The Plains, Virginia -History was made on Friday as the Land Rover Great Meadow International, presented by Adequan® officially began with a poignant opening ceremony kick-starting the first-ever North American FEI Eventing Nations Cup™ . Athletes from five nations paraded in the Fleming Arena showcasing the teams and individual competitors who will participate in the historic weekend's event.
"We're excited to bring top international competition to the Piedmont Valley," said David O' Connor, Co-Chairman of Great Meadow International. "We have never seen the FEI Nations Cup of eventing in America, it is truly an honor to have it here at Great Meadow."
The opening ceremony began with LTC Art Perritt of the Blue Devils Horse Platoon International Riding Unit leading the Color Guard to present the United States Flag. Blythe Condon, daughter of Great Meadow Operations Director Teresa Condon, then sang the National Anthem.
USEF President Chrystine Tauber addressed the crowd on the significance of the competition and Robert. L Banner Jr., President of the Great Meadow Foundation presented a plaque to major donors who made the acquisition of Fleming Farm and the construction of the new arena possible.
The grand finale was the Parade of Nations. Riders belonging to the Casanova-Warrenton Pony Club had the honor of leading the teams from Canada, Great Britain and the United States as well as individual competitors from Australia, Puerto Rico and the United States.
The crowd pleasing Bareback Puissance class, sponsored by Morningside Training Farm, followed the opening ceremony. Eleven riders took turns jumping a plank vertical that was raised each time the riders went clear. A rail down meant elimination and after several rounds only Chris Talley negotiated the fence at an astounding 5'3" to take top honors on Wyeth, owned by Hannah Salazar, for the $2,000 grand prize.
Earlier in the afternoon all 40 horses were presented and accepted at the Horse Inspection for the FEI Nations Cup.
Competition begins on Saturday morning at 8:00 AM with dressage followed by the show jumping phase at 5:00 PM. The cross-country phase will take place at 9:00 AM on Sunday with the closing ceremony scheduled for mid-day.
For more information, please visit www.greatmeadowinternational.com