Fair Hill International CCI2* Preview: Part II

In honor of the 25th anniversary of Fair Hill International this year, I’m bringing you not one, not two, but THREE preview posts of all the horse and rider combinations slated to compete this coming weekend. Fair Hill is widely considered to be the toughest CCI2* and CCI3* competition in the United States, and the entries this year are enormous. Today I’ve got the second half of the CCI2* division, as there are 79 total entrants, talk about a competitive division! Without further ado:

[Fair Hill Website] [Entries by Division] [Fair Hill CCI2* Preview: Part I]

Babette Lenna & Little Oliver:  Babette and Oliver moved up to Advanced this summer at Millbrook, and were thrilled to finish their first few horse trials at that level. Oliver is a great jumper, and they have a wonderful relationship. (Oliver even has his own fan club?!) This pair was 8th this spring at the Jersey Fresh CCI2* and their new experience at Advanced will serve them well this weekend.

Wendy Lewis & Sunday’s Edition: Wendy has had a bit of a mixed bag of results coming into this weekend. They moved up to Intermediate last year and had several good results, and this spring they were 3rd at MCTA. They also completed the CIC2* at Jersey Fresh in 22nd place, but have had on and off trouble cross country since then. Hopefully their confidence has been restored after a rough tumble at Plantation Field, and I trust Wendy’s experience to pilot this horse around it’s first CCI2*.

Colleen Loach & Freespirit: While Peter Barry is over in Chantilly preparing for Pau, his groom Colleen enters this weekend with two super competitive horses. Her first mount is a smaller chestnut gelding, but he’s super catty and careful over the fences, and able to make great shortcuts on cross country that save incredible time. I think she’ll be in the top with both of her steeds.

Colleen Loach & Qorry Blue D’Argouges: Colleen’s second horse will probably be more competitive on the flat, and though he might look too large to make the time, she’s been running double clean all season, and I wouldn’t bet against her. I think this horse will easily be in the top ten.

Victoria Long & All That Jazz: This pair moved up to Intermediate last spring, but have been campaigning between that and Preliminary for the past two years. This spring they were 13th at both the Intermediate at Plantation and Fair Hill, and they finished 44th in the CIC2* this fall at Plantation Field. Their dressage has a long way to go before it becomes competitive, but they are accustomed to running double clean cross country and I expect they will be able to do the same here.

Alexandra MacLeod & Railroad Man Jim: This pair has been competing at Intermediate for two years now, and completed this event last fall, finishing in 44th place, as well as completing the CCI2* at Bromont this spring in 11th place. Alex has had a few tumbles this year however, and so she’ll need to pull it all together this weekend to improve upon her performance from last year.

Babette Lenna & Little Oliver (photo courtesy of Hoof Pix® Sport Horse Photography, LLC)

Ashley MacVaugh & Fernhill Can Do: Ashley’s had a good year with this horse, finishing 6th at the Jersey Fresh CCI2* this spring, along with several other good placings at the horse trials level.  They were also 11th at the very competitive CIC2* at Richland this summer. Their dressage is right on the brink of being competitive and I’m hoping they can pull out the stops here this weekend.

Mary Macklin & Mahogany Beauteo: I met Mary and this horse at Millbrook this summer, and they are perfectly matched. They’ve already competed here, as last year they placed 46th, so they’ll have the advantage of knowing the lay of the land already. The mare is a little chestnut thoroughbred firecracker, and while her dressage will not be in the top echelons, these two will fly through the cross country like it’s a breeze.

Boyd Martin & New Cadet: After scurrying back across the ocean following Boekelo, poor Boyd has no time to relax before driving right to Maryland to compete three horses this weekend. His first ride is Caddy, a lovely thoroughbred that moved up to Intermediate this year and will be contesting his first CCI2*. They were 11th at Millbrook and 13th in the competitive CIC2* at Richland.

