MARS Great Meadow International 4*-S Live Updates

The dimensionally imposing Brush Table at fence 9A. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Good afternoon from MARS Great Meadow International! We’re anxiously awaiting the start of the CCI4*-S class, where we’ll see our potential Pratoni World Championship pairs strut their stuff in the hopes of team selection, along with many many other top combinations looking to start their fall season off in style.

Our fearless leader Sally Spickard is on the ground in Virginia and I’ll be bringing you a play-by-play of the action remotely. If you missed the previous two days of action, check out yesterday’s report here.

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3:27 PM: Here are your top ten pairs at MARS Great Meadow International! Stay tuned for the full report from Sally a bit later.

3:22 PM: Through the finish flags for Tamie and Lexus aaaannnnd…. they pick up 6.4 time penalties, which means the race car driver Liz Halliday-Sharp and the The Monster Partnership’s Cooley Quicksilver clinch the win! What a fantastic season this pair is having. Tamie wasn’t exactly wasting time, but she’s got a little thing called the World Championships next month to be keeping in mind. These two highly competitive female riders gave us a tense finish to #MARSGMI, that’s for sure.

3:20 PM: A piece of cake through the coffin at fence 17 for Tamie and Lexus — they’re in the home stretch now.

3:19 PM: Argh, one little second over time for Liz and Monster! Tamie is likely going for a nice positive outing before Pratoni, but she’s got 11 seconds in hand over Liz so it’ll still be down to the wire for the win today.

3:18 PM: Liz totally looks like she’s going for it as she encourages Monster on through the MARS Sustainability Bay. Tamie and “Lexus” are easily through 11AB.

3:16 PM: Liz and “Monster” make the 12ABCD complex look like child’s play. With Will and Chin Tonic HS withdrawn, our final pair and leaders after the show jumping, Tamie Smith and Mai Baum are also out on course now! Time sure does fly when you’re watching cross country.

3:13 PM: Now we have Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver on course as well. This pair won the Lexington 4*S held in conjunction with the Kentucky Three-Day Event this spring and then earned a top 5 finish at Luhmühlen 5* the following month. They’re flying so far!

3:12 PM: Boyd Martin and Federman B are also out fo the box and already through 11AB.

3:09 PM: Buck and Carlevo were so fast, they’ve already finished by the time I was catching up typing scores! They’re home clear with 4.4 time penalties. That slots them into 4th provisionally. And whoa! Phillip Dutton and Carlchen, also on course now, slide over the log at 12A. Phillip sits it and they complete the rest of the complex.

3:04 PM: We’re back underway now with Buck Davidson and Carlevo — another alternate pair for Pratoni. This team had such an excellent showing at Kentucky this spring.

3:01 PM: Plot twist! We’ve just heard that second placed Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS have withdrawn and will not run XC. Ever the consummate horseman, Will is likely saving the young horse’s legs for bigger things this fall. We have a couple other score updates for you too:

  • Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California: 20 jumping penalties, 17.6 time penalties.
  • Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan: clear jumping, 8 time penalties.
  • Kaelen Speck and Charmed Victory: 20 jumping penalties, 30.8 time penalties.
  • Hannah Sue-Hollberg and Carsonstown: 20 jumping penalties, 24.8 time penalties.
  • Lillian Heard had a frangible pin at 4A and then a runout at 4B before retiring.

2:59 PM: Hmm. We’ve just heard that there’s a hold on course for a fence repair at 4AB and Lillian  Heard and Cooley Gentlemen appear to be walking off course at that spot. We didn’t see hat happened, but it looks like the pair is OK but will not continue on course.

2:55 PM: Shoot! Carsonstown doesn’t lock on to the B element of 4AB and Hannah will pick up a 20 there. Ariel and Simon are still going easy but having a great ride andSimon’s tail is still acting like a propeller!

2:54 PM: Hannah Sue-Hollberg and Carsonstown are on course now. Ariel and Simon are having a great steady ride and are through the first water at 11AB.

2:50 PM: Kaelen Speck and Charmed Victory are our newest on course, but they’ve just picked up a refusal at 9B. We’ve also got Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan fresh out of the box, with “Simon” swishing his tail in anticipation of the fences to come. If they go double clear they’ll slot into the clubhouse lead with a 30.9. It’s been a real joy watching this pair blossom and we can’t wait to see them in Pratoni next month.

