Canadian Eventers Impressive at CCI Fair Hill International

Canadian eventing athletes converged south of the boarder to compete against a record number of competitors  at the 25th Anniversary edition of the Dutta Corporation Fair Hill International -Three Day Event, held October 16-20 in Elkton MD, USA .

In their first trip to Fair Hill,  Colleen Loach of Dunham, QC piloted Freespirit, Peter and Susan Barry’s seven-year-old Canadian bred mare by Freedom Z, to a third place finish in the CCI 2 * competition. Sitting in twelfth place on a dressage score of 49.7 penalties, the pair delivered a double clear performance over Derek di Grazia’s cross country course moving them into third place position. Sunday’s show jumping proved to be just as successful for the pair with their second double clear performance of the weekend.  In a neck and neck race from start to finish, it came down to closest to optimum time posted on cross country to break the tie, with merely 2 seconds between Loach and her competitor.

“I was thrilled with Freespirit’s performance this past weekend.  She achieved her personal best score in dressage with a 49.7  Historically, dressage is definitely our weakest phase as she can get quite tense but this weekend she really stepped up to the plate.  The jumping phases are usually no problem for Freespirit as she is very athletic and willing,” commented Loach. “Having said that, Derek’s two star course at Fair Hill certainly asked some demanding questions and was by far the longest course we had attempted. I was a bit concerned that she wouldn’t be fit enough for the task, and was pleasantly surprised how easily she handled the length and rolling terrain of the course.

I started this mare as a two years old and brought her up the ranks so we have formed a great relationship together.  She is a very special mix of careful and brave and I feel she tries really hard to always do the right thing.  All of this makes her a pleasure to ride every day. Freespirit will enjoy a well-deserved vacation in her paddock for the next few weeks and I am looking forward to next year’s season already.”

Ian Roberts of Port Perry, ON and Faolan, Kelly Plitz’s nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Captain Clover, came in seventh finishing on their dressage score of 51.1 penalties after posting double clear performances in cross country and show jumping. Young Rider Sean McIntosh of LaSalle, ON and Wild T’Mater, Robert McIntosh’s Canadian Thoroughbred gelding sired by Wild Zone, was foot perfect on cross country but took a rail for four faults in show jumping finishing in 13th place with a score of 64.6.

Tik Maynard of Vancouver BC and Sapphire, Richard Maynard’s 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Marlon, completed the competition in 16th place with 65.9, a performance which featured a double clear cross country round. Callie Evans of Reaboro, ON riding her own Glendening Avis, an eight-year-old Canadian Sport Horse mare by Ferrari GS,  placed 26th on a score of 82.9,  while  Young Rider Dasha Ivandaeva of Tottenham, ON and Autorytet, her 11-year-old Polish bred Thoroughbred cross gelding sired by Banita, finished 36th on a score of 97.6.

In the CCI 3*division, Young Rider Rachel McDonough and Olympian Selena O’Hanlon finished in 13th and 14th place respectively.

Competing in her first CCI 3* competition, McDonough of Etobicoke, ON piloted Irish Rhythm, her 14-year-old Canadian Thoroughbred gelding sired by Vice Chancellor, to a  thirteenth place finish.  Scoring 62.8 in dressage, which placed them 36th out a field of 45 starters, the pair completed the cross country adding just 2 cross country time penalties to their dressage score. One rail for four faults in Sunday’s show jumping brought her final score to 68.8 penalties.

O’Hanlon of Kingston, ON and her own, Morag O’Hanlon and Eventing Canada’s Bellaney Rock, a 14-year-old Irish bred gelding, started the competition in 26th place on a dressage score of 56.4 penalties.  The pair jumped a  clear cautious cross country round earning 10.4 time penalties and completed the event with one rail for four faults in  show jumping  earning a final score of 70.8 and a 14th place finish.

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