Plantation Field International 2017 - Part 1

I've been a little volunteering fiend this summer. My goal was to do five events (five full days) and Plantation's CIC was my 6th. I've got one more - the CCI at Fair Hill - and that'll be me done for the year.

Saturday I was set to fence judge for the CIC* divisions, of which there were about eleventy billion riders. It was cool to see everything from Olympians piloting potential future team horses around to kids and amateurs tackling their first international event.

The amount of time and hard work that goes into one of these events from both rider and event staff standpoints blows my mind every time I see it. I sit at one jump and watch dozens of riders go by, calling each one and marking down the times. Most people skate right past me with no trouble. But each combination I see is hundreds and hundreds of hours of work.

My jump!!
The grounds crew did they best they could but nothing could change the fact that it hadn't rained in a month. Past tense because since then it's been absolutely pouring. Figures.

The tracks themselves were okay. They put a TON of sand down before and after the jumps to try and save the horse's feet from the concrete but everywhere else it was so hard it was actually uncomfortable to stand on after awhile. I don't think the ground has been this hard since like, 2012.

Sprite the super pony! Area II staple.
Lauren Kieffer, eventual winner of the 80+ rider CIC*

My fence was a nice big table that most people negotiated without a hitch. I had a couple of problems but being as it was fence 4 it more looked like people were trying to sort out their controls still after a spin through the woods and a couple long gallops.

Jennie Brannigan
I will say, it was nice being done at 1 instead of the normal horse trial finish of 5 or 6pm (or never, feels like). Afterwards I could wander the shopping at my leisure. I'm getting really addicted to going to these big shows and having all the saddlers that ever existed there. I spent a lot of time talking to each one (except the Devoucoux rep, as I have already traveled that particular road). I'm really interested in the Stubbens and the fitter and I talked at length about Thoroughbred backs and what they need to be happy ponies.

When in doubt, LEAVE IT OUT
Nailed it.

After spending thousands of dollars mentally on a new saddle (WITH PURPLE PIPING) I wandered over to the Racesafe tent. Because Saturday was Helmet Awareness Day everyone was having all kinds of specials on helmets, and the Racesafe booth was throwing in vests as well. I tried on their new prototype vest and I wish I hadn't.
  • It was comfortable as sin. I seriously don't understand how it's BETA 3 certified. It didn't change my balance at all with the weight of it. It was slim enough profile I could actually lift my arms.
  • There were so many different sizes stocked that it was almost a bespoke fit for everyone who tried it on. My current vest is an Airowear which I do like, but I had to get a large to get it long enough in the back. my measurements would actually fit more comfortably in a small so while it's not loose there is a LOT of bulk.
  • It didn't squish my boobs. I hate when cross country vests squish my boobs >:(
How often do I have to replace vests? Is there a time limit on that? And does anyone want to buy a used large Airowear ;)

C4 belts for miles. I got my eye on that rainbow one.
Helmet in the middle... you purple bastard you.
I also checked out the Sportvibe/Icevibe/all the vibes at the Toprail Tack trailer. Luckily Runkle doesn't have all these problems yet but I wish I had ALL of this stuff for when I was leasing Lexy. I took her to Loch Moy once which involves stabling and she had elephant feet from being inside for a full 24 hours. I had to spend most of the day walking her so she didn't look so uncomfortable. And then icing her after our xc round involved her spooking and tipping my icy muck tub. Thanks mare.

Once I had my fill of nice expensive things I couldn't have I hung around the stadium arena. I meant to only stay for a few rounds but I ended up watching all of the 2* and most of the 3* jumping. The stadium course was challenging and huge, with several bogey fences that punished you for not having the right canter through the turn or blasting through a distance.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work on my stalkerish tendencies, so I wandered over to stadium warm up and took a LOT of pictures. It was fun to see people fresh out of the ring and delighted, or coolly tight lipped while they waited for their turn. Everyone seemed in general really friendly with each other. I love seeing the working students busting their asses and the love the grooms have for their horses.

Phillip Dutton warming up.
Jennie and I Bella watch Phillip
The ring steward by stadium was incredibly nice and let me ask her about a million questions. Someone would come out of the ring and she would remove the boots, weighing each one. She also touched the pastern and coronary bands to test for excess sensitivity. Then she would give the boots back to the pack animal groom and wave them on their way. She explained everything from the strict rules about logos in international competitions to the number of poles each warm up jump is supposed to have and how they are allowed to be set up.

For example, did you know in FEI competitions you're allowed to turn the oxer into a one stride? And that if an oxer is a certain height you have to have a second rail on it? I actually saw mixes of all these things. Phillip Dutton and Jennie Brannigan both had oxers dismantled into one strides.

Plus the woman was a combined driver, which means she's the coolest person alive. That's one of the last stragglers on my equine bucket list. Anyone got any connections??

All in all, it was a really amazing day. And we hadn't even gotten to the cross country on Sunday yet!!


  1. Love your photos of the fox jump!! Also so cool to hang out with the steward and get the inside scoop on all the rules and policies etc. I pretty much love watching warm up and was tickled to see Phillip doing a pre-ride for his stadium rounds at Rolex. He did some one strides then too. Guess it's good for sharpening them up? Idk. Anyway I think you need that purple helmet.

    1. hm. time to set up one strides to prep for my starter round. even tho you're not allowed to have a one stride on the course until novice.

  2. That helmet!!!! It is so awesome to be able to hang out with the steward and get all that info.

    1. i love stewards. also stewards LOVE to talk. i have not run into anyone yet who didn't want to chew my ear off.

  3. Learning the ins and outs of UL competition is so fascinating! So much of it is wildly different than the average horse trial. And, um, yes. Get the helmet.

    1. i could not keep all the rules straight. im like what, do you have rulers to make sure the saddle pad logos aren't too big? and you can have branding on your pants but ONLY on the left leg

      i was like what are the rules on dousing myself in purple for all 3 phases

  4. I feel like I need to drop my (brand new) super boring, plain CO just so I can justify buying that purple one.

    1. i support you in your decisions. i had a beautiful wonderful CO that i got on super discount sale. It was an AYR8 with the middle part (under the mesh) that was purple.

      IT WAS SO GLORIOUS. until i lawn darted off my horse and crashed it. :(

  5. Sounds like an awesome day. I totally support your purchase of that purple helmet.

    1. I forgot to mention that Airowear makes a long version of their vests. You might have to special order it, but they exist.

  6. Holy long spot!!! And omg yes to all the lovely color options available now! I tried on a few helmets at the AEC's and oh so sadly the plain boring skull cap fit me the best instead of the snazzy colorful ones CO has :( I guess I need a fun helmet cover instead :)

    Ps get the purple! All the purple!!!

  7. Fun volunteer gig. Ive jump judged a few times but I need to do it more that I am going to more events now. :)


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