Sally Spickard
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Sally Spickard

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About Sally Spickard

Sally Spickard is a Korean adoptee living in San Diego, California. Sally joined the Eventing Nation team in 2013 and has subsequently written for Noelle Floyd, Heels Down Mag, and other publications both in and out of the equestrian world. Sally is an eventing fan through and through and enjoys telling the stories of riders who are not well-represented within equestrian media.

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Boyd Martin and On Cue Take Inaugural Maryland 5 Star Title, Bring U.S. First 5* Win Since 2008

EN’s coverage of the Maryland 5 Star is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. KPP is our go-to for all things nutritional when it comes to supporting our horses and their healthier selves. Managing horses is a challenge, but KPP makes it simple — and they treat you like a horse owner, not just a customer. You can learn more about KPP by clicking here.

Your newest 5* winner! Photo by Abby Powell.

Boyd Martin won his first then-4* event in 2003, when he was still living in Australia. It was his very first start at the level at the green age of 24, and he took home the title in the Australian 5* with True Blue Toozac. In the intervening 18 years, he started a total of 42 times at the 5* level, sometimes coming tantalizing close to the top of the podium but never quite managing to catch it — until today.

It came down to the final wire, and Boyd entered the main grandstand as the third last to jump today at the Maryland 5 Star with Christine Turner’s On Cue. They needed a clear round to maintain pressure on top-ranked Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class as well as Tim Price and Xavier Faer. And deliver they did, producing a double clear effort despite a couple of rubs — On Cue putting in her absolute best effort after the grueling endurance effort of yesterday — to finish their second 5* together on a score of 25.0. After both Tim and Oliver each had one pole down, the gasps echoed through the grandstands and in the warm-up, where Boyd waited with his team, the screams, shouts, crying, and hugs began — and the U.S. collected its first 5* winner since 2008 (Phillip Dutton and Connaught won Kentucky in 2008).

Photo by Abby Powell.

Boyd began riding under the American flag in 2009 after moving from Australia in 2007. Since then, he’s collected numerous accolades as one of the top-ranked riders in the country, but as the sport so often goes he found himself battered and broken more often than atop the podium. He’s had numerous special horses, and the 15-year-old On Cue (Cabri d’Elle – On High, by Primitive Rising) entered this season flying mostly under the radar, living in her stablemate and Boyd’s Tokyo Olympic partner Tsetserleg TSF. But it would be this Anglo European mare, who was bred in England by Alyse Clancey, to step up to become the USEF CCI5* National Champion earlier this year at Kentucky as the top-placed U.S. horse. Now, she gets her full due, joining the ranks of 5*-winning mares such as Paulank Brokaugh, Vanir Kamira, and Classic Moet. On Cue has been under the watchful eye of Boyd’s longtime groom, Stephanie Simpson, who also traveled to Tokyo with the crew and is one of the many irreplaceable grooms who’ve worked very hard to care for their charges, day in and day out, to get to this point.

“I obviously knew Tim when he was in New Zealand and competed against him when he was sleeping on a mattress in the back of his trailer at shows,” Boyd said, laughing at the memory of that first 4* in Australia. “and, you know (it’s) wonderful to see that you work hard, you try hard and dig deep and make something of your life. Thinking back to Australia, it was a great country to get started in. I still sort of think of myself as an Australian person, that sort of work ethic and horsemanship from there and then obviously to come to America, and I fell in love with this country with great culture, great people and great events…It’s good, it’s not the be all and end all, but it’s a moment in time you’re grateful for, and we’ve come a long way since 2003.”

Boyd Martin and On Cue. Photo by Abby Powell.

It won’t be the weekend of Oliver’s second 5* win of the year (though, hey, he’s still got some horses entered at Pau in two weeks’ time, so it’s early days still), but one pole down with Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class (Ramiro B – The Swallow, by Master Imp) would still be enough to finish second on the weekend. The pair ends their weekend on a finishing score of 25.1 (perhaps Oliver will be re-reading his dressage marks to figure out where he could’ve gotten rid of that .1!). While the result is no doubt not what the British Olympian would have wanted, but at the end of the day he recognized the efforts of Boyd and the honor of competing next to the likes of Boyd and Tim for many years.

“We’re very happy with the way our horse jumped, and we’re actually very happy for Boyd as well,” Oliver commented. “Some days are meant to be your days and some days aren’t meant to be your day. And (right hand woman Karyn Shuter) said, ‘you know, we’ve seen (Boyd) scrape himself up off the floor so many times of so many times — we’ve all scraped ourselves off the floor, that’s not meaning that he falls off all the time! — but he’s taken some knocks. This was tough, and to be again sat, both with Boyd, and Tim for me, is a privilege because the riders that I actually have a huge amount of respect for. They’re both working boys, we’re all very normal lads. And for all three of us to be in the position that we’re in is a huge privilege. It does just show that normal people — and we all three are definitely normal people — if you work hard, you can make it to the pinnacle of this sport. That’s the message I want to get out to any kid that’s thinking ‘I can’t do it because I’m not from a wealthy background’, I think we’re all selling the sport now that is actually possible, and I’m very proud of Boyd for continuing on.”

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class. Photo by Abby Powell.

New Zealand Olympian Tim Price with Trisha Rickards’ Xavier Faer (Catherston Liberator – Faerie Dazzler, by Catherston Dazzler) also lowered a pole but still remain within the top three in the 15-year-old British gelding’s eighth 5* event. Both Tim and Jonelle Price were eager to come over for this inaugural Maryland 5 Star primarily for the big cross country that each rider felt would suit their respective horses. Tim and “Hugo” will end their weekend with just the one pole added to their penalty mark and a final score of 28.3 — the picture of consistency as their finishing score at Kentucky this spring was a 28.2.

“Like I said yesterday with just being so grateful to have another competition of this level that truly is earning the five-star status, I’m really excited to see what comes in the future here,” Tim commented. “(I) brought a horse myself that I felt was going to be very capable of cross country. This is a place we can really fall out of a competition or stay in the competition, so I felt with the course designed by a man like Ian Stark, and from the reputation I’d heard this place has with the undulation in the ground it brings a good cross country course. Today was actually not as spotless, there was lots of crashing and bashing for me as well, it felt, and having to second down it’s not a great beginning to round. But Xavier Faer is a very simple horse, he just sees a fence, I’ve got to get in there in the right way with the right energy and we get away with it most of the time…But I’m very pleased with the result, and just to be out here again with these boys, I couldn’t be more proud of all of us really.”

Xavier Faer says, “Is that applause for meeee??” Photo by Abby Powell.

Jennie Brannigan told us earlier this week that her weekend in The Netherlands at Boekelo, where she finished in the top 15 with FE Lifestyle, gave her a boost of confidence heading into Maryland with the stunning Stella Artois (Satisfaction – I—Comtess, by Contender), who is owned by the Stella Artois Syndicate, and today they finally got their first 5* finish under their belts as a pair. Jennie and Stella had a tough run of luck, encountering eliminations at each of their first two attempts at the level. But we always knew the talent was there — “Toddie” won her first CCI4*-L at Rebecca Farm in 2019 as well as in the top 10 in the CCI4*-L at Tryon last fall. This weekend, she proved she’s every bit of a 5* horse, and despite some time added in the jumping phases she moved up the board after starting in seventh position and ending in fourth.

Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois. Photo by Abby Powell.

Aachen winner Will Coleman and The Conair Syndicate’s Tight Lines (Turgeon – Merindole, by Tel Quel) earned their best 5* finish together this weekend, steadily making climbs up the leaderboard to eventually complete the top five on a final score of 32.2. This pair is the only other to finish the weekend on their dressage mark, and Will noted yesterday that he thought the grueling cross country would suit the 14-year-old Thoroughbred gelding — and it certainly seemed that rang true as Tight Lines looked fresh at the finish line.

Will Coleman and Tight Lines. Photo by Abby Powell.

It’s been a process of getting to know what works best for “Phish”, who like many Thoroughbreds can experience some tension, particularly in the first phase. “He’s like a lot of Thoroughbreds,” Will said earlier this week, explaining his warm-up process for the dressage. “He carries a lot of excess energy, and sort of positive tension from just trying really hard…I think he just does better when he comes out and you kind of give him those first few minutes to move around and be a bit natural and not go right to material or training or making him feel like he has to come out and bust a gut right away. We’ve definitely learned a lot from Phish, on just kind of how to meet a horse in the middle.”

Will also finished his second ride, Team Rebecca LLC’s DonDante, inside the top 15.

Ken Krome, who is a renowned Grand Prix show jumping designer, designed his first three-day eventing show jumping today — and the track certainly did its duty to test the riders. Seven riders out of 35 starters collected double clear efforts: Ashlynn Meucheul (Emporium), Zoe Crawford (K.E.C. Zara), Will Faudree (Pfun), Astier Nicolas (Babylon de Gamma), Doug Payne (Quantum Leap), Will Coleman (Tight Lines), and Boyd Martin (On Cue). Three riders produced rounds clear of jumping penalties, but picked up time penalties against the tight time allowed of 81 seconds. The ring here feels much closer than the imposing Rolex Stadium in Kentucky, creating a bit more of a “fishbowl” atmosphere for the horses — Doug Payne remarked that the ring felt perhaps a bit tight, but that the atmosphere was “exceptional” and that he enjoyed riding Ken’s track.

Rails down were scattered throughout the track — fence 5 and fence 12b proved to be the most influential, with fence 5, an oxer coming across the center of the ring on a snaking bending line, coming down seven times and 12b, the second element of the triple, coming down six times. You can view the full fence-by-fence report here.

We’ve somehow already reached the end of an incredible weekend at the Maryland 5 Star. We’ve worked with the organizing crew here for many months to create the digital program, and through it all we’ve been witness to the immense efforts they’ve made to put this event on. It’s easy to forget that every other 5* is so well-established, with decades of experience, history and tradition behind them. The indication we got from this first go-round was that this event has every marker of being a top-class event — and a popular spectator event, as the event welcomed over 20,000 of them this weekend — and we truly cannot wait to return next year.

That wraps up our reporting from Maryland, but we’ve still got more content yet to come! We’ll be adding more photos to our site and social media over the coming days, so keep an eye out for more still to come. Most importantly, thank you all for following along with us. We were thrilled to welcome 50+ fans to our course walk with Ema Klugman and RideIQ (something we hope to do much more of in the future!), and all throughout the weekend we interacted with so many excited people — it reminds us why we do this job and of how much we love this sport. So, from all of us at EN to you: thank you, and Go Eventing.

And as our last hurrah, allow us to leave you with some additional photos, as well as this special moment we managed to capture as Boyd learned he’d won:

 

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Kurt Martin and D.A. Lifetime Claim 2021 USEF National CCI3*-L Championship at Maryland 5 Star

EN’s coverage of the Maryland 5 Star is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. KPP is our go-to for all things nutritional when it comes to supporting our horses and their healthier selves. Managing horses is a challenge, but KPP makes it simple — and they treat you like a horse owner, not just a customer. You can learn more about KPP by clicking here.

Kurt Martin and D.A. Lifetime. Photo by Abby Powell.

Kurt Martin and the beautiful gray Holsteiner mare D.A. Lifetime seized hold of the USEF National CCI3*-L Championship at the Maryland 5 Star early and never looked back. After the conclusion of show jumping this morning, Kurt and “Clarence” ended their weekend on their dressage mark, adding no penalties around an influential Ken Krone-designed track to seal the deal on the championship win.

The 9-year-old mare by Lingh and out of Timeless, who is owned by and bears the initials of Debbie Adams and her Debbie Adams Select Sport Horses moniker, has been on an upward trajectory that began when the mare first started her eventing career in Kurt’s program back in 2018. After spending the majority of the abbreviated 2020 season at the Preliminary and CCI2* level, Kurt and D.A. Lifetime moved up to the Intermediate level and finished out their season with a first CCI3*-L completion at Virginia Horse Trials last October. Now, this win comes as their third in 2021, also marking their lowest finishing score since the mare was competing at the Modified level.

Kurt remembers taking the mare to the Florida Horse Park for a lower level event soon after she came to the U.S., describing how she’d buck and spook and overall just show her exuberance. A definitive “one person horse”, Clarence has been a horse Kurt has had to thoughtfully produce (isn’t the saying, “ask a mare”?). But thanks to help from both Debbie Adams and James Burtwell on the flat, Kurt says the mare has really shown her talent as her strength increases.

Kurt describes “Clarence” as very enthusiastic and keen (but a total puppy in the barn), noting yesterday after cross country that the course and terrain was probably good to help tamper that energy — but that the jumps still didn’t really “hold” her, indicating she still had more power, scope and bravery to burn. While he very much sees five-star potential in this mare, he’s committed to the process of tactful production. After all, he knew this was a very special horse for the future from the moment he sat on her, describing the shopping trip to Germany that he went on with Debbie Adams (who in her own right has an excellent eye for top horses, having sourced horses such as D.A. Duras. Debbie Adams also served as a judge for the Young Event Horse competition this week and serves as a USEF judge and ICP instructor) and Tony Rosati that led them to D.A. Lifetime. “It’s all about the stepping stones and having a really good horse and producing it, and that’s what we have here,” Kurt described. “We have to continue to train the balance, but she wants it as much or more as any other horse I’ve ever ridden.”

