It’s my first visit to Plantation Field and so far it has indeed held up its reputation of being the Best. Event. Ever. There was still a lot of set up happening on Thursday, but the ringside lounges and evening pizza dinner definitely added to the atmosphere and helped to make everyone–rider, owner and press member alike–feel pretty special.
I took a stroll around the cross country yesterday afternoon and my first impressions of the course were 1) you can see nearly the entire course from one location at the top of the hill, which is awesome and 2) there is a ton of terrain, but plenty of room still to gallop.
Mike Etherington-Smith has returned to Plantation Field for the third year as designer for the CIC3*, CIC2* and Advanced divisions. Nina Fout is responsible for the CIC* and is assistant designer for the CIC2* as part of Plantation Field’s Course Designer Development Program.
The course was built by Eric Bull, Chris Iezzoni, Dylan Barry and Mark Nelson and beautifully decorated with an Autumn flair by Janine MClain, Pepper McCulloch, Nanki Doubleday, Holly Covey and Jenny Moyer.
There are 33 efforts on the CIC3* course (most of which are shared with Advanced) and the optimum time is 6 minutes and 12 seconds. The grounds crew are still working on softening the hard ground, so a lot of the riders’ strategies are still up in the air in terms of how far they will put the pedal down on Sunday.
The CIC3* dressage is underway now. Watch live on USEF Network, where our very own Jenni Autry is commentating with Karen O’Connor. Follow the live scores here and we’ll be posting updates on Twitter @eventingnation.