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!”
A double clear cross-country round propelled Rebecca Braitling and Arnell Sporthorses' 11-year-old British Sport Horse gelding Caravaggio II (Vangelis-S x Courtesan) to their first blue ribbon together in the CCI4*-Short, and Haley Turner and her own 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Shadow Inspector (Tinaranas Inspector x Caragh Roller) continued their run of sub-30 dressage tests to win the CCI3*-Short at the 2022 Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California.
USEA podcast host Nicole Brown chats with Interim Eventing Chef d’Equipe and Team Manager of the U.S. Eventing Team Bobby Costello about the Silver Medal Performance put forward by the U.S. Team at the 2022 FEI Eventing World Championships.
There is still time to experience the long format of three-day eventing this year, by competing in a fall USEA Classic Series Event! The USEA Classic Series offers long-format eventing at the Beginner Novice, Novice, Training, Modified, and Preliminary levels, and there are still a few left on the fall calendar in various Areas.
This story first appeared in the August 2022 issue of Sidelines Magazine.
I have had many young horses in my time, and one thing I’ve learned is that it’s rarely the perfect, easy baby that becomes the next superstar. In fact, I’ve always considered it a positive to have the well-behaved youngster throw a little bit of attitude my way, as I believe that it takes fight to become a great event horse.