Kurt Martin and D.A. Lifetime. Photo by Abby Powell.

“We ran her last year at Virginia Horse Trials, in a three-star long when she was a little underprepared and a little bit green,” Kurt described. “And it was a really eye opening experience for us because we realized what horse we had. Then for the last year we trained that horse, so I know when to get on that horse, I know when to ask that horse to stay, and I know when I can’t and, you know, you work together. I don’t force that horse to do anything. We work together and it’s a mare and I’ve had another good mare [Anna Bella].”

Coming into Ken Krome’s twisting show jumping track in the new main arena surrounded by grandstands, Kurt wasn’t sure how D.A. Lifetime would respond. “I truly believed if we put our best foot forward, we could win,” he said. “She’s been second and first in her last two FEI, so it came down to the show jumping. I just believed in the horse — I knew that she wanted to do it and it’s almost, I’ll be honest with you, harder to ride such a nice horse because you don’t want to make a mistake for the horse. And that’s how I felt about it. I believed in her, and I was confident but when I went into the show jumping I just looked up and took a deep breath in every single fence, and what was going to be was going to be. And she did that for me and tried very hard — and that’s what a partnership is. That’s why I do love a mare for that. She’s dug in for me.”

A fun fact: D.A. Lifetime got her barn name, “Clarence”, after the Bruce Springsteen song, Jungle Land, came on while the group was driving to the airport in Germany following their horse shopping trip. They’d just decided to take the mare back to the U.S. with them, and as they sped down the Autobahn, sax player Clarence Fleming became the inspiration for the new addition’s nickname.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Carsonstown. Photo by Abby Powell.

While eight riders produced double clear show jumping efforts this morning, the rails fell throughout the division and prompted a shuffle in the remainder of the top three. In the end, it’s Hannah Sue Burnett with Christa Schmidt’s Carsonstown (Loughere Cappuchino – Nonavic Spyridonna, by Limmerick) who would move up from fourth to finish in second place on a score of 28.1 in the gelding’s CCI3*-L debut. This is another 9-year-old, with whom Hannah Sue has been partnered since he was brought over from Ireland in 2019.

Oliver Townend and Ulises. Photo by Abby Powell.

Winding up third with a catch-ride on Juli Hutchings Sebring’s Ulises is Great Britain’s Oliver Townend, who campaigned the 14-year-old Spanish gelding by Fines through the Advanced/4* level previously. Juli reached out to Oliver to gauge his interest in taking the ride for the weekend, and he eagerly agreed to reunite with his old friend. He visited Juli’s Appleton Equestrian earlier this week (Juli is based just around the corner here in Elkton) to reacquaint with Ulises — and they certainly took little time to get to know each other again as they became just the second pair in the division to end the weekend on their dressage mark of 29.4. Thanks to their clear jumping efforts, Oliver and Ulises were able to gradually move up after starting in 10th place following dressage. Oliver and Ulises also won Best Turned Out Horse & Rider for the CCI3*-L division.

You can review full final scores from the CCI3*-L here. We’re just about set to kick off the 5* finale at 1 p.m. EST, so stay tuned for more from the final day at Maryland 5 Star!

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill: Website, Ultimate Guide, Digital Program, Tickets, Schedule,  Live ScoresLive Stream, EN’s Coverage, Daily Digest Email Sign-up, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

A Showcase of the Sport on Cross Country Day at Inaugural Maryland 5 Star

EN’s coverage of the Maryland 5 Star is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. KPP is our go-to for all things nutritional when it comes to supporting our horses and their healthier selves. Managing horses is a challenge, but KPP makes it simple — and they treat you like a horse owner, not just a customer. You can learn more about KPP by clicking here.

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Despite the fact that collectively the riders here at the Maryland 5 Star probably got about five hours of sleep thinking about the big, burly cross course that awaited them today, we quickly learned there was much to love about this brand-new track with no precedent at the Maryland 5 Star. In spite of those nerves, one of the biggest traits designer Ian Stark is known — and respected — for is the fact that even though he might scare the riders into a sleepless night or two, he is always fair to the horses.

This is what we saw today as the very first Maryland 5 Star cross country course was finally unveiled, beginning with the CCI3*-L this morning and concluding, nearly beating the downpour, with the CCI5* in the afternoon. The course rode exceptionally well, presenting a challenge but for the most part allowing all horses to get home with good wind. Outside of the top three, we saw some shuffling which we’ll get to shortly, but for now we will see Oliver Townend and Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class (Ramiro B – The Swallow, by Master Imp) remain on their dressage mark of 21.1 after turning in a fast clear inside the time. Tim Price and Xavier Faer (24.3) also keep their position overnight after a double clear, as will Boyd Martin and On Cue (25.0).

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class. Photo by Abby Powell.

We waited nervously for the first rider to come home this afternoon after Buck Davidson and Carlevo fell at fence 10A. It would fall to Will Coleman and Team Rebecca LLC’s DonDante, second out of the box, then to make it through the finish flags as the first pair to officially complete Ian Stark’s track, and while the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Team Rebecca LLC ran out of gas toward the end, Will showed his horsemanship to nurse him home.

“It felt like a lot of work,” Will said at the vet box. “The terrain challenges you in a number of ways, makes the fitness part of it that much more intense…I was thankful that (DonDante) stayed with me and was honest, but it was hard work, no question. As hard a five-star as I’ve done, start to finish.

Will Coleman and DonDante. Photo by Abby Powell.

Oliver Townend may find himself in a leading position quite often, but he says he always feels the pressure. Looking ahead to tomorrow, he’ll not have a pole in hand ahead of Tim Price and Xavier Fear. But for today, he’s very happy with the 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Ramiro B — The Swallow, by Master Imp) owned by Angela Hislop.

“He’s really shown today how good he is because this is not a track that’s built for Cooley Master Class,” Oliver said after his ride. “But he’s been with me since he was four years old and he has a lot of trust in me and allows me to do my job so that he can do his. He gives me his brain in the start box and wherever I point and kick, even if he’s a little careful or not sure, he throws himself between the flags for me.”

“It’s an amazing venue and the organizers for me couldn’t have done a better job at the first attempt at the five star,” Oliver continued. “Ian was my hero as a kid, and it’s about time he had a five-star. He’s one of the best designers in the world. Yet again, despite us all scratching our heads and not liking the idea of his track before going out, he’s shown that he’s very, very fair.”

Tim Price and Xavier Faer. Photo by Abby Powell.

The Price crew is making good on their latest trip to the U.S., with Tim and Trisha Rickards’ Xavier Faer (Catherston Liberator – Faerie Dazzler, by Catherston Dazzler) remaining on his dressage mark to hang on to second, though this pair also does not have a rail in hand tomorrow. Xavier Faer was runner-up at Kentucky earlier this year, and he pulled up full of run at the end today to look like he’ll return for a good crack at the show jumping tomorrow.

“You’ve got to enjoy it whilst it’s there for you with a horse like him and the partnership we’ve got,” Tim said of “Hugo”, who is doing his seventh five-star this weekend. “He’s great fun. He’s a great traveler which made the time getable for me.”

With their cross country finishes today, both Tim Price becomes the first rider to complete cross country at all seven five-stars in the world, having made many runs around the various other events scattering the globe, including the most difficult to reach (thankfully, he hails from the Southern Hemisphere so were at one point closer to the Australian Three-Day!). Editor’s Note: This fact was corrected due to an error.

Jonelle Price and Classic Moet. Photo by Abby Powell.

Boyd Martin found himself with just the one ride this weekend, plus another in the CCI3*-L, with Christine Turner’s On Cue (Cabri d’Elle – On High, by Primitive Rising), and the 15-year-old Anglo-European mare once again proved her mettle as she turned in a first double clear (though she came close in Kentucky, picking up just two seconds of time) at the level.

“She’s brilliant,” Boyd said after his ride. “I love this horse. She’s an older horse, but this year, I mean, what a champion.”

Boyd Martin and On Cue. Photo by Abby Powell.

“I think this cross country course is fantastic,” Boyd elaborated in the press conference. “It had everything — the technical questions — and it was a real test of endurance. The top class of horses made the trip look good…obviously, you want to bring a real good athlete to the five-star, and I think this event’s going to evolve in years to come to be the greatest five-star in the world.”

In fact, the top five at the end of phase two all turned in double clear efforts. The time proved to be the most consequential factor of the day, with jump penalties spread out throughout. These efforts were rewarded with a reshuffling of the remaining top 10, starting with Lauren Nicholson and Landmark’s Monte Carlo (Formula One – Glamour), who came home three seconds under time to remain on a score of 28.5 and move from sixth into fourth. Lauren will actually have both of her rides inside the top 10 overnight as Vermiculus (Sazeram – Wake Me Gently), the first of her two to leave the start box, also turned in a double clear two seconds under optimum. Both Landmark’s Monte Carlo and Vermiculus are owned by Ms. Jacqueline Mars.

Lauren Nicholson and Landmark’s Monte Carlo. Photo by Abby Powell.

“It’s a proper five-star for sure,” Lauren commented after her ride with Vermiculus. “It’s a really interesting feeling to go out on a track like that with no information really. Even when you’ve done Burghley or Badminton the first time, you can go watch years and years of videos and get some idea of what you’re instincts are going to be like or how the horses are going to read certain areas or landmark fences. But it was definitely very interesting to go out on this track. There was a lot of hype about the terrain and going in the first five, you don’t get any information.”

Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus. Photo by Abby Powell.

Lauren explained that her strategy was to try to go after the time from the beginning — a bold choice given the terrain that awaited, but she ascertained that it would be the better to start quick than try to make up time later. This move paid off, and it’s one she says she credits to trusting her horse’s fitness — particularly Vermiculus with his Arabian blood — and that she’d properly prepared them. That prep work and that trust paid off in spades today. Vermiculus remains on his dressage mark of 30.7 to sit in eighth heading into show jumping.

Harry Meade and Superstition. Photo by Kate Samuels.

Britain’s Harry Meade also enjoyed a nice romp up the board, moving from 10th into fifth thanks to another fast double clear. Superstition, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Satisfaction FRH, hasn’t run much between this weekend and Kentucky, a strategy Harry says is to help the gelding work through his nervous tendencies. This selective, conservative approach paid off well today, leaving Harry to muse that he felt the horse even had more to give (challenge issued, Ian?).

“It was a great course,” Harry said. “My horse had his ears pricked the whole way…He had much more to give, and when you’re at a five-star you want to be able to demonstrate that, but it’s still always good to come home happy…This guy hasn’t run for twelve weeks to the date. That was a deliberate plan; he’s had one cross country school. He’s an unorthodox horse, he gets a bit stressed for the occasion so it’s about keeping it easy. I jumped a couple of fences this morning, hacked up here (to the cross country warm-up), jumped two fences in the collecting ring and went out. To me, it’s just about keeping his heart rate resting before he starts, and trying to travel with economic speed so it’s not blowing their brains and their adrenaline getting up too much. Five-star eventing isn’t a sprint — it’s not like short formats. It’s about getting them into a rhythm and breathe and relax.”

Andrea Baxter and Indy 500. Photo by Abby Powell.

While several riders turned in double clear efforts, it would be California rider Andrea Baxter with her incredible little mare, the 16-year-old Indy 500 (Cromwell – Tens of Thousands, by Spend A Buck), who would be the quickest of the day. Their time of 10:43 would reward them with a rocket up the board from 39th into the top 20 still on her dressage mark of 37.2. This is the seventh 5* this pair has started, and like a fine wine #InternationalIndy continues to get better and better. Andrea told us at the finish that she thought she was about 30 seconds down on her clock at fence 24. “I knew I had a Thoroughbred with a lot of gas in the tank, so I just put the pedal down all the way to the end and came in a little faster than I needed to,” Andrea laughed. “But it was really only that last bit that I had to sprint.”

“She’s such a warhorse,” Andrea said. Indy 500 came to Andrea a bit inauspiciously, and she always describes their early days as Indy “picking” her and proving herself as a horse worth keeping around. “She picked me in the beginning and she has earned her keep. She’s been the best horse ever.”

 

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We also saw our two debut riders finish the track this afternoon, along with a handful of “rookies” giving the 5* level a second go after running into trouble at Kentucky. In all, we were thrilled to welcome debutants Emma Lomangino (Master Frisky) and Ashlynn Muechel (Emporium), as well as Mike Pendleton (Steady Eddie), Valerie Vizcarrondo Pride (Favian), Zoe Crawford (K.E.C. Zara), and Karl Slezak (Fernhill Wishes) through the finish flags to finish their first cross country course at the level. It’s a huge amount of effort that goes into getting a horse and rider to this level, and all of the aforementioned riders are primarily one-horse riders without a big string to gain mileage on. We hope you are all proud and happy tonight — and we know for sure that Emma Lomangino is, as demonstrated by her and Master Frisky’s post-ride interview (and we’re also pleased to welcome Master Frisky back to the 5* level for the first time since 2015!):

 

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Problems were tossed a bit throughout the course, and while no one fence would really emerge as a bogey, fence 11 — a left-handed brush corner that came on the end of an S-shaped line on a downhill — caught out four riders with runouts. The track accumulated a completion rate of 83%, with 11 starters (26%) going clear inside the time and 26 (62%) starters going clear without jump penalties.

