Cross-Country Results and Recap from Fair Hill International CCI

For Fair Hill XC results, click here.
Boyd Martin and Neville Bardos charged to the lead of the Fair Hill CCI3* with the type of accurate and fast Cross-Country ride that we have come to expect from Boyd.  As the only CCI3* competitors to finish Saturday on their Dressage score of 51.0, Boyd and Neville jumped from 16th to the lead.  In 2nd and 3rd, Karen O’Connor and Phillip Dutton are tied, just over a rail behind Boyd on 55.2, but Phillip gets the edge because he was speedy as always, and closer to the optimum time.  Click here for the entry on Boyd’s blog about his performance.
Karen O’Connor delivered one of the most courageous rides I have ever seen on Mandiba.  We have been covering the story that Karen shattered her shoulder-blade and broke three ribs a month ago.  These injuries had clearly not healed completely and Karen rode most of the CCI3* in an incredible amount of pain.  Towards the end, she had to half-halt with one arm, and she nearly collapsed after crossing the finish line.  Mandiba helped his Mom by making the course look like child’s play.  Karen is made of some seriously tough stuff and if she can possibly be ready to go tomorrow she will.
Another big headline for the weekend has been the horrible weather, which has been both cold and rainy.  The officials and fence crew handled things really well.  They removed multiple jumps from both the CCI2* and CCI3* courses.  They took 9 jumps out of the CCI3*, mostly components of technical combinations, leading to a much safer course, given the conditions.  
That said, of the 72 horses to finish Dressage in the CCI2*, about 30 withdrew before XC, and only 28 finished Cross-Country.  Of the 66 with dressage scores in the CCI3*, about 20 riders withdrew before Cross-Country, and only 38 finished Cross-Country.  Almost all of these withdraws were due to concerns about the weather, in the sense that riders who felt their horses didn’t need the XC (someone like Bruce Davidson on Jam perhaps), or that the conditions would make the course too tough, decided to stay in the barns.  
On the whole, for those riders who did go out, a pretty good ratio of them got around clean.  In the CCI2*, of the approximately 35 to start on XC, 22 finished without any jumping penalties  In the 3*, there were 33 clean rides on about 45 starters.  Statistically, this works out to about  
60% in the CCI2* and 70% CCI3*, which I think is a very high percentage for the level.
CCI3*:
1. Boyd Martin on Neville Bardos 0J 0T 51.0
2. Phillip Dutton on Kheops Du Quesnay 0J 4T 55.2
3. Karen O’Connor on Mandiba 0J 15.6T 55.2
4. Kristi Nunnink on R-Star 0J 14T 59.8
5. Kelly Sult on Hollywood 0J 3.6T 60.0 Moved up from 33rd to 5th.
…other notables…
7. Boyd Martin on Remington XXV 0J 18T 64.0
The crowd small, but spirited and they made some noise to help Karen around as well.  Everyone in the crowd was soaking and shivering, but I saw lots of smiles.   In places the mud was 6 inches deep.  There were at lease two tractors constantly working to pull cars out of the helpless parking lots.  
The area around the barns is churned completely into mud, but again, spirits were high and the horses looked surprisingly fresh.  From what I have heard, it is probable that not all the horses are going to get past the jog, but the icing, walking, and everything else will continue long into the night and we wish everyone the best tomorrow morning.
We are very thankful that, to my knowledge, there were no serious injuries to either horses or riders.  This is a tribute to the discretion of the officials in reducing the courses and the mature and safe riding by all competitors.  I hate to mention this, but I feel obligated to our readers to point out that the normally very reliable pair of Nate Chambers and Rolling Stone II were pulled up by event officials.  Nate was clearly having trouble keeping Rolling Stone going, and the officials stepped in after the horse broke to a trot approaching a large corner at 18B.  I have not heard anything about the status of Rolling Stone, but Nate cares deeply for his horse and I am sure they will rebound well.
For a quick approximate breakdown of the refusals on course in the CCI3*, there were 3 refusals at fence 23, 2 at number 20, 2 and number 13, number 18, number 7, and  number 6 all had one refusal.  Thanks to commenter “lsa” who counted these from our Cross-Country live blog and sent them to me.
Click here for some great quotes from the press conference from the USEF press release.  I am tempted to add a funny anecdote to Boyd’s story about buying Neville, but I had better to keep my mouth shut.  Its great to see Neville back from his injuries, and we are lucky to have Boyd riding for the US now.  If you don’t know much about Boyd, he is married to German supermodel and Grand Prix Dressage rider Silva Martin. 
When I grow up, I want to be just like Boyd. Check out Boyd and Silva’s website here, and blog here.  Boyd works closely with Phillip Dutton, which seems obvious when you watch both of them consistently make really tough XC courses look easy.
CCI2*:
1. Hannah Burnett on St. Barths 51.9
2. Rebecca Howard on Roquefort 53.8: the Dressage leaders, dropped after 11.6 time.
3. Doug Payne on Running Order 55.1: great ride with only 4.8 time.
…Other notables…
7. Karen O’Connor on Allstar 62.2
OCET member Hannah Burnett and St. Barths posted one of two CCI2* double clear and jumped from 15th to the lead.  When Nike arrived at OCET, he was struggling with EPM, but Hannah has done a great job developing him into a top horse.  Hannah’s teammate at OCET, Lauren Kieffer had a great ride on Radio Flyer in the CCI3*, and a nice trip on Ulra Tim in the CCI2*.   OCET is developing some great riders, and if you don’t know their names now, you will soon.

Eventing Nation citizen “Retreadeventer” left a comment on the live blog post that she was in the XC warmup all day and counted 4 falls, but no injuries.  Thanks.

Thanks for reading, we will have more news later about if we will be live blogging from the Jog or Show Jumping.

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