Despite riding with a broken hand, Sharon White delivered a cracking double clear cross-country trip today with Under Suspection, which makes them the new leaders in the CCI2* at Fair Hill on 43.9. Sharon started her partnership with this mare back in April when she came over from Dirk Schrade’s barn in Germany, and I think it’s safe to say at this point that this is an exciting horse for the future. I watched Allie Blyskal-Seckson and Sparrow’s Nio come through the Dutta Farm Yard in the main arena with photographer extraordinaire Amy Dragoo — who is also the founding member of Allie’s unofficial fan club — and we cheered her all the way through. This 15.3-hand Connemara-cross gelding delivered the fastest cross-country trip of the day — coming home a whopping 20 seconds inside the time — and Allie said in a quick interview after her trip that if anything the horse was almost too bold in places. That double clear trip moves them up from eighth to second place on 47.8.
We have a tie for third place, as Ryan Wood and Fernhill Classic and Colleen Loach and Freespirit both delivered double clear trips to move forward on their dressage scores on 49.7. I watched Ryan and Fernhill Classic through the Dutta Farm Yard with Caitlin Silliman, and she said the horse is very green, so their double clear trip over such a tough course is a real accomplishment. Danielle Dichting and The Graduate round out the top five with a clear trip and just 2.8 time penalties. We saw 10 double clear trips out of the 64 pairs who contested the course, and I have to give a huge shout out to EN’s Got Talent superstars Leah Lang-Gluscic and AP Prime, who delivered one of those double clear trips. Fifteen additional pairs delivered clear rounds with time penalties, and Kurt Martin and Anna Bella — another pair I’ve featured in EN’s Got Talent — picked up just 0.8 time penalties to sit in sixth place overnight.
The course certainly took its toll on the riders, with 16 picking up one stop; nine picking up two stops; and eight picking up three stops, ultimately leading to elimination. Overnight leaders Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa ran into trouble at the Dutta Farm Yard, picking up a stop at the big corner there and another stop at the Haunted In and Out later in the course. Seven of the riders who had stops on course ultimately retired, and four riders parted ways with their horses. The Springhouse Water Complex late in the course claimed three pairs to falls: Alexandra MacLeod and Railroad Man Jim; Ariel Grald and LBF Oleagh’s Image; and Boyd Martin and New Cadet, who reportedly flew through the air in very dramatic fashion. Alexa Kim Perkiel fell from Mandiba at fence 18 in the Haunted Osage Grove; they were sitting in sixth place after the dressage. All horses and riders are OK after the falls. The CCI3* is about to start now. Stay tuned for much more!