Three horses fell: Buck Davidson and Carlevo hit the deck rather hard at fence 10A, but both were up on their feet afterward. Buck went on to ride Jak My Style but later withdrew his third ride, Erroll Gobey. Caroline Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack fell at fence 20, the second of the sharply angled cabins that followed the big Fair Hill drop. Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Singapore also fell at the Groundhog Garden Gate at fence 24, and while the MIM clip was activated the fall was quite scary. Colleen Rutlege (Covert Rights), Holly Jacks-Smither (Candy King) and Fylicia Barr (Galloway Sunrise) unfortunately fell off. Ema Klugman pulled up Bendigo heartbreakingly close to home at the final water — one of the most difficult (but at the same time, easiest) decisions a horsewoman can make so near the end. Ema reported that Bendigo ran out of steam a bit at the last hill, and she decided to let him call it a day. We’re relieved to report that no injuries have been reported to any riders at the time of publication, and all horses were confirmed to be ok.

You can review the full leaderboard for the CCI5* here.

Kurt Martin and D.A. Lifetime Keep CCI3*L Lead

Kurt Martin and D.A. Lifetime. Photo by Abby Powell.

The USEF National CCI3*-L Championship competitors ran their cross country earlier today, giving the day a brilliant start as Ian Stark’s track here also rode exceptionally well for this division. The 3*L would be a test for horses aiming to move up to the Advanced level in the near future, as third-placed Caroline Martin noted, and this test certainly stood up to that challenge. In the end, Kurt Martin with Debbie Adam’s D.A. Lifetime will retain their lead after a quick clear, remaining on their dressage score of 23.5.

“‘Clarence’ was really excited to be out and she’s a very enthusiastic lady,” Kurt said of D.A. Lifetime, a 9-year-old Holsteiner mare by Lingh who so far has improved upon her two previous CCI3*-L performances. “In the warm-up she was honestly very nervous, so I spent a little bit more time than I had planned up there and she came out of the box well. She just wants to go and go and go and she’s not scared of anything, she’s not backed down by a crowd or by fence or even me and so there was a little bit of wrestling at the beginning but she’s just very genuine lady and she gave me a good ride.”

Daniel Clasing and Olney Uncle Sam. Photo by Abby Powell.

Second in the CCI3*-L overnight will be Daniel Clasing and Jennifer Ward’s Olney Uncle Sam (Sonset Seiger – Aerial, by Starman) — who is a true Maryland horse as he was bred here in the state by the well-known Olney Farm, who made quick work of the track to move up from fourth on a score of 26.0. “We’ve been getting to know each other,” Dan said in the press conference. “We’ve had good events and we’ve had ones that didn’t work out so great, but I think we’re developing a partnership and he’s bwe’ve been getting to know each other, he’s been, you know, we’ve had good events and we’ve had ones that didn’t work out so great but I think we’re developing a partnership and he’s been getting more consistent as the season goes on.”

Caroline Martin and HSH Vamanos. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Caroline Martin, who’s probably the busiest rider here this week in terms of number of horses (and who’s always quick to thank the team behind her for helping make these busy weekends work), and she’ll slot into third place in this division with the 8-year-old HSH Vamanos (Andiamo VH Kapelhof Z – Quasimodelle Kapelhof Z , by Quasimodo Z), who was one of the first to see the track this morning. Caroline and Vamanos will take a score of 27.5 into tomorrow after picking up 2.0 time penalties. This is a special one for Caroline, as Vamonos was actually given to her as an engagement gift.

“Vamanos is quite a cool horse,” Caroline said. “I just got the ride on him in January or February. My business partner Kelly Hutchinson sourced the horse and Emily King produced him up to the two-star level. Kelly found him and gave him to me as my engagement gift so that’s kind of cute. He’s kind of a quirky guy, a little bit of a head case, we jokingly say.”

The 3* did prompt quite a few retirements, with 11 pairs retiring after trouble on course and two picking up eliminations. Elinor O’Neal and Zick Zack had a fall at the angled cabins following the drop, but Zick Zack is reported to be ok.

In total, it was a brilliant day and a brilliant showcase of our sport. The organizers of the Maryland 5 Star hail from other industries outside of the horse world, and the result of this experience led them to reach out into the community to invite more newcomers to take in the event. And what a grand show of sport we gave those newcomers today! We love a challenging cross country that does not trick its participants, and the general consensus in talking to the riders is that Ian Stark did a brilliant job designing his first five-star — though he intimated that he may already be working on some new tricks for next year!

For his part, Ian — who was decidedly nervous to see how this track would ride today — was pleased with how things went, though he admitted he felt nervous after Buck and Carlevo fell. “I’ve always said, my big fear is tricking horses,” Ian said. “And so, what really pleased me today was the horses seem to be reading the questions, even the sort of less experienced horses and riders. Yeah, they had some hiccups but in general, they were getting wrong and they weren’t losing competence and that’s important because a lot of the riders said they had sleepless nights but then so did I, so I don’t really mind!”

Just as the rain began to pour, the final horses were finishing their rounds. Thanks to a move up of start times for both divisions, we were able to see the vast majority of all pairs before high-tailing it back to the press tent (and turning up looking like drowned rats — did you think this job was glamorous? Because it’s decidedly the opposite) as the downpour started.

We will wrap up this epic weekend at Maryland with the final horse inspection tomorrow, beginning at 8 a.m. EST with the 3* horses and 8:30 a.m. EST for the 5* horses. The 3* show jumping begins at 9:30 a.m. EST, followed by the 5* finale at 1 p.m. EST. This schedule is subject to change, so we’ll let you know if any of these times shift.

In the meantime, we’re thankful to have horses and riders back in the barn safe after a fantastic day of cross country. It’s certainly been an incredible experience, and we are grateful to you for following along with us.

Go Eventing!

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Maryland 5 Star Cross Country Schedule Adjusted Due to Weather Forecast + One 5* Contender Withdraws

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…have a great ride! Photo by Sally Spickard.

As a precaution due to Saturday’s weather forecast, the following changes have been made for the Cross Country Driven by Land Rover at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill:

  • The CCI3*-L will start at 9:00 a.m. EDT.
  • The CCI5*-L will start at approximately 12:20 p.m. EDT, not its original time of 1:00 p.m.

Schedule remains subject to change due to weather. For updated scheduling and full event results, visit results.hippodata.de.

The entire CCI5* is available via livestream presented by MARS Equestrian. It can be accessed through USEF Network in North America and through Horse & Country outside North America. USEF Network is also providing exclusive coverage of the CCI3*. A link to the livestream is available on the event’s website via the USEF Network player. Additionally, press conferences are being livestreamed through the event’s Facebook page.

Lynn Symansky also posted on her Instagram page that she has withdrawn RF Cool Play.

“Spent a good part of yesterday a bit ill, and with Coolio new to the 5* level and already on the lighter side of fitness and runs, I’ve made the decision to withdraw before cross-country,” Lynn said. “It’s not a decision I take lightly, as he’s a great XC horse sitting in 4th position at his first 5*. While we often thrive in less than ideal circumstances, I feel it’s in the best interest of the horse to reroute to Tryon.”

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Friday Video from SmartPak: What’s the Buzz About the Maryland 5 Star Cross Country?

Ian Stark’s first CCI5* design has everyone buzzing here at the Maryland 5 Star — and for good reason. We’ve talked a lot about the course — you can take a closer look here — and we’re looking forward to following along tomorrow as the riders tackle it for the very first time. We caught up with Oliver Townend, Tim Price, Will Coleman, Buck Davidson, Fylicia Barr, Jessica Phoenix, Meghan O’Donoghue, Clayton Fredericks and Lynn Symansky to ask their thoughts on what they were expecting:

We also had the pleasure of getting to know course builder Eric Bull today, and you can watch his interview below. Spoiler alert: he’s been involved with this event nearly since day one, and says his favorite part of building is seeing all of the moving parts come together in the end.

Many, many people are involved in creating a cross country course. Eric Bull of ETB Equine Construction, LLC has been involved with the Maryland 5 Star since the beginning, helping bring Ian Stark’s vision into reality. He’s thrilled to be here for his first 5* build.

Edit: Apologies for the video cutting off near the end! Technical difficulties.

Posted by Eventing Nation on Friday, October 15, 2021

Five Newcomers to the Top 10 to Wrap Up Dressage at Maryland 5 Star

EN’s coverage of the Maryland 5 Star is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. KPP is our go-to for all things nutritional when it comes to supporting our horses and their healthier selves. Managing horses is a challenge, but KPP makes it simple — and they treat you like a horse owner, not just a customer. You can learn more about KPP by clicking here.

Tim Price and Xavier Faer. Photo by Abby Powell.

We knew we’d see some heavy hitters coming in to take their swing at the CCI5* dressage on day two at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. No one would quite make it to challenge the top of the board, which will still be occupied by Great Britain’s Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class on a score of 21.1, but New Zealand’s Tim Price was good for second place with Trisha Rickards’ Xavier Faer (Catherston Liberator – Faerie Dazzler, by Catherston Dazzler). Tim and “Hugo” collected one of a handful of 5* personal bests given out this afternoon, earning a 24.3 from the judging panel of Angela Tucker, Mark Weissbecker and Martin Plewa to tick a few marks off his previous best score of 28.2.

Despite one bobble in the flying change work, Tim says he was very pleased with the 15-year-old British Sport Horse gelding’s work in the ring today.

“He struggles with this dressage job where he’s got to put his body together the whole time repackage step under,” Tim said. “And if I don’t quite get that mastered in time for something quite difficult like a change he just gets a bit discombobulated and that’s what happened. That’s improved when he started at this level. I think I was lucky to get one of the four changes and now we’re getting three of the four and the rest of the quality is up, so I’ve got to be pleased. Every horse has strengths and weaknesses and you sit them on.”

 

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Both Tim and Jonelle Price’s horses this week are owned by Trisha Rickards, and it was thanks to her unwavering support that they opted to hop on a plane to the U.S. rather than the much logistically simpler trip to Pau, happening later this month. The big and open nature of this track, they said, is something they felt suited their horses better than the twists and turns of Pau, not to mention the fact that this was a supreme opportunity to experience and test out a brand-new five-star. Jonelle and Classic Moet also did their dressage today, and though “Molly’s” preference wouldn’t exactly be the first phase, but they earned a respectable 30.6 to sit 16th.

Boyd Martin and On Cue. Photo by Abby Powell.

Boyd Martin has had Christine Turner’s On Cue fit and raring to go all summer, as she was designated as his alternate ride for the Tokyo Olympics. The 15-year-old Anglo European mare (Cabri d’Elle – On High, by Primitive Rising) traveled to the training came held at Aachen with the team, but ultimately was not called up. So after a couple of weeks of downtime upon return to the States, Boyd began legging her back up for this weekend. On Cue beat her 4* and 5* personal bests with her score, earning a 25.0 to slot into third place overnight.

“A lot of preparation and practice and hard work goes into performing this dressage test,” Boyd commented. “Even though it’s only seven minutes long, there’s hundreds and thousands of hours of practice to get to that point. I was obviously thrilled with On Cue, she’s just a fantastic horse I love her. She’s flamboyant, she’s a mover, she’s really smart and tries hard. You stay up late at night worrying that little things are going to go wrong and I was just really, really pleased with the way she performed.”

Lauren Nicholson and Landmark’s Monte Carlo. Photo by Abby Powell.

Lauren Nicholson is here this weekend with Ms. Jacqueline Mars’ Landmark’s Monte Carlo (Formula One – Glamour), who also earned a personal best with a 28.5 as one of the final pairs to see in the ring today. It’s always a special weekend for Lauren, but with Hannah Sue Burnett’s Harbour Pilot also competing, we have two among the original homebreds produced out of Ms. Mars’ breeding program.

“He’s not the most flashy mover, but if you have him where he’s relaxed and quiet he’ll go in there and just knock off the movements,” Lauren said. “Especially in an atmosphere like this being accurate and just going through the movements without having any tension will get you up the leaderboard.”

Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Singapore. Photo by Abby Powell.

Phillip Dutton was also among the last to go today to wrap up the dressage with Ann Jones, Tom Tierney and David Vos’ Fernhill Singapore (Singapore – Riedellia, by Animo), who improved on his debut 5* score of 35.0, earned at Kentucky, with a 29.0 to end the first phase in ninth place. Phillip is here with two younger horses this weekend; the Sea of Clouds Partnership’s Sea of Clouds did his test yesterday in his 5* debut and earned a 31.5 for 20th place overnight.

Harry Meade and Superstition. Photo by Abby Powell.

