What’s up ENers?! We’re back between the white boards for the second day of dressage at Maryland 5 Star – watching every step they take, and every move they make, and bringing it all to you, fellow eventing nerds, because what can I say, we love to share the love here at EN!
Yesterday’s competition left us with an international flavor at the top of the leaderboard, with Great Britain’s Piggy March and Brookfield Cavalier Cruise leading the way on a score of 24.2.
In second overnight is New Zealand’s Monica Spencer with Artist – they sit on a score of 28.4.
And in third place as things stand are Hannah Sue Hollberg and Capitol H I M for the USA on a score of 32.4.
Here’s a look at all the scores from the first day of 5* dressage:
There were some very hot horses between the white boards yesterday, and some masterful displays of patience and understanding – as well as pushing for the top marks – from the riders. All in all, it was a great start to the competition and we’re looking forward to more stunning displays of horsemanship and talent today.
A quick update on the provisional scores from yesterday: Piggy March’s score remains unchanged. Phillip Dutton and Azure’s score of 34.9 was altered to 34.5.
First into the ring this afternoon will be Jacob Fletcher and Fabian for the USA. Their test is due to start at 2:05pm EST / 5:05pm BST.
If you’re following the British interest here at Maryland 5 Star, eventing legend William Fox-Pitt goes today with Grafennacht – they come forward at 2:45pm / 7:45pm BST – and current World No. 1 Oliver Townend with Cooley Rosalent will enter the ring at 3:27pm EST / 8:27pm BST.
Rounding out the dressage phase will be World No. 3 and Maryland 2021 champ Boyd Martin, who brings Contessa forward for the USA – they go at 3:51pm EST / 8:51pm BST.
It’s all to play for as the first phase scores continue to fill the board this afternoon, and we’re eagerly anticipating who’ll be heading out on tomorrow’s cross country as clubhouse leaders, and who’ll make up the chasing pack.
And you won’t have to miss a thing as EN will be bringing you all of the action over the course of the event, so keep your eyes on – and ears pricked – as we go eventing! We’ve got loads of great IG content happening courtesy of our team on the ground too @goeventing, and if you want to follow along with the form, you’ll find EN’s 5* Form Guide here.
If you’re keeping up with these updates live, don’t forget to refresh this page periodically.
So, let’s pony up, kick on, go eventing, and do this thing! 👀
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2:05pm We’re kicking things off today with the other half of the Fletcher eventing couple, Jacob Fletcher and Fabian who make their 5* debut here at Maryland.
🌶️ Hot form! They come here off the back of two second places and were 6th in the 4*-S at Kentucky in the spring.
Fabian was produced up to 4* by British rider Millie Dumas, with Jacob taking on the ride for the 2022 season and promptly winning the first two events they did together.
XC machine 🤖 In 21 FEI runs, Fabian hasn’t had a single cross country jumping penalty.
Dressage form 🕺They can go sub-30 at 4*, with a 29.9 last time out, but are mostly in the low-30s. How will their 5* debut match up?
Ears pricked and ready to roll:
They canter up the center line looking like they’re meaning business this afternoon. Fabian has a little look around in the halt, but then it’s back to work and they set off in a lovely balanced trot.
He’s working in a really relaxed way for Jacob, this is a horse who’s up for the job. Jacob’s really going for every mark in the ring today.
A solid halt and clean rein back steps are sure to score well.
The relaxation continues into the walk and Fabian shows a clear difference between the paces. More nice work from this combination.
The first change is a smidge late behind, but he’s working in a beautiful frame and seems to be really trying for Jacob. The second change is perfect – Jacob rode it totally accurately and got it spot on.
The stretch circle shows more relaxation and then there’s another sound change.
They trot back up the center line and finish up with a square halt. Fabian looks incredibly pleased with himself, and so he should. Jacob gives him a pat, and deserves one for himself too. That was great riding and a super demonstration of a partnership working in harmony with one another. It was powerful and accurate and for sure a good score will be coming in for them.
Jacob Fletcher and Fabian score 29.3 and go into third.
2:13pm New Zealand’s Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier come to Maryland for their third time at the top level, after finishing fifth on the mare’s 5* debut at Pau last season.
Based in Britain since 1992, Caroline started out working at a point to point yard, racing five times before switching her endeavors to eventing.
Olympic experience – Caroline groomed for top-level eventer, turned commentator, turned course builder Ian Stark at the Atlanta Games in 1996 before going on to represent New Zealand in 2008 and 2012, when she won team bronze 🥉
Burghley winner 🏆 Caroline won Burghley in 2010 on the late, great Lenamore, when the superstar gelding was seventeen.
Badminton veteran – She’s completed at Badminton 15 times!
‘Cav’ has been produced by Caroline through the levels – taking in the six- and seven-year old World Championships along the way.
