Oct 17, 2019

Dondante Dances to an Early Lead at Fair Hill

By Fair Hill International - Edited Press Release
Will Coleman and Dondante. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

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 D.A. Duras. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

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 Morswood. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

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."

Caitlin Silliman and Ally KGO. Shannon Brinkman Photo.

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.

All CCI4*-L phases will be livestreamed on USEF Network and you can follow along with the CCI3*-L via the live scoring.

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