Another visitor from Great Britain, Harry Meade, was tickled with his ride about Superstition, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Satisfaction FRH. This pair earned a 29.1 to complete the top 10. “Slinky” (who got his nickname because he originally came in with the barn name “Stinky”, but he didn’t want to call him that so they took the cross of the t and went with “Slinky” instead) is one who Harry says get a bit of “stage fright”, and so he’s tried to come up with empathetic ways to encourage him to breathe and engage his diaphragm. Listen to him explain it:

 

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“In some ways he exceeded my expectations,” Harry continued. “The trot work like he was on air. He’s a horse that you can’t practice the test too much on. He hasn’t been in a dressage saddle in a week. I’ve galloped him every day. I did some pole work before my test and then ran through a three-star test. Got off him for 5 minutes, got back on him two minutes before, and went in. I had to run through the test a million times in my head because I couldn’t work him through it. He executed everything I wanted and actually to a higher level than I’d hoped for. It was just the changes, he got a little bit tight.”

As we look ahead to tomorrow’s challenge, 40 out of the 45 starters are separated by just 20 penalties. We know with certainty that the dressage scores won’t quite matter so much come tomorrow evening, but we have a unique circumstance in that there is no precedent at this event. We don’t know how the track will end up in terms of average completion rate or average number to make the time. Speaking with the riders throughout the week, the general sentiment is that the track is to be respected and the terrain will be influential. You can check out our preview of the 5* track here.

We will kick things off in the morning with the CCI3*-L cross country at 9:15 a.m., followed by the CCI5*-L at 1 p.m.. You can find 5* start times here and CCI3* times here. The weather forecast is calling for rain, with scattered storms forecasted to begin around 2 p.m. and lasting through the afternoon, so that adds another layer of challenge to the track. We can’t wait to get out there — and thank you to everyone who joined Ema Klugman and Kate Samuels for our course walk this afternoon in partnership with RideiQ!

Until tomorrow — Go Eventing!

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A Familiar British Face in the 3*-L at Maryland: Oliver Reunites with Juli Sebring’s Ulises for a Catch-Ride

Oliver Townend and Ulises after their Maryland test. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Scanning the CCI3*-L entry list at the Maryland 5 Star, a familiar British face appears, entered on an American (and a local one, at that) horse. That’s right: Oliver Townend is catch-riding Juli Sebring’s Ulises, who is a former ride of his that he competed up through the CCI4* level in England.

Juli purchased Ulises earlier this year and set about forming a partnership with him. She worked hard to get her qualifications in order for the 3*L, but “there just came a point in time where I knew we weren’t going to make it,” she explained. “I was having to run him so much, and I didn’t want to break him in the process.”

Oliver Townend and Ulises. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

So, on a whim, she sent an email across the pond.

Ulises got his competitive start with Andrew Nicholson back in 2012, eventually moving up through the Advanced and former 3* level before the ride went to Oliver in 2016. He would continue gaining Advanced mileage with Oliver, picking up a fourth place finish in the CCI4*-L at Ballendenisk in 2019, qualifying for the CCI5* level as well.

Juli Sebring and Ulises. Photo by Amy Dragoo.

But Oliver hadn’t seen Ulises for two years, and Juli had purchased Ulises through Andrew Williams after he’d been back with his former owner, Corrina Bithell, since 2020. “I wasn’t sure what he’d say, seeing how I’d never talked to him before,” Juli laughed.

Oliver was quick to respond though, saying he’d love to take a spin around on his former pal and even agreeing to teach a couple of lessons while he was at Juli Sebring’s Appleton Equestrian, which essentially backs right up to the Fair Hill property. Below are some tidbits and tips from Oliver’s lessons, as told by Juli:

  • Riders began on the flat. Oliver said it’s good to leave the horse alone for the first five minutes then begin encouraging them to move forward. He had them build into the trot, telling them that it doesn’t matter if they canter, the horse just has to respond positively by going forward. The reason? More power will help the horses carry themselves, so that the rider can then be quieter.
  • “Try to be quicker in your mind, gentler with your reaction” was a good quote from the jumping phase. Oliver wanted horses forward to the fences with balancing before the fence. He encouraged riders to plan ahead, turn their heads and always be thinking what’s next.
  • He was very encouraging, and very communicative with the audience of about 30 people.

You can catch Juli and her team cheering on their hometown hero all weekend long in these adorable matching shirts:

This morning, Oliver and Ulises scored a 29.4 in their dressage test, putting them into 10th place provisionally with the last third or so of the CCI3*-L yet to see.

Oliver Townend and Ulises. Photo by Sally Spickard.

We’ll be cheering on, too! Go Eventing.

The Bold and the Beautiful: Preview Ian Stark’s CCI5* Track at the Maryland 5 Star

EN’s coverage of the Maryland 5 Star is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. KPP is our go-to for all things nutritional when it comes to supporting our horses and their healthier selves. Managing horses is a challenge, but KPP makes it simple — and they treat you like a horse owner, not just a customer. You can learn more about KPP by clicking here.

The imposing MD Crab Water at MARS Sustainability Bay, fence 15 on course. Photo by Abby Powell.

Well the moment we’ve all been waiting for is here, and it’s time to look ahead to the very first CCI5* track that British Olympic medalist and five-star winner Ian Stark has meticulously crafted for the inaugural Maryland 5 Star. The general consensus is, as expected of course, that there’s a lot to do here — and as EN’s Kate Samuels put it in our Slack chat this morning, ‘Ian must walk around thinking, ‘yeah that’s pretty scary, but wouldn’t it be better with a ditch??'”

Indeed, the track has the big, bold feel we were all expecting — with quite a few ditches in quite a few places — but one factor that will play almost the largest role here will be the terrain. We’re used to the mostly gentle rolls of the Kentucky Horse Park (albeit with a few strong uphill tugs), but this feels like an entirely different animal, even compared to the former Fair Hill International track designed by Derek di Grazia. Talking with the riders, the general feel is that this is a Burghley or Badminton type of vibe — and the dressage scores certainly won’t matter as much come Saturday evening.

Take a look at a visual breakdown of the terrain comparisons being drawn this week, thanks to CrossCountryApp:

It helps to remember that Ian Stark draws a lot of inspiration from longtime Badminton designer Frank Weldon — after whom many riders’ least favorite type of fence, the Weldon’s Wall, is named — as well as his days fox hunting. Generally speaking, the approach to one of Ian’s tracks is “when in doubt, kick harder”. However, despite his penchant for inciting sleepless nights on the part of the riders, he’s adamant that the last thing he wants to do is frighten the horses or present a question that they can’t easily understand.

Blue Clover Eventing’s new album cover. Fence 18B Fair Hill International Drop. Photo by Abby Powell.

“The biggest thing here is the terrain,” Ian told Nicole Brown on the USEA podcast. “It’s incredibly hilly…It’s really just for me to get a feel for the terrain and how it’s going to affect the horses. What I didn’t want to do is put out the longest, toughest track and find that 7/8 of the horses couldn’t complete it because they were exhausted. I’ve given them quite a lot of combinations, some proper five-star combinations and the odd let-up fence to sort of keep the confidence and keep them moving. And then because of the hills at the end, I’ve backed off of the intensity of the height and spreads just so that they can get home. I think the riders will probably learn a lot about me and a lot about the venue by Saturday night.” Be sure to tune in here for more commentary from Ian on the questions.

Walking the course this morning, it seems that this rings true. Despite some very big, imposing questions — and a lot of terrain to consider — nothing jumped out (at least to my eye which, you know, take with a grain of salt as I walked past the Young Event Horse jumping and wistfully thought, “well, I could jump that, at least”) as “hm, I’m not sure the horses will read this”. In that sense, the onus — as always — is on the riders to understand what the designer is asking and what type of horse they’re likely to have at a given point on the course.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…have a great ride! Photo by Sally Spickard.

The start box is quite close to the main hub of action, taking riders away from the grandstand area and winding through to the Sawmill Field and then back to the same area near the turf track for the finish. While in Kentucky, riders often have three or four fences to get them in a galloping rhythm, Ian gives riders just two single fences to establish their rhythm. Also key here will be the fact that the first few questions are all on a slight uphill, putting the horses right onto the terrain from the get-go and forcing the riders to mind their fitness and ensure there’s still some gas in the tank at the end. The first combination comes as two solid tables on a related distance at fence 3AB. This wouldn’t be one you’d anticipate to be influential in any way, and will be treated as a warm-up fence despite the fact that it’s a combination.

Riders will be tested on brakes and steering quite early as they approach fence 4AB, the first really technical ask on the course. At 4AB, the Viaduct to Ditch Brush comes on a steep approach to a steep downhill turn, bending right to a skinny wedge that reminded us of the very skinny Bicton 5* wedges. A horse that’s more on the muscle early on might slip and slide down the hill if the rider has to take a strong half-halt. Adding to that, there’s also the option, built into the rolltop fence, to slice the first fence at a more severe angle that will put them on a more direct line to the brush — but down a much steeper, sharper incline.

A look at fence 4AB. Photo by Sally Spickard.

I tried to properly convey what Ian said about this fence in his preview, but to be honest you’ll just want to watch it yourself as it includes a very entertaining demonstration of how a horse might go down this incline. I’ll save you the clicking and link it here.

Another combination follows at fence 5AB, the first of three water questions at Cecil County Tourism C&D Canal Water. These are two offset tables built off of inspiration from shipping containers that come off a tight approach. Riders will want to boldly attack the line here to give their horses a boost of confidence (and a reminder of straightness) early on.

The 5* riders will encounter the coffin combination (the Fair Hill Foundation Rail and Ditch + Wedge) relatively early, and it’s a big one with a sizable open oxer set about nine strides up the hill from the coffin approach. The open oxer could set a strong horse up to try to bowl down the hill, which will put them at risk to make a clean “up and over” shape at the rails into the coffin and thus avoid breaking the MIM clip. From there, there’s a steep approach up to the C element of the coffin.

The Ascending Oxer at 8, preceding the coffin complex. Photo by Sally Spickard.

The Fair Hill Foundation Rail and Ditch. Photo by Sally Spickard

Riders will then find mostly combination questions until they clear fence 13AB, which is a pair of upright, MIM-clipped Timber Rails that will also require a bold but careful ride as they’re set on an uphill. After that, we’ll find one of the better open galloping spots, though the caveat is that it’s almost entirely uphill so riders will have to be mindful of how much time they try to make up here as we’ve not even reached the midway point of the course at this point. And the question that comes up next will require a quick-thinking horse.

The uphill Timber Rails. Photo by Sally Spickard.

After the big pull, riders will find themselves at what will probably be the most popular fence for spectators and stands to be an influential question, and the farthest point in the course: the MD Crab Water presented by MARS Sustainability Bay.

The MD Crab Water at MARS Sustainability Bay. Photo by Sally Spickard.

This is a bit of an alphabet soup question, as here we see Ian make use of double-lettered fences to make riders think on their feet if they do run into trouble. The crab drop in — which will be interesting to see how it rides, as there’s a sizable spread and a good drop on the other side — is numbered as 15AB, followed by an up bank to a log at 15CD, followed by a brush arrowhead at 15E. Riders who have trouble here will need to quickly remember the alphabet (honestly, probably a large challenge when you’re in the thick of an adrenaline-fueled cross country run) to find their way to the option without getting themselves into a silly elimination.

You can watch Ian explain this question here.

A look at the alternate paths presented at this fence:

After the MD Crab Water, the riders will have a brief respite with some downhill terrain as they make the turn to find their way back home. But the questions that come will still entail much concentration and rideability, as you’ll see a big open oxer to a very big, airy corner on a yellow clip at 16 and 17, followed by the massive Fair Hill International Drop that is quite reminiscent of the Mount Fuji drop in Tokyo. After the drop, there’s an interesting line to two Camden Yards houses set at a very acute angle. Listen to Ian’s commentary on this question here.

Once riders are through this point, they’ll quickly find themselves back on an uphill pull for essentially the rest of the way home. The terrain on these tracks is always difficult to convey on a screen, but here’s a look at some of the hills we traversed on our walk this morning:

Another very interesting question comes at the penultimate combination, the Owl Corners at 25AB. Check it out — bet you’ve never seen a keyhole corner before!

This question comes after one of the last climbs and an upright gate at 24. “It’s quite technical and quite demanding after that climbing,” Ian described of the 65 degree corners. “And if there is a problem there’s an alternative for the B element, but it is going to sap even more energy.”

Peekaboo! Photo by Sally Spickard.

After this, you’re very nearly home, if you can just make it for one more last uphill gallop. The final fence comes after a stretch of plushy new turf, and riders will no doubt be punching the air with glee after finishing the very bold and very beautiful new 5* track. The optimum time of 11 minutes will certainly be difficult to obtain, what with the terrain changes and the potential for rain on Saturday that might make things a bit greasier on top.

I thought it was interesting to note a comment Sharon White made today, saying that for every uphill pull there’s a bit of a downhill breather, which will give the horses a chance to catch their breath. But, as Lynn Symansky commented in the press conference, every possible inch of uphill Ian could use, he did. Suffice it to say: it’s going to be a big day and you won’t want to miss a single moment of action! The course itself is gorgeous, beautifully constructed and decorated thanks to the hard work of builder Eric Bull of ETB Construction and the crew of volunteer decorators.