Boyd Martin & Steady Eddie: Eddie is a super jumping OTTB that Boyd found in Australia while visiting one year, and tried the horse wearing shorts, flip flops and jumped him over logs. He’s the epitome of a tough TB, and has great jumping lines in his breeding too. They’ve had some really good results this year, placing 7th at the Richland CIC2* and 4th at the recent Plantation CIC2*. I think this horse will be in the top ten at the end of the weekend.

Boyd Martin & Pancho Villa: This horse is a new ride for Boyd, as he got him this spring and then promptly injured his ankle and hasn’t really been able to get the partnership going until this summer. However, once they started, they never looked back. They were 2nd at Richland in the Intermediate, won the Plantation CIC2* and went out and won the Intermediate at Morven right after that. He’s a straight Selle Francais, so he might be a little slower than Boyd’s other rides on cross country, but his dressage will make up for that. Not because I’m biased due to the Selle Francais factor, but this horse is my pick to win this division this weekend.

Chelsea Martin & Bleak House: This pair has been campaigning at the Intermediate level for four years now, so they certainly have the experience to tackle their first CCI2* together. They were recently 7th at the Poplar CIC2* and won the Advanced/Intermediate at KY Classique over the summer. They are ready to meet the challenge this weekend.

Boyd & New Cadet (photo by Samantha Clark)

Kurt Martin & Anna Bella: Another pair from EN’s Got Talent, this Holsteiner mare is a true freak of nature jumper, and although she’s relatively new to the Intermediate level, I don’t have any doubt that she’ll be in the top placings here. This pair was 2nd in both the CIC2* at Virginia and the CIC2* at Plantation leading up to this. Her dressage is consistently good, and I’m shocked if I hear that she’s had a jump penalty. This will be her first CCI2*, and she’s still quite young, but I expect her to meet the challenge easily.

Kurt Martin & DeLux Z: Kurt’s second ride is also new to the Intermediate level, having only moved up this spring, but has also had consistently good results. This pair was 7th in the Intermediate at Fair Hill and 9th at the Plantation CIC2*. This Irish gelding is also a very good jumper, and I think will place well, but might have to play second banana to his stablemate.

Tik Maynard & Sapphire: Tik and this horse have a great partnership, and already have been around this course, finishing in 20th place last year. They have the ability to jump clean in both phases, and they’ll be looking to up their game a little on the flat to just reach that new level that puts you in a more competitive spot.

Sean McIntosh & Wild T’Mater: This horse is a super jumper and quite experienced, previously campaigned by Diana Burnett before moving on to show this young rider the ropes. They were recently 7th at Richland in the Intermediate division. While I think their dressage score will keep them out of a competitive spot, the experience of their first CC2* together will be completely worth it.

Robert Meyerhoff & Utah B: This horse was previously campaigned by Bobby’s wife Danica at the 3* level, but has now become his mount. It is a very talented, experienced horse and most recently was 3rd in the competitive Richland CIC2*. I expect these two to be in the top ten at the end of the weekend.

Nilson Moreira da Silva & Muggle: This is a new ride for Nilson, having previously been campaigned by Kate Hicks at the Preliminary level. They’ve only had three runs at this level, most recently 19th at the Richland CIC2*. This will be this horse’s first CCI2*, and Nilson has years of experience to help it around with an educational feel.

Kurt Martin & Anna Bella (photo by Hoof Pix® Sport Horse Photography, LLC )

Holly Payne & Never OutFoxed: I really love this horse, he just screams athlete to me. Their dressage together has been scoring better and better, and the horse is a full thoroughbred that can whiz around the cross country like it’s nothing. This will be his first effort at the CCI2* level, and I expect Holly’s experience to bring him home easily over the finish line, and move up quite a bit on a strong jumping performance.

Alexa Kim Perkiel & Mandiba: I can’t really say anything that you don’t already know about Mandiba, as the horse has already been around the world and back at the 4* level several times. He’s a super consistent, competitive athlete and Alexa is incredibly happy to have the ride on him. They’ve only had 6 competitions together, but have been really successful this year most recently 5th at the Plantation CIC2*. I expect this pair to be in the top 10 at the end of the weekend.

