The 2021 Plantation Field International Three-Day Event kicked off yesterday with the CCI2*-S and CCI3*-S dressage, and culminated with the CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI4*-S dressage today.
Boyd Martin was the second to last rider down the centerline with Long Island T and took the lead in the CCI4*-S on a 24.5. The 15-year-old German-bred gelding (Ludwig Von Bayern x Haupstsbuch Highlight), owned by the Long Island T Syndicate, with whom he won the 2019 $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nutrena Feeds. The pair recently contested the AEC again, taking the early lead but then dropping out of the running after they parted company at the water complex on cross-country.
“Long Island T has been a bit hit and miss through his whole career,” said Martin. “I fell off at the AEC but he was going like a dream until our unplanned dismount. I just need to keep myself on top the whole way around!”
In preparation for this weekend, Martin said, “I’ve been quietly schooling training jumps at home to get him calm and confident. He thrives on confidence; while I might test the other horses in their training, I make it quite easy for Ludwig. Obviously, this Sunday, cross-country day, will be judgment day for us. If things go well we’ll take him to Maryland for the five-star, or to Morven Park. I love Ludwig but he’s getting a little older and further on in his career. I’d like to finish the year with a good success for him, and we’ll decide where to go next depending on how he goes on Sunday."
Reflecting on today’s dressage test, Martin said, “He’s such a performer and lights up a little bit in the ring. When he gets excited he gets more extravagant – the only distraction for me today was my wife Silva screaming at our kids in the background, but fortunately, Ludwig stayed focused and put in a sterling performance, he’s mega fun to ride on the flat. Obviously [dressage rider] Silva has helped me a lot; he gets a little hot in the changes and Silva usually rides him once a week.”
The Martins’ farm, Windurra USA, is located in Cochranville, near the event and Martin said, “It’s a luxury being able to prepare 10 minutes down the road. Ludwig finds this four-star test really easy and just flows through like clockwork now. There are certain advantages to riding older horses: he kind of knows the test by now, so I just sit there and keep him in a good balance.”
Martin’s other entry in the CCI4*-S is On Cue, owned by Christine Turner, who was Martin’s traveling alternate for the Tokyo Olympic Games. She finished the summer by winning the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final at the 2021 AEC. After dressage today she is placed 7th on a score of 29.3.
“Cue is getting ready for the Maryland Five-star,” said Martin. “I’m still on the fence whether I’ll run her cross-country here on Sunday because she’s been performing well and I don’t want to run her too much. I’m looking forward to a good show jumping round and we’ll see how the footing is. This would be a great fitness run and a good prep event for the five-star.”
Alexandra Knowles and Ms. Poppins are ranked second (24.6) and Phillip Dutton and Quasi Cool are third (25.7) after dressage. There are 48 horses competing in the CCI4*-S.
Pellegrini Leads CCI3*-S
In the CCI3*-S Meg Pellegrini and RF Eloquence lead the division on 23.3. Dan Kreitl and Carmango are second (23.8) and Woods Baughman and C’est La Vie round out the top three on 25.1.
Originally from Oklahoma, Pellegrini, 17, said that her family lived in Newport Beach, California for a couple of years but moved east to Wayne, Penn. so that she could pursue her interest in eventing. She represented Area VI at the North American Youth Championships. She is currently based with trainer Lillian Heard at Windurra USA. Her horse, affectionately known as Ricky Bobby, was purchased in 2018 from Ellie O’Neal, who had competed him to the five-star level and wanted him to go to a Young Rider as a step down in his career.
“He was amazing today,” said Pellegrini. “We’ve been chipping away at home and it feels good when the pieces fall together. He’s on the hotter side so any test where he stays calm is a win for both of us. A lot of it comes from me because he knows what to do. I have to keep myself relaxed, work every movement, and hope it will come together. Thankfully it did yesterday. We put a lot of work into prepping at home. When you get to warm up you can’t really change much, and he went in and killed it.”
The CCI3*-S will do both cross-country and show jumping tomorrow. “Cross country looks great,” said Pellegrini. “It is going to be a challenge for the three-star horses. The footing looks great and I’m excited, I think it’s going to be really fun.”
Though he has done a couple of three-stars this year, she said that they have not all been successful. “It feels good to be getting back on track,” she said. “At Fair Hill we came out of the box too fast and I ended up pulling up pretty early on. We went to Jersey and it was a really tough course; he was amazing around the first half but near the end of the course we parted ways. I’m getting my confidence back and making sure he trusts me. We feel much more prepared now than six months ago and I’m pretty happy with the weekend so far!”
As they hiked through the Galway Irish countryside, Shelley Bridges and John Whelpley soon found themselves amid a herd of curious Irish Draught mares grazing calmly around them. Bridges, an endurance rider extraordinaire with a well-known, educated eye for all things horse, noticed one of the mares in particular and said, “What about that one?” and our unlikely story began.
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The United States Eventing Associations’ (USEA) Eventing Coaches Program (ECP) is pleased to announce the dates and location of the upcoming 2024 ECP Symposium. The annual ECP Symposium, which is held in the southeast to accommodate the migration of eventers for the winter season, will be hosted at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Florida, on Jan. 30 – Feb. 1, 2024. This three-day immersive educational experience is recommended for anyone who is interested in learning more about eventing coaching, including current coaches, riders, parents, owners or avid supporters. Click here to download the registration form today!