Tag Archives: Fair Hill International

Elliot, Libby, Stutes, Smith Selected for Jacqueline B. Mars National Competition and Training Grants

Sydney Conley Elliot competing at Great Meadow International. Photo: Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Gladstone, N.J. – Oct. 4, 2018 – The United States Equestrian Team (USET) Foundation is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the Jacqueline B. Mars National Competition and Training Grants: Sydney Conley Elliot, Emilee Libby, Frankie Thieriot Stutes, and Tamra Smith. The grants are awarded to eventing athletes who have been identified as having an impressive record and potential to represent the United States in future international competitions. These four riders will be traveling to the East Coast to attend The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI2* and CCI3* Oct. 18-21 in Fair Hill, Maryland.

Elliot, of Bossier City, Louisiana, has been diligently training and competing with her partner of five years, Cisko A. The talented pair earned themselves a spot on the Tier 2 Training List after they performed the only double-clear cross-country round for the U.S. Nations Cup team at Great Meadow International in The Plains, Virginia, in July.

“It is such an honor that we have all the support from Mrs. Mars and the USET Foundation,” Elliot said. “It means a lot to up-and-coming riders who are trying to get where they need to go and especially for me being so far away and removed from the eventing community. It is such a huge help.”

She continued, “This is going to be our second go at Fair Hill. The last time we ran around [Fair Hill International] was leading up to Kentucky in 2016 so we’re hoping to improve upon the dressage and again have clean cross-country [rides] and hopefully no time [penalties] or rails in show jumping. That would be lovely. I feel like with the help of Phillip Dutton and Erik Duvander, we should be able to put our best foot forward. A lot of us could not do this without the help of the USET Foundation. The support they give all of us and the horses is absolutely incredible.”

Libby, of Temecula, California, made her mark on the eventing scene when she jumped around a CCI4* at just 18 years old before moving to California to source and develop top event horses.

She brought her current mount, an 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood named Jakobi, through the ranks and her dedication to his training recently paid off as he moved up to Advanced Level in May.

“I’m blown away,” said Libby. “I’m so, so happy. It kind of feels like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Doing what I’m doing now, I will be able to come to the East Coast and compete. I was a little bit indecisive originally a few months ago on whether to just come out for Fair Hill or come out early and run at Plantation. My gut was telling me to come out early and run on the grass and spend a few weeks conditioning back here on the East Coast before going, but it was going to be hard to do because I have a business back home and I have horses in training.”

Libby continued, “[The grant] is a huge, huge help. I would like to say a huge thank you to Jacqueline Mars and the USET Foundation for this opportunity. These grants are wonderful to have available to riders in the United States. I’ve had [Jakobi] for a few years now and we have quite the relationship. I think he is going to be more than ready.”

Stutes of Occidental, California, has had immense success at the CCI3* level with two top four finishes aboard her partner Chatwin, a 10-year-old Oldenburg by Contendro. The gelding, who Stutes has had since he was coming 6 years old, has never had a cross-country jumping penalty in 16 FEI starts.

“I feel incredibly honored to be chosen for this grant,” said Stutes. “It’s hard for me to even express my gratitude to the USET Foundation, Mrs. Mars and the US Equestrian (USEF) selection committee for their support and belief in Chatwin and me.”

She is especially looking forward to competing at Fair Hill International as it will give her an idea on whether she and Chatwin are ready for the CCI4* level.

“Having done Bromont and Rebecca Farm, I feel like Fair Hill is the next step in deciding whether or not we’re ready for a CCI4* next year or if we should stay at the CCI3* level longer since neither of us have ever contested a CCI4* and Chat is still just 10,” said Stutes. “Additionally, it’s an opportunity to compete against the best riders and horses in our country and see how we measure in terms of our competitiveness amongst them.”

Smith, of Temecula, California, also received the Jacqueline B. Mars National Competition and Training Grant in 2017 and is excited to see where the opportunity takes her this year with her horse, Mai Baum. The talented pair won the Fair Hill International CCI3* in 2015.

