We’re just a day away from the start of competition at one of the landmark summer events on the calendar each year at MARS Great Meadow International. Held in The Plains, VA, this event has become a late-summer staple for horses coming into full prep mode for their respective fall destinations. This weekend is also the final outing for the U.S. riders (and a Canadian or two) heading to Italy for the FEI World Championships in September, which means there is a positively stacked CCI4*-S division featuring on the docket.
If you’re as eager as we are to follow along with Great Meadow, here’s a quick primer on what you need to know:
A total of 43 entries feature in the CCI4*-S division, including Team USA’s squad plus one Canadian pair heading to Pratoni. Just a few notable Friday dressage ride times include (* indicates a World Championships rider or reserve rider):
- Will Coleman and DonDante: 8:15 a.m. EST
- Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire: 8:37 a.m. EST
- Doug Payne and Quantum Leap: 9:40 a.m. EST
- Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus*: 9:55 a.m. EST
- Boyd Martin and Fedarman B: 10:02 a.m. EST
- Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver: 10:10 a.m. EST
- Buck Davidson and Erroll Gobey: 10:45 a.m. EST
- Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California: 11:15 a.m. EST
- Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z: 1:30 p.m. EST
- Holly Jacks Smither and Candy King*: 1:37 p.m. EST
- Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg*: 2:10 p.m. EST
- Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan*: 2:18 p.m. EST
- Will Coleman and Off the Record*: 2:40 p.m. EST
- Phillip Dutton and Z*: 2:48 p.m. EST
- Tamie Smith and Mai Baum*: 2:55 p.m. EST
You can view the full entry list on the Order of Go here.
The CCI4*-S competitors will begin their competition on Friday with dressage in front of judges Peter Gray (also a member of the Ground Jury for Pratoni) and Christina Klingspor, followed by show jumping Saturday evening beginning at 5:04 p.m. and concluding with show jumping on Sunday beginning at 1:27 p.m. Other divisions include a CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S, and Preliminary. A full schedule, along with ride times, can be found here.
How to Watch
Horse & Country is providing the live stream this year as they have for the past few seasons. You do need to have an H&C+ subscription (which starts at $9.99 per month and also comes with a free 30-day trial for new subscribers).
What to Do
There are always plenty of activities happening alongside the competition at Great Meadow. This year, Hilltop Bio is sponsoring a ringside competitors’ lounge. Spectators can also enjoy Great Meadow’s fall family festival with a vendor village, food trucks, tailgates, and catering. Tailgating and VIP passes are sold out, but general tickets and ringside spots still remain — click here to purchase your tickets if you plan to come and enjoy the fun.
You can also join STRIDER CEO Tara Swersie and COO Natasha Sprengers-Levine for a fun tailgate on cross country day (Sunday) beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the Piedmont Tailgates area near the show jumping arena. Food and drinks will be available (and we even hear Chinch might make an appearance), so be sure to add this stop to your list.
Last but certainly not least, there’s a very special occasion happening before 4* show jumping on Saturday: Lynn Symansky’s WEG and longtime 5* partner, Donner, will have a retirement ceremony in the main Flemming Farm Arena at 4:14 p.m.
How to Volunteer
There are still many volunteer positions open throughout the weekend. Volunteers for this event receive a t-shirt, box lunch, and passes to park and gain admission to the event. Currently, jobs such as Stabling Check-in, Office Help, Floaters, Cross Country Jump Judges, Hospitality, and Event Takedown are available and can be flexible to your schedule. Click here to see openings and sign up using Eventing Volunteers.
I will be on the ground all week at Great Meadow doing some volunteering/team stalking, so stay tuned for much more from Virginia!