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.
It's the day we have all been waiting for, cross-country day at the inaugural Maryland 5 Star! Both the CCI5*-L and CCI3*-L field will contest Ian Stark's terrain-filled track across the historic grounds at Fair Hill today and there is lots of chatter about how the questions, terrain, and time allowed might impact the current placings.
Chris Talley came into the Dutta Corp USEA YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championships knowing that the Corwin Sport Horse LLC’s owned 5-year-old Hanoverian mare Gina (Gentleman x Ballerina) possessed a lot of quality, but to emerge victorious out of the 42 horse field was an absolute treat for the pair.
No one could catch Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class in the dressage arena today despite the remaining 23 pairs' best effort. Angela Hislop’s 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ramiro B x The Swallow) will stand at the top of the leaderboard on a 21.1 heading into the Maryland 5 Star cross-country – the day which is on everyone’s mind.
Yesterday half of the CCI5*-L and CCI3*-L pairs had their turn in front of the judges at the 2021 Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, and today the remaining groups will canter down centerline in the main arena. The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships also kicked off yesterday with the 4-year-old champion being crowned and the 5-year-olds doing their dressage and conformation phases.