USEA Podcast #264: Preview the 2020 MARS Great Meadow International
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)! Set to take place this week beginning on Wednesday, the 2020 MARS GMI is offering CCI4*-S, CCI3*-S, CCI3*-L, CCI2*-S, and Preliminary divisions and has received more than 200 entries. Nicole Brown is joined by USEA CEO Rob Burk, USEA President Max Corcoran, and two-time GMI four-star winner Jennie Brannigan to discuss the field entered to compete in this year's CCI4*-S which has a whopping 75 entrants.
Before this week’s show got started, Rob took a moment to touch on the cancellation of the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC), which was set to take place at the end of August at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. With competitors from 41 states entered to compete and additional cancellations at the Horse Park due to concerns over COVID-19, the USEA Board of Governors ultimately made the decision to cancel the event.
Five-star eventer Jennie Brannigan is the only competitor to have won the CCI4*-S at Great Meadow International twice, first in 2015 when the competition was being used at the final prep event for the Pan American Games, and second in 2017 when she was a member of the FEI Nations Cup team. Both years she rode her longtime partner, Nina Gardner's Irish Sport Horse gelding Cambalda (Balda Beau x Cathy's Lady), who incidentally is back this year to compete at GMI in the CCI2*-S division with his current rider, Maddie McElduff.
Brannigan has four entries in the CCI4*-S this year: the Stella Artois Syndicate's 12-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred mare Stella Artois, Alyssa Phillips' 14-year-old KWPN mare Bliss III (Corland x Lenja), Nina Gardner's 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood/Holsteiner mare I Bella (Indoctro x Southern Girl), and Nina Gardner's 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding Twilightslastgleam (National Anthem x Royal Child).
Time at GMI is notoriously difficult to make – Brannigan observed that, in the past, it's been tricky because the cross-country course really uses the terrain to the best possible advantage. GMI is also typically the first big event back for the fall season, so not all riders to choose to go for time.
With a field of 75, there are certainly some heavy hitters that will be traveling to The Plains, Va. later this week to compete. Who did we choose as our favorites? You’ll have to listen in to see who everyone’s final podium picks are!