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Colleen Rutledge & Covert Rights Secure CCI4*-S Victory Plantation Field

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. Photo by Amber Heintzberger.

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights galloped around clear and in the time to claim victory at the Plantation Field International CCI4*-S today on a score of 30.30.
“He felt like a rockstar,” Rutledge said of the 13-year-old Thoroughbred/Clydesdale cross. “For a very long time he did the cross country because I asked him to, now he does it because he loves it. A trained monkey could have pulled his tail and he’d have gone around today! He’s one of my homebreds, he’s one of my children, so not just to have him back but going the direction I want him to go and feeling the way I want him to feel is indescribable. There aren’t words to describe how happy I am.”
Rutledge used Plantation Field as a fitness test before the Fair Hill International next month and he was one of only two horses to make the time around the four-star course. She said, “I slowed down at the end of the course because I didn’t want to make a cocky mistake; we came through the finish flags and he felt like he wanted to go again!”

Overnight leader Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy had a run-out on course, and added time faults to open the door for Rutledge to win. Sylvester was also held on course when Caroline Martin, who was placed second going into cross country, had a fall at fence 16, the double cabins. Boyd Martin and Bonito also parted company at the same fence.
Will Faudree, Southern Pines, NC moved up yesterday from 15th place after dressage, to 9th after show jumping, to a final second place overall with Michel 223, owned by Jennifer Mosing. Faudree and the 9-year-old Hanoverian gelding also blazed around the course clear and in the time for a final score of 33.40.
“I got him as a six-year-old,” said Faudree. “He won the Bundeschampionat in Germany as a five-year-old, was sold to England and didn’t do anything for a year – I don’t know what happened. He’s big and gangly, he’s like a ‘three men in a horse’ costume and they’re not always facing the same way! Bobby Costello and I have worked a lot on his show jumping; he’s like a big awkward kid, he’s really come together. He moved up to advanced this year and has been really good. He’s all the girls’ favorite in the barn, really sweet and personable, but he’s a little bit of an introvert and needs his quiet time. He’s a horse that you can never tell him what he’s doing wrong, only what he’s doing right, because he gets his feelings hurt quickly. There’s not a malice bone in his body. I also have his half-brother and he’s like a three-year-old boy on a sugar high in a toy store, and Mike is his opposite.”
“This weekend was his personal best in the dressage and there’s massive room for improvement, and he’s only going to get better. I’ve had clear rounds at this level before, but I’d say he jumped the best within himself this time. He’s a super jumper and has a great gallop; my plan today was to go out and see how he felt, and we went for it.”
Fylicia Barr and Galloway Sunrise, an 11-year-old American Warmblood mare that her mother found for $500 on Craigslist, claimed third place on 37.7.  Barr, originally from Western New York State, has been based just down the road from Plantation Field for the past six years.
“My horse is awesome and put in her best test to date,” she said. “She’s experienced at the level now so I wasn’t overly worried about the questions on cross country, I was mostly concerned about giving her a nice clean, fast ride. We were a little off the pace but still pretty quick. She’s just a great horse, if she sees the question she tries to understand and do her best. It’s mostly me just trying to rein her in and not let her get over eager!”
The pair won the Jersey Fresh International in June. Barr trains with Sally Cousins for jumping and with Pierre St Jacques for dressage and said, “They’ve both really helped us get to the next level. We had an easy run at Millbrook and placed 9th at the AEC’s, all with the goal of getting ready for Kentucky in the spring – it will be our first run at the five-star level.”
Eight horses were withdrawn before cross country. Thirteen horses incurred jumping penalties on course, and Shannon Baker and Ballygowan Zeal retired on course. There were four falls on course today: Boyd Martin, Zoe Crawford, Caroline Martin and Shelby Brost. Caroline Martin and Boyd Martin were transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Caroline has suffered a broken collarbone. There are no horse injuries reported.
Canadian rider Colleen Loach won the CCI2*-S Division A riding FE Golden Eye on their dressage score of 21.50 followed by Lauren Kieffer and Get Gaudi (25.30) and Kurt Martin on 26.00.
In the CCI2*-S Division B, Michael Pendleton, who works as assistant rider to Boyd Martin at nearby Windurra USA claimed first through third places: Contaro, owned by Christine Haugh Turner (24.80); Miss Lulu Herself, owned by Bonnie Stedt (26.80); and Wabanaki, owned by The Dawnland Syndicate (31.0), respectively.
Go eventing.