Hot form 🌶️ They come here on great form, having won last time out in the 4*-S at Ballindenisk in Ireland.
Dressage form 💃 They put down a 27.4 at Badminton in the spring and a 27.7 at Pau last season, to which they added just 8 cross country time penalties on their way to fifth place.
🛫 Cav’s clocking up the air miles on her way to Maryland:
They get their test underway with a solid square halt and this young mare looks to be taking the atmosphere all in her stride. Her ears are pricked and she looks very happy in her work.
The trot is rhythmical and balanced and Caroline pushes for the extended and Cav responds beautifully.
Wow, they look a picture as they halt at C. They’re such a partnership and they really look in tune with one another, a great sight to see.
Cav is super relaxed in the walk, although she anticipates the canter transition a tiny bit. The mare is in a great frame with clear self-carriage and Caroline is able to really ride her bravely – which she does in the extended. Such a powerhouse! Very impressive.
Cav could take the contact a bit further in the stretch circle, but the changes come very easily for her.
She finishes up with another square halt and Caroline gives Cav a huge pat, which is very well deserved. A happy horse and a happy rider, for sure.
This has been a great test – beautiful really – which the crowd appreciates with a cheer.
Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier score 29 and go into third.
2:20pm Rookie combo alert! Sarah Kuhn and Mr. Cash van de Start are here for their first 5*.
World traveler 🛬 Mr. Cash was bought from a dealer in the Czech Republic.
He’s a bit of a quirky character – he was very spooky as a youngster 👻 and still refuses to travel without a buddy.
Smart cookie 🍪 Sarah studied environmental science and worked in environmental marketing and renewable energy before becoming a full-time eventer.
They come here on great form with a third place in their last run at Stable View in the 4*-S a few weeks ago.
Dressage form 🩰 At Stable View they put down a 30.9, in the 4*-S at Kentucky in the spring they scored 32.6 and finished just outside the top-20. This season they’ve shown low-30s form at 4*, how will their 5* debut match up?
Sarah is not one to be missed on the jog strip! We’re all huge fans of her fashion exploits here at EN:
Mr Cash has a look ’round to make sure everyone’s watching him as he halts. A quick word from Sarah has him paying attention to her again and they set off in trot with him back on task.
Apparently Mr Cash was a bit worried about the big scoreboard during the arena familiarization, but he’s paying it no heed today, which Sarah will be pleased about.
It’s a square halt at C and clean rein back steps, albeit a little off the track, and there was an extra half step.
The walk is sound, although Mr Cash clearly knows the canter’s coming as they approach the transition.
The canter is slightly tentative, which affects the change slightly. The next change is similar.
They break into ‘tranter’ during the stretch circle and then the final two changes don’t really happen as well as Sarah would have liked.
Overall, there’s been some nice points during this test and Mr Cash has shown much potential and room to learn. A few green moments at the level, but Sarah should be very happy with this 5* debut.
Sarah Kuhn and Mr Cash van de Start score 38.1.
2:28pm 5* first-timers Arielle Aharoni and Dutch Times get their Maryland underway!
Arielle’s had the ride on Dutch Times since 2016, when she took over the reins from Canadian rider Tik Maynard.
🎓 ‘Dutch’ is one of five YEH graduates competing here this week. He was placed 4th in the Championships as a five-year-old.
🥈 They were 2nd in the 4*-L at Bromont earlier in the season, proving that the pair are totally ready for their step up to the top level.
This isn’t their first trip to Maryland – they competed in the 4*-S here last year, finishing 5th.
Family connection 🔗 Dutch is owned by Arielle’s mom, Christina Aharoni.
Dressage form 🩰 They scored 32.9 at Bromont – a career best. Overall this season, their scores have been mid- to high-30s.
Dutch may – now – be a 5* eventer, but he’s not too shabby in the show jumping ring also, competing at Grand Prix level:
They enter up the center line really straight, and start off with a good square halt. Dutch shows nice extension in the medium trot across the arena but it’s a bit unbalanced, perhaps showing some nerves.
Dutch looks to be working nicely for Arielle and the extended trot is braver than the medium, but there’s a mistake at the end and they come back to walk for a couple of strides.
The walk comes off for them though, although it could have been a little more relaxed. Dutch is getting a bit more frustrated as the test goes on, which shows up in the contact and the transitions. He’s arguing a little which is affecting the changes too.
He softens in the lateral work and does take the contact forward in the stretch circle. The change catches him out again though and it’s tight behind.
Overall though, there were some good moments in this test and we could see that this pair have a good partnership. Dutch has a good shake at the end and gives a goofy smile for the camera which makes Arielle smile – a nice way to end your first 5* test.
Arielle Aharoni and Dutch Times score 38.6.
