Sunday, October 17, 2010
Fair Hill, MD-October 17, 2010- Hannah Burnett of Ocala, FL, captured the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) CCI*** in a nail-biting finish at the 22nd annual Dansko Fair Hill International Festival in the Country. Burnett, who won last year's CCI** at Fair Hill, was flawless on Sunday to win on her dressage score of 49.4 penalties, riding St. Barths, owned by Richard Thompson.
"I'm really excited," said Burnett. "I have been building up to this event all year. My horse just keeps on getting better and better, so I feel like I've improved over the year and my horse has too."
It all came down who could go clear on the final day. The riders competed in reverse order of penalties saving the best for last. Kristin Schmolze of Califon, NJ on Cavaldi had already gone clear for a final score of 60.2 penalties wih three left to ride.
Phillip Dutton, of West Grove, PA, who just returned from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games as a member of the USEF Eventing Team, was next in the order on Fernhill Eagle, owned by Rebecca Broussard. They were only two rails out of first, so a clear round would put pressure on the remaining two. Unfortunately, they had a rail and finished with a penalty score of 57.0.
Burnett and St. Barths were next in the arena. Their clear round was greeted with thunderous applause and was a great relief to Burnett.
"Nike is a typical chestnut redhead. He sometimes comes out like a horse I've never sat on before, so it's difficult to guess who he is going to be on the third day," said Burnett of the 9 year-old Thoroughbred gelding. "I felt very good. I could tell over the first jump whether I am going to have to help him out or whether he is going to give me a good ride. Today I felt good."
Unfortunately for Nate Chambers and Rolling Stone II, it was not their day. The pair incurred 20 jumping penalties moving them down to sixth place with a final score of 66.6 penalties, leaving Dutton in second place and Schmolze in third. The only consolation for Chambers was that he was given the Best Sportsmanship award.
Earlier in the day, Clark Montgomery, 29, from Chatsworth, GA, swept the USEF CCI ** at the Dansko Fair Hill International Festival In the Country to win on his dressage score of 46.1 penalties riding Loughan Glen, owned by Holly Becker and Kathryn Kraft.
"It always feels fantastic to win," said Montgomery. "It solidifies that you are on the right path with these horses and what you are doing is working."
The riders competed in reverse order of penalties, so by the time Montgomery entered the arena on Loughan Glen, he had already secured a win on his other horse, Universe, owned by his wife, to finish with a score of 50.4 penalties. Phillip Dutton and Why Not moved up up from 15th in dressage to seventh in cross country and finally to third place with a score of 54.9 penalties. Erin Sylvester and No Boundaries had rails eventually finishing just out of the top ten.
"Once Erin had rails, the pressure was really off for me because I knew I had already won the class, said Montgomery. "I came here feeling that I was very competitive and I couldn't see why it would not be first or second."