Elkton, MD – The second day of dressage at the Dansko Fair Hill International CCI got off to a late start on Friday after lightning storms caused an hour delay. Rain continued to threaten throughout the day and struck during the first rides of the final afternoon session as competitors completed the first phase the USEF National Two and Three-Star Eventing Championships. In the CCI3* Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot hold the lead going into the cross country with a score of 43. No one was able to catch Thursday’s CCI2* leader Susan Beebee and Wolf as their score of 40.8 proved to be unassailable.
USEF National Three-Star Eventing Championship
Three-star competition got underway Friday with all 34 entries contesting their dressage tests in front of the Ground Jury of Angela Tucker, Janine Rohr and Wayne Quarles.
Burnett (The Plains, VA) and Jacqueline Mars’ Harbour Pilot were the first combination following the lunch break and presented a steady, rhythmic effort to hold the lead after the dressage. The classy nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding flowed easily through the three-star test demonstrating three lovely gaits.
“I was quite nervous; it’s been a bumpy year trying to figure it out in all three phases. But he’s such a showman. He’s so rideable; he doesn’t get tense or nervous. He knows what to do in the little white box,” said Burnett. “It’s very exciting for Miss Mars, who bred him and has known him his whole life, so that’s cool.”
The pair is no stranger to success having claimed Team Gold and Individual Silver medals at last year’s Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Burnett will look to claim her second USEF National Three-Star Eventing Championship after having claimed the National Title in 2010 with St. Barths. The 26-year-old always looks forward to coming to Fair Hill, but is leading after the first phase for the first time.
“I’m really excited to be back here; I love this event. The course looks great,” said Burnett. “I’ve never won the dressage here before, so that’s exciting. I’m happy to be here on Harbour Pilot; he’s a cool horse.”
Cruising into second place in both the CCI3* and National Championship was Marilyn Little (Frederick, MD) and RF Smoke on the Water. Raylyn Farms’ seven-year-old Wurrtemberg gelding scored 44.8 for his accurate, forward effort.
“He’s very brave and very confident. He’s in his element tomorrow,” said Little. “Today is my hardest phase. So I get to enjoy the rest of the weekend.”
Lying third is Heather Gillette (Califon, NJ) and Kathleen McDermott’s 16-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred Our Questionnaire with a score of 48.6.
USEF National Two-Star Eventing Championship
The second half of the CCI2* completed their dressage tests today but the 30 horse and rider combinations that went down centerline in front of the Ground Jury of Ulrich Schmitz and Gretchen Butts were unable to crack the top two placings. Beebee (Southern Pines, NC) and her nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding will set-out on tomorrow’s cross country with the CCI2* and National Championship lead. Danielle Ditching (Roswell, GA) and The Graduate were able to maintain their second place standing. The 14-year-old Sachsen-Anhaltiner scored 41.4 on Thursday.
Read more about Thursday’s dressage here.
Doug Payne (Pottersville, NJ) and his own and Amelia and Larry Ross’ Crown Talisman slotted themselves into third place at the end of the day. The nine-year-old Thoroughbred/Holsteiner gelding scored 41.7.
For results, visit: http://www.evententries.com/livescoring/15135.html.
By Helen Murray
For more information about the Dansko Fair Hill International CCI, visit: http://www.fairhillinternational.com/.
Follow the 2012 Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.