The Fair Hill CIC3* is well underway, as you all know from Jenni’s score update from yesterday. While this FEI event is not filled with the same group of competitors heading to Rolex due to the timing, it’s still a great competition and the courses look tough this year.
While there are only fifteen competitors in the CIC3* this weekend, there are quite a few notable pairs. Phillip Dutton, who is filling in for Boyd Martin this weekend, rode Shamwari 4 to a winning dressage score of 43.4. This horse is such a lovely mover and type in the ring that he’s almost a dead cert for a great score, and today was no difference. Sharon White and Under Suspection were another pair with a great day in the dressage ring, garnering a 43.8 to closely follow Phillip. Kurt Martin, who is riding Anna Bella in her second CIC3* (and only 3rd Advanced level competition) got a 46.5 to round out the top three.
The show jumping was quite twisty and definitely tested your ability to jump, half halt, and turn on a dime. Clean rounds were rare, with leaders Phillip and Shammie felling two rails to fall to 3rd, and Kurt and Anna rising to the top with one of only three clear rounds. While the course was not huge by any means, the distances were tight and the turns were crucial, making it a challenging course. The warm-up at Fair Hill is also extremely small, which I think influences a lot of people in the way that they prepare, and it’s not always the easiest to get a good rhythm going in that arena.
The CIC3* has cross country this morning, bright and early. The course is a lot larger than usual, as this is ordinarily considered a good confidence building course for horses who are not prepared for the likes of The Fork. It hits you strong at fence four, which is a large double brush table to an equally large and skinny brush corner (see the photo with my head poking out the other side), and goes on to really test you at 6abcd, the coffin that is bound to catch some pairs out early on. There are four corners on course, and every combination without a corner involves jumping a skinny or an angled wide fence, so there is really no let up anywhere. The footing is great due to some recent rain, and the weather will be prime for the horses tomorrow morning. Here’s to some great rounds!