*This article has been updated to include additional information about the competition licensing requirements.
Coatesville, Pa.—Sept. 19
Phillip Dutton’s been making headlines this year with his top horses Z and Fernhill Singapore, but like any successful eventer, he has several young stars coming up behind them in his barn.
Quasi Cool has been steadily moving up the levels since Dutton bought him as a two-star horse from Germany’s Dirk Schrade in late 2019, but today he made his name known by winning the Plantation Field International CCI4*-S ahead of a field of 47 other starters.
The division was full of top horses and riders preparing for their fall three-days, including many headed to the new Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in October.
Dutton decided to take his five-star horses “Singapore” and Sea Of Clouds to the Stable View CCI4*-S (South Carolina) next week, so this weekend he was able to focus on a confident but competitive finish with “Quasi,” a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Quo Vados—B-Estelle, Lord) owned by Caroline Moran, and two CCI2*-S horses, Clueso and Hatchi.
“He’s progressing nicely and shaping up to be a top-level horse,” Dutton said of Quasi.
The gelding won the Cloud 11 Gavilan-North LLC Carolina International CCI3*-S (North Carolina) in March, was second at the Jersey Fresh CCI3*-L (New Jersey) in May and did his first advanced at the Horse Park of Jersey Horse Trials I in June. This was his first CCI4*-S.
“Coming into it, I didn’t plan to go as quick as I did, but then he was in a good position after the dressage and show jumping, so I set out to go as quick as I could without scaring him, and he handled it all pretty well, and fortunately ended up with the win,” said Dutton, who’s based in nearby West Grove, Pennsylvania. “He’s a bit more laid back than some of the others. That’s the fastest I’ve gone on him, and it was a little bit of a shock to his system, I think. He turned pretty quickly and was efficient. I was pleased.”
Dutton was third after dressage and moved up to second after a clear show jumping round yesterday. He added 3.2 time penalties on cross-country. Of 47 starters, only one pair made the time—Fylicia Barr and Galloway Sunrise, who finished third. Buck Davidson and Erroll Gobey were second.
This was the first year Derek di Grazia designed the course.
“I think it was good,” Dutton said. “I wouldn’t say it was completely different. It’s very hilly terrain here, and I think it can be hard on the horses if you have too much downhill, and I thought he did a good job of making us go across the hills, not up and down the hills. I thought that was very fair to the horses.”
One pair was eliminated on course and two retired. Three pairs picked up 20 penalties. There were four rider falls, but all horses and riders walked off course, leaving 40 completions.
Quasi is now qualified for a fall four-star long, so he’ll be heading to Morven Park (Virginia) or Tryon (North Carolina).
Looking Ahead To The Future
The day before last year’s CCI started, organizer Denis Glaccum announced that the property owner had canceled the event’s lease and resigned from the event’s board of directors after EventingNation.com raised concerns over the connotations of the name due to the word “plantation” and its association with slavery.
A year later, the Plantation Field name and the series of competitions that run under it continue, and organizers and landowner Cuyler Walker said the events will continue for the foreseeable future. A decision from the U.S. Equestrian Federation not to wade into naming decisions helped secure that future.
“We resolved all the issues with the governing bodies, and we expect that this event, Plantation Field, will continue here for many years to come,” Walker said.
U.S. Equestrian Federation chief marketing and content officer Vicki Lowell said competitions are required to renew their licenses yearly, and the event was approved with its original name for 2021 after discussions involving members of USEF’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion External Thought Leadership Group, among others.
“There continue to be ongoing conversations with our members, organizers, thought leadership group, and USEF board of directors on this topic,” Lowell said. “The decision was made that USEF cannot force a private landowner to change the name of their venue or property and ultimately that change must be initiated by them. We have seen other organizers proactively change their venue and competition licensee names and will continue to educate and encourage organizers to have these conversations internally with their respective boards or teams and consider the implications and impact of their decisions.”
“The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion External Though Leadership Group engaged in dialogue on this topic with varying opinions, and we will continue to utilize their expertise and guidance as these conversations remain open and ongoing,” Lowell added.
Reassurance that the event’s governing body would not force a name change upon the competition series helped Walker change his mind about canceling the lease, Glaccum said.
“What’s changed was that [Walker] was not going to put his family in a position if the USEA wasn’t going to stand up and take a position. But the USEA and the USEF told him, we’re not in the name-calling business. That’s the difference,” he said.
With that assurance, organizers now are planning for the next five years and have submitted a bid to host the CCI4*-S competition for 2023-2027 to the USEF Eventing Bid Review Group. They expect to hear back on that within the week.
“[Walker] committed to five years in writing through 2027,” Glaccum said.
Lowell pointed out that the 2023-2027 U.S. Eventing Calendar CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, Advanced Policies and Procedures contains the following clause: “During the five-year cycle, each competition awarded the CCI4*-L, CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L and Advanced levels may be evaluated annually or from time to time to ensure they meet the requirements and standards expected for hosting the particular approved levels. In some cases, USEF may determine that said deficiencies or other concerns cannot be cured to its satisfaction and as such may choose not to renew the competition licensed levels, in whole or in part, thereby removing the competition from the calendar.”
She added that the award is also subject to annual renewal of the competition license agreement based on the criteria for licensure renewal in Chapter 3 of the rulebook, and may include a competition evaluation.