International competitors took to the dressage arena Thursday at the 2017 Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International Three-Day Event. Leading the charge in The Dutta Corp./USEF CCI** Eventing National Championship is Tamra Smith aboard Sunsprite Syrius, followed by Allison Springer and Lord Willing in second place and Kristen Bond and Enough Already in third.
Hailing from California, Smith returns to Fair Hill as a past CCI*** winner, this year with a string of new talent which includes CCI** leader Sunsprite Syrius. Though Smith was disappointed to barely miss scoring in the 30s, the 9-year-old Trakhener gelding owned by Sunsprite Warmbloods still boasts a result of 40.8 in the first phase.
“It’s cold and the wind was kind of up when I was going, but he’s always been a very consistent, workmanlike horse. I just can’t break into the thirties,” Smith lamented. “I was really hoping, ‘Can’t I just get a 39!’ But he was super. He just went in a did everything. I had a few things that could’ve been better, but overall I thought the test was very consistent.”
As she looks ahead to the cross country phase, Smith expects a confident and educational round. “That’s why we brought him here. Because you can’t replicate Fair Hill anywhere in the country when you are dealing with two- and three-stars, so we’re going to find out what he’s made of. I think he’s up for the challenge,” she said.
Allison Springer and Lord Willing, a 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by the LordWilling Syndicate, earned a second place position on a score of 48.3. Kristen Bond and Liz Bond’s Enough Already take third place. The 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood sits on a score of 49.7.
Top eventing prospects also kicked off their competition with the dressage and conformation portions of the USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships. Kristen Bond’s Bea Ready cemented himself in the lead of the 4-year-old division, and Wil Celtic Charlie was the best of the 5-year-old horses.
Bea Ready, a Dutch Warmblood mare (Cicero Z Van Paemel x Tzora) who was ridden by Bond, managed well despite the morning’s blustery conditions. “It was 15 degrees colder. It was super windy. The tents were flying, and I thought she held it together because there’s a ton of atmosphere in there. But she’s a cool customer,” Bond
The judging panel of Judy Bradwell, Mark Weissbecker and Faith Fessenden awarded Bea Ready a score of 41.45% (Out of 50%) at the end of the first day.
The final ride of the day, Wil Celtic Charlie, stole the show in the 5-year-old division. Ridden by Waylon Roberts, Aletta Martin’s Irish Sport Horse by Porsche, earned 43.36% to lead the class before Friday’s jumping conclusion.
Dressage continues on Friday, October 13 with CCI** and CCI*** dressage, while the young event horses perform a jumping evaluation to conclude their Championship. Cross country begins Saturday, October 14, and the show jumping finale will be held on Sunday, October 15.
The Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International three-day event is currently awaiting approval by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), as the new CCI**** event to join the Kentucky Three-Day Event as the only two CCI**** events in the Western Hemisphere and just the seventh CCI**** on the FEI global calendar.
Fair Hill International has expanded its hospitality to provide an opportunity for all to indulge in their favorite foods, drinks and shopping needs. Tailgating during Saturday’s cross-country competition is available for those wishing to enjoy the up-close thrill of watching world-class horses and riders gallop by as they contest the CCI*** and CCI** courses set by 2020 Tokyo Olympic course designer Derek di Grazia.