Dressage at the Plantation Field International Horse Trials continued today with the CIC* division A and the first 54 rides in the 81-horse CIC2* division.
Buck Davidson and Lisa Darden’s Be Mine were the only pair to break into the 30s today in the two-star to take the lead on a 39.4. This is the first FEI event back for the 10-year-old Rheinland Pfalz-Saar gelding after having been diagnosed with EPM last winter. “Bemine” had some down time during treatment, and they have competed him at horse trials close to home to keep his stress level down.
The disease was not immediately pinpointed, but Buck said the gelding went from being “really cool to not really cool fast.” There was no rhyme or reason to his behavior changes, Buck said. Bemine never went lame and his symptoms were felt more than seen.
“Last year he kept trying and kept going, but he must have been hurting and got himself quite nervous. Lisa is awesome and just wants to do what is best for him. We’ve taken our time to get here and he’s been schooling well at home,” Buck said.
“I’m excited that he was good today and hopefully he will be good for the rest of the weekend. He’s a super nice horse, and nobody wants to see them stressing. The fact that he’s leading is cool, but I would rather have him finish 10th and have a good confident go and come out a better horse after this. We don’t have any three-day plans this year. We’re just hoping to build his strength up and see how we go.”
EN is thrilled to confirm that after 15 years away from Unionville, including training out of Caroline Martin’s facility for the past 10 years, Buck is moving his family and business back home to Chesterland following the upcoming winter season. “We all mutually decided it was time,” Buck said. “Caroline is ready to go out on her own, and the Martins still have the horses with me. We’re all still great friends. My parents are here in Unionville, and there is no better place to train horses. I’m excited to be coming home.”
Currently sitting second after dressage in the CIC2* are Peter Barry and his own Long Island T on a 40.6. Lauren Kieffer and Jacqueline Mars’ Landmark’s Monte Carlo are third on 41.6. There are a lot of horses left to go tomorrow. Can anyway catch Buck and Bemine?
Allison Springer Leads CIC* in Lord Willing’s First FEI Competition
Allison Springer and the Lord Willing Syndicate’s Lord Willing are leading the CIC*-A on a 41.6. This is the 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding’s first FEI competition and Allison’s first CIC* since 2006 with Arthur. She also has 6-year-old Business Ben competing in the one-star; he is currently tied for 11th after dressage on a 47.0.
Allison nearly scratched from the event when a student was forced to withdraw, but having the opportunity to get the young horses out to an event with a big atmosphere is a valuable education. “These horses are getting opportunities that Arthur never had as a young horse,” she said. “I’m glad I came.”
Lord Willing, also known as Liam, came to Allison last year from Kelli Temple and his previous owner, Karen Fox. “He’s a good relationship sort of horse. He’s a lady’s ride and likes having his mom,” Allison said. “I’m excited about him. He’s still new to everything. He’s a super jumper … He gets nervous and he’s a ‘chatty Cathy,’ but he’s a sweet horse and fun to have around. He gets nervous, but in an honest, good sort of way.”
Kurt Martin rode Liam around the Intermediate at Loch Moy this summer while Allison was recovering from an injury sustained at Jersey Fresh in May. Allison said she will likely do another Intermediate with Liam and perhaps aim for a CIC2* to finish out the year.
Allison is looking forward to getting Liam out on the cross country to run on a good galloping course. At their most recent event at the USEA American Eventing Championship, Allison and Liam set out on the Preliminary course after a deluge of rain had saturated the ground, and she slowed down to be safe around the twistier parts of the course. They picked up some time penalties but still finished third overall.
“The (Plantation Field) course looks good. It is obviously a complete change from AEC,” she said. “This should be a lot better. This horse was great at AEC, but this sort of course produces horses better for the long run.”
The Plantation Field crew has been hard at work getting the footing on the cross country course ship shape for the horses, as the severe lack of rain in recent weeks has impacted the hardness of the ground. We explained in this post that Jamie Hicks and his grounds crew have been busy aerating, aggravating and watering the track around the clock.
“Mike Etherington-Smith is obviously one of best designers in the world. This is certainly one of the best facilities in America for cross country,” Buck said. “They are putting in 100 percent effort, and that’s all you can ask. This property has great grass, great old turf, but it hasn’t rained recently. I can’t thank the grounds crew enough. All you can ask for as a rider and someone who cares about horses is that they try, and they’re trying.”
We want to give a big shout out to USEF Managing Director of Eventing Joanie Morris, who is here competing with her 14-year-old Thoroughbred Four Schools. The gelding was bred in Ireland and was a steeplechase horse with 43 starts. His last race was 2013, and he was given to Joanie as a wedding present soon after. Go Joanie!
Dressage continues tomorrow with the rest of the CIC2*, CIC*-B and the CIC3*. The action gets underway at 8 a.m. EST, and you can watch the CIC3* live on USEF Network. Stay tuned for much more from the Best. Event. Ever.