2:36pm Erin Kanara brings unraced but track-trained Thoroughbred Campground forward for the gelding’s third 5*.
Campground – AKA ‘Gideon’ – made his 5* debut here last year, whilst Erin has competed at Kentucky, Burghley and Pau.
5* form 🌟 They were 15th here last season, and 16th at Kentucky in the spring.
A horse with two hats 🎩👒 As well as being a 5* eventer, Gideon has another job – as an adult amateur ride for owner Marnie Kelly.
Erin made her way in eventing via training with fellow Maryland competitor Phillip Dutton. She also has experience working with racehorses.
Dressage form 📈 They scored 35.9 here last year, and 41.4 at Kentucky in the spring – his average form is somewhere between the two. He’s here for the cross country though and will be a fun one to watch tearing up the track on Saturday.
😁 It’s all smiles from Gideon:
Gideon looks relaxed as he canters into the arena, he even looks like he’s smiling. They’re a real partnership this pair, which is very clear from the lovely picture they make as they trot ’round the arena.
The trot work is very accurate – they lose a little rhythm in the extended, but recover really well.
The halt is sustained and the rein back is clean, and they set off into a very relaxed walk. Gideon looks to be enjoying his time between the white boards this afternoon and is listening to Erin and obviously trying his best.
There’s a little tension across his back in the change, but the lateral work seems to soften him up a little. The next change is similar to the first but Erin’s riding really well, trying to protect the marks and get everything she can.
Gideon enjoys the stretch circle and gets two good changes afterwards, much more relaxed after that little stretch.
They finish up with a square halt and Gideon has a good shake after all that hard work. Overall this was a very pleasant test to watch – a horse trying hard for his rider and a lovely partnership on display.
Erin Kanara and Campground score 38.
Well, this will be a familiar figure to eventing fans – multi- Olympic, Worlds and European medalist, Britain’s William Fox-Pitt comes to Maryland with the Grafenstolz mare Grafennacht.
William describes ‘Lillie’ as a “tough old wench”. Safe to say, that’s 100% a compliment when you’re talking about a 5* event horse!
She comes forward for her second time at the top level, after finishing in 14th place at this year’s wet and wild Badminton edition.
Top of his game 🏆 William has been World No. 1 four times, and has won five of the seven 5*s – his name is immortalized on Burghley’s Winners’ Avenue a whopping six times, he’s had a hat trick of Kentucky wins, picked up four Badminton Armada Dishes and won the trophy twice, done the double at Pau, and won Luhmulen. Will he add Maryland to his list of accolades on his first time of trying?
Dressage form 💃 They scored 25.8 at Badminton in the spring and in their 16 FEI runs they’ve rarely been anywhere but sub-30.
Lillie looked every bit the pro traveler as she set off for the States, complete with Gaffa taped shoes:
Lillie goes to have a little look round as she halts but William’s ready to let her know that it’s time to focus. She sets out in a beautifully relaxed way – so supple and elegant.
The trot work is so clean. William really pushes for the extended and Lillie responds.
They nail the halt, but Lillie’s a little reluctant to rein back. Only a little though.
The walk is confident and expressive and they strike off cleanly into canter.
This really is a picture of a horse and rider in harmony with one another.
William has to work a little harder for the changes, but they push on in the extended and stride right across the arena. There could have been more stretch in the circle, Lillie looks a little like she wants to look around a bit. She’s very keen but is working really very nicely for William with two clean changes to finish.
There’s an enormous cheer at the end for William, which Lillie obviously thinks is all for her. She sticks her nose in the air as she halts and looks round at her audience, incredibly pleased with herself, and so she should be!
William Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht score 26.1 and go into second.
2:53pm Last up before the break, Jennie Brannigan brings Thoroughbred gelding Twilightslastgleam forward for the his third start at the level.
They were 17th at Kentucky and 16th here last year – will they find themselves up the leaderboard when all’s said and done on Sunday?
Breeding info 🧬 ‘Comic’ was born and bred in the US by owner Nina Gardner who, with her husband Tim, has been breeding Thoroughbreds for more than 40 years. Comic possesses blood lines that have been in their breeding program since the early 1980s.
Keeping it equestrian – Jennie is married to a racehorse trainer 🏇
Dressage form 📈 They scored a 36.3 at Kentucky and 35.2 here last year. They won the 4*-L at Bromont last year where they posted a 32.6 in this phase.
🎓 Comic is one of five YEH graduates competing here this week. He was Reserve Champion as a four-year-old:
There’s a trot step into the halt transition after a very straight and confident entry. But they set off positively and the trot work is very correct and looks easy for Comic.
There are very good steps in the medium and Comic is in a beautiful frame.