You made it! Last fence. Photo by Sally Spickard.

If you want much more intelligent commentary than what I can provide, be sure to check out Ian’s guide course preview (with fence-by-fence photos) on CrossCountryApp here — or, if you’re here in person, attend our course walk with RideIQ and Ema Klugman tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. We’ll meet at the start box and head out. Be sure to wear your walking shoes!

Go Eventing.

A few other shots from our walk:

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Oliver Townend in a Familiar Place After Day One at Maryland 5 Star

EN’s coverage of the Maryland 5 Star is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. KPP is our go-to for all things nutritional when it comes to supporting our horses and their healthier selves. Managing horses is a challenge, but KPP makes it simple — and they treat you like a horse owner, not just a customer. You can learn more about KPP by clicking here.

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class. Photo by Abby Powell.

If you put Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class down as your pick to win this weekend, you’d be on the right track out of the gate after the British Olympian waltzed in to earn a 21.1 — a personal FEI best by a decent margin for the 16-year-old Irish Sport Gelding owned by Angela Hislop — and easily slot into the day one lead here at the Inaugural Maryland 5 Star.

“It would’ve been much easier to nip across to France,” Oliver joked after his ride when asked why he’d chosen to come here to Maryland for the first time. “We’re just hugely grateful to Maryland, Fair Hill and the organizing committee. It’s a very brave move to put a five-star on in these times that we’re in and I just wanted to show my huge support for them. To put a five-star on, you need the good competitors to come and support you and that’s why we’re here. We want to support Maryland and we want to make it a great event.”

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class. Photo by Abby Powell.

“He’s 16 years old now, and it’s very rare that a 16 year old gets better but he’s definitely improving as the years go on,” he continued about Cooley Master Class (Ramiro B – The Swallow, by Master Imp). “He’s obviously had a quiet couple of seasons with (coronavirus) and what not, but I couldn’t be happier with him.”

Cooley Master Class seems to relish these long trips away from home, Oliver says, and through their decade-long partnership “Coolio” has become a close friend of his. “He’s a real character,” he said. “I know that everybody says that about their horse, but he’s a real character in the nicest sense, really. He’s very, very special and he’s very, very cheeky but he’s a professional as well. He’s a very good friend. I think he’s got some similar characteristics to me — not that you’ll see them in front of these cameras! — but at the end of the day he’s a high-class athlete and a very good friend.”

Second with the very experienced Harbour Pilot (Cruising – Shannon), owned by Ms. Jacqueline Mars, is Hannah Sue Burnett, who tied with Lynn Symansky and debutante horse, the Donner Syndicate’s RF Cool Play (Condors Champion – Roxana, by Radscha), on a score of 28.0.

Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot. Photo by Abby Powell.

Hannah Sue said sometimes knowing a horse so well and having the prep go well can almost lead to more pressure when it comes time to actually go and compete. “Today he was so quiet and reliable, so I was like ‘alright I better not screw this up — it’s all here for me to lose!’ But I felt pretty good about it. There’s always improvements that could be made but he was perfect.”

The newly-constructed grandstands here, despite the fact they weren’t overflowing with spectators today, created quite a fishbowl type of atmosphere, leading many riders to compare it to a Badminton or Burghley (and yes, they’re drawing the same comparisons about the cross country!). Generally speaking, though, most horses kept a lid on — as Hannah Sue put it, “he was like, ‘Oh, you brought me somewhere worthy of me!'”, some even using any reaction to the atmosphere to their advantage to coax bigger movement from horses who were feeding off the energy in a positive way. “(Harbour Pilot) felt relaxed but also impressed and excited, so it was good,” Hannah Sue said.

Lynn Symansky echoed the sentiments about the atmosphere but admitted RF Cool Play was a bit more nervous in there. “We both left some marks on the table but he was pretty nervous here — it’s a lot of atmosphere for them,” Lynn said. “It’s not maybe the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen, but it has that feel almost like Burghley where the crowds are very close. You get more people at Kentucky, but this actually feels a lot more electric for a lot of the horses. So all things considered, in his first five-star test he’s done, I was pretty proud of him.”

Lynn Symansky and RF Cool Play. Photo by Abby Powell.

One interesting element to contend with today has been the incessant nature of the lantern flies that love to land on you at inopportune times — such as your dressage test. Fourth-placed Jennie Brannigan, fresh off a successful trip to Boekelo with FE Lifestyle, earned a 28.5 with the 13-year-old Stella Artois, owned by the Stella Artois Syndicate — but not without a battle with the lantern flies in the ring after one landed on Stella’s ear during her walk work. “I was like, ‘I don’t know whether to get this giant bug or let it be’,” she laughed. “But she was a good girl. Overall, the quality of the work is just so much better and to be up with RF Cool Play and Carlevo is definitely a step in the right direction.”

Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois. Photo by Abby Powell.

Jennie says her trip to Boekelo, where she finished 15th with FE Lifestyle, gave her a fresh boost of confidence. “I know this isn’t going to be a dressage show, from what it looks like, but I’m really pleased.” Jennie also has a strong personal connection to Fair Hill, having galloped racehorses for Michael Matz through the years at the Fair Hill Training Center. “I’ve galloped here for years, I’ve ridden a flat race on this track, I’ve ridden a timber race on this track, I’ve breezed horses on this track,” she reminisced. “Fair Hill is really close to my heart, and (longtime owners Tim and Nina Gardner) are on the board here and I really think it’s awesome what they’re doing here to bring everything together.”

The first to go in front of the dressage judges is never an easy time, and while Buck Davidson felt a couple of marks were left on the table with Katherine O’Brien’s Carlevo (Eurocommerce Caresino – Ramatuelle, by Levernois), they still find themselves in the top five after the first day with a score of 28.7. “He was good,” Buck said. “There’s a little bit more atmosphere in there than you would think, and I’m glad he was first because (announcer Brian O’Connor) got everyone revved up, which is cool and that probably helps Carlevo. I’m very proud of my horse. There are always little things you could do better, but at the end of the day he was a good boy.”

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Abby Powell.

Buck is another with a longtime connection to Fair Hill, having competed in timber races here when he was younger, and he’s looking forward to having a crack at it come Saturday with his three rides. “It’s probably not an advantage to go first when nobody’s ever been out there,” Buck said of being the trailblazer with Carlevo. “He’s not the fastest horse in the world, but he’s a good cross country course and he’s honest. I had to do the same thing at Morven Park last weekend, I was the first one there so I’m going to do a bit like I did at that way, just sort of pick my way along. You don’t know how fast to start out because first and foremost you have to get home, so that’s going to be my first goal, and then do it as quickly as I can after that.”

Looking to the judging, I tapped our resident analyst Maggie Deatrick for her notes, which reveal some friendlier-than-expected trends: “Overall, the scoring was about 2.03 penalty points below expected for the day,” she writes. “Martin Plewa is using his scoring range the most and Angela Tucker being a bit more conservative with both her high and low scores. Average variance between judges is at 3.04, with the largest disagreements thus far being for Master Frisky with a 5.18% variance.”

We also had two rider debuts this afternoon, with both Emma Lomangino (Master Frisky) and Ashlynn Meuchel (Emporium) cantering down centerline for their very first CCI5* tests. Emma earned a 35.1 with Master Frisky to sit 19th after dressage, and Ashlynn scored a 32.8 to sit 14th overnight.

Emma Lomangino and Master Frisky. Photo by Abby Powell.

“I am so excited!” Emma said after her test. “It’s such an honor to actually be here, let alone go in and feel like we put a good test together. I’m really excited for this whole week and really proud of my horse — he went out there and gave me everything.” She’s partnered up with the very experienced 17-year-old Master Frisky (Master Imp – Frisky Legs, by Coopers Hill), who she’s painstakingly helped rehab from a soft tissue injury sustained in 2015. This will be Master Frisky’s return to the CCI5* level — his last start was a seventh place finish at Kentucky with Boyd Martin in 2015.

Ashlynn was another who was very proud of her debut effort with the quirky Emporium, with whom she’s been partnered with since his lower level days. “It’s very exciting, and I was super happy with the horse. He was fantastic in here,” Ashlynn commented. “A lot of his big competitions were run without spectators, so I wasn’t sure how he would react to a little bit of atmosphere, but he was absolutely great.” Getting some pointers from Clayton Fredericks in the warm-up, Ashlynn explained how she works a lot on suppleness and just moving around in the time before a test, keeping the 12-year-old Dutch gelding from getting too “bracey” and tense. A 32.8 trends toward the lower end of their average international range, so Ashlynn has much to be proud of herself as she puts the first phase behind her. “The last he’s just kind of really come into his own,” she continued. “He was kind of a late bloomer and took awhile to believe in himself, too and so the last year he’s just blossomed.”

The CCI3*-L and CCI5* conclude dressage tomorrow with roughly half of each division yet to see. We’ll have a full rider reaction summary about Ian Stark’s track — which has every buzzing — coming tomorrow, but suffice it to say the general consensus, especially with rain forecasted for Saturday, is: it won’t be a dressage show.

The riders have also all been highly complimentary of the venue, and both Abby and I echo those sentiments. This is a true five-star feeling five-star (yes, I just wrote that horrible sentence and no, I’m not deleting it) in every sense of the word, and while maybe there isn’t quite as much five-star history here it’s nonetheless an area rich with eventing history. For reference, I’ll drop in the history page from the program for you to take a deep dive:

Jennie Brannigan put it best as she looked around her at the beautifully manicured turf track and, beyond it, the cross country course. “Look at this!” she said. “How could you not be impressed with this? It’s absolutely amazing, and so I think if this is the beginning, who knows what the end can be.”

We will be back with much more tomorrow — we’re so grateful to be here, and to you for following along with us. I hope you’ll join us on our course walk tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. with Ema Klugman, put on in partnership with RideIQ and FLAIR Equine Nasal Strips. We’ll see you there! In the meantime, enjoy a full gallery of Abby Powell’s photos of today’s five-star pairs:

Go Eventing.

Wednesday Video from Kentucky Performance Products: Rewatch the Maryland 5 Star First Horse Inspection

EN’s coverage of the Maryland 5 Star is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. KPP is our go-to for all things nutritional when it comes to supporting our horses and their healthier selves. Managing horses is a challenge, but KPP makes it simple — and they treat you like a horse owner, not just a customer. You can learn more about KPP by clicking here.

Maryland 5 Star Horse Inspection

Watch the Maryland 5 Star and USEF CCI3* Eventing National Championship LIVE on USEF Network all weekend with promo code Maryland21

Posted by USEF Network on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

We saw the horses competing in the CCI3*-L and the CCI5* this week at the Maryland 5 Star trot up for the ground jury this afternoon and thanks to the USEF Network (and, throughout the rest of the weekend, Horse & Country for international viewers) you can catch up on the jogs if you weren’t able to watch live.
You can also click here to read Abby’s report and flip through her photo gallery here. The rest of the action will also be live streamed on USEF Network, and if you aren’t an existing USEF member you can receive a free fan membership to follow along using promo code “Maryland21”.

CCI3*-L jog:

Maryland 5 Star Horse Inspection

Watch the Horse Inspection for the inaugural Maryland 5 Star Three-Day Event LIVE on USEF Network.

Posted by USEF Network on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill: Website, Tickets, Schedule, Entries, Volunteer, EN’s Coverage, Daily Digest Email Sign-up, Official Digital Program, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

A Warm Welcome and Pony Pats for All at the Maryland 5 Star

EN’s coverage of the Maryland 5 Star is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. KPP is our go-to for all things nutritional when it comes to supporting our horses and their healthier selves. Managing horses is a challenge, but KPP makes it simple — and they treat you like a horse owner, not just a customer. You can learn more about KPP by clicking here.

Zoe Crawford and K.E.C. Zara. Photo by Sally Spickard.

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).

Arena familiarization underway in the main ring. Photo by Sally Spickard.

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!

A cooler full of apples sits next to the warm-up arena – such a cute touch! Photo by Sally Spickard.

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!

Zoe Crawford and K.E.C. Zara. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill: Website, Tickets, Schedule, Entries, Volunteer, EN’s Coverage, Daily Digest Email Sign-up, Official Digital Program, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

The Form Guide Has Landed: View the Official Maryland 5 Star Digital Program + Form Guide Here

Maryland 5 Star Digital Program

It’s been a huge honor to work in close collaboration with the Maryland 5 Star over the last few months to create the official digital program for the weekend. Combining the traditional elements of the program with Eventing Nation’s unique flavor of form guide analysis and data, we’ve created a guide that will be useful for everyone from the eventing super nerd (don’t worry, you’re among friends here) to the newly indoctrinated “what is DRESS-age?” fan.

Can’t see the embed above? Click the image below to view the Digital Program!

