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.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce the addition of the Modified Rider division beginning at the 2023 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. The USEA AEC will move back to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky August 29–September 3, 2023.
Are you interested in competing in the sport of eventing but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Do you have a horse that is looking for a new career? Consider participating in a USEA New Event Horse (NEH) competition in 2023! The USEA NEH Program was created to be an introduction to the sport of eventing for both horse and rider, and the 2023 NEH Calendar is now available here.
Will Coleman had a huge 2022 with his string of horses, including a team silver medal at the FEI World Eventing Championship in Italy on Off The Record and top four-star placings with Chin Tonic HS, but it was Dondante whose consistency paid off to earn the Standlee Premium Western Forage USEA Horse of the Year title.
Julie Murray has loved horses since she could breathe, so when her daughters showed an interest in Pony Club and then eventing, she was thrilled to go along for the ride.
Murray started volunteering at the Fallbrook Pony Club near her home in Fallbrook, California, serving as an intermediate district commissioner.