Phillip Dutton and Quasi Cool added only 3.2 time faults to their dressage score of 25.7 to claim the CCI4*-S title at the Plantation Field International Three-Day Event. Dutton and Caroline Moran's 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Quo Vados I x B-Estelle) stood third after dressage, jumped clear in yesterday’s show jumping to move up to second overnight, and kept their cool around Derek di Grazia's challenging cross-country course to move up to the top spot.
Dutton, who represented the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics this past summer, said that Quasi Cool was imported from Germany about two years ago from Dirk Schrade. “He’s shaping up nicely and turning out to be a nice horse,” said Dutton. “This is the first time he’s been at the four-star level. Coming into it I didn’t plan to go as quick as I did cross-country, but he was in a good position after dressage and show jumping so I set out to go as quick as I could without scaring him and he handled it pretty well.”
Olympic course designer di Grazia started designing the courses at Plantation Field this year and Dutton said, “It wasn’t completely different, but I liked the changes. It’s very hilly terrain here and it can be hard on the horses if you have too much downhill, and I think Derek did a good job of making us go across the hills instead of up and down the hills. I thought that was very fair for the horses.” With Quasi Cool now qualified for the four-star long, Dutton said his next event will be at either Morven Park or Tryon.
Buck Davidson and Cassie Segal, Natalie Sandler, and Lisa Darden's 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cassini II x Ulla II) Erroll Gobey also show jumped clear and were only two seconds over the time on cross-country, moving up from fifth after dressage to second place overall.
Fylicia Barr and Galloway Sunrise, her and Shannon Barr’s 13-year-old American Warmblood mare (Duty Officer x Coco Chanel) were the only pair to finish the cross-country course within the time allowed to round out the top three.
“Knowing the position I was in after the show jumping I definitely intended to go out quickly on the cross-country,” said Barr, who recently started training with Lillian Heard in the jumping. “The cross-country is where my mare shines. She’s pretty quick-thinking and efficient in the turns, she’s got a big step, and we’ve known each other so long that I trust her. We’ve competed here five years in a row and I know the course, I know the terrain, and I thought today was the day to go for it.”
Overnight leader Allie Knowles and Ms. Poppins, owned by Katherine O'Brien, jumped around clear, but 7.2 time faults dropped them into a final fourth place. She also finished fifth overall with Morswood, also owned by O'Brien.
Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent, her own 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Quiet American x Edey’s Village), who finished 18th, earned the top placing off the track Thoroughbred award.
Last year the future of Plantation Field was uncertain. Property owner Cuyler Walker commented, “We resolved all the issues with the governing bodies and we expect that this event, Plantation Field, will continue here for many years to come.”
Dutton, whose True Prospect Farm is located in nearby West Grove, Pa. has been involved in the event from the start and said, “It’s a very unique venue and it would be terrible for our sport to lose it. It’s such a good viewing venue and has its own unique atmosphere and style, and it’s great for our local community. [My wife Evie and I] joined forces with Denis [Glacuum] when we wanted to step it from doing the national classes; we’ve stepped back bit [from organizing things] but it’s rewarding to see where it is today.”
Martin and Decker Win Two-Star Divisions
Caroline Martin won the CCI2*-S A on Redfield Farm's 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding HSH Galwaybay Blake (Tolan R x Doughiska Lass), leading from the start with a 22.7 and finishing on their dressage score. Martin said her business partner Kelley Hutchison found him last year in July in Ireland after he’d finished in the top five at the Dublin Horse Show class for 4-year-olds. “I got him as a 5-year-old, did a couple of Young Event Horse classes, and funny enough fell off at our first Beginner Novice,” she said.
Martin runs an active sales barn and said HSH Galwaybay Blake originally came over with a group of sales horses. “Someone vetted him and passed on a silly x-ray; again this April someone almost bought him but then passed on him,” she said. “Everyone’s for sale for the right price, but he’s not really for sale anymore!”
Skyler Decker won the CCI2*-S B Division with another Irish Sport Horse, the 12-year-old gelding Cooley Monsoon (Ramiro B x Declans Folly). Decker is based at Boyd and Silva Martin’s Windurra USA and trains with Lillian Heard.
She said they scored a personal best in the dressage, a 24.9, and were in second place after dressage, then took the lead after cross-country and maintained it after the show jumping finale.
“On cross-country yesterday he was really rideable and just zoomed around, it felt like a piece of cake,” she said. Cooley Monsoon was previously ridden by Piggy March in Great Britain and imported by an American rider who found him too much to handle. “He’s a big horse and he’s a lot to handle, especially for someone who doesn’t necessarily want to go fast!” Decker said. “I was able to purchase him when I was in Aiken in March and this is our second two-star together. We hope to do a CCI2*-L in the fall. He’s a really good boy, he takes care of me.”
While a total of 95 4- and 5-year-old horses will be vying for top-finishes in The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) East Coast Championships next weekend, a select group of YEH graduates are entered in the CCI5*-L division at the second annual MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Presented by Brown Advisory. The USEA YEH program has run successfully for over 15 years, and many graduates of the program have gone onto compete at the pinnacle of the sport, the FEI 5-Star level of eventing, including the four horses entered in the 2022 Maryland 5 Star.
Founded in 2019, the MARS Bromont Rising U25 Program was initially created to assist up-and-coming riders under the age of 25 in North America who had not yet competed in a destination event, such as the program’s namesake the MARS Bromont CCI in Lac Brume, Quebec, Canada, or been recognized by the USEF programs intended for emerging athletes.. Spearheaded by the late Steve Blauner and Sue Ockendon, the program sought to give back to the sport by helping the next generation of riders get more experience under their belt with the help of the financial assistance provided by the program, and the two days of included instruction from leading coaches around the world.
Strides for Equality Equestrians (SEE) is excited to kick off a two-year anniversary celebration, happening all throughout the month of October in the form of “SEE Month”. SEE’s goal during October is to raise awareness about our mission of opening doors for equestrians from diverse backgrounds while also fundraising to continue our work and future projects.
And just like that, it is time for the Morven Park International! The prestigious event will take place Thursday, October 6, and run through Sunday, October 10 in Leesburg, Virginia. This is the event’s second year offering the CCI4*-L division, in addition to their CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, and CCI2*-S divisions. That’s not all! The historic grounds at Morven Park will also host national divisions at the Novice, Training, and Preliminary levels.