As is now the tradition, I’m here to bring you a thoroughly exhaustive and intense look at all the riders entered in this weekend’s big competition: Plantation Field Horse Trials, the CIC3*. Let us not forget that there is also a CIC1*, a CIC2*, and horse trials from Preliminary through Advanced levels, which pretty much guarantees that everybody on the east coast who is competing at the upper levels will somehow find a way to be there.
Plantation has really put forth an effort in the latest years to become a destination event, and this year they are unveiling a new warm up arena (yay!) and also importing some foreign talent, as Sara Algottson-Ostholt will be riding one of Boyd’s horses in the CIC1*. With the excitement of the bareback puissance (which last year reached 5’11 with Caroline Martin & Nacho!) AND the very cool Downton Abbey themed shops (nerd moment), Plantation promises to be a fantastic time! So, without further ado, your CIC3* competitors!
Lisa Barry & F.I.S. Prince Charming: Lisa has a super jumping horse in this little grey gelding, and he has a wonderful flying white tail over every jump as he kicks out his hind end. This pair won the Advanced at Red Hills earlier this spring, and finished on their dressage score at The Fork in the CIC3*, but have only contested two Intermediates since then, so they’ll be looking to get a good result at this 3* as a return to the Advanced level for the fall.
Peter Barry & Kilrodan Abbott: Always a crowd favorite, Peter and Eddie will be contesting this event in fine form. Peter was most recently 8th at the Richland CIC3*, finishing with only time penalties to add to his dressage score of 56. This pair has of course cruised around Rolex like no big deal several times at this point, and nobody doubts that they can jump around almost any track. I expect that these two will put in a nice performance, and clean jumping rounds to sit in the top 15 riders at the end of the weekend.
Nora Battig & Steppin’ Out: I saw Nora and this lovely mare compete at Millbrook just a few weeks ago, and I really liked what I saw. They are new to the Advanced level, and have somewhat of a mixed bag of results on their record, so I think Nora will be pleased with a solid result at the CIC3* level for their first attempt this weekend.
Susan Beebee & Wolf: Wolf is the horse that everybody wants to have, and for good reason too. He’s absurdly good looking, a consistently good dressage horse and he can jump like hell. This pair was 7th earlier this spring at The Fork CIC3* and won an Advanced at Chattahoochee, going on to finish 14th at Bromont in the CCI3* with a stop on cross country. Wolf just moved up to Advanced this year, and it’s safe to say that the talent is there, but they are still figuring out some nuances together. If their weekend goes well, watch out for these two.
Emily Beshear & River King: Emily got Riley earlier this year, and they’ve had some good results as they finished all the qualifications for a CCI3* in one season earlier this spring. Riley was 7th at the Ocala CCI2*, 7th at the CIC3* at Jersey and was in the top after dressage at Bromont only to garner a stop on cross country. These two perform well on the flat and usually quite accurately on cross country, but struggle with their show jumping, so I know Emily will be focused on getting away from the colored poles as much as she can on Saturday.
Tracey Bienemann & Zara: Tracey and her big red mare completed a few Advanced horse trials last year, but have not competed at this level since Plantation 2012, so I’m sure they will be a little rusty and happy with a solid completion. Zara has a distaste for dressage that suits her big red thoroughbred mare status, and a rather distinct jumping style that sometimes lends itself to rails, but she’s very honest on cross country, and Tracey loves her a lot.
Jessica Bortner-Harris & Win The War: Jess has had a bit of an unlucky year with her horse Bug, after jumping the wrong side of a corner in the CCI3* at Bromont, and then falling prey to a cabin combination at Millbrook, she’ll be looking to get her groove back here at Plantation and finish feeling like her horse is back to his old self in the jumping phases.
Timothy Bourke & Luckaun Quality: This pair is new to the Advanced level, having just moved up at Millbrook, but they also contested the Richland CIC3* and finished with some time and two rails over the tough jumping tracks. I expect that Tim will be looking for some more experience at this level before contesting a bigger 3* later this fall. This horse dreads the Dressage, but like a nice Irish horse should, lives for the running and jumping.
