Monday, October 20, 2014

2014 Dutta Corp Fair Hill International

L-R Tim Dutta, Boyd Martin, Jennie Brannigan and Allison Springer. Photo Jenni Autry
Once again this year the Dutta Corporation Fair Hill International provided an unbelievable event. In my opinion it was one of the tougher cross-country courses in both the two and three-stars. Eric Bull and his team built a very impressive course that was both big and technical.

This year I’ve got a very impressive group of up and coming horses; all six horses that I rode on the weekend were brilliant. In the two-star I rode Gloria Callen’s Welcome Shadow and Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin’s SBF Cortez. Both of these horses were super green but were great in all three phases.

Welcome Shadow. Photo Lisa Thomas
Mid-Atlantic Equestrian Services

Shadow got a little bit nervous in the dressage and unfortunately I got unseated at a duck towards the end of the cross-country, which required me to do a loop to jump the last element; I didn’t think I crossed my tracks but they gave me a stop, unfortunately. Shadow came out Sunday and show jumped terrific, finishing her event in grand style with a clear round. I think I’ll do another two-star with her next year and keep her at intermediate until then to give her more confidence.

SBF Cortez. Photo Lisa Thomas
Cortez was did an unbelievable dressage test and he scored 43, which put him in 3rd place out of around 110 starters. He was also super around cross-country, picking up just a couple time penalties, then had a couple fences down in show jumping to finish 8th which was a big accomplishment considering he wa s up against such stiff competition. Toronto. Like Shadow, I’d like to keep him at intermediate until he does another two-star next year. Who knows, one of these two might be considered for the Pan-Am Games in Toronto.

I had my work cut out for me in the three-star with four horses having their first go at this level. I was thrilled to finish the event on all three of them, as I was nervous coming into the event that they were not up to the big challenge.

Steady Eddie. Photo Lisa Thomas
George and Gretchen Wintersteen’s Steady Eddie was going well on cross-country but unfortunately I came in too strong to the double corners and had a glance-off, which spoiled his placing, but he gave me the true feeling of a four-star horse.

Pancho Villa. Photo Lisa Thomas

Pancho Villa, owned by the Pancho Villa Syndicate, was brilliant; he did a super duper dressage test. I took one long option at the corners after the run-out with Eddie, but Pancho felt brilliant the whole way around. I didn’t push him for the time, as I just wanted to go clear, and he show jumped sensationally yesterday.

Lucy Boynton’s Crackerjack also put in a great performance. I did not push him for the time on cross-country since this was his first time at this level, and he was jumping great. He came out yesterday full of life and had the round of the day in the show jumping.

Master Frisky at the Jog. Photo by Jenni Autry
Steve Blauner's wonderful Irish Sport Horse Master Frisky was the star of the weekend, leading the CCI*** after dressage and cross-country. He tried his heart out in all three phases and came very close to winning the event. I knew he was in great condition and he’s a great cross-country horse, and he had just two time penalties on cross-country. His greenness did show up in the show jumping where we had one rail down, just costing us the win, but I couldn’t be more pleased; he put in a spectacular performance in perhaps the world’s toughest three-star.

Master Frisky photo Jenni Autry
I'm also honored to be the recipient of the Judy E. Thayer Memorial Trophy, which is presented to the highest-placed rider who currently resides in Chester County.

I’m really pleased for Jennie Brannigan, winning on Cambalda, and also for the horse’s owners Tim and Nina Gardner. They’ve had their highs and lows with this horse and it must be very rewarding for all of them  to win such a prestigious event. My assistant, Caitlin Silliman, has also showed grit and determination with Catch a Star; they had a less than ideal preparation for this event but came fourth when all was said and done.

A massive thanks to my staff here at Windurra! Riding six horses in a CCI was something I’d never done before and it took a massive amount of hard work and organization. Everyone working for me did an excellent job working dawn to dusk every day for the five days of the event and the horses were in magnificent condition thanks to their hard work. It’s a great crew of young people I’ve got here at the moment, all hard working, eager and full of energy.

Thanks also to the owners of all these Fair Hill horses. It’s been a long journey with all these horses to get them to this event. Each horse has had its ups and downs and I’m thankful that the owners all believed in their horses and helped get them to this great event.


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