Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa (Shannon Brinkman)
Elkton, Md. – The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International began Thursday with the first half of the CCI2* field completing their dressage tests and U.S. entries taking initials steps toward 2013 USEF National Two Star Championship honors. Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa seized the lead following the first day of competition scoring 41.4 in front of the Ground Jury of Judy Bradwell and Bobby Stevenson.
Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and the Pancho Villa Syndicate’s 10-year-old Selle Francais cross gelding were the second pair down centerline on Thursday and posted a score that would not be topped. The U.S. team veteran rode a very accurate test with the expressive gelding to lead after the first half of dressage by two-and-a-half points.
“He went quite well; I thought he did a good test,” said Martin of the horses he only began riding in the spring of 2013. “He’s got natural talent and he did a very accurate test. I’m quite happy.”
Martin has represented the U.S. at both the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and the 2012 London Olympic Games and has put a priority on finding horses that have the ability to be near the top of the leaderboard after the first phase.
“I’ve been trying to select horses that are strong in the dressage,” said Martin. “That’s where I’ve come up short in the past.”
At the end of the day Thursday, Sharon White and Under Suspection stand second in both the National Championship and CCI2* competition. White (Summit Point, W.V.) produced an accurate, polished test with Mary Ann Ghadban’s nine-year-old Holsteiner mare to score 43.9.
White has only been riding the talented mare since April, but has quickly built a rapport with the talented mare.
“I’m on just a lovely horse. She is very kind and she’s easy; it’s been very fun,” said White. “She knows I adore her and she loves that.”
Lying third in the USEF National Two Star Championship and fourth in the CCI2* is Danielle Ditching (Roswell, Ga.) and her own 15-year-old Sachsen-Anhaltiner gelding, The Graduate, on a score of 47.2.
Great Britain’s 2004 Olympic Games Gold medalist, Leslie Law, stands third in the CCI2* with Billy Wiz.
The latter half of CCI2* competitors will complete their dressage tests on Friday with Australia’s Kate Chadderton and VS McCuan Civil Liberty starting off the day at 9am ET.
Additionally, the CCI3* gets underway with all 45 competitors heading down centerline.
By Helen Murray
To learn more about The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International, visit http://www.fairhillinternational.com/fhi-cci/.
Follow the 2013 Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.