Zachary Brandt & Cavallino Cocktail: When he’s not becoming a Crocodile Dundee, Zach is apparently invading the East Coast with his lovely grey mare Scotty. They were 10th at the CCI3* at Jersey Fresh earlier this spring, and went right on to place 5th at the CIC3* at Rebecca Farms, and just came off a lovely 4th place finish in the Intermediate at Five Points. Watch out for these two!
Jennie Brannigan & Cambalda: Despite the fact that Jennie has had arguably the worst luck EVER with contesting her first CCI4* this spring with Ping, this pair remains virtually unbeatable at all the other levels. If they aren’t first, they are second. Their dressage is very accurate and the horse can jump to beat them all. If Jennie goes for the clock on Sunday, we’re all in trouble.
Jan Byyny & Inmidair: Jan is having a similarly bad luck season, and she’s one of the most determined competitors out there, so she’ll be here this weekend to prove us all wrong! JR is a super cool little horse who can turn in a seriously good dressage test under her guidance, and can jump the heck out of anything out there. If Jan is out there gritting her teeth and gettin’ it done like I know she can, you should very well expect her to be in the top placings at the end of the weekend.
Caitlin Calder & Jolliyat: Caitlin & Cliff moved up to the Advanced level early this spring, and they’ve already got a CCI3* under their belt. They’ve had the odd batch of bad luck in the mix, but I know Caitlin has been working very hard on the subtle magic of pulling it all together this summer, and I expect she’ll be trying to get that in order here this weekend. Cliffy is a super jumper and incredibly catty on the cross country, so I have no doubt that it is well within their reach.
Kate Chadderton & Collection Pass: Kate thinks the world of this little horse, and he’s even got his own fan club: The Cole Club! Cole moved up to Advanced this spring and took on the Bromont CCI3*, placing 11th overall. They had a nice break after Bromont and came back to complete the Richland CIC3* with some time and a few rails. I know Kate was disappointed with her dressage at Richland, so she’ll be hungry for some improvement here. Cole is a super little jumper and Kate can ride the heck out of some cross country, so I expect these two to finish with clean jumping efforts.
Leslie Chelstrom & Cecelia: From what I’ve seen with Leslie and Cecelia in my divisions for a few years now, they both have a large amount of talent. They’ve been active at the Advanced and 3* level for two years now, and they have enough experience to know how to handle the challenge. This pair won an extremely competitive division of Advanced this spring at The Fork, but sadly were unable to complete Bromont CCI3* when they ran into trouble on cross country. This mare is incredibly obedient on the flat and a super jumper, and Leslie rides her well. I expect them to finish in style.
Will Coleman & Conair: Will just very recently acquired Joey and this competition will be only their 3rd together as a pair. They competed at Richland in the Intermediate and finished well there, and just made the move up to Advanced last weekend at Five Points, where they added only some time on cross country to their dressage score to finish 7th. Will seems really excited about the horse, so I’m interested to see him go this weekend, and I don’t doubt that they can get it done, and make it look pretty.
Hallie Coon & Namaste’: Unfortunately, I don’t know much about these two. They have completed two Advanced HT earlier this spring at Rocking Horse and Poplar, but since then have only competed at a CCI* and the Intermediate at Richland, so this weekend at Plantation will be the biggest challenge they have yet seen in their career.
Courtney Cooper & Who’s A Star: Tag is Courtney’s first homebred, and certainly qualifies as a star. This spring he was 3rd at the Jersey Fresh CCI3*, but since then has had an inauspicious return to the Advanced level, coming home with trouble on XC at both Millbrook and Five Points. Courtney will be happy to get around this course clean and have her old jumping machine back in order.
Sally Cousins & Tsunami III: Sue and Sally comprise probably the toughest pair out competing this weekend. While their dressage will not be up in the top after the first day, Sally knows how to get around inside the time and Sue knows how to jump clean. If the jumping phases prove to be influential (as they should), these two will get the award for the highest leap from day one to day three.
