Great Meadow International

THE LAND ROVER GREAT MEADOW INTERNATIONAL, PRESENTED BY ADEQUAN

A very long name for this event, but I feel like I should include all of it.

I was very excited about the Nation’s Cup being so close, so I absolutely had to go. I bought the weekend pass, and I was there first thing Saturday morning. Except I did skip out on some dressage, I would have had heat stroke if I stayed the whole day to watch dressage.

Great Meadows, where the event took place, is a 200 acre open land space land preserve. It is primarily famous for hosting the Virginia Gold Cup, a steeplechase race held in the spring and the fall. During the warmer months, they host Twilight Polo and Twilight Jumpers on Friday and Saturday nights.  It is run as a non-profit for the community to enjoy the open spaces. In an area that is continually being developed, it’s more important than ever to keep our open space.

This riding arena, the warm up ring, all the cross country jumps and any other little bits, were all build just for this event. It makes me wonder if they will continue having events like this here. The cross country jumps looked permanent, which would make it convenient for future events!

This is going to be a long post. But it’s long because of pictures, not words. That makes it easier to swallow.

Dressage

Kelecyn Cognac
Waylon Roberts on Kelecyn Cognac

I woke up at 5am Saturday to ride Berry before I went. I am shocked that I actually managed to go through with this plan, but I got up like I was on auto-pilot. Riding in the morning is amazing, I only hope I’ll be able to keep doing it (so far, I have not). But the end result was I got there nice and early to watch dressage. The amount of photographers, both professional looking, and just amateurish, like me, was astounding. We were all competing for the best spot just above the judge’s car. I decided not to join them, and wandered around the ring.

A range rover quietly observes.
A range rover quietly observes.

Since this event was affiliated with Land Rover, they were everywhere. The judges for dressage sat in them. They were sprinkled throughout the cross country course, peeking out from behind bushes, or creeping down to the water to drink.

Because of my lack of a really good zoom, and the overcrowding of prime locations, I ended up hanging out mostly by the warmup, and the entrance to the ring. I actually like hanging out by both of these locations, because I like being really close to the horses, and I like hearing the trainers during warm-up.

Shame on the Moon
Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon. As I was watching, a fan of this horse was nearby telling me all about her, as she’d been following her for years. I can see why, she is gorgeous!

Warm up was a well oiled machine, but I’m used to the equivalent of crossing a five lane highway in rush hour. This warm up allowed two horses in the dressage railed section, and then two horses on the opposite side of the ring that was not railed in.

And yet they still managed to be on top of each other! Lauren Kieffer (USA) on Meadowbrook's Scarlett in the front, and Waylon Roberts (CAN) on Kelecyn Cognac in the back.
Only two horses and yet they still managed to be on top of each other! Lauren Kieffer (USA) on Meadowbrook’s Scarlett in the front, and Waylon Roberts (CAN) on Kelecyn Cognac in the back.

Since the warm up ring was elevated, it gave a good view of the entire ring.

greatmeadow
Cross country jumps sat in the ring, in case you wanted to school before you did your test.

 

The test I saw was 2015 3 Star Test B, for any of you that want to try it at home. Looks exhausting!

Sharon White
Sharon White’s Cooley On Show is ready to take a nap.

And speaking of Sharon White, she was my favorite to watch. Not only am I a sucker for a gorgeous grey (I admire from afar!), she’s a beautiful rider!

Let’s admire her together:

Sharon White on Cooley on Show

Sharon White Cooley on Show

Sharon White Cooley on Show

Sharon White Cooley on Show

Sharon White Cooley on Show

Cooley On Show is an Irish Sport Horse gelding, imported from England. He is owned by Sharon Cooley and goes by the barn name Louie. When not showing off his fantastic movement and jump, he enjoys long walks around his pasture and taking naps in the shade. 

The dressage was going throughout the day with 15 minute breaks. During the first break, I went to check out the vendors.

Vendors

I discovered a new kind of vendor. Of course, it was more like how Columbus “discovered” America, as in, lots of other people probably knew about this, I just happened to find it this time. But here it is: The buy a tin cup, and keep coming back for more vendor.

bayoubilly

There were two of these, and I got a cup from the other one. I immediately regretted this decision, the “soda” was flat. I put it in quotes because it might as well have not been soda. I would have preferred the lemonade from Bayou Billy instead. Oh well…

The vendors were all clustered together, resembling a flea market. Of course, they had all lots of expensive things at them.

Mainly put here to make me envious.
Mainly put here to make me envious.

It’s so much fun to admire pretty things.

O-M-G I want!
O-M-G I want!
custom boots
Oh…maybe next time…
Fancy breeches
Fancy breeches
At least they are upfront about the price.
At least they are upfront about the price.
Of course I will take your picture, friendly strangers!
Of course I will take your picture, friendly strangers!

I then headed out for the day, hoping to get a nap before show jumping in the afternoon. The nap did not happen.

Show Jumping

jumpingcourse

A few hours later I was back, this time with company, and we settled ourselves in the hot sun on what they called “Adequan Hill”. It gave us a nice view of the arena, a nice view of warm up, and a nice view of the path leading down from warmup.

