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Rider alert: Pairs to watch at the Fair Hill International H.T. – Sponsored by MD Barnmaster
This weekend, many of North America’s top eventers will be competing at the CCI2* and CCI3* Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland. The event kicks off tomorrow with the first horse inspection. Dressage for the CCI2* is taking place on Thursday and Friday; the CCI3* dressage will be held on Friday.
Saturday will be cross-country day and once again the renowned four-star Course Designer, Derek di Grazia has designed the CCI2* and CCI3* tracks. Fair Hill cross-country is always a true challenge; the terrain is hilly and the final few combinations on course tend to cause plenty of problems. There is rain in the forecast for Saturday, so time on cross-country will likely be influential.
The winners will be crowned on Sunday after show jumping. This year, the show jumping track will be designed by Sally Ike. No matter how these duos finish this weekend, they are talented pairs that you should be keeping your eye on next season…
Jennie Brannigan (USA) & FE Lifestyle – CCI2*: This duo has had a stellar 2017 season finishing in the top 10 at 11 out the 12 events they have contested. FE Lifestyle, a 7-year-old DSP gelding, is a very exciting young horse. This fall he won the Open Intermediate division at the American Eventing Championships then went on to finish in 8th place at the Plantation CIC2*. Most recently, they placed 2nd in the Open Intermediate A division at Morven Park. This pair could easily finish in the top three this weekend and FE Lifestyle has the potential to be a team horse in years to come.
Jennie & FE Lifestyle at the 2017 Plantation Field CIC3*.
Jordan Linstedt (USA) & Revitavet Capato – CCI3*: Jordan and Revitavet Capato, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding, won the Bromont CCI3* this spring. This pair has successfully competed up to the CCI4* level so they lack no experience at the upper levels. Most recently, they finished in 14th place at the Plantation Field CIC3*. They are strong favourites to win the dressage this weekend, they have not scored above a 46.9 at a three-star this year. Their weakest phase is show jumping. If they can deliver their usual stellar performances in dressage and cross-country and only drop one rail, they could definitely deliver a top placing.
Brandon McMechan (CAN) & Oscar ‘s Wild – CCI2*: Brandon and Oscar’s Wild, an 8-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, have had a strong 2017 season. This fall, they finished in 6th place at the Richland Park CIC2* and then went on to finish in 10th place at the Plantation Field CIC2*. This will be Brandon’s first CCI2* since 2006 but he could certainly deliver a top 10 finish aboard Oscar’s Wild.
Brandon & Oscar ‘s Wild.
Mara DePuy (USA) & Congo Brazzaville C – CCI3*: Mara has been carefully producing Congo Brazzaville C, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding, since 2013. Congo Brazzaville C made his three-star debut this year and has been producing top results at this level. They finished 8th at the Fair Hill CIC3*, 5th at the Jersey Fresh CIC3* and, most recently, they were 5th at the Plantation Field CIC3*. Congo Brazzaville C is a super athletic horse and Mara has ridden up to the four-star level. This is an exciting pair to watch on the lead up to the 2018 World Equestrian Games.
Mara & Congo Brazzaville C at the 2017 Plantation Field CIC3*.