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Sports · August 20, 2019

Great Meadow to host Olympic-caliber eventing

Photo/Shannon Brinkman
Will Coleman and Off the Record, winners at last year’s Great Meadow international, clear a fence on the Fleming Farm cross-country course.
The Event
• What: Equestrian three-day eventing.

• Where: Fleming Farm course at Great Meadow, near The Plains.

• When: Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 22-25, starting at 9 a.m. daily.

• Details: Approximately 85 riders will compete in a variety of events, including dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping.

• Also: Canine exhibitions, dog cooling station, beer garden, fly fishing demonstrations, course walk, beer garden, concussion clinic, polo and more.

• Tickets: $20 for weekend pass, $5 to $10 for daily pass; other options available.

• Website:
By Vicky Moon
For Fauquier Now

The 2019 Mars Equestrian Great Meadow International will begin Thursday, Aug. 22, and run through Sunday, Aug. 25, near The Plains.

The Olympic-caliber event will feature four days of spectacular equestrian competition from dressage to cross country jumping and stadium jumping with excellent opportunities for spectators.

In addition to the competition at the Fleming Farm area of Great Meadow, there will be a vendor village, beer garden, canine-friendly hospitality tents and more. Several members of the Pan American Games gold-medal-winning team will compete, including individual gold medalist Boyd Martin of Cochranville, Pa., and silver medalist Lynn Symansky of Middleburg.

“This new date puts the Great Meadow International at the start of the autumn season, making it a launching point for FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) competitors preparing for the CCI-L (Concours Copmplet International) season,” said David O’Connor, an organizer of the event under the name of Rings Eventing, founded with Darrin Mollett.

“Also for 2019, competitors will see the results of significant investments made in the footing that began in the summer of 2018,” said Mr. O’Connor, who lives near The Plains.

Competition will begin as early as 9 a.m. each day.

This year’s competition also will feature polo exhibitions and live entertainment. A number of improvements include a state-of-the-art, all-weather arena and a cross-country course designed by Michael Etherington-Smith.

Mars Equestrian, a brand division within Mars Inc., will sponsor the event. For generations, Mars has celebrated a rich equestrian heritage. The company remains committed to the sport and building an enduring legacy.

Mars also provided sponsorship at this summer’s Upperville Colt and Horse Show and had a presence at the Warrenton Pony Show.

This weekend’s event offers a number of ticket options, including a VIP space that includes a partnership with Petrossian Caviar for a gourmet ringside experience — cocktails and caviar.

On Friday, Aug. 23, Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program physical therapist Sydney Sawyer, program director Olivia Taylor and rider Cameron Peterson will give a lunch time demonstration in the main arena.

Teddy, the program’s miniature horse mascot, will perform in the adjacent Meadow Market on Friday and Saturday. With a little help from staff and volunteers, he’ll lead a series of children’s hands-on horsemanship activities.

Additional attractions include a Bareback Puissance competition presented by Chris Talley and Mane’n’Tail, fly fishing demonstrations from Orvis, riding and hands-on mini-horse demonstrations from the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program, concussion awareness from Inova and a cross country course walk with Olympic coach and expert Jim Wofford,

Weekend passes are $20 per person. Thursday is free, Friday admission is $5, Saturday $10 and Sunday $10. Children 12 and younger are admitted at no charge.

For more details, visit

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