Oct 15, 2017

Foxwood High Finishes on Top of the Fair Hill CCI3*

By Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff
Selena O'Hanlon and Foxwood High. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Foxwood High has only jumped one clear show jumping round this year, but Selena O’Hanlon has been focusing on that phase with John and Judy Rumble’s 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Rio Bronco W x Evita 2) to make the clean rounds happen. Her hard work paid off in spades today as show jumping clinched her the win in the 2017 Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI3*.

O’Hanlon started the competition in the lead with Foxwood High, but they added 1.6 time penalties on the cross-country course to their 39.4 to drop from first to second. When the leaders Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights dropped three rails in the final phase, O’Hanlon was able to regain control of the CCI3* by adding just three time penalties on the show jumping.

Selena O'Hanlon leads the victory gallop with Foxwood High. USEA/Leslie Mintz.

The three time penalties would have proved costly if Rutledge had just had two rails, but O’Hanlon’s gamble to go slow for a clear round paid off. “Today, I got a little worried because he started show jumping by braille, which leads to rails usually, so I decided to take the time it took to have a clear round because that was my goal and I am glad that it all worked out in the end.”

“Verticals are our nemesis,” continued O’Hanlon. “He keeps jumping the oxers better and better, and time has always been a question for this horse. When I first started eventing him I couldn’t fit the strides in without choking him so I left them out and jumped flat. Now I can fit them in but I am still jumping the verticals flat.”

“It feels exhilarating,” O’Hanlon said after her win. “I am super exciting for this horse at this level. It was a personal best all the way through. I couldn’t have asked for more from him.”

William Coleman and Tight Lines. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

William Coleman and Tight Lines made an impressive move up the leaderboard throughout the competition – proving that Fair Hill is never a dressage competition. The Conair Syndicate’s 10-year-old French Thoroughbred gelding scored a 46.3 for 13th place following dressage and finished on that score for second place and USEF National CCI3* Champion.

“He was magic yesterday on the cross-country – he made it feel like it was well within his capabilities and today he just tried his heart out. I think the horse’s biggest attribute is that he just gives 100 percent all the time. He isn’t the easiest but he is really trying and as long you can harness that in the right ways you can do some good things. I just will have to reproduce it now over and over again.”

Like O’Hanlon, Coleman has been working diligently on the show jumping with Tight Lines. Last year the gelding was sitting in a similar position – he ran double clear around cross-country, but the final phase didn’t go to plan and he had four rails down to head the wrong direction on the leaderboard.

“That horse isn’t the easiest horse to show jump and I spent a week in Kentucky with Richard Picken show jumping him,” said Coleman. “I have regularly been show jumping him at an A rated show about once a month, and I think the practice of going into the ring with him has been really good.”

Coleman attributes Tight Lines success to his program. “I think we still have some things to clean up, but I like my program with Richard so we are just going to keep working.”

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

If you had told Boyd Martin he would be sitting in the press conference following Tsetserleg’s first CCI3*, he would have never believed you. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be sitting here on Sunday afternoon,” said Martin.

However, Christine Turner’s 10-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall x Thabana) added just 1.2 time penalties on cross-country to his dressage score of 46.1 to finish in third place and as Reserve USEF National Championship.

“He is a newer horse for me,” explained of the horse bred by New Spring Farm. “He came to me 18 months and to be quite honest I didn’t think much of the horse. He just doesn’t wow you at home, but when you get to a competition he all the sudden grows to about 17.2 and he jumps as high as you want to jump and moves like Totilas. We saw that this weekend, and I think he is a real proper four-star horse. The biggest thing is he is such a trier, gutsy trier. I think this weekend he just impressed me in every single way and I think I have got myself a new, exciting four-star horse of the future.”

The special awards won in the 2017 Fair Hill CCI3* are:

Sportsmanship Award: Tim Bourke
Highest Placed American Thoroughbred Mare: Cecelia (ridden by Daniela Moguel)
Alexander MacKay Smith Trophy: Wembley (ridden by Tamra Smith)
Best Presentation: Jordan Linstedt
Highest Placed American Thoroughbred: Paddy the Caddy (ridden by Erin Sylvester)

Full results are available here.

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