2:46 PM: Dang! Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California have an early runout of course as well — we haven’t seen them on camera yet. They were the ones tied for fourth with Will, but that won’t be true anymore, sadly. Shannon Lilley and Ideal HX are home with 20 jumping faults from the corner complex plus 19.2 time penalties.

2:44 PM: Liz and Deniro Z ping easily through the GIANT picnic table while Will and Timmy make easy work of the water at 11AB.

2:42 PM: Another exciting pair is on course with us now: it’s Will Coleman again, this time with Pratoni-bound Off The Record. He’s riding a bit out of order, as “Timmy” is currently tied for fourth on a score of 27.9.

2:41 PM: Liz Halliday-Sharp and Ocala Horse Properties’ Deniro Z are on course now and have made easy work of the 9ABC corner complex. Phillip and Z are home with 16.8 time penalties. Shannon Lilley and Ideal HX are through the MARS Sustainability Bay

2:38 PM: Also on course now are Shannon Lilley and Ideal HX, but darn, they pick up a runout at the last of the corners at 9ABC. Boyd indeed gave Thomas a nice easy run: they’re home with 12 time penalties. Phillip and Z are nearing the end of the course and also don’t look to be in a particular rush.

2:34 PM: Our traveling reserve pair for Team USA, Phillip Dutton and Z, are now on course. Heather Gillette and Vincent Chase are home clear with 23.2 time penalties.

2:30 PM: Boyd doesn’t look in a rush to complete the course. He’s just out there have a nice gallop and and easy pre-championships run. Meanwhile, uh-oh, Jennie Brannigan and Global Ex have an early runout on course and Jennie puts her hand up. This is a new partnership — Jennie is temporarily in the irons for Hallie Coon — so Jennie decides to save things for another day.

2:28 PM: Close, but no cigar! Lauren and Patrick take home 2.8 time penalties on top of their lovely clear round. It sure looked like they might have been going for the time. Heather Gillette and Vincent Chase now join us on course while Boyd and “Thomas” near the back third of the course — looking good and clear so far. Doug and Camarillo are home clear with 22 time penalties.

2:25 PM: Here comes a round to watch: Pratoni-bound pair Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg are on course now and through fence 6. Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge are home clear with 21.2 time penalties.

2:23 PM: Whoa! Looks like Camarillo stepped on a bell boot or something in the MARS Sustainability Bay and got a little tripped up — like stepping on your shoelaces. He and Doug scramble a bit over the fence on the way out of the water, but they make it and Doug puts the gas pedal down on the other side. Lauren and “Patrick” are FLYING and get the most beautiful ride through the giant brush and double corners at 9ABC.

2:21 PM: Fresh out of the box, its Lauren Nicholson and Landmark’s Monte Carlo. I’m gassed after a single Beginner Novice course, I don’t know how these riders manage multiple rides, especially at this level.

2:19 PM: Doug Payne is back already — this time with the striking grey Camarillo, this is one of Doug’s younger horses at the level and they’ve already made easy work of the first water . Lindsay and Bacyrouge make easy work of the MARS Sustainability. Tamie and Danito have finished clear with 3.6 time penalties — what an exciting round for that pair! They have the clubhouse lead now on a score of 33.0, ahead of Will and DonDante on a 34.8.

2:15 PM: Tamie and Danito give us a masterclass through the MARS Sustainability Bay and Canada’s Lindsay Traisnel and Bacyrouge are now on course as well.

2:12 PM: Tamie Smith and Danito have joined us and are about halfway around the course already. They’re looking completely on form. Mia Farley and Phelps are home clear and gather just 1.6 time penalties for the second fastest round of the day. OTTB power! Zach Brandt and Direct Advance have also completed the course with their 20 penalties and some time.

2:11 PM: Eek! Our newest on course, Daniel Poulsen and Capability Brown have retired after the horse padded the ground and slid over the log ahead of the down bank at fence 12. They then run by the other elements of this combination and Danielle calls it a day. Bummer!

2:08 PM: Mia Farley is on course now with a very strong and eager Phelps. This is a young horse she’s quite excited about, and I can see why! He’s totally in the zone and locked onto every fence. Mia is getting a real arm workout though, trying to hold him back. He is a former racehorse after all!

