With the FEI divisions absolutely packed for Plantation Field International Horse Trials, the competition kicked off this afternoon with the small but mighty Advanced division. Erin Sylvester and Paddy the Caddy delivered a personal best score of 29.7 to lead the 13-horse field with the only score in the 20s in the division.
“He’s been going in and out of waves of nervousness this year, but he had a good look in his eye when we were tacking him up, and he felt like he really wanted to perform,” Erin said.
“It’s all in there. He’s very capable and he can school really well at home. He goes through stages at each level where he’s a bit insecure for awhile. He’s felt that way in his last few events, but he’s been going well the last few weeks. Today he was ready to focus.”
Erin has brought “Paddy,” a 9-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Frank McEntee, through the levels from Novice and stepped him up to Advanced at Pine Top in February. Bred in Ireland to race (Azamore x Slamy), Frank imported the horse to the U.S. and had him in training with Graham Motion, but Paddy never made it to the track.
“He sat in a field for awhile. I was teaching Frank’s daughter at the time, and he brought Paddy to me and said, ‘What do you think?’ He was really small, but he definitely knew how to jump from the start. He’s got this cute way of moving that he’s had from day one.”
Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie, a 13-year-old Australian Thoroughbred gelding owned by Gretchen Wintersteen, Pierre Colin and Denise Lahey, sit in second in the Advanced division on 31.8. Lauren Kieffer and Vermiculus, a 9-year-old Anglo Arabian gelding owned by Jacqueline Mars, round out the top three on 32.2. Click here to see scores.
Everyone is in good spirits today at Plantation Field. This event is undisputedly one of the East Coast favorites for the fall season, and Katie Walker, Amy Ruth Borun, Evie Dutton and the rest of the fantastic organizing committee have planned an amazing weekend for us.
Mother Nature has unfortunately not gifted the Unionville, Pennsylvania area with much rain over the last few weeks, but Jamie Hicks and his amazing grounds crew team have been aerating and aggravating the course all week and will also be watering with guidance from course designer Mike Etherington-Smith to get the track in the best possible condition for the horses.
“I think we need to wait until Saturday to make a judgement call on whether we run,” Erin said. “There are a lot of machines out there right now. All of the courses are built big, and it’s taxing for the horses to land on ground like that, but I think as riders we should wait to make a call because I think they are trying to do a lot to make the footing better.”
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of the footing here on EN, which is definitely your headquarters for all things Plantation Field this weekend. Click here to check out the 10 things we love most about the Best. Event. Ever. Then click here to check out Maggie Deatrick’s predictions for who might take the CIC3* win.
Both CIC* and CIC2* dressage start tomorrow at 8 a.m. EST, with the CIC3* kicking off on Friday at 8 a.m. EST. All of the CIC3* action will stream live on USEF Network, so be sure to plan to tune in. As always we have to send a huge shout out to Mary Coldren for being the Best. Secretary. Ever.
Keep it locked on EN. Leslie Threlkeld is your boots on the ground here at Plantation Field this weekend, and I will be joining Karen O’Connor on the live stream. We’re also excited to partner with EquiRatings to bring you exclusive statistics and analysis for the CIC3*. Go Eventing.