The final day of competition took center stage at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI in Fair Hill, Maryland. Sally Ike’s show jumping course was big and forward riding in both the CCI*** and CCI** Fall Championships. Winning the USEF CCI*** Fall Championship with a double clear show jumping round was Marilyn Little with RF Scandalous. In the CCI** Fall Championship Jennie Brannigan was foot perfect in show jumping to hold onto her lead and was crowned as the USEF CCI** Fall Champion.
Little with both horses, RF Demeter and RF Scandalous, were in fine form going into the final show jumping phase. Jumping a clear round aboard RF Scandalous, who initially led the field after dressage, cemented the duos lead and won top honors in the USEF CCI*** Fall Championship with a score of 46.30. Little’s second ride of the day, RF Demeter, had an unlucky rail dropping the pair from first to second ending with a 48.60. With rails causing problems for the top horse-and-rider combinations, Hanna Sue Burnett piloted Under Suspection to a clean round to move them up to a third place finish with a score of 49.60.
“I really couldn’t of had had a better day with those two,” said Little. “Scandalous was lovely out there. She showed what an exciting horse she is now and for the future.” Commenting on her ride on Demi, Little observed, “I truthfully thought it was Demi’s weekend.” She smiled, “It’s just the way the chips fell but she’s just as deserving and is truly an incredibly horse, partner, and has made my time in eventing so special.”
Third place competitor Burnett was especially pleased with Under Suspection’s performance. “I was pretty excited today. She gives me a lot of confidence in the ring and I was excited for show jumping. She was exciting today.”
In the USEF CCI** Fall Championship, Brannigan brilliantly rode Stella Artois around Ike’s course securing a first place finish, ending on her dressage score of 44.50. In reserve was Emily Beshear and Silver Night Lady. The pair had a clear round in show jumping and finished the weekend with a score of 45.00. In third with a 45.80 was 2016 Rio Olympic veteran Lauren Kieffer riding Landmark’s Monaco to round out the top three in the CCI** Fall Championship.
“With Toddie, (Stella Artois) it’s a connection. This time a year and this place is very emotional for me because of Cooper and time doesn’t seem to make that easier,” said Brannigan. “I’m just thrilled. I had her overly fit for this event. I’m so happy, she jumped well. Even I was feeling nervous going into it, but she felt fit and ready to go.”
Beshear commented on her ride on Silver Night Lady, “I’m thrilled mostly for the group that’s behind me, the Deep Purple Eventing group. My goal from the beginning was to get a 2* qualifier done this year. Coming here and finishing second really helps to make everyone realize the effort we all put in. To me it’s balancing her out and keeping her focused in the ring without messing with her too much. She was jumping out of her skin. I’m certainly happy with that.”
Lauren Kieffer on Landmark’s Monaco, “He’s a really great show jumper and has a lot of experience. He is a lovely horse and tries so hard. It’s fun to have homebreds and produce them to the level and have them do well. He felt fresh as a daisy (after cross-country) and jumped a beautiful round.”
The USEF awarded the 2016 Developing Rider Award to Jenny Caras with Ferhill Fortitude while fellow competitor Caroline Martin and Pebbly Maximus took reserve. Winning the USEF CCI** Young Rider award at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Fall Championship was Chelsea Kolman and Dauntless Courage. In reserve for the CCI** Young Rider was Grace Fulton riding Wild Orange. Matthew Flynn and his horse Wizzard was awarded The USEF National Young Horse while Chris Talley with Unmaked Bills took reserve. Both USEF Young Horse award recipients competed in the CCI**.
The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International is one of America’s most recognized three-day events. Hosting some of the tops riders and horses in the world, Fair Hill has something for everyone. Spectators can experience the excitement of the competition; view numerous demonstrations and to enjoy fantastic food, shopping in numerous country and equestrian vendor shops.
For further information visit www.fairhillinternational.com.