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There is just something special about a five-star event, and even more so when it’s a brand new event that has pulled out all the stops to make its attendees and participants feel welcome. That’s how it feels pulling into the Maryland 5 Star, which finally makes its debut this weekend in Elkton, Md., just across the street from the former Fair Hill International CCI4*-L site.
The venue is abuzz with last-minute preparations today as Abby Powell and I arrived. I was fresh (??) off a red-eye flight from California and raring to go, so as soon as Abby swooped me from the airport we headed straight here to scope out the place. Everywhere you look, vendors are finishing their set-ups, the food and drink vendors are moving in, the riders are familiarizing with the multiple rings, and, of course, everyone put on their Wednesday best and trotted up for the ground jury (you can read that report here).
If you’re planning on coming to spectate, I think you’ll be in for an absolute grand time this weekend. First things first, everything in the main hub of activity is very close. Granted, the cross country course is big — and its going to be a hike to see it all — but the nice thing is that you can wander and shop, find food, and take in the action at the arenas without having to go too far.
Abby and I are looking forward to bringing you up close and personal on the action all week long, both here and on our Instagram page, so stay tuned for much more — and don’t forget to dive in to the official Digital Program and Form Guide which has just been released here!
Jogs are always a chance to have a look at the horses and riders up close, and if you camp out near the end of the jog strip long enough you’re sure to catch some relieved pats and some big smiles as the first hurdle of the competition is passed. It’s inevitably my favorite spot to hang out during jogs, especially at the start of competition when everyone’s hopes and dreams are still very much alive! It’s certainly going to be an intense weekend — the buzz about Ian Stark’s big, beefy track has already begun and I’m itching to get out to see it — so we enjoy these quiet, happy moments before we dive in.
In all, it was a picture-perfect beginning to what we know will be a stellar weekend and we can’t wait to see how the results pan out. Thanks so much for following along. Go Eventing!