At Plantation Field, horses, vistas wow crowds

 A Missouri businessman has some advice for area residents: Appreciate your surroundings.

Rikki Torrieri of Devoucoux Inc. shows off Dill, the puppy she purchased at the Plantation Field

Rikki Torrieri of Devoucoux Inc. shows off Dill, the puppy she purchased at the Plantation Field International Horse Trials and Country Fair.

Brody Robertson of St. Louis was referring to the Plantation Field International Horse Trials and Country Fair, which began on Friday, Sept. 18, and continues through Sunday, Sept. 20. He described it as one of the premier equestrian eventing venues in the country.

Surveying the course under picture-perfect skies, Robertson, who traveled 968 miles to provide the jumps for the three-day event, said the hillside topography gives spectators a “spectacular view” that other courses can’t provide.

“You won’t find a better place to watch cross-country riding,” he said. “You can see three horses at once.” In other competitions, the view is much more restricted, he said, adding that he wished he could have brought his wife and children to enjoy some of the other activities.

“I think they were duck-herding this morning,” he said. “My kids would have loved that.”

Spectators enjoy the view during a jumping competition.

Spectators enjoy the view during an equestrian jumping competition at Plantation Field.

Indeed, watching the horses and riders execute jumps was not the only attraction. A crowd estimated at about 2,000 fanned out across the sprawling, pastoral grounds. Some bid on silent-auction items while others enjoyed picnics or sampled the numerous food offerings, which ranged from funnel cakes to caprese sandwiches.

A fair number did some damage to their wallets, patronizing more than 50 businesses that had set up stands. Rikki Torrieri, a technical advisor for Devoucoux Inc., a French-based luxury saddle purveyor, ended up buying a puppy that she promptly named Dill.

“He’s my little pickle,” she said, as a crowd gathered to watch as he rested comfortably on one of the saddles. “I wasn’t planning on buying a puppy today,” she noted. “But I couldn’t resist him.”

Quincy Garfield and his wife, Susan, were first-time visitors. Quincy Garfield said their friends, Pete and Terri Silvester, who own Grist Mill Farm Alpacas, made the suggestion.

An alpaca from Grist Mill Farm in Glenmoore provides photo opportunities at the Plantation Field International Horse Trials and Country Fair.

An alpaca from Grist Mill Farm in Glenmoore provides photo opportunities at the Plantation Field International Horse Trials and Country Fair.

Garfield said he was glad they did. The fact that they weren’t familiar with equestrian events didn’t detract from the experience. “It’s a beautiful thing to watch,” he said. “It’s impossible not to appreciate how difficult it must be to get such large animals to perform at such a high level of precision.”

He said he particularly enjoyed watching a boy who looked to be about 4 years old during one of the jumping events. “He clearly knew the rider,” Garfield said. As the horse exited the arena after the performance, the boy yelled, “good job,” getting an appreciative nod from the rider, Garfield said.

Carole Sinclair-Thompson, a repeat visitor, said she brought her goddaughter, an avowed "horse nut." Sinclair-Thompson, who runs Body, Mind, Spirit, a massage business in Chadds Ford, said a handful of her clients were competing. "We always have a good time," she said.

The weekend theme for 2015 is "Down Under in the Aussie Outback." So the event boasts an Australian flavor – from the décor and entertainment to Sunday’s tailgate competition. Renowned horseman and entertainer Guy McLean and his Australian horses will perform in the main arena, and the crowd-pleasing Bareback Puissance (high jump) is scheduled.

The event’s beneficiaries are the Barn at Spring Brook Farm, the Chester County Food Bank, Work to Ride, and the Cheshire Land Preservation Fund.

For ticket information, visit http://www.plantationfieldhorsetrials.com/index.php/attending-the-cic/cic-ticket-sales. Plantation Field is located at 387 Green Valley Rd., Kennett Square, Pa., 19348.

 

 

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