are second in the CCI** with 45.3 penalties and Doug Payne on his own Lysander is third scoring 46.6. Dutton agreed that Fair Hill was valuable. "I think this is a championship course and a great education for the horses and riders. We are fortunate to have in this country a real proper two-star and three-star [competition] to finish the year on."
Dressage competition resumes at 8:00 a.m. Friday, with the second half of the CCI** and CCI*** competitors performing their tests for their respective international Ground Juries. Competition officials this year for the CCI*** include President Nick Burton (GBR), and members Christina Klingspor (SWE) and Gretchen Butts (USA). Judging the CCI** are President Angela Tucker (GBR) and Mark Weissbecker (USA). Rounding out the international panels are Technical Delegate Jonathan Clissold (GBR) and Assistant Technical Delegate Andrew Temkin (USA).
Taking place concurrently in the William T. duPont, Jr. Main Arena is the United States Eventing Association (USEA) 2015 East Coast Young Event Horse Championships. The Young Event Horse Championship for four- and five-year old horses of any breed is being held for the seventh year at Fair Hill International. This competition focuses on education and preparation of the event horse, judging Conformation and Type, Dressage, and Jumping/Suitability and Potential.
Kelli Temple of Round Hill, VA currently leads in both the Five-year-old and in the Four-year-old divisions. Temple's five-year-old mount is Metallica, a Holsteiner mare owned by Kara Angulo and Charlotte Hogg. The pair scored 41.86 and Temple is particularly pleased with the result for Metallica's owner and regular rider, Angulo.
"She's just a lovely mare. She's completely business-like. She has a fantastic temperament and Kara has done a beautiful job of preparing her," said Temple. "All I had to do was sit in the tack and look pretty, honestly, and steer her around! She only wants to do the right thing."
Temple rode Frame Bye Bye America to the top of the leaderboard in the four-year-old division with a score of 39.78. Temple co-owns the Selle Francais gelding with Christine Stiller. "He's like my soul mate," said Temple. "He has an amazing trot and is just a showman. He loves it. He got here and it was like he thought, this must be a party all about me!"
Young Event Horse competition culminates Friday with the Jumping/Suitability and Potential judging, where points will be added to today's Conformation and Dressage scores to determine the USEA East Coast Champion Four- and Five-year old Young Event Horses. The Jumping competition will begin at 8:00 a.m. Friday at the Saw Mill Field at Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area.
For more information on this year's Fair Hill visit www.fairhillinternational.com.