Unionville, Pa.—Sept. 22—The CCI4*-S division at the 2023 Plantation Field International Horse Trials kicked off today with 39 horses headed down centerline.
Local rider Boyd Martin of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, topped the leaderboard riding Luke 140, owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate, and is also tied for third (28.8) with the Annie Goodwin Syndicate’s Fedarman B. Martin is also placed 23rd with Contessa, owned by the Turner family.
After having been sidelined with an injury during the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games, Luke made a comeback and finished fourth at the Longines Luhmühlen CCI5*-L in Germany earlier this year.
“I feel like Luke’s going from strength to strength,” said Martin, who scored a 27.7. “This is his final prep for the Maryland 5-Star, and I had Bettina Hoy training me all week. My beautiful wife Silva warmed me up today, and Luke did a ripper of a test. I feel like he’s still got a few points in there to improve on.”
Fedarman B, known as “Bruno” in the barn, is prepping for the Pau CCI5*-L in France. Martin said, “Bruno is continuously improving. We’re working on getting his frame more uphill in the dressage, and this was one of his better tests.”
He said that Contessa is also continuously improving, and while her big stride makes collection a challenge, he said he feels like there is a lot of improvement to come with the mare.
Jennie Saville, who recently competed at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials in England and is riding seven horses in four divisions this weekend. She slotted into second place on FE Connory (28.7). “FE Connory has been an awesome horse; he has an awesome three-star record. He doesn’t have clean changes, so I was surprised he placed as well as he did today; he also wants to get tense in the walk, but he has a beautiful walk when he’s relaxed.
"My coach Erik Duvander has been riding him for me, and he’s so relaxed and feels really good, so that was cool," she added. "On cross-country I’m probably not going go out there guns-a-blazing. I’m lucky that Monica Spencer, who’s over here from New Zealand, has been riding him for the last month or so. I’m quite a fan of her; Erik put us in contact, and we get along well and ride similarly. In fact Erik and Monica kept all of my horses that are competing here going for me while I was in Aiken teaching a clinic last week and that’s been amazing.”
With Tropical Storm Ophelia forecast to bring heavy rain to the area over the weekend, Saville said, “I’m OK with the rain; this ground is great, and we’re on the side of a hill, and I’m one of those people who believes in riding in different conditions. When it’s going to rain I say, bring it on. I think this is a very safe place to ride in the rain.”
New Zealand's Monica Spencer is tied with Martin after dressage riding Artist, her partner at last year’s FEI Eventing World Championship in Pratoni, Italy. She said that after she and the gelding parted company on cross-country at the Adelaide CCI5*-L in Australia in April, she rerouted to the Maryland 5-Star next month, and this weekend is their final preparation for that event. She’s based at Erica Nesler’s barn in Coatesville and is training with Duvander, whom she worked with when he coached the New Zealand Eventing Team. Walking the cross country course today she commented, “It’s beautifully presented and the ground looks great.”
In the CCI3-S, Caroline Pamukcu has things locked down with three horses in the top four placings: Redfield Dexter has the lead (23.6), HSH Blake is third (25.4) and HSH Tolan King (26.8) in fourth place. Lauren Nicholson riding Larcot Z is in second place (24.3). Pamucku is also riding two horses in the CCI4-S.
“Dexter was injured last year in his first gallop when I moved over to England, so he had all season off and this is his first real run,” Pamukcu said. “He did the prelim at Flora Lea, and if he goes well he’ll tentatively do the 4-L at TerraNova. When they have that much time off you need to listen to their body, but he’s been doing two-hour trot sets since February. I was based with Pippa Funnell for six months, and my whole training plan changed.” Pamukcu also trains with Duvander when she’s in the U.S.
“This is HSH Blake’s first run since we competed on the Nations Cup Team at Strzegom [Poland], and he’s aiming for the Pan Ams. Tolan King was a sales horse for two years, and I kept telling top riders he was a little secret weapon! He’s nearly full Thoroughbred but nobody would buy him. I gave the investor half of a personal horse and took half ownership of him; he’s been doing really well and just broke into the 20s in the dressage today. He’s small and sharp and has the makings of a proper five-star horse. I have another one of the same type in the barn at home; sometimes the little scrawny ones just need a little time, and they’ll come into themselves.
“The cross-country looks lovely," she added. "The footing is great, and the course is beautiful. [Course designer] Derek diGrazia did a beautiful job; it makes you look forward to the fall three-day season. I love terrain like this, it’s very old-school; it’s not a derby course, like so many courses are these days. I feel like this is how cross-country is supposed to be.”
The competition is scheduled to continue tomorrow with CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S show jumping as well as cross-country for the CCI1*-S, CCI2*-S, and CCI3*-S.
For full results, click here.
About Plantation Field
The 16th annual Plantation Field International will take place Sept. 21-24, 2023 in Unionville, Pennsylvania. Featuring CCI4*-S competition, the event is a favorite of a number of Olympic level riders including Buck Davidson, Phillip Dutton, and Boyd Martin.
Attractions include a ringside VIP tent, an extensive trade fair, and tailgating on Saturday and Sunday overlooking the CCI4*-S and CCI3*-S cross-country courses. Spectators can pack a picnic or enjoy local food trucks and quench their thirst with a stop by our beer garden. Charitable beneficiaries are the Chester County Food Bank and Cheshire Hunt Conservancy.
The event will take place rain or shine. General admission is $25 in advance and $30 at the gate. Sponsorship opportunities are available. More info & tickets on the website: www.plantationfield.com.
The 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention came to a close on Sunday with the final USEA Board of Governors meeting. After the call to order, USEA Senior Director of Membership Services/Meeting Planner Jennifer Hardwick gave a brief overview of the annual meeting. There were 321 attendees and 220 who came to the awards dinner. Next year’s Annual Meeting & Convention will be held in Seattle, Washington, from Dec. 10-15 at the Westin Seattle.
Because every horse is different, caring for some senior equines is easy while caring for others can be a challenge. When does a horse become senior, how does the body change, which health conditions become more prevalent, and what can owners do to compensate for their horse’s aging body?
United States Eventing Association (USEA) members from all over the country gathered on Saturday night for the 2023 USEA Annual Meeting & Convention Year End Awards Ceremony. The evening’s ceremony was led by Master of Ceremonies Jim Wolf and recognized riders, horses, and game-changers in the sport of eventing with multiple awards and grants.
Hosting the Annual Meeting of Members each December has been a requirement set forth by the United States Eventing Association (USEA) by-laws (then the United States Combined Training Association) since 1959. This year, USEA members are gathering in St. Louis, Missouri, for the USEA Annual Meeting & Convention from Dec. 7 - Dec. 10 for four jam-packed days of educational seminars and open forums full of conversation surrounding our sport. Lunch on Friday, however, served as an opportunity for attendees to gather together for the USEA Meeting of Members once again.