Friday, September 20, 2013

Halpin Leads CCI3* at Plantation Field


EDITORS: The following information is for immediate
release. You are invited to cover Plantation Field and should contact Jenni Autry at for information and credentials.

UNIONVILLE, PA. - All three CIC divisions saw exciting conclusions to dressage on the first full day of competition at Plantation Field Horse Trials. In the CIC3*, Sinead Halpin and Manoir De Carneville set an incredibly high benchmark toward the end of the division, scoring 37.8 to hold a commanding lead. 

Halpin and Manoir De Carneville were meant to compete in Europe this fall, but a freak injury in July at Chattahoochee Hills kept Halpin grounded from riding until last month. This is just Halpin's second competition back since recovering from a broken shoulder blade and ribs and a punctured lung. 

"After Richland, I wanted to do more work on the dressage to get back to where we were last year, so I've been working with David O'Connor several days a week since then," Halpin said. "Those intense lessons have been paying off.

"I was incredibly happy with him today," Halpin continued. "There's always one or two things still to work on, but he's becoming more consistent, and it's very encouraging knowing he can do that over and over again. He knows his job."

Plantation is Manoir De Carneville's first FEI event since Burghley last year, where he placed second, cementing his place as one of the leading event horses in America. Halpin is preparing to contest the Fair Hill CCI3* next month, and she's still undecided as to what her strategy will look like on Sunday.

"Our cross-country trip will depend on the weather, as I'm waiting to see whether or not we get any rain before Sunday," Halpin said. "It's difficult to go slow on him, and rain would be great so I can run him a little bit quicker."

Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda took the early lead in the CIC3* this morning, scoring a 46.2, which ultimately tied them for second place with Phillip Dutton and Mr. Medicott. After withdrawing from Rolex at the last minute due to a freak accident and taking a tumble at Luhmuhlen, Brannigan is due for a little luck this weekend.

"Honestly, I'm the happiest I've ever been," Brannigan said. "Cambalda feels fantastic, and I thought this was one of the best tests I've ever had on him. David (O'Connor) and Phillip (Dutton) were really happy with it, and that was exciting."

Like Halpin, Brannigan is unsure as to whether she'll go for time on Sunday, and she's also hoping some wet weather will roll into Unionville in the next 48 hours. Brannigan and Cambalda, owned by Nina Gardner, are also aiming for the Fair Hill CCI3* next month.

In the CIC2*, none of the 69 other riders in the division were able to catch Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa, who took a dominant lead yesterday afternoon, scoring 35.6. Colleen Loach and Peter Barry's Qorry Blue D'Argouges came the closest, scoring 40.6 to sit in second place overnight.

Loach, who has been battling the flu all weekend, was thrilled with the test, especially since this is a very new partnership for this pair; she took over the ride from Barry in June and has been working to forge a partnership ever since.

"He did everything I asked today," Loach said. "He has a tendency to fall behind my leg in the ring, but he stayed nice and forward today. I tend to get a bit nervous in the ring and don't ride as well in competitions as I do at home. He's been good for me because he's the same at the show as he is at home."

In the CIC*, Courtney Cooper leads with her homebred R Star on a 36.2, and Alexandra Tatham and Astair to the Future are hot on their heels on a 37.5. Tatham has contested a handful of Intermediate events with the mare, and she's recently come down a level to work on their show jumping.

"She's usually competitive in the dressage because she has a very good work ethic," Tatham said. "She was much more fluid through her back today, which gave her better movements and contributed to the good marks. That's what I think set us apart."

Competition continues tomorrow with Marc Donovan's show jumping courses in the FEI divisions. A steady stream of spectators filled the grounds today to watch the exciting outcome of the CIC3* dressage, and Denis Glaccum, Director of Plantation Field, expects crowds to grow steadily as the weekend continues.

"We had a great first day today with beautiful weather," Glaccum said. "One of our objectives is to put on the highest quality event we can to give our riders exposure to an event with a bigger atmosphere. Two years ago, entries in the national divisions outnumbered the international divisions, and now we've almost doubled our international entries."

Tonight's festivities include live music; a barbecue; and the Mechanical Bull Challenge, which pits teams of eventers, foxhunters, steeplechase jockeys and local riders against each other for $1,000 in prize money.

In addition to an exciting day of cross country on Sunday, the PRO Bareback Puissance is sure to delight spectators. Tik Maynard, William McCarthy, Priscilla Godsoe and Elizabeth Stewart will compete in the Puissance, which is presented by Sports Medicine Associates of Chester County, Kevin Keane DVM and Heather Finn DVM.

Full results, a schedule and ride times for the weekend are available at Be sure to "like" Plantation Field on Facebook and follow the event on Twitter @PlantationField.

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