Charles Plumb & Ard Denzil: This pair contested this event last year, but withdrew after a clear cross country effort. They were most recently 36th at the CIC2* at Plantation after a solid dressage effort and a slow cross country round. Charlie’s expertise will be able to easily pilot this horse around this weekend, and they could be competitive if they turn up the heat.

Caitlin Romeo & Spirit Of The Outback: Caitlin and Jake have been quietly campaigning at the Advanced level this year, after a successful move up at Pine Top in the spring. They were unfortunately one of the pairs eaten by the Plantation water complex, but I trust that both are well and ready for this weekend. This horse is a super jumper, and nice on the flat, and I think they can score well. While this isn’t their first time at the rodeo, they have not contested at CCI2* since NAJYRC in 2008, so this will be a good challenge for them.

Emily Rusinyak & Reatta HW: Emily and her mare are new to the Intermediate level, having moved up this year. They’ve had some good results at the horse trials level, recently 4th at Chattahoochee Hills and 34th in the CIC2* at Richland Park. I fear that they won’t score well enough on the first day to be competitive, but the mare is a super jumper and fully capable of getting around their first CCI2*.

Dom Schramm & Cold Harbor: Bo is a really super horse who has all the makings of a top athlete. He’s quite experienced at this level, having competed here two years ago with Boyd Martin in the irons and finishing 15th. This year, Dom has taken over the ride and the pair has been steadily improving their skills, recently placing 3th at the VA CCI*, 9th at the Richland CIC2* and 22nd at the Plantation CIC2*. This pair could be quite competitive, and I peg them in the top 15, at the very least.

Caitlin Romeo and Spirit of the Outback, The Fork Advanced (photo by Jenni Autry)

Jessica Shull & LE Font: This pair moved up to Intermediate this year, and have already had pretty good results. They were 19th at the Chattahoochee CIC2* this spring, and competed in the Intermediate AECs, but ran into some trouble on cross country. Their dressage isn’t quite in the range that will get them a good ribbon, but they should be able to jump around clean and have a good go at their first CCI2*.

Jennifer Simmons & GV Tuscany: This pair campaigned at the Intermediate and Advanced level in 2009 and 2010, and have only recently come back onto the scene in 2013. They’ve had somewhat of a mixed bag of results coming back this year, but their most recent result was 11th at Millbrook in the Advanced. Both rider and horse fully have the capability to complete this weekend, it’s just a matter of putting all the pieces together.

Jennifer Simmons & Lestaire: Jenn’s second mount is also experienced at the Intermediate level, having competed there since 2012 and last year completing this very same event in 29th place. However, they have only completed one event since that time, and I think despite both of their talents that they are bound to be a bit rusty this weekend, which will keep them out of the ribbons.

Allie Knowles & Sound Prospect: This is a very new ride for Allie, as they just got together in July of this year, ringing in their new partnership with a win at Champagne Run in the Preliminary. They were also 2nd at KY Classique in the Intermediate as their prep run for this event. This horse was previously campaigned at the Advanced level by Tessa Beckett on the west coast, and clearly has the talent for the level. This weekend will just be a matter of the two of them working together as best they can for a good finish.

Lizzie Snow & Ringfort Tinkaturk: This pair have all the right ingredients, and I believe that they can be very competitive this weekend. They were 7th this summer at the NAJYRC CCI2* and recently 18th in the Plantation CIC2*. They are consistently good on the flat, and this horse is a super jumper. Lizzie is a classy rider and I know she can get the best out of him this weekend for a good result.

 Benita Strini & Little Swift: Ellis is everybody’s dream horse, in the way that he easily skips around these big Intermediate courses with a loop in his reins. Benita got the ride on him early this year, and they’ve had success at both the Preliminary and Intermediate level. Ellis has previous experience at this level with Lauren O’Brien, so it’s been nice to see this pair getting along so well. They have all the right skills, it’s just a matter of if Benita puts her foot on the pedal on Saturday!

