Ever wonder what the pros see when they're out walking cross-country? In the Ride Between the Flags series, riders walk us through their approach to tackling different cross-country questions. Five-star eventer Meghan O’Donoghue explains how to ride 13ABC at Great Meadow International.
Last weekend's MARS Great Meadow International had every kind of weather you can imagine (except maybe snow!) - 80 degrees with a light breeze, torrential rain and lightning storms, 93 degrees and blazing sun, and a foggy morning that made it impossible to see the show jump. Despite everything that mother nature through at the event, the horses and riders were so happy to be back out "at the party" and competing in the first CCI4*-S since competitions resumed.
Time is always tricky to make on David O’Connor’s MARS Great Meadow International cross-country course and this year was no different. Last year not a single pair made the time in the CCI4*-S, but this year five of the 60 horses who started managed to finish under the optimum time of 6 minutes and 45 seconds. This was extra impressive considering temperatures reached in the 90s and yesterday’s heavy rain left the ground a bit holding in places.
A full day of show jumping at the MARS Great Meadow International got even fuller after an afternoon thunderstorm caused a two-hour weather delay. Show jumping began at 8:00 a.m. with the Preliminary followed by the CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, CCI3*-L, and capping off with the CCI4*-S. The event ran short on daylight however and only 32 of the 68 CCI4*-S pairs were able to jump today – the remaining riders will show jump at 7:30 a.m. before cross-country starts at 9:00 a.m. for the CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S.
0.1 – that is all that separates the top two spots on the MARS Great Meadow International CCI4*-S leaderboard in a world-class field of riders. The top 20 all scored sub-20 with the remaining 48 riders all bunched closely together. Yesterday the Great Meadow CCI4*-S dressage record was broken and today another two riders also came in under the old record.
Riders were thrilled to be cantering down centerline in the first CCI4*-S since the suspension of events. “So many events have been canceled, and this has been such a beacon on the calendar for all of the riders,” said Marilyn Little. “To have a place like this to come during a pandemic is really special. Without MARS’ support, this would never have happened. The feeling from the riders, we’re all just really grateful, and everyone’s happy to be here.”
There were originally 16 events scheduled at the CCI4*-S level for 2020, but only a total of seven remain on the U.S. calendar now. The Red Hills CCI4*-S took place in early March, but all CCI4*-S events were canceled since then. The Mars Great Meadow International (GMI) CCI4*-S is the first event back at this level and all eyes will be on The Plains, Va. from August 19-23. This is the second year that GMI will take place in August after running for three years in July as a leg of the FEI Nations Cup. Learn more about GMI in their Events A-Z and be sure to listen to the USEA Official Podcast’s preview show.
Like many other things this year, the annual summer meeting of the USEA Board of Governors looked very different in 2020. The 21 Governors spent two days meeting virtually from their homes around the country. This was USEA President Max Corcoran’s first August board meeting at the helm and she opened the call by thanking the Board for their time so far this year as conference calls have been frequent.
Longtime USEA member and supporter Robert E. Smith passed away on June 2, 2020 following a battle with cancer. Smith was born in 1946 and grew up in Malibu, California. He started out riding on his parents' ranch and originally competed in hunters and jumpers
The May/June issue of Eventing USA is now available for all current USEA members to read. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) was unable to print and mail the May/June issue of Eventing USA, but the full magazine has been released digitally.
Last night, the USEA Board of Governors chose not to extend the suspension of competitions past May 31, 2020. Not all events will be able to be held as they must follow all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state, and local guidelines, but those who are able to run will have to adhere to the USEF COVID-19 Action Plan which can be found in the USEF COVID-19 toolkit.