Erin Sylvester & Paddy The Caddy Jump to Plantation Field CCI4*-S Lead

Erin Sylvester and Paddy The Caddy. Photo by AK Dragoo Photography.

Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy leaped into the lead today with a double clear show jumping at the Plantation Field International CCI4*-S.

“I was really happy with him today; he was jumping out of his skin and was very keen,” said Sylvester, who is based in Cochranville, PA. She said that he is such a good show jumper that she does very little show jumping training during the competition season, instead saving his legs for cross country schooling. “I’ll do a couple jumper shows at the beginning of the season, and then I don’t jump between events,” she said. “I’ll do some cavaletti and exercises to make him rideable.”
Sylvester had a fall on cross country with her CCI3*-S entry Morning Glory, and said that she was feeling bruised and not sure if she would ride cross country with Paddy the Caddy tomorrow.
Overnight leader Colleen Rutledge and her 11-year-old Thoroughbred/Draft cross Covert Rights had one rail down on course (30.1), dropping them to third. Going into the ring Boyd Martin and Bonito, owned by Stephen Blauner, had the opportunity to claim the lead as their 28.2 could have bested Sylvester’s 29.5, but Martin watched it fly away as the gelding knocked two rails out of the cups and he plummeted to 15th place.

Caroline Martin and Danger Mouse. Photo by AK Dragoo Photography.

Caroline Martin and her 11-year-old Danger Mouse climbed from fourth into second place (30.1). Boyd Martin had clear rounds with his other two entries and moved up to fourth riding The Z Partnership’s Z, and 7th on Fernhill Singapore, owned by Tom Tierney.
Caroline Martin, Riegelsville, PA has been riding Danger Mouse, who was imported from Germany as a show jumper, since she bought him as a five-year-old. They were recently selected as the reserve for the US team heading to Boekelo in Holland in October, and she is pleased with his performance at Plantation Field as a lead-up to that competition, should they be needed for the team. She said that she has been focusing on his fitness with that in mind.
“I’ve been working with Anne Kursinski in the show jumping and Betsy Steiner in the dressage, and of course with the US team coach Erik Duvander,” she said. “Anne always tucks me under her wing and has helped so much – she had me do a couple of Grand Prix’s this winter, which was great for my riding.”
Two years ago Covert Rights had seven rails down at Plantation Field, so in spite of losing the lead Rutledge, who hails from Frederick, MD said she was pretty happy with his round. “I’m actually really pleased with how he jumped,” she said. “With that rail I knew what happened as soon as it happened and then he picked up and fixed it. I’m pleased with how it’s looking and jumping. In the scheme of things when the horse has been so hit or miss he’s starting to be consistently a one or none rather than 7 here, 6 here…we’re a lot more consistent…I can feel it. It was an unlucky rail, I didn’t have quite enough leg and he slipped behind me just a hair.”
The CCI4*-S culminates with the cross country phase tomorrow beginning at 10am.
Don’t miss a few show stoppers from show jumping today, captured by AK Dragoo Photography:
 Holly Payne Caravella, Chester, NJ won the CCI3* with riding Charmking, an 8-year-old gray Holsteiner gelding on their dressage score of 26.1. Maya Black and Miks Master C finished second (31.1) and Boyd Martin and Luke 140 placed third (32.5). It was a big division with 75 starters, of which 56 completed the competition.
Caravella said that Charmking recently won at Millbrook (NY) and then competed at the American Eventing Championships, which she said was a good prep for Plantation Field.
“He was pretty perfect in the dressage here: he did a really good test and didn’t make any mistakes. I’ve been trying to get him fitter for the cross country and have been galloping him with my Thoroughbred, Fox, to make him a little faster. I knew that this event would be hard to make the time, because it was very warm this afternoon and he’s such a good jumper that he wastes some time hanging up in the air, but he was really genuine and galloped strong. He had plenty of go left in him at the finish. I think it was a good run before Fair Hill, and we’ll take it easy on him until then.”

