There is a big weekend ahead in America as Fair Hill International hosts the USEF National CCI3* and CCI2* Championships in Elkton, Maryland, site of the newly proposed CCI4*. It is one of the final opportunities to qualify for the 2018 World Equestrian Games on U.S. soil this year. All the big names will be there.
In the past decade at Fair Hill, no one has finished on a sub-40 score in the CCI3*. Tamie Smith and Mai Baum came the closest when they won in 2015, completing on a score of 40.5 after adding 2.0 time penalties in show jumping to their dressage score. Tamie has two rides in the CCI3* this year in Fleeceworks Royal and Wembley.
Only three riders in the past decade have broken into the 30s in dressage at Fair Hill in the CCI3*. Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti (39.2) and Tamie Smith and Mai Baum (38.5) both scored sub-40 in 2015, while Karen O’Connor and Mandiba scored 39.6 in 2009. Pavarotti returns to the CCI3* once again this year.
It is not easy to finish on your dressage score in the CCI3* at Fair Hill. Until 2016, we saw no more than three horses per year finish on their dressage score. Seven combinations managed to finish on their dressage score in 2016.
The winner of the CCI3* division has been inside the top five after dressage for nine of the last 10 runnings of Fair Hill. The leader after dressage in the CCI3* has gone on to win the division in four of the last six runnings. Only three times in the past decade has the dressage leader finished lower than second place.
Only one rider, Hannah Sue Burnett, has won the Fair Hill CCI3* on her dressage score this decade. She achieved the feat twice on two different horses: first with St. Barths in 2010 and again in 2012 with Harbour Pilot.