Local riders dominate horse trials
● By J. Chambless
Two of the four members comprising the U.S. Olympic Evening team, Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin, were in high demand for photos at Plantation Field. Here, they pose with Yvette Dively of Oxford.
Now in its ninth year, the Plantation Field Horse Trials in Unionville draws competitors from many states as well as Canada. But this year, the locals proved just how good the horses and riders from southern Chester County are when they accounted for most of the top placings at the event, which was held from Sept. 15 to 18.
Phillip Dutton of West Grove wasn’t resting on his laurels after claiming the bronze individual medal in eventing for the United States in the Rio Olympics. In the CIC Three Star, after the first two phases, dressage and show jumping, he had a fairly comfortable lead with I’m Sew Ready and was in second place with Mr. Candyman. Ryan Wood, also of West Grove, was sitting in third with Olympian Boyd Martin, a resident of Cochranville, holding on to fourth place with Crackerjack.
The recent lack of rain meant that the ground was very hard and tough on the horses that were galloping on the demanding cross-country course during the final phase on Sunday. The riders rode more conservatively for the safety of the horses, which resulted in many incurring considerable time faults. Dutton didn’t push I’m Sew Ready and accrued 10.8 time faults. His ride on Mr. Candyman also had added time faults, but only 2.8. Wood was very conservative with Powell and racked up 20.8 time faults. Martin felt no hesitation in Crackerjack and galloped on to a clean finish within the time allowed.
When all the calculations were complete, Dutton still emerged the winner, but on Mr. Candyman. Martin and Crackerjack moved up to second, and Dutton was third with I’m Sew Ready. Wood and Powell dropped to 14th place. Sharon White, of West Virginia, rode Cooley on Show to a fourth-place finish, moving up from 11th after stadium-jumping with no time faults cross country, and Dutton claimed yet another rosette, with Z finishing fifth.
In the other divisions, CIC Two Star and CIC One Star, Chester County riders were well represented. Then, in the Advanced division, it was again a Chester County sweep, with Erin Sylvester of Cochranville claiming the top honors aboard Paddy the Caddy, with Wood riding McLovin to second, and Martin finishing third with Steady Eddie.