Colleen Loach moves up to 2nd in CCI3*-L

After a nail-biting day of exciting cross-country action at The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event (FHI), a few new names grace the top of the leaderboards. The CCI4*-L division saw a major shuffle in the standings, after overnight leaders had trouble on Derek di Grazia’s course. Canadian Waylon Roberts moved into first with Lancaster. In the CCI3*-L, Woods Baughman moved up one position to take over the lead with C’est La Vie 135.

Roberts and the 12-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding, owned by John and Michelle Koppin, were one of the last competitors of the day, completing on their dressage score of 31.1. “I was fortunate enough to be late in the order, so I got to watch a lot and see how the course was riding. It definitely proved to be a tough track that Derek set,” said Roberts.

Roberts, a five-star rider who’s represented Team Canada internationally, was thrilled with the introduction of Fair Hill’s new CCI5* next year. “Having the five-star in North America at Fair Hill at the new venue that they’re constructing is really exciting,” said Roberts, who just relocated his training business to Lexington, Kentucky, the home of the only other CCI5* in the U.S. “It’s exciting for eventing internationally, not just North America. We’ve always been playing catch-up with Europe over here. Having more events at that high level is important for everybody in eventing on this side of the pond.”

Erin Sylvester, of Cochranville, Pennsylvania, moved up from eighth to second, after a solid round with Paddy The Caddy. The 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, owned by Frank and Kate McEntee, finished just one second over the optimum time, picking up 0.4 time faults to head into Sunday on a 34.3.

“The course rode well, but definitely difficult in spots,” said Sylvester. “Paddy jumped well the whole way around, and I couldn’t be happier with his effort.”

Lauren Kieffer, of Ocala, Florida, skyrocketed ten places up the leaderboard with D.A. Duras after picking up just 1.2 time faults. “You certainly don’t love moving up by default, but it doesn’t take away the fact that the horse was great today. We’ve been cursed by a bit of bad luck over the past couple of years and for awhile I thought if he didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all.”

“He really made [the course] feel easy,” said Kieffer of the 11-year-old KWPN gelding owned in partnership by Debbie Adams and Jacqueline Mars. “He’s got a great gallop, he’s fast, he made the questions seem simple and he was full of run at the end. I was thrilled with him, especially for his owners because they’ve been super patient over the past 18 months. And I just kept saying ‘I promise there’s something good to come!’ But [the owners’] belief in the horse never faltered. I’m thrilled for them, they deserve it.”

In the CCI3*-L, Baughman was delighted with his double-clear round with C’est La Vie 135, a 17.2-hand Hanoverian gelding owned by Kim and Jay Baughman. “It was awesome. He’s just a giant galloping horse and he just tore into [the course]. He was a bit wild in warm-up, so I just popped off my spurs and tossed my whip and let him drag me around the whole way.”

“This course was perfect for him,” added Baughman, who works with five-star eventer Sharon White in Summit Point, West Virginia. “I could just let him tear into it and just enjoy him. He can be very stubborn but once he switches on, he’s all business. He’s so honest, if you keep him straight, he’ll jump anything in front of him.”

Canadian Olympian Colleen Loach moved up one spot into second with Peter Barry’s 7-year-old gelding Vermont. “He’s got a huge stride, because he’s 18-plus hands, but he’s very adjustable and rideable,” said Loach, who’s based in Dunham, Quebec. “As usual, Derek put on a good course, which invited a lot of bold, forward riding, but there were also places where you had to be smart and take back. Every question I asked of [Vermont], he answered well.”

Caitlin Silliman, of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and Ally KGO completed the day tied in third with Holly Payne Caravella and CharmKing. Ally KGO is owned by the McCue family, who were fence judging on course. “I gave them a little wave when I went by,” said Silliman. “They’ve been great supporters of me since I went out on my own. It’s been fun to produce [Ally KGO]. I always thought she was special, and she’s really talented and a natural athlete.”

CharmKing performed beautifully for Payne Caravella, who resides in Oldwick, New Jersey. “I was super happy with him today,” she said of the 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding. “He hasn’t always been the fastest horse, but we’ve been really working on that. He was awesome and really quick.”

The exciting show jumping finale is on Sunday, October 20.

Live scores for the FEI divisions can be found here.

USEF Network will broadcast the CCI4*-L division throughout the week. Live streaming information is available at this link.