Aug 19, 2020

Fast Facts: 2020 Mars Great Meadow International

By Leslie Mintz - USEA Staff
USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

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.

The Field:

  • There are 223 entries this year – up 77 from 2019. The biggest division is the CCI4*-S with 69 entries followed by the CCI2*-S with 55 and the CCI3*-S with 46.
  • GMI added two new levels this year to its offerings. The CCI3*-L has 12 entered and the Preliminary will see 41 competitors.
  • Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda, Nina Gardner’s 18-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Balda Beau x Cathys Lady) are the only pair to have ever won the GMI CCI4*-S twice – taking home top honors in 2015 and 2017. Cambalda is returning this year in the CCI2*-S with current rider Maddie McElduff, and Brannigan has four mounts entered in the CCI4*-S: I Bella, Twilightslastgleam, Bliss III, and Stella Artois. The 2018 GMI CCI4*-S champions William Coleman and Off The Record (VDL Arkansas x Drumagoland Bay), the Off the Record Syndicate’s 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding are entered, so are looking to match Brannigan’s title.
  • Covert Rights is the only horse from last year’s top five returning this year. Colleen Rutledge’s 14-year-old Thoroughbred-cross (BFF Incognito x Let's Get It Right) is making his third appearance at GMI – he finished third in 2015 and second in 2019. They won their last two CCI4*-S starts; can they win GMI in 2020?
  • Phillip Dutton will be the busiest rider in the CCI4*-S with a whopping five entries. He has his usual rides of Fernhill Singapore, Sea of Clouds, and Z and is also piloting two of Boyd Martin’s: Luke 140 (who is making his debut at the level) and Blackfoot Mystery (who is back at the level for the first time since the 2016 Olympics)
  • There are 13 horses making their debut at the CCI4*-S level: Ally KGO, Cashmere, CharmKing, Deal With It, Diamond Duette, Fantastique, FE Capricino, FE Coldplay, Flash Cooley, Luke 140, Mama’s Magic Way, R-Perfect Storm, and Tilikum.
  • The age of the horses in the CCI4*-S spans 10 years with three 18-year-olds in the field: Bendigo, Mistralou, and Veronica and four 8-year-olds: FE Coldplay, Flash Cooley, Miks Master C, and R-Perfect Storm.
  • Team horses from all of the last four major championships are competing at GMI: RF Cool Play (2019 Pan American Games), Z and Vermiculus (2018 WEG), Veronica and Blackfoot Mystery (2016 Olympics), and RF Scandalous (2015 Pan American Games)
2019 GMI CCI4*-S winner, Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection. USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.

The Facts:

  • CCI4*-S judges: Peter Gray (CAN) and Valerie Vizcarrando (USA); CCI3*-S, CCI3*-L, and Preliminary judges: Amanda Miller (USA) and Helen Brettel (GBR); CCI2*-S judges: Mark Weissbecker (USA) and Sara Leary Miller (USA).
  • Gretchen Butts (USA) and Mark Weissbecker (USA) are the technical delegates.
  • David O’Connor is the cross-country course designer and Chris Barnard is designing the show jumping course.
  • Great Meadow is organized by David O’Connor and Darrin Mollett (co-organizers) with Steve Symansky, Max Corcoran, Donna Devadas, Karen O’Connor, and Punkin Lee.
  • Strict COVID-19 policies will be in place at GMI with no spectators allowed and masks required at all times while on-site.
  • Horse & Country TV will provide a livestream of all three phases of the CCI4*-S and the show jumping and cross-country of the CCI3*-L, CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S, and Preliminary, with all covered rides available to watch on demand.
USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The Competition Schedule

Wednesday, August 19

  • 2:20 p.m. – Dressage (CCI2*-S)

Thursday, August 20

  • 8:00 a.m. – Dressage (CCI3*-L)
  • 8:00 a.m. – Dressage (CCI4*-S)
  • 10:22 a.m. – Dressage (CCI2*-S)​
  • 12:11 p.m. – Dressage (Preliminary)

Friday, August 21

  • 7:00 a.m. – Cross-Country (CCI3*-L)
  • 8:06 a.m. – Cross-Country (CCI2*-S)
  • 9:00 a.m. – Dressage (CCI3*-S)​
  • 9:00 a.m. – Dressage (CCI4*-S)
  • 10:38 a.m. – Cross-Country (Preliminary)

Saturday, August 22

  • 8:00 a.m. – Show Jumping (Preliminary)
  • 9:52 a.m. – Show Jumping (CCI2*-S)
  • 12:20 p.m. – Show Jumping (CCI3*-S)
  • 2:28 p.m. – Show Jumping (CCI3*-L)
  • 3:22 p.m. – Show Jumping (CCI4*-S)

Sunday, August 23

  • 9:00 a.m. – Cross-Country (CCI3*-S)
  • 11:57 a.m. – Cross-Country (CCI4*-S)

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