October 13, 2011 -- Competition officially got underway Thursday in the 2011 USEF National Eventing Championships, held in conjunction with the Dansko Fair Hill International, with the first day of dressage. Grey skies and intermittent rain did not dampen spirits as the first half of competitors in the CCI3* and CCI2* completed their tests. Phillip Dutton is the pacesetter at the halfway mark in the CCI3*, while Andrea Leatherman heads the CCI2* field. Dutton and Leatherman lead both their respective USEF National Championship and CCI divisions.
Full results for the CCI3* and CCI2* are available here: http://www.evententries.com/livescoring/14839.html
The dressage phase for both divisions concludes Friday.
2011 USEF National CCI3* Eventing Championships
Dutton and Team Rebecca LLC's Ben established a commanding lead in the CCI3* with a score of 47.2, putting them more than seven points in front of second-placed Erin Sylvester. The 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding has not been eventing long but is already making a mark on the sport.
"I was really pleased with the test. It's been a quick progression with Ben," said Dutton. "He's such flamboyant mover that he can get tense and tight. We've worked on getting it more relaxed. I'm pretty excited about him but this will be a big test for him. He's so much fun to ride. I'm very grateful to Sarah Kelly for letting me ride him."
Sylvester (Kennett Square, Pa.) rode her own No Boundaries to a score of 54.4 and stands second in both the National Championship and CCI3* division.
2011 USEF National CCI2* Eventing Championships
Leatherman (Rock Hill, S.C.) rode her own and Suzan Johnston's Mystic My to the top of the leaderboard Thursday afternoon after scoring a 47.5. The Ground Jury of Kellie Towers and Burkhard Beck-Broichsitter rewarded the nine-year-old mare for an accurate, polished test.
"She's still very green but really tries. She's getting better and better; each show she's felt better," said Leatherman. "I think she did as good as she could have. Her trot work has been gotten much better. Her canter can get tense and it can be hard to keep her up and free. But her trot work is pretty fancy."
Leatherman looks forward to Saturday's cross-country. "She's very fun to jump. She's just 15.2 or 15.3 [hands], so she's like a little sports car."
William Coleman (Gordonsville, Va.) stands second in the USEF National Championship, and fourth in the CCI2* division, with Plain Dealing Farm's Ideal Contini after scoring 51.7.
Canada's Karl Slezak and VDL Ulando H sit second in the CCI2* division with a score of 48.9.