Apr 19, 2023

Fast Facts: 2023 Ocala International Festival of Eventing

By Meagan DeLisle - USEA Staff
Photos courtesy of Xpress Foto

The Ocala International Festival of Eventing (Ocala, Florida), set to take place Thursday, April 20 through Sunday, April 23, first ran in 2006, but the 2023 event is extra special as it will offer a CCI4*-S division for the first time ever. In addition, the event's venue, the Florida Horse Park, has made an extensive investment in cross-country irrigation practices that allow every inch of the course to be watered appropriately in preparation for the competition. Competitors are obviously excited about this year's competition, with 500 entries total, 157 of those taking place across the competition's four FEI levels being offered: the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, CCI2*-L, and CCI1*-L.

In anticipation of the weekend's event, organizer Emily Holmes shared: "I have the best team in the world. We run so many competitions together that we're a mostly well-oiled machine. The grounds crew at the Florida Horse Park is amazing, and they've been busting their tails for the past few weeks making sure the courses are watered, aerated, and ready to go. And Rick Dunkerton is quite often my voice of reason when dealing with all of the additional FEI stuff that I need to get lined up."

Get to know a bit more about the CCI4*-S competition that will take place this weekend in Ocala in this week's addition of the USEA's Fast Facts.

The CCI4*-S Field

  • Twenty-one pairs are set to give the CCI4*-S at the Florida Horse Park a go. The largest FEI field of competition at the Ocala International Festival of Eventing this weekend is the CCI2*-L, which features an impressive 59 horse and rider pairs and is the largest class of the event.
  • Coming in off the highest four-star placing recently is Kendal Lehari with her own 10-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding Audacious (Iron Man x Meagan’s Mayflower). This pairing placed 11th in the CCI4*-S at The Event at TerraNova (Myakka City, Florida) at the end of last month.
  • Joe Meyer will be looking to improve upon his second-place finish in the CCI3*-S at The Event at TerraNova with Rebecca Brown’s Thoroughbred gelding Harbin (Verglas x Rainbow City) while giving this weekend’s four-star competition a go.
  • The field is fairly diverse with riders representing the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, New Zealand, and Ecuador in the lineup.
  • The title of youngest horse in the field is a tie between the following 8-year-olds: Caroline Martin’s own Thoroughbred gelding HSH Double Sixteen (Robin Des Pres x Azaria) and Elinor Macphail O’Neal’s homebred German Sport Horse mare Redtail Penumbra (Cevin Z x True Dynamite) ridden by Alexander O’Neal.
  • Seven horses will be making their first-ever four-star appearance this weekend: Chevalier, Cutty Sark, FE Quatro, Fernhill Philm Star, Obeah Dancer GS, Redtail Penumbra, and Summer Solstice.
  • Four-star first-timer Obeah Dancer GS is coming into the weekend off of a top-three placing at The Event at Terra Nova in the CCI3*-S division with owner/rider Melissa Boutin (CAN) in the tack.

The Facts

  • Philip Surl (GBR) will serve as the Technical Delegate for all FEI levels.
  • The president of the ground jury for the CCI4*-S is Vanda Stewart (IRE) with Debbie Adams (USA) assisting.
  • Jay Hambly (CAN) is the cross-country course designer for all tracks.
  • Chris Barnard (USA) is the show jumping course designer.

Competition Schedule

Thursday, April 20

  • Beside covered arena
    • 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.: CCI1*-L, CCI2*-L, and CCI3*-L first horse inspections
  • Ring 2
    • 11:00 a.m. - 4:40 a.m.: CCI2*-L dressage1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: CCI3*-L dressage
  • Ring 1
    • 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: CCI3*-L dressage

Friday, April 21

  • Ring 1
    • 8:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.: CCI3*-L dressage
    • 12:45 p.m. - 4:10 p.m.: CCI1*-L dressage
  • Ring 2
    • 8:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.: CCI2*-L dressage
    • 12:45 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.: CCI4*-S dressage
  • Show Jumping
    • 4:30 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.: CCI4*-s show jumping

Saturday, April 23

  • 9:00 a.m.- 10:30 a.m.: CCI4*-S cross-country
  • 10:55 a.m. - 1:20 a.m.: CCI3*-L cross-country
  • 1:40 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.: CCI2*-L cross-country
  • 5:05 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.: CCI1*-L cross country

Sunday, April 24

  • 8:00 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.: CCI1*-L, CCI2*-L, and CCI3*-L final horse inspection
  • 9:30 a.m. - 10:20 a.m.: CCI1*-L show jumping
  • 11:10 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.: CCI3*-L show jumping
  • 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.: CCI2*-L show jumping

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