Unionville, Pa.—Sept. 20
Coming off a big win at the MARS Great Meadow International CCI4*-S (Virginia) in August, Liz Halliday-Sharp was hoping to have a smoother ride today on cross-country at the Plantation Field International CCI4*-S with Deniro Z.
The leaders after dressage and show jumping, they finished bang on the optimum time of 6 minutes 22 seconds over Mike Etherington-Smith’s course to take the win.
“I rode my pants off at Great Meadow, and it was a little sketchy in places, so I just thought, ‘Let’s just tidy this up.’ The horse felt full of running and felt world-class the whole way around. All of my owners were here, which was amazing because they make this possible,” she said.
The 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zapatero—Zonne-Trend, French Buffett xx) did give Halliday-Sharp a big jump at the first water, and she hit her head on his neck.
“We have such a great partnership. I rode him around his very first event ever a good few years ago now, and we really know each other and we’re just a good team,” she said. “For the most part I thought the round was spot-on. I wanted to finish pretty much on the optimum time. I had a little bit of an exciting moment at the first water where he jumped so big in, and then I got really deep to the skinny and sort of got smacked in the face, and I was seeing double on my way to the coffin, but luckily my vision came back just before we had to jump in! It shows what a great horse he is. A question like that, right before the coffin, and he jumped in and didn’t look at anything. He’s a world-class horse, and I’m just lucky to ride him.”
This was Halliday-Sharp’s first visit to the event. News broke last week that landowner Cuyler Walker had decided to terminate the lease due to controversy over the name of the property, so the future of the international event and other horse trials hosted by Plantation Field is up in the air.
“I think it’s wonderful [the venue],” said Halliday-Sharp. “It just breaks my heart that it won’t happen again. I hope with everything in me that it does. It’s a big, proper course. Just an awesome place—I loved every second of it. I hope it happens again.”
Organizer Denis Glaccum gave praise to the volunteers, many of whom have been involved since the beginning of the event 20 years ago.
“They all feel a great sense of pride over being involved with this. Hopefully we can keep it going somehow,” he said.
Overall, 42 of 50 starters completed the course. There were two rider falls, two retirements on course and two eliminations for refusals. Eight pairs picked up jumping penalties.
Daniel Clasing and MW Gangster’s Game incurred a mandatory retirement at the last fence when they both fell. The horse was down for several minutes, but was just winded, and got up and walked home with Clasing.
Matt Brown and Super Socks BCF fell at an open oxer at fence 6. The frangible front rail activated, and the horse was in the ditch for a moment, but Brown was able to hop off, and they both walked home.
For full results, click here.
We’ll have more from Plantation Field in the Oct. 5 print edition of the Chronicle.