Mai Baum jumped out of his skin today for Tamie Smith in the late afternoon sun at Plantation Field International Horse Trials to deliver a clear show jumping round inside the time and hold his lead in the big CIC3* division on 38.2. Tamie said yesterday after their winning dressage test that she’s been working hard to solidify her partnership with the 9-year-old German Sport Horse gelding owned by the Ahearn family, and she said “Lexus” was fantastic again today.
Fifteen horses and riders jumped clear in the 63-horse division, which is about 24 percent of the field, and Marc Donovan’s show jumping course definitely shook things up. With the time proving tough to make, riders had the choice of taking the more direct route at a white plank fence jumping into a combination about halfway around the course, or taking the outside line over a white vertical and using up precious seconds on the clock.
“The time was hard to make,” Tamie said, “and it didn’t look like the horses were reading the white plank fence very well, and in order to make the time you needed to do the inside line. I still went more forward and went to the plank anyway, but he’s careful and he was great. I actually put seven strides in the last line instead of eight to make sure I didn’t have time penalties.”
The white plank fence definitely caused its fair share of grief, though rails fell throughout the course, as we typically see with Marc’s courses. Marilyn Little was equally pleased with how RF Scandalous jumped, leaving all the rails in the cups to hold second place on their dressage score of 41.1.
“Marc Donovan always does a wonderful job designing the courses,” Marilyn said. “There was so much to do out there. The time was very tight; it was definitely a factor. With a green horse, I had certain goals. I wanted her to have a great round, but I also wanted to make the time, and that put plenty of pressure on. I definitely had to push for it, especially because I wanted to take the easier option.”
Marilyn opted to skip the imposing white plank fence and jump the white vertical on the outside line instead with “Kitty,” a 10-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Raylyn Farms and Phoebe and Michael Manders. She said she thought the show jumping course favored a steady, confident ride, and that’s the same strategy she plans to use on Mike Etherington-Smith’s cross country course tomorrow.
“The course looks very typical for Plantation Field. There are plenty of accuracy questions. We all know it’s going to be hard to make the time. The pressure is a little bit off of me for tomorrow because I am here for a qualifying score, and that is my number one goal. My goal is to have a nice round, and I’d really love for her to go to Boekelo. If she comes in (after cross country) the way I hope she will, then that’s definitely on the table given her performance today.”
Tamie also doesn’t plan to specifically set out for the time with Lexus, as her priority is to get in a good fitness plan as they look ahead to running the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International CCI2* next month.
“I’ve never competed at Plantation, but it’s probably the most terrain I’ve ever seen on a course being from the West Coast,” Tamie said. “It looks like a very good course. It will be interesting to see how the double of corners rides; that right side looks pretty difficult. It looks like it’s a really good prep for Fair Hill.”
Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM entered show jumping in a three-way tie for third place and now sit on their own in that position after jumping double clear. Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border jumped clear with 1 time penalty to slot into fourth place, and Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High jumped clear with 4 time penalties to drop to sixth place.
“In my opinion, Marc is definitely he best course designer we have,” Buck said. “He used the ring really well, including the little bit of a slope in the ring up and down and across. It was technical enough, and the time kept you honest. You really hard to keep your pace. Reggie was perfect.”
This event will be the final one of the season for Reggie, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Carl and Cassie Segal. “The last few years his last event has been around this time,” Buck said. “We’re planning to give him a break and bring him back a little earlier than the other others horses to get him started slowly and geared up for Kentucky, if that’s in the card. With him it’s always one event at a time.”
So will Buck kick on for time with this being the finale to Reggie season? “The ground is a bit firm, and I’m just going to cruise like I always do,” Buck said. If him cruising is fast enough, then it’s fast enough, and if not it’s not.”
In addition to those already named, the following horse and riders jumped clear inside the time: Caroline Martin and Center Stage (12T), Holly Jacks-Smither and More Inspiration (12T), Mara DePuy and Coolcorron Kinsale (15), Boyd Martin and Crackerjack (16T), Holly Payne Caravella and Santino (16T), Kurt Martin and Delux Z (16T), Allie Knowles and Sound Prospect (20), Jessica Phoenix and A Little Romance (23), Jennie Brannigan and Catalina (26), Ryan Wood and McLovin (27), and Sally Cousins and Abecca GS (28).
Jessica Phoenix has three horses in the top 15, with Abbey GS in fifth, Bentleys Best in 10th, and this year’s Pan Ams individual silver medalist Pavarotti in 14th. Buck Davidson has a second horse in the top 10 with Carlevo sitting in seventh.
Looking to the Advanced division, Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby jumped one of the five clear show jumping rounds to move up to first place on 31.2. She’s also sitting in second place with Share Option, who jumped double clear to sit in second place on 31.3. Waylon Roberts and Bill Owen sit in third place on 32.5 after also jumping double clear.
CIC2* cross country starts at 8:30 a.m. EST tomorrow morning, followed by CIC3* cross country at 12:20 p.m. EST and Advanced cross country at 2:40 p.m. EST. Click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage from the Best. Event. Ever., and stay tuned for much more from Plantation Field.