Lizzie Snow & Ringfort Tinkaturk (photo courtesy of Crow's Toes Photography)

Lucia Strini & Petit Filou II: Fi might be the smallest horse to compete this weekend, but her attitude makes her at least 18 hands. This little Wesphalian firecracker of a mare can seriously jump, but containing herself in the dressage is a constant challenge for Lucia. These two will thrive when the jumping gets tough, because Fi’s got it all under control and she can jump the moon.

Laura Vandervliet & Running Wolfe: This pair was 30th here last year in this division, and have spent the 2013 year trying their hand at the Advanced level with some mixed results. This horse won’t be able to be competitive on the first day, but he’s a good running jumping thoroughbred and should be able to move up a bit with solid jumping efforts in the next two phases.

Robin Walker & Freedom’s Light: This horse has been running Intermediate since last year, and has completed both the 2012 Fair Hill CCI2* and the 2013 Bromont CCI2*, finishing 48th and 9th respectively. I don’t believe their dressage will be quite competitive enough, but it’s just enough on the edge that a good performance in the two jumping phases could vault them into a reasonable finish at the end of the weekend.

William Ward & Watermill Time: Watermill Time is an excellent jumper and has been putting in decent performances all year. Despite being new to the Intermediate level, he was recently 19th at the very competitive Plantation CIC2*, jumping one of the few clear rounds in show jumping. I think this event will be a wonderful education for this horse, with perhaps a surprising competitive finish.

Danny Warrington & Will Smith: This horse has been campaigning with Danny at the Intermediate level since 2011, but has been out of commission the majority of the 2013 year, returning late this summer. They were recently 3rd in a division of Intermediate at Morven, and have the potential to score very well on a given day in the dressage and jump clean, I think it’s just a matter of putting everything together for these two this weekend.

Sharon White & Under Suspection: Pippy came from Dirk Schrade in Germany this spring to join Sharon’s fleet of horses, and has had some good results this year. They’ve been in the top 6 of every competition this year together at the Intermediate level, including a 6th place at the Richland CIC2*. While I don’t know Pippy’s previous experience, I can tell you that under Sharon’s guidance this mare could easily be in the top 10 this weekend.

Ryan Wood & Fernhill Classic (photo by Samantha Clark)

Abigail Wilson & Fernhill Flag: This pair was 11th at NAJYRC in the CCI2* this summer, 14th at the Bromont CCI2* this spring and are going for their 3rd CCI2* completion in the year. They also completed this event last year in 42nd place, and will be looking to improve upon that performance. This horse is a great jumper, and can expect to move up some after the second two phases.

Amanda Wilson & Shame On The Moon: These two are relatively new to the Intermediate level, having moved up at Fair Hill this spring. This mare is lovely and Amanda rides her well, but I think that their inexperience will keep them from being competitive this weekend. However, a successful experience at their first CCI2* is a goal within itself, and I think they can achieve that easily.

Ryan Wood & D-Day Vant Plantanenhof: While I do not envy the announcer trying to figure his tongue around this one’s name, I do think that Ryan has a really nice horse underneath him here. They have been competing on and off at the Intermediate level this year, slowly bringing this young horse along. They were recently 14th at the hotly contested Plantation CIC2*, easily conquering the jumping phases on top of a solid dressage score.

Ryan Wood & Frankie: Ryan’s second ride is also a really lovely type, who finished 11th in the Plantation CIC2* recently, while not really hitting the accelerator on cross country. This horse is really lovely on the flat and can jump with the best, and I expect he’ll find his way into the top placements.

Ryan Wood & Fernhill Classic: As is tradition now, Ryan has more rides than anybody else in this division. His final horse is an incredible competitor that has potential for the very top levels, and will get a great education here at his first CCI2*. They were recently 15th at the Plantation CIC2*, and I know Ryan has high hopes for this horse’s future, so he’s one to watch this weekend.




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