“Firstly, being able to have the opportunity to have the financial support is huge. We’re out on the West Coast so we travel all the way East and we have already been here for a month. It takes a significant amount of time, money and effort to come out here. [The grant] really enables us to financially be able to handle it a little bit easier. It is wonderful. It not only helps solidify that what you’re doing is on the right track, but it helps offset the costs of spending three months out here.”

In regard to Mai Baum, a German Sport Horse gelding, she said, “I feel like he has a really bright future and I’m super lucky to have him as a horse in my string. He won Fair Hill in 2015 and then had an injury, but he has come back even stronger and better. I’m super excited to now be able to go to Ocala and show what we’ve got.”

Having the support of the USET Foundation as well as Jacqueline Mars is also something that Smith is grateful for as she continues on her path towards representing the United States at the highest levels of eventing.

“It is tremendous. Their support not only helps you make yourself believe that there are people behind you, but it also helps as my goal is to ride on the United States Olympic team, so to have the USET Foundation and Jacqueline B. Mars support that is just one step closer to getting to where we are trying to go,” Smith expressed. “We want to try to be the best and get the U.S. team even better, so to have their support is unexplainable. I’m so grateful for it.”

Smith also expressed her gratitude for the USET Foundation’s support as she received another grant from Jacqueline B. Mars that will allow her to travel to Boekelo, The Netherlands with her mare, Fleeceworks Royal, to compete on the Nations Cup team.

“I just want to thank them not only for Mai Baum’s grant but also for the grant given to Fleeceworks Royal. I am so grateful for everything,” she said.

Make sure to follow these athletes as they compete at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI2* and CCI3* Oct. 18-21 by visiting www.fairhillinternational.com.

For more information on the USET Foundation, visit www.uset.org.

Contact: Rebecca Walton
phone 561.753.3389 fax 561.753.3386

Coleman and Smith Earn USEF CCI3* and CCI2* Eventing National Championship Titles

Will Coleman and Tight Lines (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

O’Hanlon Claims CCI3* Victory at Fair Hill International Three-Day Event

Fair Hill, Md. – The show jumping phase proved influential for CCI3* competitors on Sunday at the 2017 The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event, with Will Coleman and Tight Lines claiming the title of The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3* Eventing National Champions. Tamra Smith and Sunsprite Syrius remained unaffected by the challenging show jumping phase to close out a start-to-finish win of the CCI2* division.

In the CCI3*, the leaderboard shuffled to put Canada’s Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High on top as the winning pair of the 2017 The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event. It was a rollercoaster weekend for O’Hanlon (Ontario, Canada), as she bounced from first to second and back on top again with Foxwood High, a 14-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding owned by John and Judy Rumble. Ultimately, the CCI3* win and a $15,000 prize were hers for the taking after she added three deliberate time penalties in Sunday’s show jumping to finish on a score of 44.0.

Coleman (Charlottesville, Va.) and Tight Lines were crowned The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3* National Eventing Champions and second overall at the 2017 The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event after a faultless show jumping round left them on their dressage score (46.3) as the highest placed American pair. As the national champion, Coleman will also receive one free, round-trip flight to Europe, for one horse from The Dutta Corp.

“He was magic yesterday on the cross-country. I was thrilled with how he ran. He made it feel like it was well within his capabilities, and today he just tried his heart out,” Coleman said of The Conair Syndicate’s 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. “I think the horse’s biggest attribute is that he just gives 100% all of the time. He’s not the simplest, but he really tries. As long as you can harness that the right way, you can do some good things. We’ll just try to reproduce it now over and over again.”

A clear round catapulted Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Christine Turner’s 10-year-old Trakehner gelding Tsetserleg to third place in the CCI3* for The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3* reserve champion title. A score of 46.1 in the dressage and 1.2 time penalties on cross-country gave them a final result of 47.3.

“He’s a newer horse for me,” Martin commented on his talented partner. “He just doesn’t wow you at home, but when you get to a competition, this horse all of the sudden grows to about 17.2, he jumps as high as you want to jump, and moves like Totilas. We saw that this weekend at Fair Hill.”