Phillip Dutton on Fernhill Fugitive comes cantering from warmup all the way into the arena. Nice entrance!
Phillip Dutton on Fernhill Fugitive comes cantering from warmup all the way into the arena. Nice entrance!

The heat made me disinclined to wander around to get good pictures, so all my pictures are pretty terrible. I regret this now, but at the time, moving seemed like a lot of effort.

I don’t know what the rules are for this kind of thing, but while the National Anthem was being sung, a rider was still warming up. This was even more obvious because they had trouble on the warm up jump and literally smashed through it. Way to be suave, unknown rider!

The announcer told us there would be an award for the best fist pump after the round. Phillip Dutton came in strong for the first ride with his double fist pump after his round. I personally loved the fist pump award idea. The announcer had us all cheering for the best fist pump, there was a lot of audience interaction throughout the evening. Some riders forgot to fist pump, others got really into it. Those of course, were the favorites. Lauren Keiffer on Veronica gave an enthusiastic fist pump, and her horse Veronica surged forward with equal enthusiasm. One rider (Marilyn Little maybe?) gave an extended fist pump as they lapped back around to the exit.

Jessica Phoenix bentley's best
Perhaps wisely, Jessica Phoenix on Bentley’s Best decided no jacket on this very hot afternoon.
laurenbillys castle larchfield purdy
Lauren Billys on Castle Larchfield Purdy cutting between a feral Range Rover and the x-country jump to shave a few seconds.
Lauren Billys again.
Lauren Billys again.
Lauren Kieffer on Meadowbrook's Scarlett.
Lauren Kieffer on Meadowbrook’s Scarlett goes over the fake hay bale oxer.
Not sure who this is. The Range Rover ground line/cutout fell over at one point, and a rider had to ask for it to be set up before her round.
Not sure who this is. The Range Rover ground line/cutout fell over at one point, and a rider had to ask for it to be set up before her round.

Thus ends any decent photos I have, and of being in the horrible, terrible heat.

Cross Country

In yet another amateur mistake, I packed my camera, hoping for lots of glorious photos of cross country, and then I forgot the battery. Way to mess that one up, Courtney! I was reduced to using my cell phone.

But, the day was truly beautiful. It was warm, but not overly hot, and with low humidity. Seriously, the best day possible for cross country!

Foxhunters and hounds before the start. The hounds had fun playing in the water.
Foxhunters and hounds before the start. The hounds had fun playing in the water.
First team of the day, Phillip Dutton on Fernhill Fugitive, leaves the starting box.
First team of the day, Phillip Dutton on Fernhill Fugitive, leaves the starting box.

I took a video of every fence except the first, but I do not yet understand the magic of posting videos. I will figure it out though and post all the little clips…eventually. But I am willing to accept I am terrible at videos, and it would be a much better idea to check out the archived feed of the event. Here’s some other points of interest:

Bloody Marys abandoned on a tree stump.
Bloody Marys abandoned on a tree stump.
Rider taking a late course walk.
Rider taking a late course walk.
Sharon White on Cooley on Show again, boldy wearing a pumpkin outfit.
Sharon White On Cooley on Show again, boldly wearing a pumpkin outfit.
I'm no eventer, but Morven Park's looks way scarier than this one!
I’m no eventer, but Morven Park‘s looks way scarier than this one!
I'm not sure why, but I really feel like I need a Range Rover now.
I’m not sure why, but I really feel like I need a Range Rover now.
A Canadian rider dressed as a tomato takes on the last jump.
A Canadian rider dressed as a tomato takes on the last jump.
Jodie Amos on Wise Crack breezes right on by the reporter waiting at the end of the course.
Jodie Amos on Wise Crack breezes right on by the reporter waiting at the end of the course.
mighty nice
Acting like we belonged, we waltzed right past the warm up up to Phillip Dutton getting ready to run on his third horse, Mighty Nice. We thought about asking for an autograph, but he seemed a little busy.

After walking the entire course, we settled down under the trees by the water jump. It really was the best spot to relax.

If we could have taken a photo of us sitting under the trees from a distance, it would have looked like this.
If we could have taken a photo of us sitting under the trees from a distance, it would have looked like this.

As we were sitting there, the last rider headed out, but unfortunately only made it to the first water jump, which was jump 5 or so. We saw her and head’s heads bobbing on the edge of the hill. That was the signal for everyone to leave, and the mass exodus begin.

I’ve decided I really REALLY love watching eventing. Everything runs on time, and I can’t believe how supporting the crowd was. At every jump, people clapping and yelling encouragement, it was so easy to join in. I would definitely be more motivated after applause, so I hope people will do it for me during my hunter rounds. Overall, really fun to watch, and I really hope there’s another event at Great Meadows!

 

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3 comments

  1. i’m still so bummed we missed each other!!! you got some lovely dressage and stadium pics tho – wish i had been able to get there on saturday too. oh well – next time for sure!!

    re: videos – download the free software windows movie maker (sometimes called microsoft movie maker) and combine all your clips into one (with super easy editing functions as needed), then upload to youtube. and voila – couldn’t possibly be easier!

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