The Plains, Virginia- Despite a night of rain and thunderstorms, the final day of the Land Rover Great Meadow International presented by Adequan® went off without a hitch. With a top finish in Sunday's cross country phase after earning the leading Dressage and Show Jumping scores, Jennie Brannigan rode Cambalda victory in the CIC3*. Lauren Kieffer took home the top honors in the Pan Am Prep Trial with Meadowbrooks Scarlett.
Nineteen athletes turned out for the final phase of the CIC3* to compete over Michael Etherington-Smith's cross country course, which was 3,460 meters and featured 23 numbered jumps with an optimum time of 6:05. The best ride of the day belonged to Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights, who finished with just 0.8 time faults for a final score of 54.8 to place third. Lynn Symansky and Donner were ranked third after Show Jumping, but with no faults over the cross country fences and just 7.6 time faults they finished with a final score of 50.4 to take home second place.
With a the leading Dressage score and a faultless Show Jumping phase, the win for Brannigan and Cambalda was in reach as long as they kept their time faults to a minimum during Cross Country. Finishing with just eight time faults, Brannigan and the 13-year-old Irish Thoroughbred cross added the Land Rover Great Meadow International CIC3* to their impressive list of victories, including The Fork CIC3* in April and 2014 The Dutta Corp/USEF National Three-Star Eventing Championship.
The win was bittersweet for Brannigan who just missed the selection for Pan American Games. "I support our team and I think we have a great team, but I also think my horse has shown that he deserves to be there too," she expressed. "I came here and showed what he's capable of - he's a very consistent horse. David [O'Connor]'s been amazing to me and I support what they're doing. If I ever get a pink coat, I'll be crying, because that is something that would mean an awful lot to me."
Recovering from a back injury, a second place finish for Symansky was extra special. "When I came here I really was just planning to do dressage because I wasn't sure how my back would feel," she admitted. "I figured I'd go day to day and see how it felt. I felt pretty good, so I did the jumping and then felt I could go today. Donner really stepped up to the plate today and I have to say I'm very happy with how everything turned out."
This weekend also hosted the Land Rover U.S. Eventing team in its final preparation trial prior to this summer's Pan American Games. Taking over the lead during Saturday's Show Jumping phase, Kieffer piloted Meadowbrooks Scarlett to victory over teammate Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. The 12 starters for the final Cross Country phase included four from Mexico, one from Brazil and the U.S. Pan Am team of Kieffer, Little, Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton, as well as team alternates Will Faudree and Matthew Brown.
Little had the best score over the cross country track with just five time faults for a final score of 50, but only six faults for Kieffer would earn her the victory with a final score of 49.3. Boyd Martin and Pancho Villa rounded out the top three, earning a total score of 53.9 after incurring 10-time penalties.
"Great Meadow ran a fabulous event," smiled Kieffer after her win. "We couldn't have gotten a better place to prepare. Everything held up well. The organizers were very smart adjusting for the storms and everything else. I am very proud to be part of Team USA, and we're going to do our best to bring home the Gold.
U.S. Eventing Team Chef d'Equipe David O'Connor concluded, "It was nice to see that the fastest horses out there today were the team horses, it showed that no one was holding back. I think we have a great team and I'm very happy with how they performed and I'm excited about how we'll do at the Games."
The awards ceremony at the Land Rover Great Meadow International presented by Adequan® was followed by a ground-breaking ceremony launching the construction of a new world-class, all-weather arena with an adjoining unique water complex.
For those unable to attend this weekend's event, The Land Rover Great Meadow International presented by Adequan® will feature archived coverage on the USEF Network Presented by SmartPak at USEFNetwork.com.