Smith’s (Murrietta, Calif.) show jumping trip proved successful on Sunday as she completed a wire-to-wire win in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI2* Eventing National Championship with Sunsprite Warmbloods’ Sunsprite Syrius. The nine-year-old Trakehner gelding ended the weekend on his dressage score of 40.9.

“I’m thrilled. He was perfect in every phase, and I couldn’t have asked him to be better. He show jumped today like a million bucks,” Smith said proudly.

For Smith, a win like this means all the more for the horse’s owners, Pamela Duffy and Donald Trotter of Sunsprite Warmbloods. “The owners have a fairly small to medium breeding farm in southern California, and Pam [Duffy] is very diligent about breeding horses and what horses she acquires for the sport,” explained Smith.  “I’m just really happy for them. It’s been kind of a long road to get here, so I’m thrilled for them.”

Coleman and Off The Record moved nimbly around Sally Ike’s winding show jumping track to finish in second place in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI2* Eventing National Championship. The Off The Record Syndicate’s eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding avoided jump penalties throughout the weekend for a final result of 49.8.

“Anytime you finish a three-day event on your dressage score, I think it’s a major accomplishment,” Coleman said proudly. “This horse has done it twice this year, which I’m really proud of. There are some things we will try to improve on over the winter. He’s been consistent this year, and that’s something we can hang our hat on.”

Matthew Flynn (Reddick, Fla.) and Get Lucky, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Flynn Sporthorses, steadily climbed the leaderboard through all three phases, ending the competition in third. Only 0.4 cross-country time penalties marred their finishing result of 50.4. Get Lucky was also awarded the Best Presentation Award.

“I was really happy with him in all three phases,” said Flynn. “I was disappointed to be one second over [the time on cross-country], but such is life. For him, I’m thrilled. It’s his second two-star event and he’s been third here before, so it was nice to repeat it.”

The John H. Fritz Trophy was awarded to Sophia Click as the highest-placed Young Rider in the CCI2* division. Nina and Tim Gardner’s FE Lifestyle, a seven-year-old Warmblood gelding, earned the USEF National Young Horse Championship title for six- and seven-year-old horses. The Small But Mighty Award was given to Colleen Rutledge’s (Frederick, Md.) 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Uno for being the smallest equine to complete the CCI2*.

For further information on The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International, visit www.fairhillinternational.com.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department/Classic Communications

Rutledge Gallops to CCI3* Lead at Fair Hill International Three-Day Event

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Smith’s Control of CCI2* Continues

Fair Hill, Md. – Spectators and competitors enjoyed a thrilling day of cross-country at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event, where international pairs proved their mettle over Derek di Grazia’s challenging track. Colleen Rutledge held on to her lead in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI3* Eventing National Championship with Covert Rights, and Tamra Smith and Sunsprite Syrius kept their lead in the The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI2* Eventing National Championship.

A fast cross-country round gave Maryland native Rutledge (Frederick, Md.) and her own Covert Rights the top position in the CCI3* division. The 11-year-old Thoroughbred cross gelding remains on his dressage score (39.8) after a fault-free performance.

“He gets every gold star I could possibly give him. He saved my butt when I got us into trouble, and he was foot-perfect at 90% of the course,” Rutledge commented, noting that she had experience on her side with four-star partner Covert Rights. “Luckily, I know that he’s got the experience behind him. He’s already done two four-stars. He reads the fences. He’s so much more mature now, and he’s so much more experienced now, where I could just gallop down and see the stride from six strides away and attack the fences. That was probably one of the most fun cross-countries that I’ve had in a long time.”

Overnight leaders Selena O’Hanlon (Ontario, Canada) and Foxwood High finished four seconds over optimum time to drop them into second place. John and Judy Rumble’s 14-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding picked up 1.6 time penalties to sit on a two-phase result of 41.

