Now in its fourth running, Great Meadow International in Virginia has become the premier event on the East Coast in the summer. With the FEI awarding Great Meadow the only FEI Eventing Nations Cup leg in North America in 2016, the event also started attracting overseas entries. Great Britain has fielded a Nations Cup team for the third consecutive year at this event.
This year some riders are using Great Meadow as a final prep before making the long trek to Montana for The Event Rebecca Farm, while others are using the event as a tune-up before heading to Germany for the FEI Nations Cup at Aachen. We also have U.S. WEG team horses and reserves competing in a special combined test.
- Although no one made the time in the first running of the CIC3* in 2015, approximately 10% of pairs achieved the optimum time in each of the last two years.
- The leader after dressage has won two of the three runnings of Great Meadow.
- Unsurprisingly, Cooley Cross Border and Kim Severson boast the best 3* average in the field over the last two calendar year, clocking in over 70% in ten of their last twelve tests.
- Shadow Man has only two starts at the level thus far, but he has availed himself strongly in both. With Ben Hobday, he scored a 28.6 in his first 3*, then followed it up by just missing 70% at Bramham.
- Allison Springer is no stranger to the top of the leaderboard on day one, and with young horse Lord Willing she has another contender to lead after the first phase. After three solid tests through the spring, he finally broke 70% at Jersey Fresh with a 27.8 to lead the CIC3* division.
SHOW JUMPING POWERHOUSES
- Voltaire de Tre has really proven himself to be a solid jumper under Leslie Law. After stepping up to the level this season, he now is five for five on clear rounds, including his first CCI3* at Jersey Fresh.
- Sportsfield Candy is back under Phillip Dutton’s tutelage while his normal owner/rider, Dr. Kevin Keane, recovers from a broken leg. In four rounds under Phillip back in 2016 and another round this spring, this horse has jumped only clean rounds.
- Caroline Martin has a lovely prospect in the young Islandwood Captain Jack, who not only jumped clean in all three of his rounds with her in his first season at the top level, but also put in a clean run with Leslie Law when he took the reins after her foot injury this spring.
- Ema Klugman and Bendigo have an impeccable record for all four rounds they have jumped, two in 2017 and another two in 2018.
CROSS COUNTRY MACHINES
- Chelsea Kolman and her Percheron/Thoroughbred cross Dauntless Courage have yet to add a single penalty in the cross country phase. Thats one Advanced and two CIC3* runs with an average pace of six seconds under optimum time. This is their first start at this level for 2018.
- Shadow Man is another horse whose experience at this level belies a strong cross country record. After making the time at his very first CIC3* at Houghton, he came back for a round just six seconds over optimum at Bramham with Ben Hobday.
- Honor Me and Lisa Marie Fergusson are well-known for their ability to put in a blazing round, and while they haven’t always chosen to do so this spring, they can reliably make the time or close to it when she decides to go for time. Although they currently average 18 seconds over optimum for the level over the last two years, as members of the Canadian Nations Cup team they will likely be closer to or under the optimum this weekend.
- Cisko A and Sydney Conley Elliott fly under the radar a bit but their prowess in the jumping phases is the reason for their spot on the U.S. Nations Cup team this weekend. In seven runs at this level, this pair has never once been more than 20 seconds over optimum, and average only 11 seconds over.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
- Off the Record is the greenest of Will Coleman’s trio this weekend with only two Advanced/CIC3* runs under his belt so far, but he’s got a solid shot at a top placing if he can keep on form. With a solid dressage record of low 30s, a history of finishing within ten seconds of the fastest cross-country horse, and so far a totally clean stadium record, he could be a surprise contender.
- Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection have quickly formed a strong partnership in only three starts at the level this spring, finishing in the top six in all three runs and top two in the last two. The dressage is hovering close to an average of 70% without quite cracking it, they’ve had only one rail in three starts, and have gotten faster on the cross country with each successive run. Depending on how hard she is pressed, this mare could sneak a win if all the phases come together.
- Georgie Spense and Halltown Harley have a history of time penalties but mostly because the venues they’ve competed at have been difficult to make the time. Their win at the Nations Cup in Austria last year hinged on one of the fastest two pairs in the field, despite 8.4 time penalties.
PREDICTED WINNER: Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border
Keep Your Eye On:
- Ben Hobday and Shadow Man
- Sydney Conley-Elliott and Cisko A
- Will Coleman and Off the Record
- Lynn Symansky and Under Suspection
- Georgie Spense and Halltown Harley