October 16, 2013 -- The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International hosts top U.S. combinations this week in Elkton, Md., as competitors vie for national titles at the CCI2* and CCI3* levels. The prestigious competition celebrates its 25th anniversary as it hosts 114 entries at the international levels, with 95 setting their sights on USEF National Championships, October 17-20, 2013.
Wednesday afternoon hosted the first Veterinary Inspection; the CCI3* will be contested by 45 competitors, while in the CCI2*, 69 combinations will start the dressage.
The Dutta Corp/USEF Three-Star Eventing National Championship
A field of 38 combinations lines up in The Dutta Corp/USEF Three-Star Eventing National Championship to stake their claim on the coveted national title. In addition, riders who have never completed a CCI4* will be eligible to earn the USEF National Developing Rider Championships title. The Dutta Corp will provide travel for the top-placed U.S. rider at The Dutta Corp/USEF National Three-Star Eventing Championship at Fair Hill to be used for an international competition agreed upon by the USEF.
Katherine Groesbeck and Ellen Doughty have both been awarded Land Rover Competition Grants to travel to the East Coast and compete at The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International. Groesbeck (Temecula, Calif.) will ride her own Oz The Tin Man in Elkton. The pair will look to showcase the form that propelled it to a third-place finish in the CIC3* at The Event at Rebecca Farm in July. Doughty (Heartland, Texas) looks for a top placing with her second-place finisher at the Chattahoochee Hills May CIC3*, Sir Oberon.
"It's pretty unbelievable to have the support of Land Rover and the USEF; it is literally life-changing," said Groesbeck. "I would like to have a positive weekend and be consistent in all three phases."
All eyes will be on Sinead Halpin (Oldwick, N.J.) this weekend as she makes her first CCI start with Manoir de Carneville since the pair cruised to a second-place finish at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials CCI4* in September of 2012. Manoir de Carneville Syndicate's gelding has prepped for Fair Hill with a win at the Plantation Field International CIC3*.
Additionally, two members of the U.S. team from the 2012 London Olympic Games will look to earn CCI3* National Championship honors this weekend. Will Coleman (Charlottesville, Va.) will ride The Conair Syndicate's promising gelding, Conair, while Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Penn.) has two chances for top honors as he brings Tom Tierney and Annie Jones' Fernhill Fugitive and Nina Gardner's William Penn.
CCI3* competition officially kicks off Friday, October 18, with Werner Geven and Vandiver heading down centerline in the dressage at 8am ET.
USEF National Two Star Championship
The CCI2* championship at Fair Hill will showcase 57 up-and-coming combinations in their quest to be named USEF National Two Star Champion. Young Riders, those aged 16-21, will be eligible for the USEF National Young Riders Championships and young horses, ages six or seven, will vie to be named National Young Horse Champion.
Buck Davidson (Ocala, Fla.) will be among the busiest competitors at Fair Hill as he will ride four horses in CCI competition. The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games veteran has two chances at the CCI2* National Title. With his own and Carl Segal's Santa's Keeper, Davidson will look to showcase the form that earned the pair second-place finishes at the Ocala and Bromont CCI2*s earlier this year. He will also ride Lisa Darden's Poplar Place CIC2* winner, Wiley Post. In the CCI3* Davidson has two rides, Carl and Cassandra Segal's Park Trader and Sergio Rios and Caroline Martin's Petite Flower.
"Fair Hill is always an awesome cross country course, one of the best in the world. You can see if your two-star horses are good enough and if the three-star horses are ready to move up to the next level," said Davidson. "It's the end of the year, so you're always fired up for one more. I'm excited to be here; I've got four fantastic horses."
Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) has recently returned from The Netherlands, where he produced the best U.S. finish at the Military Boekelo CCIO3* as part of the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team. At Fair Hill, the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and London Olympic Games veteran has three entries in the USEF National Two Star Championship, Pancho Villa Syndicate's Plantation Field International CCI2* winner Pancho Villa, Gretchen Wintersteen, Pierre Colin, and Denise Lahey's Steady Eddie, and Anne Hennessey's New Cadet.
Alexa Perkiel (Park City, Utah) will ride one of the most experienced horses in the field, Joan Goswell and Karen O'Connor's Mandiba. The 26-year-old will aim produce a top placing with the 2008 Olympic Games and 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games veteran.
The CCI2* dressage kicks off at 8am ET on Thursday, October 17, with Australia's Ryan Wood and Fernhill Classic.
To learn more about The Dutta Corp Fair Hill International visit http://www.fairhillinternational.com/fhi-cci/
Follow the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.