Will Coleman (Charlottesville, Va.) and The Conair Syndicate’s Tight Lines leapt from 13th to third after an incredible cross-country effort. The 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding continues on a score of 46.3.

“He never lacks run or gallop. He’s just an animal out there. It was a hard course, but I thought it was a proper test. I think it’s a testament for the cross-country riding in this country,” Coleman commented. “It was a difficult three-star, and I’ve ridden a lot of three-stars around the world, and I would put Fair Hill at the very top, in terms of difficulty.”

Smith (Murrietta, Calif.) and Sunsprite Warmbloods’ Sunsprite Syrius were the first combination to come home clear within the time on Saturday’s cross-country. The nine-year-old Trakehner gelding made quick work of di Grazia’s course to remain on his dressage score (40.9) going into Sunday’s show jumping finale.

“I didn’t know what to expect. He hasn’t been in an environment like this before. He was super. He didn’t question one thing. He was spot on. You bring them here to the two-star at Fair Hill and know if you definitely have a three-star horse and beyond, and I definitely feel that,” Smith said of the young horse’s promise.

Following Smith’s lead, Cornelia Dorr (Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.) also remained in second place with her own Louis M, a 12-year-old Rheinlander gelding. Dorr piloted both Louis M and her own fifth-placed Sir Patico MH, an 11-year-old Zweibrucker gelding, to double-clear cross-country results.

“My first one, ‘Hugo,’ was amazing. He and I have a wonderful relationship. I felt super-confident with him. It was nice to go out and do all that with him, then be able to make tighter lines on Louis. They were both great and super-fit. I’m happy with them,” Dorr smiled.

Again in the CCI2*, Coleman climbed the leaderboard, this time with Off The Record, an eight-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Off The Record Syndicate. The duo completed the course penalty-free to move into third place on a score of 49.8.

“I was proud of him. He’s an eight-year-old horse, and he was second in [The Pedigree Bromont CCI2*] this year, and the last four to five times out he’s been in the top five. So he’s been consistent. That’s what we are going for, for all the horses this year, trying to build consistent performances throughout all three phases,” Coleman remarked. “I think it was a proper test with a pretty good group of horses here. [The Dutta Corp./Fair Hill International Three-Day Event] gets billed as a two-and-a-half-star, and I think people have a lot of respect for it and come ready.”

For further information on The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International, visit www.fairhillinternational.com.

From the US Equestrian Communications Department/Classic Communications

Little and Brannigan Win USEF National Championship Titles at Fair Hill International

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous (Shannon Brinkman Photography)

Fair Hill, Md. – The final day of competition for The Dutta Corp./USEF Two- and Three-Star National Championships took center stage on Sunday at Fair Hill International. Winning the Three-Star title was Marilyn Little with RF Scandalous. Little held the top two spots on the leaderboard throughout the weekend with RF Scandalous and RF Demeter. RF Scandalous ultimately won the National Championship while RF Demeter took Reserve Champion honors. In the Two-Star, Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois were foot-perfect in show jumping to hold onto their overnight lead and earn The Dutta Corp./USEF Two-Star National Championship title.

Little (Frederick, Md.) began her successful weekend with solid dressage performances aboard both horses. On day one of dressage, Little rode a focused test with Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe and Michael Manders’ 2005 Oldenburg mare RF Scandalous, who was fluid and obedient throughout the test to score 41.50 for the lead. On day two, Little laid down another good test with Jacqueline Mars, Raylan Farms Inc., and Patrick Witte’s 2002 Oldenburg mare, RF Demeter. Though a bit tense at times, the mare managed to earn a 44.50, putting Little one-two going into cross-country. RF Demeter cruised over the Derek di Grazia-designed course to remain on her dressage score and take over the lead. Little took her time with RF Scandalous, as the mare is relatively new to this level, and added 4.80 in time penalties to her score to sit in second overall. RF Scandalous turned in a foot-perfect show jumping round on Sunday, though, to win top honors in The Dutta Corp./USEF Three-Star National Championship with a score of 46.30. Little’s second ride of the day, RF Demeter, had an unlucky rail, dropping the pair from first to second, ending with a total of 48.60 and taking home Reserve Champion honors.

