Plantation Field trials kick off Friday

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PlantationPre1EAST MARLBOROUGH —Food, fun and some of the most exciting equestrian events on the East Coast are coming to Unionville this weekend as part of the sixth-annual Plantation Field International Horse Trials and Country Fair, which starts Friday.

Members of the United States Olympic Equestrian team, including Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton of Chester County, will return to participate in the  three-day event. Two Olympic members from Sweden are also participating.

The three days of eventing competition, known as the triathlon of the horse world, will take place at picturesque Plantation Field , just outside of Unionville. On Friday, Sept. 20, the Dressage phase will be held and admission is free. The parking fee for the Saturday, Sept. 21 show jumping day  and Sunday, Sept. 22 Cross Country Day  will be $20. The fee includes admission to the grounds for everyone in the car and a program.

Plantation Field is located at 387 Green Valley Road, Unionville. Competition each day will take place from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. with main events beginning late morning each day. The shops and country fair operation begins at 9 a.m. Proceeds benefit the Cheshire Land Preservation Fund, The Barn at Spring Brook Farm, and the Chester County Food Bank.

Besides the Eventing competition and enjoying the spectacular view, spectators will be treated to a country fair. “This is a family-friendly event,” said Katie Walker of Plantation Field’s executive committee. “There will be activities for children, food and shops with equestrian themes.  Plantation Field is the perfect venue to spend time with the family.”

Last year a tailgating competition was added and this year the theme will be Downton Abbey after the PBS show from England. “Downton Abbey is widely popular and everyone loves the period costumes and traditions depicted on the show. This is a perfect theme for Plantation Field,” Walker said. “Tailgating is a wonderful tradition. It’s part of the festive atmosphere. We are going to enlist a guest judge and prizes will be awarded. Space is limited, so those interested should contact us.”

Other events include a Chester County craftsmen exhibition, celebrity bareback jumping, and a wine bistro and beer garden all day Saturday and Sunday. Sunday is an exciting day with Cross Country riding, tailgating, and at the lunch break, an antique carriage parade followed by the celebrity bareback jumping contest , where riders jump over a 6 foot wall without a saddle.   New this year on the grounds is a wine bistro and beer garden all day Saturday and Sunday.

Eventing is comprised of three varied and challenging phases of competition, including dressage, cross-country jumping and show jumping. Dressage consists of an exact sequence of movements ridden in an enclosed area. Judging is based on balance, rhythm, suppleness and obedience of the horse and harmony with the rider. Cross country includes jumping of fences over a three-mile course and requires both horse and rider to be in excellent physical condition. Show jumping tests the technical jumping skills of the horse and rider.

“Plantation Field is the perfect setting for the Eventing competition,” Walker said. “Chester County is a Mecca for all types of equestrian pursuits. Championship horses have been bred and trained in the county and some of the top riders in all disciplines of riding and jumping have called Chester County home.

Walker added, “We’re expecting large crowds this year. Last year we had more than 4,000 people for the three days of events.”

The schedule:

Friday, September 20

8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Dressage – Main Arena

9:00 a.m. Vendor Village and Food Court open

Noon Plantation Field hosts Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce luncheon

4:00 p.m. Vendor Village and Food Court closed

Saturday, September 21

8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Show Jumping – Main Arena

9:00 a.m. Vendor Village and Food Court open

11:00 a.m. Victory Beer Garden and Galer Wine Bistro open

Kids Korner open – Face Painting, Mechanical Bull,

Balloon Animals, Moon Bounce, Petting Zoo – All free of charge.

Noon Plantation Field Committee & Masters of Mr. Stewart Cheshire Foxhounds host Hunt Lunch and Tea

3:00 p.m. Kids Korner closed

4:00 p.m. Victory Beer Garden and Galer Wine Bistro, Vendor Village and Food Court closed

Sunday, September 22

8:00 a.m. Gates open for tailgaters and all spectators

8:30 a.m. CIC Cross Country

9:00 a.m. Vendor Village and Food Court open

11:00 a.m. Victory Beer Garden and Galer Wine Bistro open

Kids Korner open – Face Painting, Mechanical Bull, Balloon Animals, Moon Bounce, Petting Zoo – all free of charge.

12:30 p.m. Antique Carriage Parade

12:30 p.m. PRO Bareback High Jump

1:30 p.m. until 3:20 p.m. CIC Cross County

3:30 p.m. Awards Presentation.

4:00 p.m. Victory Beer Garden and Galer Wine Bistro, Kids Korner, Vendor Village and Food Court closed

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