Dressage took center stage on the blustery first day of The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day with both the CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L kicking off. Will Coleman and Dondante owned by Team Rebecca LLC and The Four-Star Eventing Group sit atop the leaderboard in the CCI4*-L division after earning a 33.8.
"He's a greener horse. He's a 9-year-old and this is his first long [format]," said Coleman of the Irish Sport Horse gelding, sired by Pacino. "The [windy] conditions were kind of challenging this afternoon and he's a pretty spooky guy, so I'm proud of him. He's not going to be mistaken for a dressage horse, but he tried very hard and I'm pleased with his improvement."
"He's got a lot of personality; he's a hilarious horse," added Coleman, who bought Dondante from Richard Sheane of Cooley Farm as a youngster and has produced him up the levels. "He's huge, about 17.3! He wasn't that when I got him. He grew a whole hand in the first year. He's cool; he's an honest horse. I can't tell you how rewarding he's been to train."
Lauren Kieffer and the 11-year-old KWPN gelding D.A. Duras (Numero Uno x Medoc) owned by Debbie Adams and Jacqueline Mars are close behind with a 35.4.
Alexandra Knowles and Katherine O'Brien's Morswood, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ricardo Z x Princess in Arms), round out the top three with a 36.3.
By day's end, two riders shared the top of the CCI3*-L leaderboard. Both Caitlin Silliman on Ally KGO (owned by Q-Brook Stables) and Holly Payne Caravella on CharmKing (owned by CharmKing LLC) earned a 29.8. Payne Caravella was delighted with the 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cassito x O-Heraldika), who performed well during the gusty conditions. "I was concerned because he is a little noise-sensitive, and with the wind today I had taken him out for a gallop to take the edge off and he was actually a little too quiet in the ring. But I would rather have that any day than have him be explosive."
Silliman was equally pleased with Ally KGO, an 8-year-old Trakehner mare by Hirtentanz *E* who competed in the YEH Championships at Fair Hill a few years ago. "She did both the 4- and 5-year-olds, so it gives you a bit of confidence when you go in the ring. She is quite a hot horse and with tough conditions today on a spooky, sharp one with the wind, the flags, the cross-country jumps, there was quite a bit of atmosphere in the ring. But she was a really good girl and was very focused and rideable today."
Dressage continues tomorrow with the rest of the CCI4*-L and CCI3*-L competitors.
The Virginia Horse Trials are held twice yearly at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia (Area II). At their event in May, they offer Starter through Advanced/Intermediate horse trials, CCI*-L, CCI2*-L, CCI2*-S, and CCI3*-S FEI classes, and USEA Young Event Horse classes. At their event in October, they offer Starter through Advanced/Intermediate Horse Trials and CCI*-L, CCI2*-L, CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI3*-L, FEI divisions.
"No matter how old you are, be open to all disciplines, learn how to ride a dressage horse, a gaited horse, a show jumper. Go fox hunting and point-to-pointing and horse showing. You’ll learn from all of them and when you do decide which discipline you want to do, you’ll be better at it anyway.”
The University of Findlay’s Three-Day Eventing Team was established in 2013, the same year USEA voted and approved the USEA intercollegiate program. The UF team has over 30 members encompassing a variety of majors at the university. The team has access to two indoor arenas, a large outdoor arena, and 70 acres of on-site cross-country fences.
Bellamy, an Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding of unknown breeding, came to Tamra Smith’s farm in Southern California with his mane half-way down his neck and filled with burrs. Bellamy had been sitting in a field for a little over a year after unseating several riders in a row and Smith, known for being good with tricky horses, agreed to take him on.