Sally Cousins & Ideal Contini: Sally’s second ride, Taz, has really been a great addition to her string of horses. Taz can compete with the best on the first day, and while he’s not the easiest horse to ride over jumps, Sally could ride a mule around and it would probably go clean. They’ve had a very successful spring, with a 4th place at Jersey Fresh CCI2*, several wins at the horse trials level and most recently 2nd at Millbrook in the Advanced. She fell prey to a TE last weekend at Five Points, so I know she’ll be kicking herself into high gear to get over that this weekend.
Buck Davidson & Knight Lion: This horse is one of the least experienced horses in the field, and I sure hope Buck’s groin has healed, because he might have to do some cowboy riding on cross country day. Knight Lion was 3rd at the Bromont CCI2*, and has one Advanced HT under his belt from June, but he also has a slightly unsettling record of competing at Intermediate a few times and then Training level before moving back up. Buck should be pleased with some more confidence building mileage on this horse at the end of the weekend.
Buck Davidson & Petite Flower: Buck recently took over the ride on this little mare (bred by his father, Bruce) from his student Caroline Martin, after Bromont this year. Though she may be a tiny little Thoroughbred, she is mighty and can jump anything. She successfully moved up to Advanced at Millbrook two weeks ago, and was en route to do her first CIC3* at Richland, but Buck pulled his groin muscle in a fall off his first horse, and made the choice to save his strength for another day. This will be her second effort at the Advanced level and her first CIC3*.
Maggie Deatrick & Divine Comedy: Maggie and her thoroughbred chestnut gelding have somewhat of a mixed bag heading into this weekend. They completed two Advanced horse trials in the spring of 2012, but then returned to the Intermediate level, and have only had one other crack at Advanced, this summer at Millbrook where they finished with three rails and some time to add to their dressage score. Given that they are fairly inexperienced at this level and this is their first CIC3*, I think a nice solid round will make this rider happy.
Phillip Dutton & William Penn: The first of Phillip’s three rides in the 3*, this horse has quite enough experience at the Advanced level to do well here. I saw him at Millbrook and though that his dressage lacked some of the pizazz that some of his stablemates have, but I’m sure he can do well as he’s a lovely mover and a lovely jumper.
Phillip Dutton & Fernhill Fugitive: This horse had an unfortunate fall at Jersey Fresh CCI3* this spring, but bounced right back to win the CIC2* at Virginia and place 7th at the Bromont CCI3* a few weeks later. He contested the Richland CIC3* a few weeks ago, and although Dressage isn’t his strongest point, he finished 15th in the competitive crowd there and I’m sure will do well here.
Phillip Dutton & Mr. Medicott: Phillip is still testing out his new partnership with Cave, and while their debut at Millbrook in the Advanced was decent, I feel like they still have some style points to work out. They had a rather rough go at Richland in the Show Jumping, and I hope to see some smoother communication here at Plantation.
Eliza Farren & Bantry Bays Dublin: Eliza and her little Connemara gelding, Dublin, have had quite a bit of experience at the Advanced level now, and will be looking to improve upon their performance at Richland, where they were 32nd with a stop on XC. I saw her earlier this spring when she attempted the Red Hills CIC3*, and she had an unfortunate fall in the water, and in true pony form, Dublin took off into the back forty, leaving his rider soaked and trotting after him with a grim smile on her face. Should these two get everything in line, they can finish quite nicely.
Lisa Marie Fergusson & Feral Errol: And the winner for the name that is the most fun to say over the loudspeaker goes to…..! But seriously, Lisa and this horse have had a pretty good start to their relationship. They’ve only been together since the beginning of this year, but they have won a few horse trials at Intermediate and won the CCI2* at Rebecca Farms. They haven’t had that kind of luck at the Advanced level, and that was where Errol’s previous rider Gina Fiore had trouble with him as well, so we shall see if Lisa can get it done. They are coming off an elimination in the Advanced at Five Points last weekend, so that can either mean they are down in the dumps, or they’ve got a fire lit under their butts!