2:03 PM: We have our first double clear of the day! Phillip Dutton and OTTB Sea of Clouds have come home bang on the optimum time. I’m a little behind on reporting scores so here’s a couple more:

  • Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle: clear with 2.8 time penalties.
  • Sarah Kuhn and Mr. Cash van de Start: clear with 27.6 time penalties.
  • Doug Payne and Quantum Leap: clear with 5.6 time penalties.
  • Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus: clear with 7.2 time penalties.
  • Holly Jacks-Smither and Candy King: clear with 16 time penalties.

2:01 PM: We’ve just had word that Zach Brandt and Direct Advance have had an early runout on course — not sure where, as we haven’t seem him on the livestream yet.

1:59 PM: We’ve got Phillip Dutton and Seas of Clouds out on course now and about halfway through, plus Buck Davidson is back with his second ride of the day, Erroll Gobey.

1:55 PM: Ahh! Holly gets tipped forward over the first element of fence 12, but she get’s back in the driver seat just in time for the drop at the B element.

1:53 PM: Holly Jacks-Smither and Candy King, a Pratoni-bound pair for Team Canada, are also on course now and Candy King is another horse excited to get out there today! He’s a bit on the muscle starting out.

1:52 PM: One of our Pratoni-bound pairs Lauren Nicolson and Vermiculus a.k.a. “Bug” are now on course and they’re pinging easily over everything so far! You can tell Bug is pretty stoked to be getting to run and jump — his little Anglo-Arab tail is flying high! Katie Lichten and Yarrow unfortunately pick up a refusal at the jump into the MARS Sustainability Bay and Katie decides to call it a day.

1:48 PM: Our newest pair on course now are Katie Lichten and Yarrow. I have to give Katie and her family a little shout out — they own the beautiful Aquila Farm is Hamilton, Massachusetts which has an amazing cross country schooling field that they keep open to local riders. It’s an incredible resource to have in my area!

1:45 PM: On course now we have Sarah Kuhn and Mr. Cash van de Start along with our CCI5* National Champions Doug Payne and the young Quantum Leap. Erin Kanara and Campground are home clear with 17.6 time penalties, as are Jill and Obos Darko.

1:40 PM: Oh dear, we just caught up with Alina Patterson and Flashback who were our newest on course, but Alina has popped off at, I believe, the fence 12 complex. Alina is up, but visibly bummed and Flashback is taking himself on a little walk back to the stables.

1:36 PM: Jill Thomas and Obos Darko are on course and catch a funky stride to the A element of 9ABC. They then have a runout at the corner B element but they get it on the second try. Meanwhile, Jennie has a bit of a flyer into the MARS Sustainability Bay, but she pops herself back into the tack quickly like the pro she is and carries on.

1:32 PM: Sydney and Q are home with 5.2 time penalties and now we have two additional pairs on course: Erin Kanara and Campground, who are already through the coffin complex at fence 17 cleanly, as well as Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle, another alternate pair for Pratoni.

1:28 PM: Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire, one of the alternate pairs named for the World Championships team, are now on course and looking good so far. Both Will and Buck have now finished the course and picked up some time: 4 time penalties and 12.4 time penalties respectively.

1:22 PM: Will Coleman and his direct reserve horse for Pratoni, DonDante, are out the box and on course now — this pair is in 12th place, so they’re riding out of order since Will has two other rides in this division. Buck and Sorocaima are having a lovely clean ride so far.

1:18 PM: And we’re underway with Buck Davidson and Sorocaima, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding who made his 5* debut with Buck at Kentucky this spring. First out was initially supposed to be Ariel Grald and Forest Gump 124, but they’ve withdrawn. Also withdrawn ahead of XC are Hannah Sue Hollberg and Lukeswell along with Daisy Trayford and Ermintrude.

The actions kicks off at 1:15 PM and in the meantime, let’s review the course:

The cross country track is designed by David O’Connor and takes the 4*-S combinations over a total of 3740 meters with 32 jumping efforts set at 22 numbered questions. The optimum time is 6 minutes, 34 seconds. Well be interested to see if anyone guns for catching the optimum time today over Virginia’s rolling hills especially, as seems to be the case everywhere in the country, over some hard ground. You can view the course below or, if the embedded post does not show up, here. Plus, take a sneak peak and get a little extra insight from Sally’s course preview here.