Fair Hill, MD - October 16, 2015 - Tamra Smith of Murrieta, Calif. and William Coleman III of Gordonsville, Va. came forward today on young first-timers to take the lead following the dressage portion of the Dutta Corporation Fair Hill International CCI3* and CCI2* Championships at the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area.
In the CCI3* Smith was pleased with Mai Baum's inaugural performance at the CCI3* level, scoring 38.5 penalties with the 9-year-old German Sport Horse gelding owned by Alex Ahearn.
"He was phenomenal, he was great," said Smith. "He's just getting better and stronger and I am really pleased with how he felt. I had one little bobble, my second change [of lead] wasn't clean, but other than that everything else was super."
Jessica Phoenix, Ontario, CAN thought Pavarotti, owned by Don Good, gave her a wonderful birthday present with an "amazing" performance in dressage. The pair stands less than a point behind the CCI3* leaders Mai Baum and Tamie Smith with 39.2 penalties.
"He was amazing. It is so much fun riding that horse," said Phoenix. "He is an incredible, competitive horse and I love every minute of riding him. Being able to do this on my birthday was really special. I was trying as hard as I could to catch Tamie and we almost did."
CCI2* leader Coleman thought the hard work leading up to Fair Hill paid off scoring 42.5 penalties on Tight Lines, the 8-year-old grey French Thoroughbred owned by the Conair Syndicate.
"It was probably the best test I have ever done on this horse. We've been working really hard on his dressage," said Coleman. "The horse looks the best he's ever looked and I couldn't be happier with him today. We had two tiny mistakes but he honestly did a great test and I was really proud of him."
Peter Barry, Quebec, CAN riding his own Oldenburg gelding Long Island T is currently second with 44.5 penalties.
Phillip Dutton of West Grove, Penn. stands third in both the CCI2* and CCI3*. His CCI2* mount Z has 45.3 penalties and Mighty Nice stands on 43.5 penalties in the CCI3*. Even though Mighty Nice is a seasoned eventer, this is the first time competing at the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International. He is looking forward to taking the Irish Sport Horse on the cross country course Saturday.
"It's going to be a good educational course for him. He's obviously done a few CCI3* before, but I think it's a great track and good fitness test. Fitness is going to play a part probably more so than a lot of the other courses we do, so that's also educational for all the horses and riders and I am looking forward to the day."
Coleman observed that the CCI2* horses may find designer Derek DiGrazia's cross country course challenging: "You walk around and it starts out and I think everyone probably feels pretty good about the beginning and then it just kind of builds and builds and builds and at the last third, there are two or three very significant questions. With younger up and coming horses that you are going to see in the CCI** I think it is going to be important that the riders keep their horse on their game as they finish."
The exciting Cross-Country phase begins at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday with CCI2*. The CCI3* is scheduled to begin after lunch at 1:40 p.m.
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. Local band John & Friends will be appearing at the food court during lunch on Saturday, sharing a taste of old-time Appalachian music. On Sunday, the Riverside Carnival Band, one of the mid-Atlantic's leading New Orleans jazz bands, will be performing throughout the day.
The always popular Kid's Corner is located just inside the main gate, offering a variety of activities for the younger set. Mike Depuy returns 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 crowd-favorite canine demonstrations will be highlighted with some new and exciting opportunities for dog owners. Dog Agility demonstrations and free mini-lessons will be offered Saturday and Sunday. Frisbee dogs are returning this year. The Appalachian Air Canines Frisbee dog club will run three games on Saturday up by the VIP tent.
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.