“I really couldn’t have had a better day with those two,” said Little of her winning mares after show jumping. “RF Scandalous was lovely out there. She showed what an exciting horse she is now and for the future.” Commenting on her ride on RF Demeter, Little observed, “I truthfully thought it was Demi’s weekend. It’s just the way the chips fell but she’s just as deserving and is truly an incredibly horse and partner, and has made my time in eventing so special.”

With rails causing problems for the top horse-and-rider combinations, Hannah Sue Burnett (Reddick, Fla.) piloted Mary Ann Ghadban’s Under Suspection to a clean round to move the pair up from sixth to a third-place finish with a score of 49.60.

Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois (Shannon Brinkman Photography)
Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois (Shannon Brinkman Photography)

In the CCI2*, Brannigan (Kennett Square, Pa.) brilliantly rode her own and Elsbeth Battel’s Stella Artois throughout the weekend to win The Dutta Corp./USEF Two-Star National Championship on her dressage score of 44.50. On the strength of a double-clear cross-country round, Brannigan moved up from second going into Sunday’s show jumping phase. The 2008 Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare made light work of the Sally Ike-designed course to secure their title.

“With Toddie (Stella Artois), it’s a connection,” said Brannigan. “I’m just thrilled. I had her overly fit for this event. I’m so happy; she jumped well. Even though I was feeling nervous going into it, but she felt fit and ready to go.”

Reserve Champion honors went to Emily Beshear (Somerset, Va.) and Deep Purple Eventing’s 2006 Irish Sport Horse mare Silver Night Lady. The pair led after dressage thanks to a brilliant test that earned a score of 43.00. Adding two time penalties on cross-country, the pair slipped to second, but maintained its position on the leaderboard with a clear show jumping round to end the weekend on 45.00.

Beshear commented on her ride aboard Silver Night Lady. “I’m thrilled mostly for the group that’s behind me, the Deep Purple Eventing group. My goal from the beginning was to get a two-star qualifier done this year. Coming here and finishing second really helps to make everyone realize the effort we all put in. To me it’s balancing her out and keeping her focused in the ring without messing with her too much. She was jumping out of her skin. I’m certainly happy with that.”

In third with a 45.80 was Lauren Kieffer (Ocala, Fla.) riding Jacqueline Mars homebred, Landmark’s Monaco, to round out the top three in the Two-Star National Championship.

Earning the USEF Developing Rider National Championship as the top-placed rider in the CCI3* that has not completed a CCI4*, was Jenny Caras (Cartersville, Ga.) with her own Fernhill Fortitude. Chelsea Kolman (Versailles, Ky.) and her own Dauntless Courage won USEF Two-Star Young Rider National Championship while Matthew Flynn (Reddick, Fla.) and Flynn Sport Horses, LLC’s Wizzerd took the USEF Young Horse National Championship.

Complete Results

From the USEF Communications Department

USEF Announces USEF Eventing Competition Grant Recipients for Fair Hill International CCI3*

Lexington, Ky. – The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the recipients of Land Rover/USEF Eventing Competition Grants for The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI3*, October 13-16, 2016, in Elkton, Md.

The following athlete-and-horse combinations have been awarded Land Rover/USEF Eventing Competition Grants (in alphabetical order):

Amber Levine (Rohnert Park, Calif.) and her own Carry On, a 2007 KWPN gelding

Heather Morris (Wildomar, Calif.) and Team Express Group’s Charlie Tango, a 2008 Irish Sport Horse gelding

From the USEF Communications Department

Byyny and Blyskal-Sacksen Earn Well-Deserved National Titles at The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International

Jan Byyny and Inmidair (Shannon Brinkman)

Elkton, Md. – The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International came to an exciting conclusion on Sunday with two and three star competitors navigating Sally Ike’s scopey show jumping tracks. At the end of The Dutta Corp/USEF Three-Star Eventing National Championship, Jan Byyny and Inmidair proved to be deserving and popular winners as they claimed their first National Title. While in the morning session Allie Blyskal-Sacksen and Sparrow’s Nio held their nerve to rise one place and claim the USEF National Championship.

