The Land Rover Great Meadow International FEI Nations Cup™ CICO***, presented by Adequan, put on quite a show July 8–10. The history-making event featured teams from Canada, Great Britain and the USA and individual combinations from Australia, Puerto Rico, and the USA rounding out the 40 entries.
Team USA claimed a runaway win with a final score of 138.3, and Canada second on 177.6. Great Britain had some bad luck, finishing on 254.3 points in third place and promising to return next year.
From a hospitality point of view, Great Meadow International can’t be beaten. They treated everyone — competitors, owners, VIP guests, sponsors, spectators, volunteers, and media — with the warmest welcome and terrific amenities. There were shuttles to help spectators get from the distant parking lots to the new state-of-the art arena. As an equestrian venue, Great Meadow International offers first class form and function in a spectacularly beautiful setting.
“It was a great weekend at Great Meadow, and the community really supported it and really seemed to enjoy all three days,” said David O’Connor, U.S. Eventing Team Chef d’Equipe and also Co-Chairman of the Land Rover Great Meadow International. “It was great to have the first Nations Cup outside Europe and we had the perfect site for it. The horses got the runs they needed. There are things to work on [before Rio], but I am quite confident with how the horses traveled and handled the [cross-country] course and the competition as a whole.”
Team USA’s win proved a triumphant return for Clark Montgomery and Loughan Glen, who spent the last several years, training and competing, in Tetbury, England. They added only 1.2 time penalties to their dressage score to finish first on 37.5, leading the U.S. team from start to finish.
No one else came close, not even second-placed Marilyn Little and RF Demeter, owned by Jacqueline Mars, Raylynn Farms, Patrick and Eileen Wine. The duo finished on their dressage score of 43.8 after posting double clears in show jumping and a foot-perfect cross-country. Jodie Amos (GBR) and Wise Crack, third place individually, also finished on their dressage score of 49.0 penalty points. Americans rounded out the top five with Holly Payne Caravello and Santini in fourth and Hannah Sue Burnett of The Plains piloting Under Suspection to fifth place.
“It means a ton to me to win here at the Great Meadow International in front of my home crowd,” said Montgomery, whose plans include setting up home base in the Middleburg area after Rio. “We had a pretty good performance and it was a great preparation run for us. Glen did a good dressage and I can’t complain about his show jumping at all. He had a couple of hairy moments on the cross-country, but he’s such an honest horse and he still came home in a great time.”
The GMI Nations Cup™ was the final prep event for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team of Phillip Dutton, Lauren Kieffer, Boyd Martin and Montgomery, who head to the Rio Olympics with eventing scheduled for August 6–8, the day after the opening ceremony. As of the last week in July, the U.S. Eventing team includes Dutton riding Mighty Nice, Kieffer and Veronica, Martin and Blackfoot Mystery, Montgomery and Loughan Glen. In mid-July, Lynn Symansky of Middleburg and Donner replaced Maya Black and Doesn’t Play Fair as Traveling Reserve.
As for the Land Rover Great Meadow International, presented by Adequan, you can start making plans for next year by marking your calendar for July 7–9, 2017.
“The Land Rover Great Meadow International FEI was absolutely a success and I don’t know if we could have asked for a better outcome for the competitors, patrons, sponsors, volunteers, and spectators – it all went exceedingly well,” said Rob Banner, President of the Great Meadow Foundation. “We had about 15,000 spectators over the three days, and we were very happy with the number of people and the level of their interest. We’re very grateful to the media for their outstanding coverage, and we’re looking for even greater attendance next year.”
The U.S. Equestrian Federation sent stellar representatives: Chrystine Tauber, current USEF president, Bill Moroney, USEF CEO, and Murrary Kessler, elected as USEF president in June who will take over from Tauber in January 2017. With David O’Connor, former USEF president on hand as U.S. Eventing Team Chef d’Equip and also Great Meadow International co-founder, that was a heavy-duty delegation and great omen for the future of the Land Rover Great Meadow International.
The Land Rover Great Meadow International hopes to host another FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing next July. 2017 isn’t a championship year, which frees up more European teams to join Great Britain and Canada, who are already talking about coming back next summer. Since it isn’t an Olympic year, Ireland, France and Germany have already indicated their interest. The sky’s the limit when it comes to high performance equestrian being contested at Great Meadow.
“We owe a deep debt of gratitude to all the donors who made Land Rover Great Meadow International a reality, and to all of the volunteers, organizers and people who helped keep it on track,” said Banner. “We’re looking forward to making good use of that great arena by putting on more high performance competitions.”
For more information: www.greatmeadowinternational.com