Plantation Field International Horse Trials is the next stop on the Adequan USEA Gold Cup PRO Tour Series, and the Best. Event. Ever. has pulled out all the stops this year with great courses, fun activities and elite competition.
The first 12 of 63 rides in the Gold Cup and PRO Tour CIC3* division did dressage on Thursday, with Selena O’Hanlon and John and Judy Rumble’s Foxwood High leading on their personal best score of 41.3. Today, Kim Severson and The Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border and Buck Davidson with Carl and Cassie Segal’s Ballynoe Castle RM matched O’Hanlon’s score for a three-way tie for the lead.
When Tamie Smith and the 9-year-old Mai Baum entered the ring after the mid-day break, however, their many recent dressage lessons with Olympian dressage rider Steffen Peters shined through, and the pair scored a 38.2 to take over and ultimately keep the lead after dressage.
“He’s really improved in his cadence and he’s gotten a lot stronger,” Smith said of the German Sport Horse owned by Alexandra and Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell. “It was a very accurate test and I’m really pleased with him. The atmosphere in that ring is quite substantial so I feel like he’s been able to deal with that. We’ve been working on getting him more rideable so I’m thrilled.”
This is Smith’s first FEI appearance at Plantation Field and she says she is thrilled to be in attendance. “It’s a beautiful venue. The cross-country looks magical. Everything looks really amazing.”
Pan American Games individual gold medalists Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, owned by Raylyn Farms, Inc. and Phoebe and Michael Manders, were one of the last to go today and slotted into second behind Smith with a 41.1.
Little said the mare was lacking focus at the start of the test but she soon switched back on. “We’ve been working on being able to ask for more in the movements and ask for another level, and I thought she was very steady in the movements and in the extensions,” she said.
The now 10-year-old Oldenburg mare competed in the CIC2* at this event last year, and she only moved up to the CIC3* level at Poplar Place Farm last weekend. An unfortunate spill in the show jumping led to Little rerouting to Unionville. Even though they produced a test that put them at the top, Little knows there is a better score to be had.
“I know what she can be, it’s just putting it together on the day. She’s a very sensitive, very careful horse and so smart. She always wants to be a little bit ahead of you.”
O’Hanlon, Severson and Davidson remain in a three-way tie for third heading into tomorrow’s show jumping on a course designed by Marc Donovan.
Doug Payne is leading the CIC2* with Lysander, a horse he has developed from age three. They scored a 31.7 in dressage to top a division of 69 starters.
“He’s not a world class, fabulous mover, but he’s extremely steady and consistent,” Doug said of the now 8-year-old Thoroughbred/Holsteiner gelding. “In the end, he’s very correct and throughout the test he remained relaxed and obedient and I couldn’t have asked a whole lot more of him.”
With the year-end goal being the CCI2* at Fair Hill, Doug has been giving the horse as much experience as possible so that he is fully prepared for the task in October. “So far, so good . . . show jumping still is probably his greenest phase. Marc always designs a very well thought out, clever course. I’m lucky I’m sitting on such a talented horse.”
Doug and “Big Leo” have some breathing room tomorrow as Alexander O’Neal and Elinor MacPhail’s Rendezvous with Charly are at least one rail behind on a 36.1. Peter Barry and his own Long Island T are third with a 38.6.
There are two large one-star divisions, and at the conclusion of dressage, Elizabeth Bortuzzo and Omina lead division A on a 39.7, and DeAnna Burke and Davinci lead the B division on a 34.6.
The Advanced division completed dressage on Thursday. Buck Davidson and Lisa Darden’s Wiley Post are first on a 30.4. His student, Caroline Martin, is second with she and her mom Sherrie’s Spring Easy, and Lillian Heard is less than a point from the top with LCC Barnaby in third and Share Option in fourth.
The one-star divisions will take on Mike Etherington-Smith's cross country course Saturday; all other divisions will show jump.
About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and PRO Tour Series
Qualifying for the 2015 Adequan USEA Gold Cup began last fall with the Plantation Field CIC3* (PA) and the Woodside CIC3* (CA) and features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced Horse Trials and CIC3* levels. The final will take place at the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships September 24-27, 2015 in Tyler, Texas. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money in the Adequan Advanced Division and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion.
The 2015 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many loyal sponsors: Adequan, Standlee Forage, Nunn Finer, Nutrena, Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency, Point Two, Dubarry and FITS.
The PRO Tour Series consists of 13 premier destination events in the United States and Canada, featuring the best riders and most entertainment. Riders and Horses are awarded points on the PRO Tour Rider Leader Board and PRO Tour Horse Leader Board.
The Professional Riders Organization would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of the 2015 PRO Tour Series: KER Optimum Time, Tex Sutton, Triple Crown Nutrition and SSG Riding Gloves.