The Dutta Corp/USEF Three-Star Eventing National Championship

Two years ago Byyny (Purcellville, Va.) and Inmidair cantered into the William DuPont Jr. Arena leading the CCI3* but two rails down in the show jumping left the pair in third place. But in 2013 the Pan American Games Gold medalist and her own and her parents Dick and Jo Bynny’s 14-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred gelding got redemption as they left the ring The Dutta Corp/USEF Three Star Eventing National Champions.

A clear round looked on tap for the pair until the influential double at fence nine, when the B element hit the floor, Byyny then held her nerve over the remaining three obstacles to finish on a score of 51.6 and claim victory in both the National Championship and CCI3* competition.

“My horse is a pretty amazing jumper; clearly the rail I had was mine,” reflected Byyny about her aggressive ride to nine. “He doesn’t want to touch anything.”

The pair has experienced highs and lows throughout the career together and Sunday’s win was particularly rewarding for Byyny.

“I’ve had some pretty bad luck with this horse. I went to Kentucky (in April of 2013) and the horse had a breathing issue and had to have surgery. I didn’t know if he would ever do another three-star,” said the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games veteran. “This is everything for me.”

Additionally, as the winner of The Dutta Corp/USEF National Three-Star Eventing Championship at Fair Hill, Byyny will receive travel provided by The Dutta Corp to be used for European competition agreed upon by the USEF.

“It’s amazing, pretty special,” said Byyny of The Dutta Corp sponsored flight.

The Dutta Corp has a longtime involvement with dressage and jumping and is excited to become more involved with eventing in the United States.

“I always felt I needed to give back to the community,” Tim Dutta explained of the companies association with the USEF National Championship and Fair Hill International.

Earning Reserve Champion honors in both National Championship and CCI3* competition were Buck Davidson (Ocala, Fla.) and Park Trader. The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games veteran and Carl and Cassandra Segal’s 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding headed into the final phase in fifth place and produced one of seven faultless efforts over Ike’s 12 obstacle track to climb three places.

Davidson has known Byyny since she worked for his father Bruce Davidson during his childhood and while he was very pleased with Park Trader’s performance on the weekend he could not think of a more deserving winner.

“It’s been a job in perseverance; he’s been a difficult horse but the Segals have really stuck with me and the horse. To put three phases together was exciting,” said Davidson about Park Trader, who then continued to talk about his longtime friend. “There’s no way I wanted anyone to win but Jan; nobody deserves it more than she does.”

Davidson and Park Trader finished on a score of 52.6.

Finishing in third place in both the National Championship and CCI3* was Will Coleman (Charlottesville, Va.) and The Conair Syndicate’s Conair. The 10-year-old Anglo-European gelding had a single rail at the first fence to finish on a score of 54.2.

Land Rover Competition Grant recipient, Ellen Doughty and Sir Oberon, added four faults to their score for a single rail down to finish in sixth on a score of 57.6. The Heartland, Texas native and her own 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding were also the winners of the USEF National Developing Rider Championship, as the highest placed pair to have never completed a CCI4*.

Allie Blyskal-Sacksen and Sparrow's Nio (Shannon Brinkman)
Allie Blyskal-Sacksen and Sparrow’s Nio (Shannon Brinkman)

USEF National Two Star Championship

Blyskal-Sacksen (Landennberg, Pa.) and her own 10-year-old Connemara/ Thoroughbred gelding proved popular winners of both the USEF National Two Star Championship and CCI2* as they posted an immaculate clear over Ike’s 11 obstacle course. The pair entered the William DuPont Jr. Arena in second place and produced a polished efficient effort as the 15.3hh Sparrow’s Nio never looked in doubt of a clear round to claim their first National Title.

