There are some big changes in store this year at the 2019 MARS Great Meadow International (GMI) in The Plains, Virginia. For the last three years, GMI has hosted the only leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup to take place in North America over Fourth of July weekend. This year, while there will be no Nations Cup divisions, GMI is hosting new three-star and two-star divisions in addition to the four-star level, and the event will take place during the second-to-last weekend in August.
A total of 146 horse-and-rider pairs are entered at GMI this year, up 100 from last year. There are 56 to see in the CCI2*-S, 49 in the CCI3*-S, and 41 in the CCI4*-S.
Four countries are represented by the competitors in this year’s CCI4*-S: United States, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.
Three riders each have three horses apiece in the CCI4*-S: Will Coleman with Tight Lines, TKS Cooley, and Don Dante; Buck Davidson with Erroll Gobey, Park Trader, and Carlevo; and Allie Knowles with Ms. Poppins, Ramdam de Mons, and Business Class.
An additional four riders have two mounts each: Hannah Sue Burnett with Lukeswell and Harbor Pilot; Phillip Dutton and Sea of Clouds and Fernhill Revelation; Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras and Vermiculus; and Allison Springer and Business Ben and Sapphire Blue B. Nearly 50 percent of the CCI4*-S field is made up by riders competing more than one horse.
Both Under Suspection (ridden by Lynn Symansky) and Tight Lines (ridden by Will Coleman) are returning for their third performance at GMI, having competed there in 2016, 2018, and now 2019.
None of the previous top three finishers from GMI are returning this year, so it’s anyone’s game.
Just six of the 41-horse field are contesting their first CCI4*-S: Truckee Bash, Twilightslastgleam, Anakin, Ramdam de Mons, Newmarket Jack, and Early Review CBF.
The CCI4*-S cross-country course will cover a track spanning 3,800 meters to be negotiated at 570 meters per minute.
All three cross-country courses are designed by David O’Connor (USA), who also serves on the organizing committee.
Chris Barnard (USA) will be designing the show jumping courses for all levels.
Gretchen Butts (USA) and John Williams (USA) are serving as the Technical Delegate and Assistant Technical Delegate, respectively.
For the CCI4*-S, Wayne Quarles (USA) is the president of the ground jury alongside ground jury member Sue Baxter (USA). Their roles are reversed for the CCI3*-S, with Baxter serving as ground jury president. For the CCI2*-S, Peter Gray (CAN) and Mark Weissbecker (USA) make up the ground jury.
No need to pack a picnic for GMI as there will be a number of gourmet food trucks on site in addition to the Old Ox Brewery Beer Garden serving beer, cider, and wine.
The Meadow Market Village is back again this year with more than two dozen vendors for spectators to enjoy.
Inova Loudoun Hospital’s Outpatient Rehab Center and Concussion Clinic will be on site answering questions about concussions, including common signs and symptoms of concussion and what to do in the event of an injury.
As the sun sets over Great Meadow, the fun will continue with live music from returning country duo Martin and Kelly. Jilly Martin and Ryan Brooks Kelly will play in the beer garden on Friday evening.
The Mars Equestrian VIPet Tent welcomes dogs to GMI with cooling stations and an off-leash dog park, as well as agility and obedience demonstrations. Dogs cannot be left unattended.
The popular bareback puissance returns this year on Friday evening following the CCI4*-S dressage. A USPA Polo game will be played on Saturday evening following show jumping.
EQSportsNet will be providing a live stream of all three phases of the CCI4*-S and the show jumping and cross-country phases of the CCI3*-S. USEA members can receive a discount by using the code EQUSEA2019 during registration.
It’s time to meet the teams of the 2022 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships! A total of 92 competitors, 12 schools, and 23 teams will be competing at the 2022 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships on May 21-22 at Chattahoochee Hills H.T. in Fairburn, Georgia.
Entries are strong leading up to the exciting return of the MARS Bromont CCI that is taking place June 8-12 in rural Bromont, Quebec. Bromont is a popular destination for North American competitors who are eager to return to this 1976 Olympic Games venue just 90 minutes from Burlington, Vermont.
Five-star season is well underway and four U.S.-based pairs have turned their focus toward the CCI5*-L at the Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials which takes place June 16-19 in Salzhausen, Germany. We caught up with each rider to get their thoughts on their decision to make the trek overseas and what they hope their horses glean from the experience.