A labor of love (and maybe a little bit of hate, on the very late nights) has brought this finished product before you now, and I’d be remiss not to give full credit to Tilly Berendt, who originated our Form Guide idea here on EN and created/designed this form guide during her European coverage tour and will probably sleep for a week now, Maggie Deatrick, Abby Powell, Shelby Allen, Kate Samuels, Taleen Hanna and Leslie Wylie for their collaboration on this project.

We hope you enjoy this deep-dive into each CCI5* pair competing this weekend. You can tap each pair’s name on the main entry list to go directly to that horse’s Form Guide page.

Now, let’s get this party started! Go Eventing!

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill: Website, Tickets, Schedule, Entries, Volunteer, EN’s Coverage, Digital ProgramDaily Digest Email Sign-up, EN’s Twitter, EN’s Instagram

What’s On Tap on EN During the Maryland 5 Star

Stephanie Cauffman and Chatsworth Third Revolution. Photo by Abby Powell.

We couldn’t be more excited to be heading to the Maryland 5 Star this week! Not only is it the first running of the second North American five-star, it’s also the first five-star to welcome back spectators here in the U.S. this year. Both Abby Powell and I will be on the ground beginning tomorrow, and we’ll be joined later in the week by Kate Samuels and Maggie Deatrick, with Tilly Berendt, Leslie Wylie and Shelby Allen supporting from afar.

While we gear up to bring you our special brand of wall-to-wall coverage, we also have a few exciting things for you to participate in this week! Coming up…

Vote for the Eventing Nation Unofficial Jog Award winner. Tilly Berendt will bring back her cheeky commentary on the first jog at Maryland, and we’ll be putting the power in your hands to vote for the winner. Thanks to support from our friends at Fairfax & Favor, we’ll give away a pair of the famous knee-high Regina boots to the reader-voted winner.

And you can win a pair of Fairfax & Favor boots, too! Go and watch the F&F Jog Contest story highlight on our Instagram page to learn more about how to win your own pair!

Preview Ian Stark’s CCI5* cross country track with RideIQ and Ema Klugman. We’re teaming up with the brains behind the buzzy new app, RideIQ, and Nation Media’s own/RideIQ coach Ema Klugman for a course walk on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Be sure to meet us at the start box to come along — it doesn’t cost anything, and we’ll have goodies to hand out!

Tell us who you’re cheering on this week and win a bundle from Athletux Equine, Frilly Fillies, and Fleeceworks! We’ve also teamed up with Athletux to give away an Athletux Frilly Fillies ear bonnet as well as a Fleeceworks jump pad with an American flag patch. To enter, you’ll just need to comment on this Instagram post with who you’re cheering on this weekend at the Maryland 5 Star, and we’ll draw from the comments at random for a winner on Monday following the event!

We can’t wait to see you in Maryland! To follow along with more of EN’s wall-to-wall Maryland coverage, click here and sign up for our Daily Digest email here.

EN’s coverage of the Maryland 5 Star is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. KPP is our go-to for all things nutritional when it comes to supporting our horses and their healthier selves. Managing horses is a challenge, but KPP makes it simple — and they treat you like a horse owner, not just a customer. You can learn more about KPP by clicking here.

Wednesday News & Notes from Haygain

At SmartPak we know riding is for everybody, and that means every body! That's why we brought REAL riders into our…

Posted by SmartPak on Tuesday, October 12, 2021

I was really happy to see the unveiling of SmartPak’s latest campaign aimed at inclusion, diversity and body positivity. After all, riding is for everybody — and every body, too. Some may not realize how dejecting it can be to struggle to find properly fitting equipment. Luckily, the industry has begun to shift, including more body types in their offerings and more empathy in their marketing. It’s important to see action behind words and we are so thrilled to see SmartPak doing their part to walking the walk.

Read more about the Riding is for Everybody and Every Body initiative here.

U.S. Weekend Preview:

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill: [Website] [Tickets] [Schedule] [Entries] [Volunteer] [EN’s Coverage] [Daily Digest Email Sign-up] [EN’s Twitter] [EN’s Instagram]

Ocala Fall H.T. (Ocala, Fl.): [Website] [Entry Status]

Pine Hill Fall H.T. (Bellville, Tx.): [Website] [Entry Status/Ride Times]

Wednesday Reading List:

It’s trot-up day at Maryland and by the time you’re reading this, I’ll be in the air trying (most likely unsuccessfully) to catch some sleep on my red-eye to Philadelphia. There, I’ll meet Abby Powell who is gracious enough to come swipe me from the airport, and we’re heading straight to the party for the First Horse Inspection this afternoon.

And before things kick off in earnest, I just want to give a shout to the team behind the scenes at this and every other event. We’ve had a very small role in creating the Digital Program for the Maryland 5 Star, but in the process we’ve gotten to know the organizing team quite well. Putting on an event of any size is a monumental task — truthfully, I don’t think anyone who has not organized an event from the ground up can truly grasp the work that’s involved. It’s been a collaborative efforts on the parts of the organizers, the volunteers, the officials, the builders and decorators, and every other person who’s played a role in getting this behemoth of an event off the ground. So hats off to you, and let’s all show our gratitude for their efforts this week!

Badminton Horse Trials has announced that points achieved in 2019 toward qualification will be accepted for the 2022 event. Click here to learn more about the qualification period and process.

If your horse isn’t the biggest fan of dressing up (and if you’re looking for a costume idea that doesn’t involve cultural appropriation), the Plaid Horse has some great ideas for Halloween this year!

Registration is now open for the USEA Annual Meeting and Convention, happening in New Mexico December 9-12. You can now make your reservations and get your travel sorted for a weekend of education and community. Click here to learn more.

This just in: Liz Halliday-Sharp’s program runs on steam power!

Wednesday Video Break:

Just a little inspiration from Ingrid Klimke and EQUITANA`S Firlefanz:

5 Star First-Timers: Montana Native Ashlynn Meuchel and Emporium Ready to Step Up

Ashlynn Meuchel and Emporium. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Ashlynn Meuchel has vivid memories of her first year partnering with the gray Dutch Warmblood gelding, Emporium. Many of them involve her trying to stay on.

Emporium, or “Theo” as he’s known at home, has been a quirky, challenging partner for Ashlynn, but patience and diligence now have them on the cusp of making their CCI5* debut at Maryland this week.

Ashlynn grew up in Kalispell, Montana, best known in the eventing community as the home of The Event at Rebecca Farm. The eventing community in the area is small and close-knit, and it’s one of those areas where you don’t bat an eye at the prospect of a 10 hour drive just to compete for a weekend. It was through this close community that Ashlynn would meet Sarah Broussard, a longtime and incredibly generous supporter of the sport as well as her local community.

“I started eventing when I was about 12, and eventually had an older Thoroughbred that I did a Prelim on, but who didn’t really want to keep going,” Ashlynn said. “Sarah was the one who first mentioned Young Riders as a goal.”

Sarah, who is an eventer herself and has been the manager of Rebecca Farm in honor of her mother, Becky Broussard, for two decades, is a thoughtful contributor to the sport in a variety of ways. From ensuring the annual Rebecca Farm event is a true destination for all riders, to contributing the Rebecca Broussard Developing Rider Grants, to encouraging local young riders to pursue their talents, Sarah and her family’s impact on the sport can be found nearly everywhere you look. This includes Ashlynn, who eventually did qualify for and compete at Young Riders (finishing in the top 10 in 2013) on a horse that Sarah partnered with Ashlynn’s mother, Kelli, to purchase.

After graduating from high school early, Ashlynn went to California to work for Tamie Smith, staying on during breaks after she went to college. And it would be through Tamie that Ashlynn would find Emporium (Cartano – Upana, by Open), who’d done a Beginner Novice with Tamie and was still very much green.

This is where Ashlynn laughs and tells me a story of an early ride on the leggy gray gelding. “It was during a Phillip Dutton clinic at the farm, and we were just walking by the arena but suddenly he was leaping around in the air,” she recalls. “Somehow I stayed on, but people from the clinic were coming to check on me after.”

Ashlynn Muechel and Emporium. Photo by Shelby Allen.

“He was so athletic that he sort of scared himself and lacked some confidence,” Ashlynn continued. “And I was 18 and was still learning too, so it took us some time to work through that.”

Once she was through with college, Ashlynn moved again, this time to Florida where she began working with Jennifer and Jon Holling. At this point, Ashlynn and Theo had progressed through the Preliminary level and she knew that if she could just finish putting the pieces together she just might have a capable five-star horse on her hands.

“I kind of moved (to Florida) because I knew I had the horse and I knew if I could make him go well, we could do big things,” she explained. “Jen really encouraged me to just keep at it with him. But it was challenging — he’s always been a fantastic athlete, but it was always a question of `was he too careful?’”

So Ashlynn kept at it. She practiced. She changed her approach, focusing more on teaching the horse to think for himself, rather than trying to micromanage the ride. “That has helped him be more confident in himself,” she reflected. “You have to instill the confidence that they can do it, too.”

She credits much of this refreshed approach to her work with Clayton Fredericks, who’s been another mentor to her over the years. “He teaches more constant repetition and constant improvement and confidence for the horse rather than sort of muscling them around and trying to get it done,” she said.

Another difference-maker for Emporium? A simple tack change. Ashlynn switched to an Amerigo saddle, and suddenly an issue with dropping into the water was completely gone. “Once I switched, he started jumping into the water and hasn’t stopped since,” she said. “And he’s just kept stepping up for me every day since.”

Ashlynn Meuchel and Emporium. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Ashlynn didn’t begin to seriously weigh her CCI5* options until earlier this year, after Emporium, who is 12, made easy work of his second CCI4*-L at Jersey Fresh in May. “I’d taken him to Tryon last year and he ticked that box, so I put Jersey on the schedule and he made that feel easy,” she laughed. “So then it was just a matter of, what’s next?”

Thanks to a seed that was planted early on and given some nurturing by Ashlynn’s mother as well as Sarah Broussard, Ashlynn also now finds herself at the helm of a growing business. She’s gone into business with fellow Advanced eventer and show jumper Jeanie Clarke, fully immersing herself in Ocala life where she can continue to measure herself among the best in the country. “I wanted to come east, number one to learn and to get better. Two, you really know exactly how good you are out here. It gives you a very good idea and boy, I learned I was not very good when I first came out here!” she laughed. “So there was a lot to learn, and there still is.”

And despite his quirks (“everyone who lives with him thinks he’s about the weirdest horse they’ve ever been around”), Emporium’s carved out a niche for himself as the one who’s taught Ashlynn the most lessons. As for the little five-star happening this week? To the best of her ability, she’s trying to keep things business as usual. “I try to keep chipping away and keep my head down and keep going. I’m trying not to go wild and do anything crazy. I just try to keep within the program that’s been working and chipping away to get a little better every day.”

Pau Entries Go Live: 53 Entered, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Mike Winter Represent North America

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver. Photo by Shelby Allen.

We may be knee-deep in Maryland content, but on the side we’ve been madly refreshing the Pau website looking for entries to this year’s CCI5*, happening October 27-31 in south France. This event was the sole CCI5* last year after the majority of the calendar was vacated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For 2021, we see a total of 53 combinations entered, including U.S. rider Liz Halliday-Sharp with Cooley Quicksilver and Canadian rider Mike Winter with El Mundo.

The 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, Cooley Quicksilver, made his CCI5* debut at Kentucky in April of this year and also traveled to Montana, where he finished second in the Rebecca Farm CCI4*-S. This will be Liz’s first trip to the French CCI5*.

Representing Canada, Mike Winter is looking for a first CCI5* completion with the 12-year-old KWPN gelding, El Mundo. This pair made their debut at the level at the one-off Biction CCI5* earlier this year, but had some trouble on course that could easily be chalked up as growing pains and opted to save their efforts for another try later.

Mike Winter and El Mundo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Also joining the Pau party is a strong British contingent (exactly how many five-star horses do they have these days, anyway?) which includes the gold medal-winning British team, all with horses making debuts at the level: Oliver Townend with Ridire Dorcha (as well as MHS King Joules, who was sixth here in 2020), 2020 Pau winner Laura Collett with Dacapo, and Tom McEwen with CHF Cooliser.

Pau will also mark the CCI5* debut for Jonelle Price with former Mark Todd ride Mclaren. She’ll be joined by husband Tim with the 12-year-old Falco, making his first start at the level.

It’s an exciting entry list that might yet see a few changes, so we’ll be sure to keep an eye on them for you. Stay tuned for more from Pau!

Les Etoiles de Pau: Website, Entries

 

Tuesday News & Notes from Legends Horse Feed

If there’s one thing I will feel some massive FOMO over this week, it will be that I don’t have my dog with me. I first got to see the MARS VIPet Experience at Great Meadow earlier this summer, and it was easily one of the best things I’ve seen at a horse show (or anywhere, honestly). Now, it looks like the pet lounge — which included a dog play area, toys and apparel for sale to benefit nonprofits, and plenty of swag for your dog — has officially pulled in to the Maryland 5 Star and will be on site all week. Be sure to stop by and check it out!

By the way, if you’re attending the Maryland 5 Star this week and you’d like to get involved behind the scenes, there are still a few volunteer positions available! Click here to see what’s still open.

