Plantation Field gears up for even bigger 2014 event

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Although the 2013 version was a can’t miss event, organizers say that the 2014 Plantation Field International Horse Trials will be even bigger and better in 2014.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — The Best. Event. Ever. will be bigger and better than ever before as Plantation Field International Horse Trials celebrates the seventh year of its fall CIC3* competition in Unionville, the weekend of September 19-21, 2014.

Plantation Field CIC3*, part of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup/PRO Tour Series, has made a name for itself as the premier event on the East Coast fall calendar, and this year, new cross-country course designer Mike Etherington-Smith will set the bar at a whole new level.

Etherington-Smith, who designed the courses for the Sydney and Hong Kong Olympics, as well as the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, has incorporated many new fences and obstacles into this year’s CIC3* course with help from course builder Eric Bull and ETB Equine Construction to produce an entirely new track.

Tremaine Cooper returns as the course designer for all other divisions, ranging from the Preliminary level to the CIC2*. Last year, 285 entries competed across all divisions, and with an equally large field expected at this year’s event, it’s going to be a jam-packed weekend.

While the competition is sure to be world class — to include rides from Olympians Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin, who are both based just down the road from the venue — that’s just the beginning. This year’s theme of “Dancing with the Stars” will delight competitors and spectators alike, with fun and festive events planned all weekend.

The Delaware Valley Combined Training Association level three quadrille team will perform a choreographed dressage ride during the Friday lunch break. The fun continues that night with a BBQ, Beer and Bull Party, as teams of eventers, jockeys and foxhunters face off to see who can tame the mechanical bull for $1,000 in prize money.

The Saturday night CIC Sponsors, Owners and Riders party serves as the highlight of the weekend, when “Dancing With the Stars” comes to life with cast members from the show joining the festivities. Professional dancers will be paired with riders for a dance-off while spectators enjoy delicious food and drink. Professional dancers will also have the audience join in a salsa lesson, and costume dress is optional.

The action continues Sunday, when “Dancing with the Stars” heads to the cross-country course. Spectators are encouraged to put some tango in their tailgate, with celebrity judge Carson Kressley and local favorite pub The Whip Tavern deciding who takes home top honors.

During the Sunday lunch break, the much-anticipated annual PRO Bareback Puissance will take place in the main arena, as competitors seek to clear the big red wall without touching any of the blocks. The winner will receive $1,000 in prize money courtesy of Kevin Keane and Sports Medicine Associates.

The popular Vendor Village, Victory Beer Garden, Galer Estate Wine Bistro and free Kid’s Korner will return once again, providing plenty to do and see during the weekend for the whole family. It’s just one more perk that makes Plantation Field the Best. Event. Ever. Mark your calendars for September 19-21 and plan to join us in Unionville.

Admission is free on Friday, with general admission on Saturday and Sunday just $20 per carload. The non-profit Work to Ride, which aids disadvantaged urban youth, has joined the Chester County Food Bank and Cheshire Land Preservation as this year’s event beneficiaries.

For more information or to become a sponsor, vendor, volunteer or place an ad in the annual magazine, please visit www.plantationfieldht.com. Follow “Plantation Field Horse Trials” on Facebook for news and updates.

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