Rutledge Leads CCI4*-S at 2019 Plantation Field International

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. Photo by AK Dragoo Photography.

Colleen Rutledge of Frederick, Maryland took a commanding lead after dressage, scoring 26.3 at the Plantation Field International CIC4*-S today riding Covert Rights, a 13-year-old Thoroughbred/Draft cross gelding. Boyd Martin of Cochranville, PA and Bonito, a Westphalian gelding owned by Stephen Blauner and Nancy Hathaway, were the second to last pair of the day to enter the arena, and laid down a 28.2 to claim second place. There are 57 entries in the CCI4*-S division.

Rutledge said that Covert Rights has had a few small injuries over the years that have slowed down his training progress, but he feels strong now. The pair recently finished second at the Great Meadow International in Virginia and she felt like he had a little more “pizazz” in his test today. “After he was a lumberjack on the show jumping course at Jersey Fresh [in June] we really went back to the drawing board in all three phases,” she said. Rutledge is also competing C Me Fly in the CCI3*-S.

Boyd Martin and Bonito. Photo by AK Dragoo Photography.

Martin said, “Bonito’s a lovely mover. He was injured about a year ago and I’ve gently brought him back, slowly moving him back up the levels. He’s very flamboyant in the ring and it’s nice to have him back at this level. He won the Bromont three-day in 2016 and he’s competed at the four-star level before. I plan to be a little cautious with him this year, maybe take him to Fair Hill in October, with the big goal of competing at Kentucky next April.”

Boyd Martin and Z. Photo by AK Dragoo Photography.

Martin is also competing two horses, Z and Fernhill Singapore, for Phillip Dutton, who was injured in a charity polo match last week. “It’s been a good experience,” he said. “I rode them a couple of times this week with Phillip teaching me which buttons to press. It’s a privilege to sit on them and nice to return the favor since Phillip is usually riding my horses when I’m sidelined with an injury.”

With little rain leading up to event there has been concern about the footing being too hard but Martin said, “The ground is fantastic. The guy who is aerating the footing should be paid a bonus! It’s a big strong course and I think it’ll be a good education for the horses.” Martin is also riding Luke 150, 7th and Barry, 9th and Carlsburg, 24th-T in the CCI3*-S.

Erin Sylvester and Paddy The Caddy. Photo by AK Dragoo Photography.

Erin Sylvester, a longtime student of Martin who also resides in Cochranville, is third after dressage in the four-star with 29.5 riding the 2007 Irish Thoroughbred gelding Paddy the Caddy, whom she owns in partnership with Frank McEntee. Sylvester has owned the gelding since he was three years old and said that he always performs well at Plantation Field.

“He likes the footing and atmosphere at this event,” she said. “I was happy with him today. He was really good in Kentucky this spring but has been struggling a bit since then. I’ve been working on keeping him relaxed in the ring. He tends to be relaxed in the warmup and then light up in the ring; I really rode him in the warmup today and he was the same horse in the competition ring.”

Enjoy a few more lovely snapshots from Amy Dragoo and her talented team:

Plantation Field: WebsiteScheduleEntriesTimesLive Scoring, EN’s By The NumbersEN’s Coverage

Plantation Field CCI4*-S Top 10 After Dressage: 


Eventers Running London Marathon to Save the Rhinos

Amateur eventer Paul Swart, left, and HRH Prince Harry, right, assist with the collaring of a black rhino in Botswana. This process helps to monitor and track the rhinos. Photo courtesy of Rhino Conservation Botswana.

Two adult amateur event riders, Pierre Colin and Paul Swart, are taking up the challenge of running the London Marathon on Sunday, April 22 to raise valuable funds to help protect Africa’s rhinoceros population through the charitable organization Rhino Conservation Botswana.

