Familiar faces greeted me when I arrived at my gate at the airport on the way to this year’s U.S. Eventing Association Annual Meeting and Convention in Colorado Springs, Dec. 5-9. Much of the USEA staff was on the same flight. USEA website editor and programs manager Leslie Mintz and I immediately began plotting how we’d find out what happened in the closed-door meetings that new U.S. Eventing Technical Advisor David O’Connor was requiring all the U.S. high performance eventers to attend.
On Nov. 1, Joanie Morris became the new U.S. Equestrian Federation Managing Director of Eventing. She’ll work closely with new U.S. eventing Chef d’Equipe David O’Connor to oversee the U.S. eventing programs and support the athletes. The position was previously held by Sara Ike, who is no longer working for USEF.
“I’m really excited about it, and I hope I can be part of some positive changes that David and the eventing committees are already working on,” said Morris. “It’s a big job, and it will be as big as I want to make it in a lot of ways. I have a lot to learn.”
Hannah Burnett has been hard at work improving Harbour Pilot’s show jumping, and that practice paid off when she jumped a clear round to win the Dansko Fair Hill International CCI*** on her dressage score (43.0).
She came into show jumping with a rail in hand over Marilyn Little, and Little lowered the black-and-white vertical at fence 4 with RF Smoke On The Water.
Few riders ever win two two-stars in a single year. To do it at 19 years old with only one upper-level horse is nothing short of a miracle. Connor Husain came to the Dansko Fair Hill International looking for experience and a solid end to his season. The 19-year-old finished better than he ever dared dream, winning the two-star by adding no jumping penalties throughout the weekend with Piece Of Hope.
Only 22 horses presented in the three-star jog at the Dansko Fair Hill International, and Marilyn Little, currently standing in second with RF Smoke On The Water, endured some tense moments when the 7-year-old gelding was held. However, he passed upon re-inspection.
Jan Byyny’s Inmidair and Jennie Brannigan’s No Objection were also held in the three-star, and both were accepted when re-inspected. Heather Gillette chose not to present Our Questionnaire.
Hannah Burnett has never made time at advanced with Harbour Pilot. So she was shocked to discover she’d finished fastest in the three-star division at the Dansko Fair Hill International, coming in 18 seconds under the optimum time of 10:00 minutes.
Hannah Burnett is a familiar face in the press conference at the Dansko Fair Hill International, as she won the two-star and the three-star here in 2009 and 2010 respectively with St. Barths.
But today was the first time she’d led after dressage, topping the three-star with Harbour Pilot (43.0) ahead of Marilyn Little on RF Smoke On The Water (44.8) and Heather Gillette on Our Questionnaire (48.6).