“It’s really cool to win here; to come here and win is really special,” said the newly minted National Champion.

Blyskal-Sacksen and Sparrow’s Nio were one of only six combinations to finish the weekend on their dressage score after jumping clear and within the time allowed on the cross country and in the show jumping. Since having seven rails down in the show jumping at the Jersey Fresh CCI2*, Blyskal-Sacksen has put a lot of focus on the final with the help of her husband.

“We spent a lot of this summer, practicing and videoing and trying to improve.”

The pair will look to step up to the three-star level in 2014 and Blyskal-Sacksen believes that Sparrow’s Nio is ready for the Advanced level.

“I’ve always known he was a special horse,” said Blyskal-Sacksen. “He has that ‘I’m all that attitude’, that all upper level horses have. Even though he’s only 15.3 he thinks he’s 17.3.”

The overnight leaders, Sharon White (Summit Point, W.V.) and Under Suspection, were poised to claim the National Title with a steady round until Mary Ann Ghadban’s nine-year-old Holsteiner mare rolled a pole in the triple combination. They added four jumping faults and two additional time faults to their overall score to finish on a total of 49.9 and earn Reserve National Championship honors and finish CCI2* competition in fourth place.

The National Young Horse Championship, which is awarded to the top-placed U.S. owned six- or seven-year-old, was awarded to the Fernhill Classic Syndicate’s seven-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Irish Sport Horse, Fernhill Classic. The talented gelding was ridden by Australia’s Ryan Wood to an overall second-place finish in the CCI2* on a score of 49.7.

Jenny Caras (Marietta, GA) and her own Fernhill Fortitude finished off their 2013 campaign by claiming the USEF National Young Riders Championship title, awarded to the top U.S. competitor aged 16-21, on a score of 63.7. Caras and the nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse finished the CCI2* in 12th place.

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.

Byyny and White Lead the Way after Influential Cross Country Day at Dutta Corp Fair Hill International

Jan Byyny and Inmidair (Shannon Brinkman)

Elkton, Md. – Clear rounds were at a premium over Derek di Grazia’s testing cross country tracks on Saturday at The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International on a day that saw skilled and efficient riding rewarded. Jan Byyny with Inmidair and Sharon White with Under Suspection cruised around the scopey and technical CCI3* and CCI2* courses to fly into the lead of The Dutta Corp/USEF Three-Star Eventing National Championship and the USEF National Two Star Championship, respectively.

The Dutta Corp/USEF Three-Star Eventing National Championship

Di Grazia’s 28 obstacle course proved to be extremely influential with 25 combinations galloping through the finish flags and only four of those were able to finish within the 10:03 time allowed. Eleven pairs were eliminated on the course with six retiring and three horses being withdrawn before the cross country.

Byyny (Purcellville, Va.) and her own and her parents Dick and Jo Bynny’s 14-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred gelding set out lying in fifth place and rose four places on the strength of a quick clear round. The veteran pair, which was held briefly on course after jumping the Chesapeake Water at 18 due to a fall by Nora Battig and Steppin’ Out at fence 7 (both horse and rider were unharmed), finished just five seconds over the time to add 2 time faults to their score. The 2007 Pan American Games Team Gold medalist chose to take the long route at the influential Log Drop at 21 but still finished with one of the quickest rounds of the day due to Inmidair’s easy galloping style.

“My horse is a pretty special horse. He’s one of the most experienced horses in the field but he was still amazing,” said Byyny. “I felt that it went to plan and I could ride my plan. It was a fantastic course.”

Byyny and Inmidair led the Fair Hill CCI3* and USEF National Championship after the cross country in 2011 but eight faults in the show jumping meant the pair finished in third place. In 2013 they will look for redemption.

“He is a very naturally careful horse,” said Byyny of Inmidair. “If I ride well and smart he should perform well.”

Will Coleman (Charlottesville, Va.) and The Conair Syndicate’s Conair produced a very tidy and neat effort on Saturday to be the first combination of the day to make the time in the CCI3* and rise to second place. The 2012 London Olympic Games veteran began riding the 10-year-old Anglo-European gelding two-and-a-half months ago but has quickly forged a partnership with the 2012 Blenheim CCI3* runner-up.