It is a little-known fact that rhinos are the closest living relative of the horse. These iconic animals are on the brink of extinction as they are poached for their horns under the false belief that it has medicinal value. In reality the horn is made of keratin, the same material as horse hooves and human fingernails, but it has long been believed that the ground-up horn of wild rhinos increases virility, thus they have been poached mercilessly.

Pierre has competed at the Training level with his horse Triskelion and along with his wife, Denise Lahey, is also an owner for Boyd Martin. Pierre and Denise are half-owners of Boyd’s four-star mount Steady Eddie, who will compete in the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event next week.

Pierre Colin, an amatuer eventer and owner for Boyd Martin, is also an ardent supporter of rhino conservation.

Paul, originally from South Africa, lives in Aiken, South Carolina and has competed at the Preliminary level on his horse HJ Eros. He has an adventurous background with horses.

“We were conscripted in South Africa, and I was actually in the Border War on horseback,” Paul said. “I spent a full year riding there in a war zone and the training is very similar to eventing training; you have to hang on and be able to jump ditches and brush and so on. I also did show jumping as a kid in South Africa and later became a safari guide, and I became an amateur eventer after I moved to the States.”

Paul volunteers his time as the USA trustee of Rhino Conservation Botswana, whose patron is HRH Prince Harry of England. “We take the rhinos from heavily poached areas to Botswana and protect them,” Paul said. “We are creating genetic breeding pools with wild black and white rhinos to keep the population going.”

Denise explained that the conservation moves rhinos from countries where there are numerous poachers and brings them to Botswana, which has a no-poaching policy. In addition to raising general funds for the conservation, the London Marathon will also raise money for the conservation to add more rhino protection dogs, which are trained to thwart poachers.

It’s expensive to buy and train the rhino protection dogs and also to maintain them, but they are valuable assets to the conservation’s anti-poaching program. So far the conservation has two rhino protection dogs, Savas and Luna, in their program, with an aim to expand to six dogs.

Savas, one of Rhino Conservation Botswana’s rhino protection dogs, with his trainer James Wozencroft. Photo courtesy of Neil Aldridge/Rhino Conservation Botswana.

It seems that every other day another animal is added to the endangered list, and all too frequently species become extinct. Many of us feel sadness for what is lost, perhaps scrolling through the news online with a pang of regret, but quickly move on with our lives. Paul and Pierre, however, decided to take action.

Pierre and Denise donated to build a monitoring camp in Botswana that will house a crew to track and protect rhinos, which ultimately led to the opportunity to meet Prince Harry and run the London Marathon.

Paul recalls, “Last year in October we were given four spots through the conservation trust to run the London Marathon. Pierre had just run the Boston half marathon and I knew he was in pretty good shape — so we decided to go for it.”

The two men started an intense 16-week training program and will run the marathon on April 22. “We’re both feeling great, it’s actually been an incredible learning exercise and it’s a mental game. It was a challenge and we decided, ‘why not?’ Pierre and Denise are big supporters of ours as well, and I thought it would be really cool for us to do this together and make a difference,” Paul said.

“Rhinos belong to the world and the poaching is a global issue; there’s tremendous pressure to save them. We’ve all got to do something if we all want our kids to enjoy the natural world, and we’ve all got to play an active role.”

A black rhino is released back into the wild. Photo courtesy of Rhino Conservation Botswana.

Paul is the USA trustee for the conservation and one of four trustees worldwide: in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the USA and Botswana. “I do this pro bono so that I can support doing something good,” he said. “We’re hoping to raise some funds which will go directly to the front lines to protect rhinos.”

Boyd added, “Denise and Pierre are great supporters of rhino conservation. They are very passionate about animals in general, and the wild rhinos in Africa in particular. Paul is also a great guy, and I’d love all the eventers out there to chip in on their run.”

If you are interested in supporting Paul and Pierre’s run in the London Marathon, please visit their GoFundMe page at this link. All donations will go directly to the Rhino Conservation Botswana USA Trust.

Click here to learn more about the plight of rhinos on the Rhino Conservation Botswana website.