Sinead Halpin & Manoir de Carneville: There isn’t a whole lot that I can say about this partnership that you haven’t heard about ten times before. They burst onto the international scene with a fantastic finish at their first 4* at Rolex and topped it off last year by coming 2nd to the Silver Fox himself at Burghley. Separately, Tate and Sinead have been recovering from minor injuries, but they seem to be back at it lately, and will be bringing their A game. Tate is incredibly obedient in all the phases, and his only weakness is the occasional rail or two in stadium. I expect them to kick all our butts anyway, though.
Helen Hayn & Aqua Tom: Helen and Tom completed two Advanced HT’s last year (one of them here at Plantation) but have only completed one in 2013, just last weekend at Five Points, where they had some trouble on cross country as well as three rails. This will be their first attempt at the CIC3* level, and they’ll be pleased with a nice clear round and some time penalties.
Lillian Heard & Share Option: Lillian has had Whitey for 7 years now, and their partnership is a lovely sight to see. After an injury put him out of commission for a few years, Whitey returned to the upper levels this spring, and had a great comeback at the Jersey Fresh CCI3* placing 4th, as well as a 3rd place at Fair Hill CIC3* before that. He most recently completed the Richland CIC3*, with a rail and some time to add to his dressage score. He’s a lovely mover and jumper, and Lillian is a super rider, and they get along very well. I expect this pair to be quite competitive this weekend, and they will make it all look easy while out on course.
Lauren Kieffer & Lucky Devil: Taz is a lovely 8 year old gelding who has been brought up the slow and correct way through the Intermediate level by Lauren, and has had some very good results so far. He has done two Advanced HT’s at Richland and Five Points, and will be contesting his first CIC3* this weekend. I’m positive that Lauren can give him a thoughtful and confident ride around this big course.
Lauren Kieffer & RF Cosima: Cosi is fresh off her win at Richland in the CIC2*, and is looking to kick some butt here at Plantation. Lauren’s string of solid competitive horses is getting ridiculous, and this horse is no exception. These two were 5th at the Jersey CIC3* and 3rd at the Bromont CIC3*, as well as a nice win in the AI at VAHT. The mare is still relatively inexperienced at the level, but every time she goes out she’s in the top placings at the end of the weekend.
Boyd Martin & Trading Aces: After winning the Richland CIC3*, this pair is a serious threat to those looking to grab the blue ribbon. They are solidly top three after dressage, and Oscar is a very careful natural jumper who usually leaves the poles up. With Boyd in the irons on XC, the two can do no wrong, and should be placed well up in the top at the end of the weekend. Boyd & Oscar are using this as one last prep run before heading for Boekelo CCIO3* this October.
Selena O’Hanlon & A First Romance: This gelding hasn’t had a lot of competition this spring, but he finished 12th at the Bromont CCI3* and most recently was 19th at Richland with only time to add to his dressage score. The flatwork is not where he finds his joy in life, but they both excel in the jumping phases. Selena is one of the most efficient XC riders I’ve seen in a long time, as her horses are perfectly trained to barely require a tug before the fences and they set themselves up beautifully. Sometimes, you think you’re watching a hunter course in fast forward!
Selena O’Hanlon & Bellaney Rock: Selena’s second ride has had a bit more to do this spring, placing 10th at Red Hill CIC3* thanks to a quick clear XC round, and finishing in 4th place at the Bromont CCI3*. He also competed at Richland, placing a bit above his stable mate in 12th place. He’s a lovely big Irish chestnut gelding with lots of chrome, and a beauty to watch as he lopes around these big courses with ease. Watch for him on cross country day as he makes it look easy.
Doug Payne & Crown Talisman: Doug is thrilled to have another horse at the Advanced level after he lost his 4* competitor Running Order to WFP across the pond, and Tali is a great new start for him. This horse is still green at this level, having only moved up to Advanced at Millbrook, but he finished Richland CIC3* in good style with a few rails and some time on cross country. Doug is looking for some improvements and some more experience for his horse before contesting a CCI3* this fall.
