Unionville, PA - Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM jumped one of 14 double clear rounds in the CIC3* show jumping this afternoon at Plantation Field Horse Trials to take the lead on a score of 47.7. "He felt awesome," Davidson said. "I'm not sure there's anyone who jumped better today. It felt like he was up as high as the standards from fence one."
Looking ahead to tomorrow's cross country, Davidson said the grounds crew has aerated the footing, which has helped with the dry conditions. "There's such good, old turf here and such good grass cover, and it's not used for anything else," Davidson said. "When I galloped today, you couldn't hear it. The ground is beautiful, and it's not that long of a course."
Maya Black and Doesn't Play Fair also jumped double clear over Marc Donovan's show jumping course to move from third to second place on a score of 48.9. "I was really pleased with him," Black said. "I feel like the show jumping has improved the most this year. In the past, his spooky side has been a little bit challenging, but he's risen to the occasion as the jumps have gotten bigger."
Black has never competed at Plantation Field before, and she said she's looking forward to going cross country tomorrow. "It's a beautiful venue, and they obviously do a wonderful job," Black said. "I'm excited to go. I'm never ridden a course that Mike (Etherington-Smith) has designed, so that will be a new experience. He's a very well known and famous course designer, and I feel lucky to have the opportunity."
Boyd Martin and Trading Aces round out the top three in the CIC3* after jumping clear to take their dressage score of 51.3 forward to cross country tomorrow.
Davidson and Kim Severson sit tied for first place in the CIC2* with Be Mine and Cooley Cross Border on scores of 42.4, respectively. Marilyn Little and RF West Indie are in third place on 42.7. "It's never a dressage competition here," Little said. "There are always time faults on cross country. The fraction of a point we're struggling for on the centerline goes away in a second on cross country because time is such a factor."
The CIC* concluded today, with Paige Crotty and Cooley Dawn Raid leading wire to wire to win on 43.4, adding just 1.2 cross-country time penalties to their dressage score. Crotty competed this horse at the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships this past summer only to fall on cross country, injuring her thumb and ultimately undergoing surgery as a result.
"I've had a lot of good lessons and rides coming in to the event, so I was pretty confident, but there are definitely nerves," Crotty said. "On cross country, he was really good. He was very confident and very honest through all the questions."
Ryan Wood and Powell and Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Delta Queen finished second and third in the CIC* on scores of 49.6 and 50.9, respectively.
Riders enjoyed the much anticipated Dancing with the Stars party on Saturday night, with Sinead Halpin, Lynn Symansky, Clayton Fredericks and Jody Petty pairing up with professional dancers to compete in a dance off. A panel of judges that included Bobby Costello, chair of the USEF Eventing Selection Committee, and Emma Ford, head groom and barn manager for Phillip Dutton, named Petty the winner.
Cross country starts at 8:30 a.m. EST Sunday with the CIC2* riders tackling the course first, followed by the CIC3* and Advanced divisions.
Full results, a schedule and ride times for the weekend are available at www.plantationfieldhorsetrials.com. Be sure to "like" Plantation Field on Facebook and follow the event on Twitter @PlantationField.