Mother Nature helped welcome nearly 150 upper-level event riders back to Fair Hill, Maryland, for one of the first – and northernmost – international competitions of the spring season in Area II. On a week that started with bone-rattling cold wind, snow, and sleet, the Fair Hill competitors and officials enjoyed mild, breezy, sunny days that invited shorts and shades.
Derek di Grazia’s CCI4*-S and CCI3*-S and Nina Fout’s CCI2*-S cross-country tracks rolled along the venerable turf just off Gallaher Road. This site hosted the Fair Hill International Three-Day Event for many years prior to the arrival of the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, which premiered in the Fair Hill Special Event Zone in October 2021. Dressage and show jumping were held in the spacious William du Pont Arena as spectators looked on.
Ariel Grald and Annie Eldridge’s 13-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Leamore Master Plan (Master Imp x Ardragh Bash), led the CCI4*-S division after dressage, went on to capture first place and the Linda Moore Memorial Trophy donated by Mr. Townsend Moore. Grald also teamed up to take third place with Annie Eldridge’s 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding Forrest Gump 124 (Feurst Nymphenburg x Amaterasu) In between the two, and threatening throughout, was Boyd Martin (the winner of the inaugural Maryland 5 Star) on the Annie Goodwin Syndicate’s Fedarman B, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Eurocommerce Washington x Paulien B). The CCI4*-S track produced a number of clear jumping rounds, but none of the riders finished inside the 6:44 optimum time.
In the CCI3*-S, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp started her blue-ribbon hat trick with a start-to-finish win on her own Marysville Sir Henry, a 9-year-old bay Irish Sport Horse gelding (Sir Shutterfly x Pennies Royale). Leading the division with a dressage score of 23.5, Halliday-Sharp added only time faults for a final score of 32.7. For her win, she received the Judy E Thayer Memorial trophy donated by Mr. Ed Thayer and Friends. Second-place finisher Meg Pellegrini and RF Eloquence, her own 17-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Contender x D-Ginger) were fourth after dressage and a rail in show jumping dropped them to sixth place. A clear cross country round and 4.4 time faults brought the pair back up to claim the red ribbon. Grald’s third trip around the Fair Hill course, this time on Annie Eldridge’s Isla de Coco, an 8-year-old bay Holsteiner mare (Cascadello I x U-Lotti), gave her another third place ribbon to add to the weekend’s collection.
Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp’s second win came in the CCI2*-S division. Riding her own 7-year-old Westphalian mare, Alina SD (Asagao XX x Rubhina), Halliday-Sharp put in clear rounds over the fences and finished on her 29.6 dressage score. She received the J.E.T. Trophy donated by Dr. Sue Livesay. The red ribbon went to Cassie Sanger and Nina Sanger’s Fernhill Zoro, a 14-year-old Anglo European gelding (Verdi x Oronia 2). Allison Springer collected third place aboard Nancy Winter’s Connemara Sport Horse mare, No May Moon (Catherston Dazzler x Ebony Moon).
Taylor Harris Insurance Services generously provided prize money for the three highest-placed riders in the Advanced division–Phillip Dutton, Ryan Wood, and Kevin Keane, respectively. Riders also competed for The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (T.I.P.) awards recognizing the successful re-training of Thoroughbred racehorses. Winning riders and their talented Thoroughbreds took home checks and tricolors. Complete results are listed on the Fair Hill International Results page, sponsored by PNC Bank:
A complete listing of the weekend’s results for all divisions (including A, I, P, T) can be found at the Fair Hill International Results page, sponsored by PNC Bank. Entries are now open for the next recognized event (BN, N, T, P, I) on May 21-22, and open schooling (XC, SJ) dates are listed there as well.
After not running in 2020 and 2021, the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event returned to the Bromont Olympic Equestrian Center in Quebec, Canada, in 2022. America's Jennie Saville (née Brannigan) and Twilightslastgleam won the CCI4*-L, as the chestnut Thoroughbred gelding (National Anthem x Royal Child) bred and owned by Nina Gardner moved up from eighth after dressage into the lead after cross-country with the fastest round on wet ground over the tracks designed by Derek di Grazia. Canada's Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge, a bay Selle Français gelding (Mylord Carthago x Lelia) owned by Patricia Pearce, finished second, and they are among four from the top-10 in the CCI4*-L in 2022 that return in 2023.
Hannah Sue Hollberg of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, was on a winning streak at the Essex Horse Trials on Sunday, claiming victory in both the $10,000 Open Intermediate and Open Preliminary divisions with two horses that are fairly new to her. Some difficulty on cross-country did not stop her mount Hachi from claiming victory in the Open Intermediate with a score of 101.6, while Open Preliminary partner Rockster finished on his dressage score of 27.3.
The great football coach Vince Lombardi said, “We win our games in practice.” With the goal of having the most effective practices possible for horses, their riders, and their coaches, Cathy Wieschhoff explains some signs that can indicate when horse and rider should repeat an exercise, switch it up, or be done with that activity. Wieschhoff brings perspective as a five-star rider that has competed at the Kentucky Three-Day Event and Burghley Horse Trials, a USEF “R” Course Designer for eventing cross-country and show jumping, a former Area VIII chair and member of the USEA Board of Governors, and a Level V USEA ECP Certified Coach based out of Carriage Station Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) is pleased to announce the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team for the FEI Eventing Nations Cup Poland CCIO4*-NC-S at the Strzegom Horse Trials (Poland) from June 21-25, 2023. The team will be under the direction of USEF Eventing Emerging and Development Coach Leslie Law.