Davidson Wins Plantation Field International CCI4*-S

Buck Davidson and Carlevo win Plantation Field International CCI4*-S. Woods Baughman and C'est La Vie 125 finish second.

Local rider Buck Davidson and Catherine O’Brien’s Carlevo won the Plantation Field International CCI4*-S in Unionville, Pennsylvania. The pair jumped clear around a heavily influential cross-country track designed by Derek di Grazia. Davidson added 6.0 time faults to finish with 32.5 penalties. Additionally, Woods Baughman of Lexington, Kentucky, placed second on 34.0 riding C’est La Vie 135.

Similarly, a clean and fast run with just 0.4 time launched Jennie Brannigan and FE Lifestyle right up the leaderboard into third place overall. Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver, second after yesterday’s show jumping, added 15 faults for missing a flag and dropped to fifth place. Halliday-Sharp also finished fourth riding Deniro Z.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo won the Plantation Field International CCI4*-S.
© Amy K. Dragoo

Plantation Field International CCI4*-S: How Cross-Country Rode

Out of 40 entries in the CCI4*-S, just 27 horse-and-rider combinations completed the event. However, five withdrew before cross country, three retired on course, two were eliminated and three riders fell. Though the twisting and turning, technical course made sure cross country was an influential phase, there were no significant injuries to horses or riders. 

Catherine O’Brien, who has owned Carlevo for the past two years, said, “It’s fabulous. This is a first for us at this level.” The horse has taken the O’Briens to the Kentucky Three-Day Event where he placed sixth, to Aachen, Germany, and with any luck to the MARS Maryland Five-Star at Fair Hill CCI5*-L, October 12-16, 2022. Davidson’s student Allie Knowles, who finished 12th in the CCI4*-S at Plantation Field riding Morswood, is the resident trainer at their farm in Lexington, Kentucky. 

Brannigan, who rode three horses in the four-star, said that FE Lifestyle jumped great. But she ran slow with Twilightslastgleam, who claimed the top-placing Thoroughbred award. He is the alternate for Military Boekelo-Enschede CCIO4*-L, Oct. 6-9, 2022, in The Netherlands. Therefore, time will tell where he is heading next. 

The Challenge of Being Held On Course

Brannigan and Davidson were held on course because a rail on a frangible fence fell just before Brannigan jumped it. Consequently, Davidson said that it was challenging getting Carlevo to be sharp on course after standing around during the hold. 

“He’s a bit of a homebody. And going last of the day when there was a hold because of the fence that fell down, he was just hanging out, and everybody left,” Davidson said. “Getting him awake and ready to go is not always super easy, especially since he’s not the fastest horse in the world. He jumped off the little drop to the hedge thing. And he wasn’t really with it so I fired him at the next fence and then he was awake. He was right on the markers at four and five minutes, but he goes at one pace. He was the same way at Kentucky—he’s not the kind of horse you can make up time with.”

Davidson said he was really happy with his mount Erroll Gobey, whom he focused on keeping quiet and relaxed. He also was pleased with Sorocaima, who is heading to the Maryland 5 Star, too. Carlevo sustained a small puncture from a stud today, so Davidson said his entry at Maryland depends on how that heals.

Woods Baughman Tries New Bit

Woods Baughman said that he recently took C’est la Vie to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials. But the horse ran off with him on cross country and he wasn’t able to complete the event. He changed bits and bridles and found a better solution. Baughman said he tested out the new tack at Plantation Field and found it worked well. 

The new system is “a Myler combo with a barrel in the mouth, shanks, and a hackamore. It’s got a lot of things going on, but it’s a soft bit with more poll pressure and it keeps him from crossing his jaw,” he said.  “It’s not necessarily strong as much as putting pressure in a different place, and he seems to be quite happy in it.”

Baughman said he forgot to reset his watch when he was held on course, and time faults relegated him to second place. “You can’t argue with finishing second to Buck though,” he said. Overall he was pleased with the event and said the footing was very good. He felt that it was a good preparation to test C’est la Vie with the new bitting system before they head to the Maryland 5 Star next month.

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