Veronica and Lauren Kieffer on the Advanced course - they smoked it!

Veronica and Lauren Kieffer on the Advanced course – they smoked it!

Sunday, Sept. 21 Plantation Field Horse Trials and International CIC held their final day of competition, ending with the CIC*** cross-country — this year designed by the great British course master, Mike Etherington-Smith. I had planned to go and watch all day, take great photos of every horse and rider, and in general, keep up the usual HJU awesomeness…. but you know how that goes. First I slept in because I was up late on my phone checking the results and trying to find the order of go so I knew exactly what riders I would photograph over which jumps. Then, I got in the car to make the trip up there and found I needed to stop for gas. And then got in beach traffic jams at least twice. So I’m zooming along and got to Rt. 82, the famous Doe Run Road that intersects blue blood country in Chester County and first thing I see a rider walking around in front of a big ol’ jump on the backside of the field….uh oh, I bet she’s on a hold from somebody falling….yep, and not only was there a hold but the horse that fell actually was a friends’ horse, darn it, one I was hoping would have a good clear ride. Ah well.

Got the parking entrance wrong, had to pay $20 for parking and they were out of programs…sigh….so the first porta potty I saw I hit it and on the way out, ran into a volunteer friend and we chatted over the hand sanitizer bar…..look, there goes Boyd! and Buck! Her phone rang so I used the break to scoot out on course…

There is a waterfall jump within the water jump!

There is a waterfall jump within the water jump!

Yep they get to jump this huge bridge over a ditch - on an angle no less!

Yep they get to jump this huge bridge over a ditch – on an angle no less!

Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie head down the hill to the water jump

Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie head down the hill to the water jump

Erin Sylvester and No Boundaries - photo by Holly

Erin Sylvester and No Boundaries – photo by Holly

Whitney Weston and Rock On Rose, a great scopey mare who literally was born across the street at Chesterland, bred by Bruce Davidson

Whitney Weston and Rock On Rose, a great scopey mare who literally was born across the street at Chesterland, bred by Bruce Davidson

First thing I saw was the big turning skinny flagged brushes on the top of the hill and the CIC*** riders took those and turned left and went down the hill to the revamped water complex.  But I ran into two old eventing friends and we chatted a bit while three or four more riders zoomed on through. There goes Boyd. And Buck. Again. On different horses. Oh geeze, I have to get my camera out and get it turned on and loaded up and shoot some! Now my phone rings and I have to excuse myself, it’s my turn …. meanwhile, more horses go by….I shoot a little video and my phone rings again….

Find more friends, we talk horses, we are chatting about the Thoroughbred sires of the horses we all have and before you know it we are at the end of the division and here come all the winners (CIC’s have cross country go in reverse order of standing).

Buck and Ballynoe Castle RM

Buck and Ballynoe Castle RM

Boyd and Buck go by. Each rode multiple horses in lots of divisions over the weekend. But it was the Seattle girlfriend, Maya Black who has really starred this weekend with Doesn’t Play Fair who won the whole thing with just 3.6 time faults on a clear XC ride.

So it was time for a potty break and walk up the hill to the great trade fair and I see more folks I know and chat with and then find some fantastic jewelry to look at, and more neat foxhunting treasures and chat with the booth owner and gosh they’ve started the Advanced division already! So I wander down the hill to try and get some photos and run into another friend and we chat, and yikes the division is almost over!

Sharon White and Wundermaske looked very sharp and ready for Pau

Sharon White and Wundermaske looked very sharp and ready for Pau

I run to the last fence and search desperately for a horse to photograph. The cross-country control announces the jump judges are nearly done but stay in place for one more horse, Lauren Kieffer and Veronica. Oh yes, this one I can get some photos of! So…..I’m there all day…. and five pictures of the last horse! But we had a great time and enjoyed the Field. While I am not getting on the slogan bandwagon, (it’s all over — just check out the website and the Facebook and the Twitter feed) it’s a pretty darn good event for finding old friends!

Holly