Events Opening This Week:

Pine Top Thanksgiving H.T.

Events Closing This Week:

FEH & YEH Last Chance Qualifier for West Coast Championship, Course Brook Farm Fall H.T., The VHT International & H.T., Chattahoochee Hills H.T., The Event at TerraNova

Tuesday News:

We are teaming up with RideIQ for a CCI5* course walk at Maryland this week! Join us with resident CCI5* rider Ema Klugman, who will be leading a free course walk on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Please meet by the start box on cross country — we’ll have goodies to hand out!

If you’d like to follow along with every bit of EN’s coverage of the Maryland 5 Star this week, you can sign up for our Daily Digest email, which will begin sending tomorrow evening and continue through the event. It’s the best way to stay up-to-date on all things Maryland! Click here to sign up.

Did you know that seven of the horses entered in the Maryland 5 Star are graduates of the USEA Young Event Horse Program? This program, which encourages the proper development of potential event horses, has become a well-established pipeline of young talent and it’s always fascinating to keep up with horses who continue to progress through the levels. Find out which horses at Maryland are former Young Event Horses here.

Don’t forget that it’s also Thoroughbred Makeover week in Kentucky! This year’s “Mega Makeover”, an expanded showcase of the off-track Thoroughbred hosted annually by the Retired Racehorse Project, will feature over 500 former racehorses who’ve begun their training in a variety of disciplines, including eventing. You can learn more about this year’s field here.

You know you love a firecracker five-star mare! In the latest Behind the Stall Door column, we get to know a little more about Fylicia Barr’s Galloway Sunrise. This pair is competing in the Maryland 5 Star this week, and she’s sure to have a big fan club cheering her on. Read more about “Sunny” here.

Tuesday Video Break:

Some tips on body clipping (yes, it’s already that time of year again) from Courtney Cooper of C Square Farm:

Morven Park Snapshots: A Beautiful Weekend for a CCI4*

Ema Klugman and Bronte Beach Z. Photo by Erin Gilmore Photography.

While we’re getting amped up for the Maryland 5 Star this week, let’s not forget the massive efforts put on by the team at Morven Park in Leesburg, Va. to produce the venue’s first CCI4*-L effort. It was a grand weekend for all, and it was the perfect fall weekend spent running and jumping — and getting captured by the lens of Erin Gilmore and her team. If you competed at Morven Park, you can order your photos from Erin here — don’t forget to support your show photographers and videographers!

Let’s take a look back at some moments from Morven, including some of the gorgeous fences on the Derek di Grazia-designed cross country…

And some gutsy riding across all levels…

To that finish line feeling…

To view the full results from the weekend, click here. Thanks for the epic memories, Morven Park! Until next year — Go Eventing!

Maryland 5 Star CCI5* Draw Order Goes Live: Buck Davidson Will Lead the Way

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Welcome to Maryland week! We are buzzing over here at EN ahead of this first-time CCI5*, which will be held at Fair Hill in Elkton, Md. beginning this Thursday. The event has just completed the draw of order for both the USEF National CCI3*-L Championship as well as the CCI5*, and we now know who we’ll see cantering down centerline for the very first time come Thursday.

Leading the way in the CCI5* will be Buck Davidson with Katherine O’Brien’s 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding Carlevo (Eurocommerce Caresino – Ramatuelle, by Levernois), making his third start at the level. Buck is one of five riders in this division with multiple rides, and he’s the only rider with three horses (he’ll also ride Kat and Roberto Cuca’s Jak My Style as well as Cassie Segal, Lisa Darden and Natalie Sandler’s Errol Gobey).

In the USEF CCI3*-L National Championship, Allison Springer will be the trailblazer aboard the Rico Syndicate LLC’s Vandyke. Allison is one of six riders in the 3*-L with two horses.

The full drawn order for the CCI5* is as follows:



The schedule for the Maryland 5 Star has been coordinated to allow for both FEI divisions as well as the Young Event Horse divisions to run concurrently. The CCI5* will be the highlight of each day, running in the afternoon for all three phases. Dressage will begin at 1 p.m. EST on Thursday and Friday. Full schedule:

Still need tickets? They are still available for advance purchase! Click here for more. If you aren’t in the area/aren’t able to travel, you’ll be able to watch the Maryland 5 Star on USEF Network as well as on Horse&Country outside of the U.S. Click here for more live stream info.

EN is also pleased and honored to be the provider of the Digital Program for the Maryland 5 Star this week — look for that to launch in the coming days! You can also sign up to receive our Daily Digest email newsletter, which will be sent each evening beginning Wednesday. Sign up here.

Both Abby Powell and myself will be on the ground in Maryland beginning Wednesday, and we’ll be joined throughout the week by Kate Samuels and Maggie Deatrick, with Tilly Berendt, Shelby Allen and Leslie Wylie supporting remotely. We look forward to sharing all the stories coming out of this brand-new CCI5* with you, and thank you as always for following along!

EN’s coverage of the Maryland 5 Star is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products. KPP is our go-to for all things nutritional when it comes to supporting our horses and their healthier selves. Managing horses is a challenge, but KPP makes it simple — and they treat you like a horse owner, not just a customer. You can learn more about KPP by clicking here.

5 Star First-Timers: Emma Lomangino and Master Frisky to Debut at Maryland

Emma Lomangino & Master Frisky. Photo by Abby Powell.

It’s safe to say that Emma Lomangino enjoys a good challenge.

If you want to find a common thread among successful riders — athletes in general, really — you might find one in their childhood years. By the time she turned 13, Emma estimates she’d ridden over 100 different horses (she was even featured here on EN’s Horse of a Different Color series with one of her earliest eventing horses, No Doubt), mainly on account of her not having a horse of her own starting out. So, as many top riders would tell you, she would throw a leg over whatever came her way, indiscriminately seizing every opportunity that presented itself.

So when she was offered the chance of a lifetime to take on the rehabilitation and riding of the former Boyd Martin ride Master Frisky for owner Steve Blauner, it’s not a surprise to hear she jumped at it.

Emma admits she “could barely ride” the big, strong Irish gelding by Master Imp when she first hopped aboard. “I’d never ridden an upper level horse,” she recalled. “But I really wanted to figure it out. When else do you have the opportunity like that?”

Emma met Steve Blauner while she was in college near her hometown in Millbrook, Ny. She was taking night classes at the time, riding and teaching during the day. Steve, who boarded some of his horses at the same facility as Emma, eventually became a lesson client. “I wasn’t sure how much he would enjoy having a lesson from me, but we really hit it off,” she said. “After that first lesson he said, ‘you know, that’s the first lesson where I haven’t fallen off in a long time!’”

A bond had formed, and the following summer Emma went to spend the break working for Steve. In the same period, Master Frisky found himself at Steve’s farm, having flunked out of other rehab programs following a soft tissue injury that was feared to be career-ending. Master Frisky competed through the then-CCI4* level with Boyd Martin, finishing seventh at Kentucky in 2015. When he sustained the injury, he began a rehab plan but was proving to be difficult to handle. So when he arrived at Steve’s and came under Emma’s care, she made it her mission to piece him back together.

“Steve decided to bring him home to see if he could rehab him as a dressage or lower level event horse,” Emma said. “The horse didn’t owe him anything at that point. He had enjoyed the journey with Boyd immensely. So he just said we’ll see what happens.”

Emma spent a good majority of her time with Frisky walking. Long hacks around the property or down the road were low-intensity methods for slowly building strength, and after this consistent program she began to feel a sounder, stronger horse underneath her. Flatwork became a regular part of the program (and a brief stint as Steve’s dressage horse, but after one lesson he declared that he simply could not ride Frisky’s big trot), then jumping. All throughout, the scans remained clear. But, sound as he may have been, she laughs now, Frisky was still “the weirdest horse I’d ever pointed at a jump”.

“I was pretty much lost,” Emma said, describing his unorthodox jumping style and big step. “But I told myself I had an opportunity to really learn from this horse, so I’m just going to keep plugging away. We have all the time in the world.”

A year after his last Advanced start with Boyd, Emma brought Master Frisky back to the same venue at The Fork, this time to test the waters at Training level. “He was really sound,” she said. “And once again I said, this is just the coolest horse on the planet. I just want to spend as much time with him as possible.”

At the time, Master Frisky was 13, and Emma was gaining mileage with every ride. Catch-riding as much as she did as she grew up, she’d never really had the opportunity to take the next step with her competitive career. In close consultation with Steve, Emma decided to keep going with Frisky. Since then, he’s become her first everything: first FEI horse, first Intermediate horse, first Advanced horse. And the whole time, she had Steve cheering her on, thrilled in his own right to see his horse find a new place in life.

Master Frisky has been a puzzle Emma’s been happy to piece together, little by little. Riding him wasn’t about furthering her career or winning. “It very much became more about ‘how do I get the absolute best out of this horse? How do I produce him to the best of his ability while keeping him happy and comfortable?’” The fact that she’s now found herself qualified for and entered in a CCI5* is icing on the cake.

Despite the ease with which they’ve moved up, Emma says she prioritizes Frisky’s wellness and keeping him healthy. At the same time, she recognizes the balancing act that is obtaining the experience she needed to advance, too. After all, she had just the one Advanced horse, and she was an up-and-coming upper-level rider herself. “It was a really good match as far as the pace I needed to go for my own education and the pace he needed to for his physical situation,” she explained. “I think had he been on a shorter timeline, maybe he would not have held up. So I think the fact that it took me a few years to be prepared for that made it possible.”

Management at home plays a large role in balancing longevity with mileage. “I just try to be really smart about making his lifestyle as simple as possible,” Emma described. “He gets a lot of turnout and we do a lot of walking — a lot of walking. He doesn’t need to keep running to stay sharp — he shows up and he’s like ‘put me in, coach!’. So it’s been finding a balance of getting out often enough that I’m staying in the flow while not putting unnecessary miles on his legs. But he’s been a pretty easy horse to manage.”

Emma Lomangino and Master Frisky. Photo by Abby Powell.

Emma says this unlikely, surprising path to her first five-star has taught her a lot. She says she’d love to open her own rehab center down the road, as she’s taken a strong interest in the nuances of coaxing a horse back to health. She’s become more mindful of her own biomechanics and how imbalances in both horse and rider can cause long-term problems. And in the process, she’s come to know her horse like the back of her hand. It’s given her a simmering sense of confidence as the week ahead approaches.

“I’m really invested in the partnership side of eventing, so Frisky is really special in that I feel so comfortable and we know each other so well that I don’t really get nervous,” she said.

Many riders will be riding in honor of Steve this week at Maryland; Steve, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 67, was a longtime supporter of the sport, owning horses for Boyd Martin and Doug Payne as well as launching the MARS Bromont Rising Program to support the up-and-coming talent. It’s delightfully fitting, then, that Emma would go on to receive a MARS Bromont Rising grant in 2019 and will now trot up on Wednesday with a horse he once owned for Boyd.

“He is very much still with us,” Emma said. “He’s constantly in my thoughts. I am just so thankful because the whole time Steve was nothing but supportive and encouraging, literally with us every step of the way.”

For more of Eventing Nation’s coverage of this week’s Maryland 5 Star, click here. Our coverage of Maryland is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products.

Weekend Winners: Morven Park, Woodside, Heritage Park, Hitching Post Farm, Poplar Place, Radnor Hunt, WindRidge Farm

It’s Monday, which means it’s time to scope out scores from the weekend before you dive into your day. No, that’s just me? Well in any case, maybe you’re looking for the quick scoop on who won what. Keep scrolling for a look at this weekend’s winners, as well as some social media from each event.

This weekend, the Unofficial Low Score Award was won by Puerto Rican Olympian Lauren Billys Shady and Luna, who won what appears to be their first outing together, the Open Beginner Novice at Woodside, on a score of 23.0. Congratulations!

