Monday, September 23, 2013

Competitive Weekend for Windurra at 2013 Plantation Field International

Boyd and Trading Aces. Allie Conrad Photo

 This year’s Plantation Field International horse trials was easily the greatest we’ve had yet. We were blessed with record crowds, perfect weather and a very exciting competition. In the three-star I feel like Trading Aces put in a good performance. With our focus on preparing for the trip to Holland to compete at Boekelo, he felt strong in all three phases and finished 6th in a competitive field of rock star horses.

The cross-country course footing was spectacular, thanks to the weather and the hard work Jamie Hicks did throughout the year spreading mushroom compost on the track. By the time I went the organizers had pulled out the technical aspect of the water jump as it was proving problematic for the first half of the field. I think it was a good decision just because there were too many falls at the one fence, and obviously we’re using this event as a preparation for our fall three-days, so a confident round was of utmost importance.

Boyd and Trading Aces through the Ruins. Allie Conrad Photo
"Oscar" and I were ten seconds over the time, which was my plan due to the fact that he had a hard run at Richland a couple weeks ago. I think he’s in fantastic condition and right where I want him physically, three weeks out from Boekelo. We’re going to give him a thorough looking over today and see how he’s bounced back, in regards to taking him to Dressage at Devon later this week.

Receiving the Two-Star Trophy. L-R: Cuyler Walker, Mrs. Betty Moran, Boyd Martin. Lisa Thomas Photo

The 2* was a competitive field with over 70 horses participating; my new ride Pancho Villa put in a spectacular performance. I’m still figuring this horse out and he was good enough to win the class, mainly due to the fact we had a good lead after dressage and show jumping which allowed me to be cautious and gain a few time faults on cross-country.

Video: Pancho Stadium

Video: Boyd and Pancho Villa XC CIC2*

Steady Eddie, owned by Pierre Colin & Denise Lahey and George & Gretchen Wintersteen, ended up fourth in the two-star after a sensational cross-country; I think this is a pure 4* horse and he is starting to feel seasoned at the two-star. I’m looking forward to moving him up to advanced next year.

Boyd and Steady Eddie. Lisa Thomas Photo

New Cadet, owned by Anne Hennessey, is a lot greener than Pancho and Eddie at the two-star and I believe he’s a really good horse for the future, but I think it’ll take another 12 months before we really get our dressage and show jumping up to scratch.

In the one-star I rode Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin’s SBF Cortez, a 6-year-old starting his career in the sport.. He jumped well and put in a great round cross-country but was a little bit green and distracted in the dressage. I was still impressed with the little chestnut gelding and I think he’s a good horse for the future.

 Caitlin had an up and down weekend: with Catch a Star she’s definitely made improvements with her show jumping. Unfortunately she was one of the early to go on cross-country and had an unlucky fall at the water. I thought Remi put in a good performance, which will lead them to a competitive start at Fair Hill in a couple of weeks. Caitlin also did a fantastic job riding Craig and Gloria Callan’s mare Welcome Shadow around the prelim horse trials.

Swedish eventers Sara Algottson-Ostholt rode Ballyneety and Niklas Lindbäck borrowed Brewster for the event. It was an absolute pleasure watching the Swedes work away with these young green horses the past couple of days. They gave them fantastic rides around the event. A big thanks to Katie and Cuyler Walker and Gretchen and George Wintersteen for allowing their horses to compete with these riders, I feel like it gave Plantation Field a true international feel.



  1. It looks like the MR was converted into R for those rider-horse pairs who fell at the CIC*** but not for those falling anywhere else at Plantation this past weekend. How is that possible, legal, fair, etc...? Can anyone name an event where the same decision was made after removing a fence from XC because it caused too many falls?

  2. Off the top of my head, the Lexington Bank was removed from Rolex KY in 1989 or so because of too many falls, and I believe the water was removed from Jersey Fresh the first year they ran the event because they realized that the engineering of the bridge into the water was such that it was catapulting the horses into the water.

    FYI, here's an old discussion on the COTH about just this topic:

    1. Without a doubt, safety is paramount; so the removal of fences that are causing horses to fall, like the one at Plantation, is absolutely the right decision.
      The first post though is not questioning the fence removal. Rather it is questioning the validity of converting what was MR (mandatory retirement after a horse's fall) into R (a choice made by a rider during XC to abandon the course.)
      I too am curious about who made that change at Plantation, which I assume was made in accordance to FEI Rules on eventing. Where in the eventing rule book can I find who has the discretion to change a MR into aR?

    2. Here is a direct answer to the question asked above by Chronicle of the Horse article: Riders who incurred jumping penalties at 15AB had those penalties erased after officials removed the combination from the course, so instead of showing “mandatory retirement” for the fall, they have just “retired” in the final scores. “Once a fence is removed from the competition, all faults from that fence are removed as effectively the fence never existed,” said Lochore. “So an elimination would become a retirement if it occurred at the aforementioned fence. In addition the time for those who had already completed was altered. I watched three videos of people jumping from fence 14 to 15C and was then able to make an accurate alteration to the times.”

  3. I will be interested in what the FEI thinks regarding the manipulation of scores at Plantation. MR is the only score possible at a CIC when a horse falls in XC. The FEI is the only one that can delete from a horse's record a MR obtained at a CIC. Ask Oliver Townend, as his RF(aboard Golden Hue) eliminated him and the elimination stayed despite the removal of the guilty fence from XC afterwards (a horse was euthanized following his fall at it) at the 2009 World Cup Qualifier at Tattersalls, Ireland.

  4. The 1st water jump at Southern Pines 2 in the Open Intermediate Division in 2012 was removed after 5 or 6 of the first dozen riders fell, including Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin.

    1. Both Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin's scores at 2012 Southern Pines II are RF, not R.

  5. The most important thing is to protect the integrity of Plantation Field CIC's. So if it is obvious that Plantation officials could change a MR into a R, then the TD's report to the FEI will simply point at where in the FEI eventing Rule book such discretion appears and the FEI will presumably accept it.
    For the sake of Plantation, I hope the TD's report to the FEI includes the changes from MR's to R's and that they are validated. Otherwise, we (Americans) are going to look like pariahs.