Holly Payne & Santino: Sunny is an exceptionally talented horse; he’s a great mover and a super jumper and he’s a seriously cool horse for the future with Holly. She has taken her time and brought him along right, and he just moved up to Advanced at Pine Top prior to Holly’s injury, and then again at Millbrook a few weeks ago, where he finished 10th. He did his first CIC3* at Richland, where he was 19th with a few rails and some time, and they’ll be looking for a nice performance here to set them up for the fall.
Ian Roberts & Faolan: Faolan is entering his first CIC3* with not much under his belt, as he’s only contested two competitions total this year. He won an IP at Sporting Days early this spring, and then jumped around his first Advanced at MCTA with two rails and some time to finish second. Hopefully Ian’s long history of experience will counter the balance of Faolan’s inexperience.
Caitlin Romeo & Spirit Of The Outback: Caitlin and Jake have done a handful of Advanced horse trials together, most recently placing 10th at Five Points. These two have come up the ranks through the Young Rider program together, and Jake is a super jumping irish horse, so while I don’t think their aim is to be competitive in the top ten, I do believe they will be able to jump around just fine.
Colleen Rutledge & Covert Rights: We all got to know Colleen & CR through Jenni’s “EN’s Got Talent” series last year, and since then the pair has been progressing nicely. CR has gotten to be quite big, but as only a 7 year old he just recently moved up to the Advanced level at The Horse Park of NJ, winning his debut following a 3rd place at Jersey Fresh CCI2*. He also recently put in a great performance at the Richland CIC3*, finishing 4th with one of the only clear show jumping rounds. Colleen might be the one to surprise us all and sneakily insert herself in the top five here at Plantation, surrounded by 4* horses.
Kate Samuels & Nyls du Terroir: Nyls and I have had more than enough preparation for this level of competition, but despite the fact that my horse is a super freak jumper, I’m a little bit of a late bloomer. We’ve entered 3*’s before but always been cursed at the last minute by things like bruises or lymphangitis, so this will be our first effort at this level. Our dressage has been improving, and Nyls is a cross country machine, but he is very difficult to ride in Show Jumping when it is held prior to XC, so I will be happy with a competitive score and a rideable horse. We were most recently 3rd at Millbrook Advanced, and I’m hoping to have some minor improvements from that score.
Kristin Schmolze & Ballylaffin Bracken: Kristin moved Rox up to the CCI4* level this spring at Rolex and was elated to see him step up to the plate and finish with a nice clear cross country round. Rox is a supermodel of a horse, but we’re still waiting for him to stop acting naughty occasionally in Dressage! However, when I saw her at Millbrook, he looked like he’s grown up a lot and matured into a wiser horse that can throw down the kind of score he deserves in the sandbox. Kristin is aiming him at Galway Downs CCI3* this fall, so she’ll be using this as a prep run.
Jimmie Schramm & Bellamy: ‘Hells Bells’ as Jimmie fondly calls her mount, is her first Advanced horse and they are getting to know the level together. He’s an incredibly talented jumper and he wants to do everything right for his rider. They contested their first CIC3* at Richland and were disappointed to be caught out at the tricky corner combination late in the course, but I know they’ll be on point here. This pair is looking forward to a fall CCI3*, and you’ll be able to spot them by noticing a horse jumping a foot over everything with jockey who looks like she’s having the time of her life.
Caitlin Silliman & Catch A Star: Caitlin had a rather disappointing go at Richland when Hoku got into her old bad habits of stopping in Show Jumping. They had a wonderful round earlier this year at Rolex, and we all know they both have talent in spades. Caitlin will be glad to have Saturday over and done with so she can move on to cross country, where they both really shine.
Caitlin Silliman & Remington XXV: Caitlin’s second ride is an old campaigner! Remi knows his job inside and out. They won the CC2* earlier this spring at Jersey Fresh, and due to the new FEI qualification regulations, have been steadily working their way up the levels. They recently finished in good stead at Richland with only two rails and some time to add to their dressage score.
