USEF National Three-Star Eventing Championship

Burnett and Husain Win National Titles at Dansko Fair Hill International on the Strength of Clear Jumping Rounds

By Helen Murray

ELKTON, MD – The Dansko Fair Hill International CCI wrapped up Sunday as National Titles were awarded in both two and three-star competition. Competitors tackled Sally Ike’s challenging show jumping courses under uncharacteristically sunny, beautiful skies. Hannah Sue Burnett held her nerve to win the CCI3* National Title with Harbour Pilot to win her third Fair Hill crown (the 26-year-old has two CCI3* victories and one win in the CCI2*). In the USEF National Two-Star Eventing Championship, Connor Husain jumped a beautiful clear round on Piece of Hope to rise from second and earn his first Fair Hill victory.

Burnett (The Plains, VA) and Jacqueline Mars’ nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding entered the arena the picture of poise and determination. Harbour Pilot jumped

effortlessly around Ike’s 12 obstacle track to produce an immaculate clear round and finish on his dressage score. The pair finished on a three-day total of 43, to secure Burnett’s second CCI3* title.

“Basically, I wanted to give him a really good ride, I’ve been working on show jumping all year,” said Burnett. “I wanted to go forward and find a rythym, find good distances. I was really impressed with him today.”

It is nearly a year to the day that Burnett and Harbour Pilot won Team Gold and Individual Silver for the United States at the 2011 Pan American Games. However, Burnett has worked all year to continue to improve Harbour Pilot in all three phases, particularly in the show jumping.

“I did a lot more jumping than I usually do. William needs to jump a lot and I needed to practice,” said Burnett of her summer training. “I went to a lot of jumper shows to practice.”

Burnett finished well clear of the field winning by more than a nine point margin.

This weekend and winning her third Fair Hill title was particular meaningful for Burnett as it was the first time she has competed at the annual CCI since the death of Dick Thompson in June of this year. Thompson had been a loyal supporter of eventing in the U.S. and Fair Hill for many years. Additionally, he owned St. Barths, the horse Burnett claimed the CCI2* victory with in 2009 and returned to Fair Hill the following year with to claim the CCI3* National Title.

“It’s kind of unreal,” said Burnett. “The first day I walked up to the main ring and it reminded me a lot of Dick Thompson and I saw his sons earlier today; that was really special.”

Finishing second behind Burnett in the CCI3* and USEF National Championship was Marilyn Little (Frederick, MD) and Raylyn Farms’ seven-year-old Wurrtemberg¬† gelding RF Smoke on the Water. The pair produced a nearly flawless effort just rolling the top rail at the vertical at fence four.

“I was really pleased,” said Little. “Smoke was quite tired, he’s just seven, I was pleased to have him try so hard today.”

They finished on a score of 52.4 to also claim the USEF National Owner Rider Eventing Championship, Little also finished fourth with Raylin Farms’ RF Demeter.

Completing in third place was Phillip Dutton (West Grove, PA) and Team Rebecca LLC’s Fernhill Eagle. Dutton, a five-time Olympian and Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team member, and the 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding finished the competition on their dressage score of 53.2 after adding no faults in the jumping phases.

The USEF National Under 25 Eventing Championship went to Lindsey Solorzano (Versailles, KY) and David Oaks’ Enchantez.

USEF National Two-Star Eventing Championship

Husain (Great Falls, VA) defied his 19-years and jumped a brilliant clear round with his own and his parents Leslie and Najaf Husain’s Piece of Hope to clinch his first USEF

National Title and his second CCI2* victory of 2012. The 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding never looked in doubt of jumping a clear round over Ike’s 11 obstacle two-star course.

“It’s unreal, I’m so lucky. I’ve been working for this for a longtime time; so it’s amazing,” said Husain. The James Madison University student has spent much of the year towards the top of the leaderboard and has learned how to handle the pressure. “I just try to put the nerves aside. I know my plan.”

The 2012 Adequan/FEI North American Junior & Young Rider Championships presented by Gotham North (NAJYRC) Individual Gold medalists finished on a three-day total of 44.7.

Heading towards Fair Hill, Husain knew that the annual fall championship is always a fitness test but did not change anything in his preparation from NAJYRC.

“Young Riders was a good gauge of fitness and where I wanted to be. So I just stuck with that.”

Husain was also crowned the USEF National Young Rider Eventing Champion.

Earning the Reserve Champion honors in the USEF National Championship was Brannigan (West Grove, PA) and Nina Gardner’s seven-year-old Anglo-European gelding Indie. The pair headed into the show jumping as the overnight leaders but a costly rail jumping into the double at fence six would add four faults to their score and move them down the order.

They completed the weekend in third place in the CCI2* with a score of 47.9. Additionally, the pair earned the USEF National Young Horse Eventing Championship.

“To be honest I just wanted the horse to go in and have a good round. He is quite spooky and still a bit green,” said Brannigan who has just returned from Holland after competing at the Military Boekelo CCIO3* as part of the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team. “If you told me he was going to be third in this field I would have been happy.”

Earning second place in the CCI2* was Clayton Fredericks of Australia with Hayley and Pat Parker’s Pigrela Des Cabanes, who jumped a double clear round to finish his first CCI2* on U.S. soil on a score of 46.4.

Danielle Ditching (Roswell, GA) and her own The Graduate were in second-place following the dressage but 9.2 time-faults on Saturday would mean they would finish in eighth place overall on a score of 50.6. However, they did leave Elkton as the USEF National 22-24 Year Old Eventing Championship.

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