Jeffrey Lesitsky was always intrigued by horses, but growing up Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he didn’t have much access to them. “My only experience was what I saw on television,” he said. “I saw pictures of Secretariat when he won the Triple Crown, but I was only 10 years old and I didn't really understand what was going on. Secretariat was a beautiful horse and I wanted to learn more about them – later I learned Secretariat and I have the same birthday, but I'm seven years his senior!”
There were 68 horse-and-rider combinations that competed in the Great Meadow International CCI4*-S on August 20-23, 2020. Out of the 68 horse-and-rider pairs, five of them made time on cross-country, four finished on their dressage score, and one came in 13 seconds under optimum time.
Ever wonder what the pros see when they're out walking cross-country? In the Ride Between the Flags series, riders walk us through their approach to tackling different cross-country questions. Five-star eventer Meghan O’Donoghue explains how to ride 13ABC at Great Meadow International.
Last weekend's MARS Great Meadow International had every kind of weather you can imagine (except maybe snow!) - 80 degrees with a light breeze, torrential rain and lightning storms, 93 degrees and blazing sun, and a foggy morning that made it impossible to see the show jump. Despite everything that mother nature through at the event, the horses and riders were so happy to be back out "at the party" and competing in the first CCI4*-S since competitions resumed.
Time is always tricky to make on David O’Connor’s MARS Great Meadow International cross-country course and this year was no different. Last year not a single pair made the time in the CCI4*-S, but this year five of the 60 horses who started managed to finish under the optimum time of 6 minutes and 45 seconds. This was extra impressive considering temperatures reached in the 90s and yesterday’s heavy rain left the ground a bit holding in places.
A full day of show jumping at the MARS Great Meadow International got even fuller after an afternoon thunderstorm caused a two-hour weather delay. Show jumping began at 8:00 a.m. with the Preliminary followed by the CCI2*-S, CCI3*-S, CCI3*-L, and capping off with the CCI4*-S. The event ran short on daylight however and only 32 of the 68 CCI4*-S pairs were able to jump today – the remaining riders will show jump at 7:30 a.m. before cross-country starts at 9:00 a.m. for the CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S.
0.1 – that is all that separates the top two spots on the MARS Great Meadow International CCI4*-S leaderboard in a world-class field of riders. The top 20 all scored sub-20 with the remaining 48 riders all bunched closely together. Yesterday the Great Meadow CCI4*-S dressage record was broken and today another two riders also came in under the old record.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
Riders were thrilled to be cantering down centerline in the first CCI4*-S since the suspension of events. “So many events have been canceled, and this has been such a beacon on the calendar for all of the riders,” said Marilyn Little. “To have a place like this to come during a pandemic is really special. Without MARS’ support, this would never have happened. The feeling from the riders, we’re all just really grateful, and everyone’s happy to be here.”
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.
We’ve been waiting all season for the opportunity to do a preview episode and the chance is finally here – this week on the USEA Podcast we’re bringing you a preview of the field for the CCI4*-S at the 2020 MARS Great Meadow International (GMI)!