Jen Simmons & GV Tuscany: Jen and GV Tuscany will tackle their first three-star at Plantation. They were fourth in the CIC2* at Jersey Fresh earlier this year before Jen took a spill in the CCI2* at Bromont. They had a comeback run at Millbrook, where they placed 11th in the Advanced. If this pair can bring their A game on cross-country day, they should have a solid weekend.
Lizzie Snow & Coal Creek: Lizzie and Coal Creek had a solid showing at Plantation last year, finishing 13th in the CIC3*. This year, they completed the CCI3* at Bromont and will be looking for a clear cross-county trip this weekend. Lizzie and Coal Creek struggle with time on cross country and rails in the show jumping, but she’s a super stylish rider and has the skills to get it done this weekend.
Erin Sylvester & No Boundaries: Erin and Bucky burst onto the international scene last year with a double clean trip around their first CCI4* at Rolex and then completing the tough Burghley in the fall in fine form. These two also completed Rolex this spring, but they didn’t have as much luck as the first time, and Bucky decided that he would let out his wild side in Dressage. He is perfectly capable of a good test, he just doesn’t always keep a lid on it. She got a really good test out of him at Richland, however, and I hope to see more of that magic here at Plantation as she prepares for Fair Hill CCI3*.
Lynn Symansky & Donner: We all know the story of Lynn & Donner quite well by now, as they shone in the Pan American Games in 2011, and then were missing for most of 2012 only to burst back out this spring with a superior grasp on the flatwork and crushing it in the jumping phases. Lynn & ‘The Flying Deer’ won The Fork CIC3* this spring, despite a spiral fracture in her pinky finger, and proceeded to completely dominate at Rolex for Donner’s first CCI4*, finishing on her dressage score. I expect that Lynn might take it a little slow on the XC, as she’s got her sights set on something bigger this fall: Pau CCI4*, and she won’t want to get her Thoroughbred too fit too quick! However, look for a polished performance from both of these athletes.
Laura VanderVliet & Running Wolfe: This pair has been in and out of the Advanced level this spring, varying their schedule with some Intermediate runs in between. While they don’t really agree on the necessity of Dressage in the competition, the horse has the capability to jump around just fine. However, their dressage score will place them well out of contention.
Laura Vello & Winning Facts: Laura and Wynn have a few Advanced under their belts from 2012 and 2011 but this spring has been a light one for them, competing in Training through the Advanced at Millbrook and the Richland CIC3*, where they had some trouble on cross country. I believe she’ll be looking for a good round here to get a qualifying result and more solidified at the level before attempting something bigger this fall.
Julia Wendell & Cavendish: Julia and Cavendish have been competing at the Advanced level for quite some time now, and know the job well. They had an unlucky go at Jersey Fresh this spring in the CIC3*, but have come back none worse for the wear. The horse is a lovely big bold type, and knows exactly how to do his job, and Julia will be thrilled with a nice clear round with her old friend.
Sharon White & Under Suspection: Sharon has a cool new addition to her string with this horse. While he is relatively inexperienced at this level, his first attempt at the Advanced level at Five Points went quite well, and he finished 4th in a competitive field. I suspect she’s aiming him at a bigger 3* this fall, but I don’t know all the details. I haven’t seen him in person, but I’m excited to watch him go.
Sharon White & Wundermaske: Sharon’s second ride is Patch, who was supposed to go to Blenheim this past weekend, but had a tumble at Millbrook in the Advanced and just didn’t seem to quite recover from it, and so Sharon made the wise decision to give him a little more time here in the States before tackling a big course. They ran into some more trouble on cross country at Richland, but then rebounded to win their division of Intermediate last weekend at Five Points, so Sharon will be looking for a nice confidence building cross country round here at Plantation.
Amanda Wilson & Cool Decision: I’m not terribly familiar with this pair, but they hail from Pennsylvania and they are fairly new to the Advanced level. They’ve completed two Advanced horse trials, at Fair Hill and MCTA, and they completed Richland with two rails and some time on cross country. I’m sure they will be looking for the ever-elusive better dressage score, and a repeat of their successful CIC3* cross country round.