“You go out there and try to lay out the best ride possible; I knew it was possible to move up,” said Coleman of his approach on Saturday. “I don’t know the horse particularly well. I tried to go out and ride a good first three-star with the horse.”

They head into the show jumping in second place in both the National Championship and the CCI3*, within a rail of Byyny, on a score of 50.2.

Doug Payne (Pottersville, N.J.) and Larry and Amelia Ross’ and his own Crown Talisman added 6.8 time faults to their second place dressage score to stand in third place after the cross country on a score of 50.4.

The two Land Rover Competition Grant recipients, Ellen Doughty and Katherine Groesbeck, experienced mixed fortunes over di Grazia’s course. Doughty (Heartland, Texas) on her own 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Sir Oberon, produced a double clear effort to remain on their dressage score of 53.6 to climb 15 places stand in sixth place after two phases. Groesbeck (Temecula, Calif.) will ride her own 16-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding, Oz The Tin Man, were third following the dressage but incurred trouble over the course and were subsequently eliminated at fence 20.

Dressage leaders Jennie Brannigan (West Grove, PA) and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda incurred 20 jumping penalties at 13abc, The Dutta Corporation Farm Yard, and 12 time penalties to stand 16th heading into Sunday.

USEF National Two Star Championship

The leaderboard of both the National Championship and CCI2* saw a great shake-up as di Grazia’s 23 obstacle track caused problems throughout the morning session. Eleven combinations were able to produce clear rounds within the 8:20 optimum time with 11 being eliminated on course, a further seven retiring, and five withdrawing prior to the start of cross country.

Sharon White and Under Suspection (Shannon Brinkman)
Sharon White and Under Suspection (Shannon Brinkman)

White (Summit Point, W.V.) and Mary Ann Ghadban’s nine-year-old Holsteiner mare produced a flawless round on di Grazia’s difficult track to raise one place following the dressage. The impressive pair made light work of the undulating course to finish within the time allowed they will head into the jumping phase on a score of 43.9.

Under Suspection was produced by Germany Olympic Gold medalist Dirk Schrade to the two-star level and White has quickly built a rapport with scopey mare she only began riding in April.

“She was amazing everywhere; I realized I was along for the ride and I enjoyed it immensely.” White believes it is extremely important for a rider to be able to quickly alter their plan and thinks it is a huge part of cross country riding. “You can have different plans; you can plan to do a line in three or four (strides) and you can change it up,” said White of her cross country methodology.

White also rode Sheri Weber’s Wundermaske in the CCI3* producing another clear round and just adding 1.6 time penalties to stand in seventh place on a score of 57.6.

“I had a great day,” said White.

Allie Blyskal-Sacksen (Landennberg, Pa.) and her own Sparrow’s Nio produced a quick clear round on Saturday to rise from eighth following the dressage to stand in second place in both the National Championship and CCI2*. The 15.3hh 10-year-old Connemara/Thoroughbred gelding produced the quickest round of the day to maintain their score of 47.8.

“I’ve had him for about three years,” said Blyskal-Sacksen of Sparrow’s Nio. “I wanted to go around and show everyone the little pony could do it. I didn’t plan to go that fast but I was really happy with him.”

Lying third in the USEF National Two Star Championship and fifth in the CCI2* is Danielle Dichting (Roswell, Ga.) and her own 15-year-old Sachsen-Anhaltiner gelding, The Graduate, on a score of 50 after jumping clear and just adding 2.8 time faults to their dressage score.

Dressage leaders Boyd Martin and the Pancho Villa Syndicate’s Pancho Villa incurred two run-outs on the course to add 40 jumping faults and 15.2 time faults to their dressage score. They stand in 39th place on a score of 96.6 after the cross country.

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.

Martin Leads 2013 USEF National Two Star Championship after First Day of Fair Hill International

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.