Morven Park International CCI4*-L (Leesburg, Va.): [Website] [Final Scores]

CCI4*-L: Phillip Dutton and Quasi Cool (34.2)
CCI4*-S: Will Coleman and Chin Tonic HS (35.3)
CCI3*-S: Katie Lichten and Yarrow (28.6)
CCI3*-S Young Horse: Ariel Grald and Diara (27.6)
CCI2*-S A: Arden Wildasin and Southern Sun (27.7)
CCI2*-S B: Arden Wildasin and Tokyo Drift (27.2)
CCI2*-S Young Horse: Caroline Martin and Galwaybay Blake (25.1)
Jr/YR Open Preliminary: Lea Adams-Blackmore and Frostbite (35.2)
Open Preliminary A: Will Coleman and Cold Red Rum (30.1)
Open Preliminary B: Hailey Gahan and Painted Sky (30.7)
Jr. Training Rider: Katherine Holzrichter and Idlehour Center Stage (31.4)
Open Training A: Holly Payne Caravella and Adagio’s Nobility (26.4)
Open Training B: Kurt Martin and Kelodiena W (32.3)
Training Rider: Cindi Moravec and Holloway (31.4)
Jr. Novice Rider: Clare Brady and Rhythm and Blues (32.6)
Novice Rider: Katherine Wheeley and Lunetta (32.1)
Open Novice A: Suzannah Cornue and Clear Crossing (30.2)
Open Novice B: Erin Murphy and Rough Heart (29.5)

Woodside International H.T. (Woodside, Ca.): [Website] [Final Scores]

CCI4*-S: Erin Kellerhouse and Woodford Reserve (43.5)
CCI3*-S: James Alliston and Nemesis (31.1)
CCI2*-S: Taren Hoffos and Regalla (30.0)
Advanced: James Alliston and Paper Jam (41.1)
Open Intermediate: Amber Birtcil and Cinzano (32.2)
Open Preliminary A: Erin Kellerhouse and Bon Vivant GWF (26.1)
Open Preliminary B: Chloe Smyth and Guinness on Draught (29.9)
Jr. Training Rider A: Mia Brown and Duke HW (24.8)
Jr. Training Rider B: Gabriella Ringer and Get Wild (25.5)
Open Training: Megan McIver and Galliard’s Lancer (27.3)
Sr. Training Rider: Becky Leisz and Gangster (28.2)
Training Horse: Grace Walker Alonzi and Frantz (24.7)
Jr. Novice Rider A: Edie Halloran and Makuba’s Prince (26.9)
Jr. Novice Rider B: Maddie Berry and Spf Vision Quest (30.5)
Novice – Amateur: Brooke Gibson and Iolani FCF (26.9)
Open Novice: Kaylawna Smith-Cook and AEV Zara (23.6)
Sr. Novice Rider: Faith Dalessandro and Spurs and Stilettos (26.4)
Jr. Beginner Novice Rider: Carly Clarke and Captain Kirk (32.3)
Open Beginner Novice: Lauren Billys and Luna (23.0)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider A: Kelly Schwisow and Cat Ballou (26.5)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider B: Anne Morgan and Sonic (24.5)
Open Introductory A: Jessie Steward and North Forks Finley (36.3)
Open Introductory B: Riley Young and My Box of Crayons (27.0)

Heritage Park H.T. + Area IV Championships (Olathe, Ks.): [Website] [Final Scores]

Preliminary Open: Julie Wolfert and Ssh Playboy (32.7)
Preliminary Championship: Kristina Whorton and Finnigan (35.0)
Preliminary/Training: Jana Lyle and Heavenly SCF (40.7)
Training Open: Mallory Stiver and Hennessy Venom (33.8)
Training Championship: Katie Sisk and Long Legs Lenore (31.4)
Novice Jr./YR: Leah Jill Goff and Castle (29.7)
Novice Open: Hannah Gurske and Buenos Dias (25.7)
Beginner Novice Amateur: Sarah Forster and Caillou (29.5)
Beginner Novice Junior: Olivia Fesi and Perfect Alibi (33.5)
Beginner Novice Open: Rachel James and Casablanca (33.0)
Beginner Novice Championship: Judi Dietz and Rearcross Clover Q (30.8)
Starter Junior: Mia Scott and Remember Me (36.4)
Starter Open: Elly Bates and OSF Tuck Everlasting (35.3)

I’ve always known he was a champion but this weekend he truly proved it! Finn and I finished on our dressage score at…

Posted by Kristina Whorton on Sunday, October 10, 2021

There is nothing better than the hometown events, Heritage Park you never disappoint! Being able to hang out at our…

Posted by Mallory Stiver on Sunday, October 10, 2021

Hitching Post Farm H.T. (South Royalton, Vt.): [Website] [Final Scores]

Preliminary: Katie Murphy and Joshua Tree (34.5)
Jr. Training: Cadence Theroux and Hot Toddy (44.0)
Training 1: Andrew Beal and Capstone’s MJ Tasmania (27.4)
Jr. Novice: Annabelle Sprague and Big Fred (26.9)
Novice 1: Amanda Tefft and Donnybrook’s Paddy Magee (31.0)
Novice 2: David Roby and Rumbledown (31.7)
Beginner Novice 1: Yuki Igari and Poppin Good Pic (33.5)
Beginner Novice 3: Zea Palthey and Ponko (31.7)
Jr. Beginner Novice: Isabella Day and Twilight (35.3)

Poplar Place Farm H.T. (Hamilton, Ga.): [Website] [Final Scores]

Intermediate/Preliminary: Katherine Brown and Victor Z (41.3)
Open Intermediate: Blake Fortson and Quiana AF (54.4)
Open Intermediate CT: Kimberly Keeton and Keys (26.0)
Open Preliminary: Mary Bess Davis and Monatrea Cooley On The Con (38.2)
Modified: Erin Pullen and Allia (24.6)
Jr. Training Rider: Margaret Frost and Euro Star (37.2)
Open Training: Julie Richards and Fernhill Destiny (26.7)
Sr. Training Rider: Lillian Van Winkle and Cleopatra (32.6)
Training/Novice: Beth Clymer and Ima Iny Too (41.3)
Jr. Novice Rider: Madalyn Ellis and Fernhill Magic (26.9)
Open Novice: Stephanie O’Neal and MochaSpice (26.2)
Sr. Novice Rider: Mary Carol Harsch and Foster’s Bold Favorite (29.3)
Jr. Beginner Novice Rider: Lendy Johnston and Endless Possibilities (31.1)
Open Beginner Novice A: Susan Thomas and And Justice For All (28.9)
Open Beginner Novice B: LeeAnn McQuade and Trouble in Phoenix (38.4)
Sr. Beginner Novice Rider: Beth Allen and Fernhill Coastal Cowboy (28.6)
Introductory: Kaarthik Sribalusu and Clooney (44.0)
Starter: Kathlyn Kraft and Fernhill Bullseye (25.8)

Radnor Hunt H.T. (Malvern, Pa.): [Website] [Final Scores]

Open Preliminary: Kelly Beaver and Excel Star Pluto (39.3)
Preliminary Rider: Lulu Malinoski and Coulson (34.7)
Jr. Training Rider: Will Rowland and Over Rider (33.8)
Open Training: Dom Schramm and Dawnbreaker (25.2)
Training Rider: Christen Ireland and Oscar (29.6)
Jr. Novice Rider: Cydney McGee and Ya Gotta Believe (31.9)
Novice: Jimmie Schramm and Castletown Cooley (25.7)
Novice Rider: Veronica Ucko and Mainely Brews (24.8)

WindRidge Farm H.T. (Mooresboro, Nc.): [Website] [Final Scores]

Intermediate A: Summer Covar and Mona Lisa (76.0)
Intermediate B: Lisa Borgia and Silmarillion (60.5)
Intermediate/Preliminary A: Leila Cluff-Ryan and Grand Finale (34.7)
Preliminary: Madison Chisholm and Reloaded (34.2)
Preliminary/Training: Addie Cant and Fiftyshadesofcharm (59.4)
Training A: Alex Martini and Poynstown Jaguar (31.2)
Training B: Emily Cardin and Hacker (34.7)
Novice A: Autumn Hoyle and Lone Wrainger (32.2)
Novice B: Laine Ashker and LOVEDANCE (29.8)
Training/Novice: Elyse Betz and Bishop’s .38 Special (52.6)
Beginner Novice A: Roisin O’Rahilly (29.1)
Beginner Novice B: Anne Baskett and Redfield Z7 Cayani (32.3)
Beginner Novice CT: Cindy McNeely and Jonah (35.8)
Introductory A: Paula Cudd and TJ (30.8)
Introductory B: Kathi Hines and The Lady (23.3)
Starter: Dianne May and Gilligan (34.7)

Monday News & Notes from Futuretrack

FE Lifestyle mingles with his Dutch fan club. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Happy Monday of Maryland week! As we gear up for an action-filled week in Maryland, we’re also still buzzing about the results Team USA has been pulling in overseas. With a focus on higher pressure Nations Cup competitions and providing more riders with more opportunities to replicate these environments, the teams seem to really have gotten on well during their time together — and the results reflect all of these moving parts falling into place. It’s going to be a building process, no doubt, but the rising talent we have in the U.S. is certainly something to feel good about. And many, if not most, of these chances to improve on the world stage come in no small part thanks to the generosity of individuals such as Ms. Jacqueline Mars, Karen Stives, Rebecca Broussard, and many, many others. Here’s to big things coming for Team USA!

U.S. Weekend Results:

Morven Park International CCI4*-L (Leesburg, Va.): [Website] [Final Scores]

Woodside International H.T. (Woodside, Ca.): [Website] [Final Scores]

Heritage Park H.T. (Olathe, Ks.): [Website] [Final Scores]

Hitching Post Farm H.T. (South Royalton, Vt.): [Website] [Final Scores]

Poplar Place Farm H.T. (Hamilton, Ga.): [Website] [Final Scores]

Radnor Hunt H.T. (Malvern, Pa.): [Website] [Final Scores]

WindRidge Farm H.T. (Mooresboro, Nc.): [Website] [Final Scores]

Major International Results:

Military Boekelo Enschede CCIO4*-L & FEI Nations Cup of Eventing: [Website] [Final Scores] [Live Stream Replays] [EN’s Coverage]

Monday Reading:

Today is the final day (well, noon EST today, anyway!) to enter our giveaway of two VIP passes to the Maryland 5 Star! All you need to do to enter is sign up for EN’s Maryland Daily Digest, which will be sent each evening during competition to keep you caught up with all the action. We’ll be drawing and announcing the winner this afternoon, so enter now!

This is also the final week to apply for the winter disbursement of the Strides for Equality Equestrians Ever So Sweet scholarship. This opportunity provides three months of all expenses paid training with Sara Kozumplik Murphy at her Ocala, Florida facility. Learn more about the scholarship here and make sure to apply by October 15!

The Swedes are on fire! They clinched a repeat FEI Eventing Nations Cup title this weekend at Boekelo, adding more accolades to add to their 2019 title. Read the FEI’s recap on the Nations Cup finale here.

How do you “peak” at the right time? It’s the ongoing puzzle that professional riders are always looking for — there’s a balance between thoughtful training and training for the peak. Caroline Martin, who’s slated to be the busiest rider at Maryland this week, offers up some tips for finding your peak at the right time in this article with Practical Horseman.

The Maryland 5 Star will be auctioning off a 4-Star Trailer to benefit the Fair Hill Foundation this week. 4-Star Trailers has donated a customized 2+1 model, 23’6″ long, 8’ tall, 6’9” wide with a retail value $52,117. Bidding ends on October 17 and you can click here to learn more + place your bid. Good luck!

Trot Set Pod of the Week:

The horse market is bananas right now! Why so? How do you navigate it? What are some things you should know? The Noelle Floyd Equestrian Voices podcast, hosted by Caroline Culbertson, offers a frank financial discussion about the current state of the market with hunter/jumper pro Hope Glynn. It’s a must-listen, especially if you do any business buying or selling horses! Take a listen here.

Monday Video Break:

Don’t forget to vote for supergroom Stephanie Simpson, who has been nominated for the Cavalor FEI Best Groom Award for 2021:

Riding for Tremaine: Preview the Inaugural Morven Park International CCI4*-L Cross Country Track

 

Thanks to Erin Gilmore Photography for this awesome video of the 4*-L course at this year’s Morven Park Fall International Horse Trials & CCI! And thanks to our Course Designer Derek Digrazia for narrating!
#MorvenParkHorseTrials #eventinglife #equestrian

Posted by Morven Park International Equestrian Center on Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Riders are raving about the Derek di Grazia track they’ll be tackling today at Morven Park in Leesburg, Va. The event is hosting its much-anticipated CCI4*-L this weekend featuring a host of star riders and horses as well as some rising stars getting an early taste of a tougher level. This course had long been designed by the late and dearly missed Tremaine Cooper, whose influence can still be felt throughout. A memorial dedication plaque has been erected at the famous Morven Park Leaf Pit, question 9 on this year’s course, as well.

Photo by Jamie Gornall.

It’s a big track that will test the 4*-L riders, fully up to specs and beautifully dressed for a true example of a modern cross country course. After three straightforward gallop fences, Derek gets down to business, quickly testing riders’ steering, efficiency at selecting and sticking to a line, and management of their horses’ energy as he introduces the more technical questions.

A master of using the terrain he’s given on a property, Derek makes note of the places on course where riders will want to take particular care to really feel what is happening beneath them as their horses navigate the ground’s undulations. Some questions, such as the Hollow at fence 6 and the Morven Park Leaf Pit at 9, take riders on a veritable roller coaster, asking them to turn on varied ground while navigating to a narrow out fence.

As is signature on Derek’s courses, nothing on this track should come as a huge rider frightener or a horse confuser, but the nuances of the course are to be respected as one mismanaged step or a missed line will prove to be costly.

You can also check out a fence-by-fence guide and photos of each question on the USEA website here.

There is no live stream of the cross country action today, but you can follow along with live scores here — and stay tuned here on EN for more from Morven! Go Eventing.

Morven Park International CCI4*-L (Leesburg, Va.): [Website] [Ride Times] [Live Scores] [Schedule] [Volunteer]