A total of 103 pairs were accepted at the first horse inspection on a sunny, blustery day at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International here in Elkton, Maryland. It’s an extra special year as Fair Hill celebrates its 30th anniversary, and there was a definite buzz of excitement in the air as the action kicked off.
The CCI2* horses were presented first to the ground jury of Gretchen Butts (USA) and Peter Gray (CAN), and all 65 were accepted. While 66 horses were scheduled to present in the CCI2*, Alexa Lapp sadly did not present Tim and Nina Gardner’s Cambalda, who won the Fair Hill CCI3* with Jennie Brannigan in 2014.
“He unfortunately abscessed earlier in the week, and although he has just come sound from it, we’ve decided it’s not worth the risk to run him,” Jennie said. “He will have a break and then come back out happy and fresh as a 17-year-old next year.”
A total of 41 horses were slated to present to the CCI3* ground jury of the USA’s Mark Weissbecker — who won Fair Hill in both 1994 and 1998! — Angela Tucker (GBR) and David Lee (IRL). Allison Springer withdrew Business Ben prior to the first horse inspection, as did Whitney Mahloch with Military Mind.
Of the 39 horses that presented today in the CCI3*, all were accepted but Erin Sylvester’s mount Paddy The Caddy, who was sadly not accepted after re-presenting from the holding box. Thirty-eight horses will go forward to dressage in the CCI3*.
There are a number of Fair Hill first-timers competing this year in both the CCI2* and CCI3*, and we saw a slew of ear-to-ear smiles on the jog strip today. But we have to award the Biggest Smile Award to Bruce Davidson, who won Fair Hill in 1992 with Eagle Lion and returned to the jog strip today to present Sofia Baussan’s mount Durango in the CCI2*.
Dressage starts tomorrow at 9:24 a.m. EST for the CCI2* and 8:20 a.m. EST for the USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships. Click here for dressage start times for all divisions. Stay tuned for much more from Fair Hill. Go Eventing.