This weekend we had the chance to travel from our west coast base out to The Plains, Virginia for the only Nations Cup event on American soil. It was also our first major event as vendors where we also debuted our new mascot, Superhorse (who by the way, needs a name - more on that in a few).
Meet Superhorse! Photo credit CJ Millar.
The weather was amazing and the show went off without a hitch. We had a great location, and while originally we were concerned that we couldn’t figure out a good way to show the “before” of just mud or mud + gravel after rain, Mother Nature helped us out with some torrential downpours on Thursday night that turned the walkways around Meadow Market into a soupy muddy mess. Great (for us anyway)!
Yuck. Lighthoof would have worked much better than cardboard and shavings! Photo credit CJ Millar.
Setting Up & Dressage
After the rains subsided, Friday turned out to be a pretty decent day, even if it was a bit on the hot side - it is Virginia in July after all. The grounds crew threw shavings around the muddy areas, while we set up the booth. We had more space than expected, so were able to expand a full panel for people to walk on and touch and feel and get a better understanding of how Lighthoof really works.
Meanwhile, the show kicked off on Friday evening with some great dressage, started off by UK rider Justine Dutton on Jak My Style. After the first day, Canada's Jessica Phoenix on Pavarotti held the lead and the evening wrapped up with bareback puissance where the fence height reached nearly 6’. Wow!
Dressage continued Saturday morning where Team USA took the lead with Phillip Dutton on I’m Sew Ready, and we got to enjoy the views from our booth. We were right next to the French saddle company, Forestier, who debuted their new line of F.Shock foam panel saddles and we had a great time learning more about these brands. It combines the shock absorption of a high technology foam in a saddle that can be completely customized to fit. Really impressive, and we got to sit in the saddles and have to tell you they are definitely drool worthy.
Ooh la la, Forestier saddles are definitely drool worthy! Photo credit CJ Millar.
The afternoon closed out the dressage portion of the competition, with USA’s master rider Phillip Dutton taking the lead on I’m Sew Ready on a score of 42. This moved Team USA into the lead with a narrow 1.1 point lead of second place Canada going into the evening’s show jumping portion of the competition that started at 5PM.
Saturday Evening Show Jump
After a rather long afternoon break, we returned for show jumping to cheer on Team USA. The weather was lovely and while there were some rails down, the scores remained close. Canada’s Jessica Phoenix on Pavarotti and Phillip Dutton on I’m Sew Ready were the two to watch as they battled it out for the lead. There were just seven clear rounds, and Pavarotti was one of them to jump back in the lead as I’m Sew Ready dropped a rail to move into 2nd place.
Team wise, with solid rounds and double clears by the rest of the Americans - Boyd Martin on Steady Eddie, Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda, and Lynn Symansky on Donner - Team USA remained in the top spot scoring 143.1, with Team Great Britain in 2nd on a score of 155.6, followed by Team Canada scoring 156.2.
The weather was great for a nail-biting show jumping competition on Saturday evening. Photo credit CJ Millar.
Cross Country Day and Final Results
Sunday started early, with the first rider going out on course at 9:30 AM in what turned out to be the nicest day of the weekend. The weather was in the low 80s, breezy, and beautiful and the footing around the course was designed by Mike Etherington-Smith. Justine Dutton kicked off the day on Jak My Style for Team GB and all was looking great until the final water. Jak hung a leg and had a fall, and Justine was taken to the nearby medical center to be checked out. The good news is that the horse is okay, and Justine is stable and will make a full recovery. It was a scary start to the day and a very unlucky circumstance, but we’re relieved to hear that everyone is going to be okay.
The course resumed and there were just a few riders to come home inside the time. Team Canada’s Selena O’Hanlon and Foxwood High made it look easy to come in clean and three seconds under with a time of 6:30, and Team USA’s Boyd Martin came one two seconds inside the time and clean on Steady Eddie. The fastest time of the day went to Waylon Roberts and his mount, Kelecyn Cognac at 6:21!
But it was American Jennie Brannigan and long time partner Cambalda owned by Nina Gardner who took the top spot to have a repeat win here at Great Meadow on a score of 49.8. USA took the podium in all three spots, with Lynn Symansky and Donner finishing the competition in second with a 50.1 and Phillip Dutton and I’m Sew Ready in third on a 51.6. What a great day and it was wonderful to see all three top spots go to USA!
What a beautiful day for XC as Will Coleman gallops by on Tight Lines at #GMI2017. Photo credit Laura Crump Anderson.
After a great weekend of competition, the awards ceremony was lovely to watch. Team USA took first, and Team Canada took second. Unfortunately Team GB did not complete as there were a few eliminations on XC, but we were glad to see so many riders from around the world come out for this great event.
At the Lighthoof booth, we had a wonderful weekend talking to all kinds of people - horse owners, riders, barn managers, and equine enthusiasts. We were able to explain how Lighthoof works, share the series on HorseNation about Building a Barn From the Ground Up that features our panels, and even offer a special show discount of $10 off per panel with code GMI2017. If you want to take advantage of this special and weren’t at the show, don’t worry - we extended the offer all week long this coming week for anyone who orders online. And don’t forget we ship for free anywhere in the continental United States.
What’s next? We’re gearing up for The Event at Rebecca Farm later this month, and hope to see you there!