Fair Hill, MD – October 18, 2013 – Nearly ideal conditions and appreciative spectators rewarded horses and riders in the second day of dressage competition at the 25th Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International and United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) CCI*** and CCI** Eventing Championships. Brilliant autumn weather also provided a stunning backdrop to the beautifully presented USEA Young Event Horse Championships sponsored by Spalding Labs and Fleeceworks, this year’s record number of competitors finishing today after being judged on Jumping and Suitability.
Jennie Brannigan, West Grove, PA, rode Nina Gardner’s 11 year-old Irish Thoroughbred Cambalda in a fluid and forward dressage test to score 42.6 penalties and take the lead in the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI***. “It was a smooth test, I didn’t have any big errors. I was really happy with him but really you just hold your breath until you hear your score,” explained Jennie. “My goal is to have a good go for the owners – the Gardner’s are just amazing. Tim Gardner said, ‘I just want you to have fun this weekend.’ How lucky am I to have owners like this!”
Standing in a close second is Doug Payne, Pottersville, NJ, with Amelia and Larry Ross’ and his own Crown Talisman. Doug was pleased with the effort of the 10 year-old Thoroughbred/Holsteiner cross gelding, scoring 43.6 penalties. “He can be a tense horse, but he is incredibly smart and athletic,” said Doug. “With help from Linda Zang, Betsy Steiner and my mother (Marilyn Payne) I think I have finally learned how to ride him – most exciting is that he still has potential to improve even more.” Just 0.4 penalties behind in third place on 44 penalties after the dressage is Katherine Groesbeck, Temecula, CA, and her own 16 year-old Anglo-Arab, Oz the Tin Man. Katherine was awarded a Land Rover Competition Grant to travel east to the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International.
CCI** overnight leaders Boyd Martin, Cochranville, PA, and the Pancho Villa Syndicate’s Pancho Villa maintained their top position on 41.4 penalties, as none of the CCI** competitors today were able to break into the top of the standings. Yesterday’s second and third-placed competitors Sharon White, Summit Point, WV, and Mary Ann Ghadban’s Under Suspection, and Leslie Law and his wife’s Billy Wiz also held their rankings, 43.9 and 44.2 penalties respectively.
All three experienced riders commented on why they make the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International a goal event of the year. Boyd pointed out that, “You’ll learn a lot about your horse by the end of the weekend.” Leslie agreed, and said, “My horse’s biggest challenge doing his first two-star is the cumulative effect of the questions on the course. And the main arena will be a lot to look at!” referring to the large keyhole cross country fence combination located in the William duPont, Jr. Arena.
Cross country action begins at 9 a.m. with the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI** at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area. CCI*** competitors will set out on course at 1 p.m.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) 2013 East Coast Young Event Horse Championships sponsored by Spalding Labs and Fleeceworks crowned two new champions today. The overnight leader in the Five-year old division, Mr. Bojangles, a Thoroughbred gelding bred and ridden by Bruce Davidson, Sr., won the Championship after today’s Jumping and Suitability phase with a total final score of 82.53. Mr. Bojangles was purchased last year by Bruce’s son Buck Davidson, who then gave half ownership to friends Carl and Cassandra Segal as a thank you for their support and sponsorship. Buck said, “He is a really nice horse, really easy in every way. He has done a couple of Preliminary events, he is just a ‘steady eddie’.”
The Five year-old Reserve Champion honors went to Esccord RGS, owned and ridden by Katie Murphy. The Hanoverian gelding bred by Page Brook Farm accrued a final score of 81.05. Katie remarked about the benefits of the USEA Young Event Horse program and its impact on her training. “Garth was the champion four year-old here last year. This program has helped me properly evaluate his development and progress. To come back and do well this year is great.”
In the Four-year old division, Quarlotta, an Oldenburg mare ridden by Lillian Heard, confidently jumped around the beautifully presented jumping test of show jumping and cross country obstacles to secure a final winning score of 85.97. “I am ecstatic,” said Lillian, “She really shined in the jumping.” Owner and breeder Laurie Cameron said while this was the first time she had horses to qualify, her breeding program was spurred on by an article she read by Eventing legend Denny Emerson, asking American breeders where they were. Laurie explained, “I am a long-time breeder, but a small program supported by my full-time ‘real job’. But I said, ‘Denny, I’m here!” Laurie’s second entry, Early Review, a four year-old Hanoverian also ridden by Lillian Heard, was awarded the Safe Harbour award by Marilyn Payne, Young Event Horse judge. The award recognizes the most outstanding young horse in both divisions that displays the most characteristics of ridability throughout all of the phases.
Finishing in reserve in the four year-old division was MTF Cooley Caliber, owned by Morningside Training Farm and bred by Patrick McGree. Ridden by Skyeler Voss, the Irish Sport Horse/Connemara cross gave a strong jumping performance to finish on a total score of 83.43. Skyeler was pleased with the ride, saying, “This was a good test. It really tested every element. The horse is much more confident and this was a good finale to end the year.”
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.
The Kid’s Corner returns, offering a variety of activities for the younger set. Magical puppets Silly Goose and Val will perform on Saturday. Mike Depuy will fascinate with his Art and Sport of Falconry demonstration on Saturday, including several live birds of prey. Miniature horses will be performing on Saturday, courtesy of the DelMarva Miniature Horse Club.
The popular canine demonstrations will be highlighted with some new and exciting opportunities for dog owners. In addition to agility and flyball demonstrations, all dog owners are invited to participate in a “show and go” 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 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.