Adamstown, Md.—July 8—Jennie Saville had been hoping to be a bit more competitive at the Advanced level this season with FE Connory, so when she came to the inaugural Maryland International CCI4*-S this weekend as a final prep run before CCI4*-L at Rebecca Farm (Kalispell, Montana) at the end of the month, she came to win.
After leading the 9-horse division yesterday following show jumping, she set out on Ian Stark’s cross-country course today with her foot on the gas aboard the 11-year-old Holsteiner (Conrato x Hocaponta) gelding.
While the pair came home with 16.4 time penalties, it was still enough for the win. Saville ended on a score of 47.9, well ahead of second-placed Ema Klugman and RF Redfern, who jumped clear but added 30.0 time penalties to finish on 62.3. Caroline Pamukcu and King's Especiale finished on 62.4.
“I know there weren’t a ton [of entries] in it, but I’m proud of his score and getting his changes [in dressage] and show jumping clean,” she said. “The top three are riders I really respect. I’m pleased with it. He should have had his first four-star win at his first Advanced [last fall at Plantation Field], and I messed it up, so at least he’s got a bit of redemption.
“He was great,” she continued. “Phillip Dutton actually rode him for me the last time he went cross-country schooling. I was putting bigger bits on him, and Phillip said, ‘Just ride him in a snaffle.’ At first, I was like, ‘Oh!’ I was kind of galloping on to fence 3, and he didn’t listen to me and kind of ran up underneath it, which is what Phillip said would happen, and then he was beautiful. Phillip was right as usual! And he’s a lovely horse.”
Saville was actually the quickest over the course, which had a 6 minute 16 second optimum time. Of the nine pairs to start seven finished, and those seven all jumped clear. Alexandra MacLeod retired Newmarket Jack at fence 1, and Christina Henriksen retired JTH Zest at fence 8a after one refusal.
Saville, West Grove, Pennsylvania, was happy to ride over Maryland’s twisty track on “Sean,” who she owns along with Tim and Nina Gardner, as well as over the CCI3*-S track with new ride Pascal.
“Both courses rode exactly how I expected,” she said. “I know people say it’s twisty, but you kind of know that coming here. To be honest it’s fun to ride different kinds of tracks. I rode both of these horses at the Devon Arena Eventing [Devon, Pennsylvania], although I wasn’t trying to win, just get them prepped and to learn [to turn]. They’re both not great at turning, and I think [Devon] really helped me today.”
Saville said after chatting with fellow five-star rider Ariel Grald about purposely taking her horse Leamore Master Plan to events where the cross-country might not suit him, she decided to try the same strategy.
“I think that’s really smart, and I want to do all of my horses like that,” she said, adding that her former top horse Stella Artois, who was retired after an injury at this year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, thrived more as a long format horse. “I don’t want to have a horse that I can only go for time at long formats. And I’m going to Rebecca with these two, so to get to jump around an Ian track is great.”
Saville also won the CCI3*-S with Pascal, who she owns with the Alexa Lapp Syndicate. Lapp bought the 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Pasco 17 x Z-Corrada I) as a 4-year-old while she was working for Saville, and took him to the CCI3*-L level, culminating in a double-clear cross-country round at last year's CCI3*-L held alongside the Maryland 5 Star.
“It’s a newer partnership, and I’ve tried to take it slow, and even then, he’s been one that’s been in the top-10 every time,” said Saville. “I could have gone faster in his first Intermediate [with me]. This is his second Intermediate. Today I hit the gas a bit. It’s impossible to make time here, but we feel like a partnership now. It was Alexa’s birthday yesterday, and I miss her so much.”
Saville had only sat on Pascal once while Lapp had him, but she always knew he’d become a top horse, so when Lapp decided to sell the gelding, Saville jumped at the chance to buy him.
“I think she did a wonderful job,” she said. “She’s taking a break to see what life’s like outside of horses, and she’s been my most loyal employee, and she rode Cambalda. I was really proud we could send her away with a big chunk of money—he’s by far the most expensive horse we’ve ever bought—and also keep him in the barn. It’s been a little bit of a fairytale all the way around. I always knew he was going to be a really top horse, and now I think he’s ready to show people that he is.”
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As Tropical Storm Ophelia brought soaking rains to the region today, the Plantation Field International continued its four days of competition with CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S show jumping and cross-country for CCI1*-S, CCII2*-S, and CCI3*-S divisions.
The USEA Area IX Championships took place during two different horse trials this summer, with the Modified Championships as part of the The Event at Archer (Cheyenne, Wymoming) in August and the Preliminary, Training, Novice, and Beginner Novice Championships taking place during The Event at Skyline (Mount Pleasant, Utah) in September. In addition, Area IX offered additional championship tests at the Starter and Tadpole levels at Skyline.
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.
The United States Eventing Association, Inc. (USEA) is humbled to announce the return of long-time partner The Dutta Corporation as the “Title Sponsor of the 2023 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Championships,” which include the East Coast Championships at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in Elkton, Maryland, on Oct. 19-20 and the West Coast Championships at Twin Rivers Ranch in Paso Robles, California, on Oct. 27-28.