The halt is easy and the rein back too. Easy is definitely how I’d describe how this looks. Comic’s obviously well within himself.
A little tension creeps in at the beginning of the walk but he comes straight back to Jennie and relaxes really nicely for the majority of the walk.
The canter has a similar feel to the trot – Comic working very nicely for Jennie and looking comfortable in his work. The canter work is very rhythmical and happy.
The stretch circle is excellent, he really takes the contact down and shows his suppleness.
There’s a big cheer as they finish and Comic looks very relaxed as he walks out of the arena. Overall a very nice test and a clear example of a horse enjoying his work.
Jennie Brannigan and Twilightslastgleam score 35.
3:00pm We’re heading into the break now. It’s Great Britain in first and second, and New Zealand in third and fourth as things stand.
We’ll be back in around 10 minutes – at 3:11pm EST / 8:11pm BST – don’t miss it!
3:10pm Getting us back underway are Sydney Solomon and Early Review C who are looking for their first 5* completion this week as they come forward for their second attempt at the level.
🎓 ‘Coco’ is one of five YEH graduations contesting the 5* at Maryland this year. The mare started out with fellow Maryland competitor Lillian Heard Wood, who piloted Coco to fourth place in the five-year-old championships, winning the Safe Harbor Award for a young horse who gives the most rider-friendly performance at the event.
Sydney took over the reins in 2016 and has brought Coco up through the levels to the top of the sport.
They made their 5* debut at Kentucky in the spring, but an unfortunate parting of company on the cross country ended their event early. They’ll be hoping to put that right this time around.
Dressage form They posted 43.3 at Kentucky but have been more consistently mid-30s at the 4* level. Last season they were predominantly in the high-30s, so things seem to be headed in the right direction.
😍 Strike a pose! Coco could side hustle as a model if she fancied:
There are a couple of trot steps into the first halt but they stand square and Coco looks happy to be in the dressage ring. They set off into a balanced trot, it’s expressive and bouncy and looks to be fun to ride. Sydney’s able to push for the extended and Coco strides out nicely.
Coco has a good look ’round to makes sure everyone’s watching her as she halts at C. That continues through the walk – she’s having a lovely time in there. She’s not being disobedient, just really enjoying herself.
There are a couple of trot strides into the canter transition and it’s here that we see a little tension creeping in. This is where Coco can get a bit lit up, particularly in the changes, but the mare is behaving nicely for Sydney.
The stretch circle is nice but Coco jumps the change after it. She gets a bit excited in the last change and there’s some wiggling up the center line. The halt doesn’t really happen – Coco’s very pleased with herself and Sydney just has to go with that.
Overall, this was a nice test, particularly in the early stages, and it was nice to see Coco happy in her work, albeit a bit excited by it.
Sydney Solomon and Early Review C score 45.6.
3:19pm Lillian Heard Wood brings my personal favorite, seasoned 5* campaigner seventeen-year-old LCC Barnaby for his third go at Maryland.
✨ How many 5* starts?! This is Barnaby’s thirteenth time at the top level, with six top-20 finishes under his girth.
He finished just outside the top-10 here last year for a career-best result.
Not content with contesting the American 5*s multiple times, Barnaby’s a familiar face across the Pond, where he’s been to Badminton twice and Burghley three times.
Found by Lillian as a six-year-old in Ireland, he was known to be a bit of a rogue gelding, but boy can he jump and so Lillian bought him and the pair haven’t looked back since.
Dressage form 🕺 Barnaby is not here to do dressage – he puts up with it so he gets to gallop across the country on Saturday. At Badminton this season he put down his highest dressage score since Kentucky in 2019, 39.5, although Lillian was pleased with his performance and thought he’d actually been “much more crazy” between the white boards on other occasions when he’d scored better. He generally trends in the mid-30s; at Maryland last year he scored 33.6 and he achieved a career best of 30 in the 4*-S at Plantation Field a few weeks ago.
I just totally love this guy 😍:
Barnaby jiggles a bit in the halt and doesn’t look to want to trot forward, he’d rather canter. Lillian gets him going but he breaks into canter again. Lillian gets him back but he’s being a bit difficult in the early stages of his test.
Once he gets going properly in trot, Barnaby does a good job of the lateral work. He’s in a nice frame and the position is very good.
Barnaby halts at C much better than he did at the start and his rein back is accurate.
He seems to have settled into the test and walks out nicely for Lillian. He’s reasonably relaxed and waits for the aid before transitioning into canter.
The first change is a bit uncomfortable looking, but then Barnaby settles in the lateral work. Lillian knows this guy so well, and she’s really riding the horse that’s underneath her. All in all, after a bit of a wobbly start, it’s come together nicely.
Barnaby could have taken the contact forward more in the stretch circle, but the change afterwards is really lovely.
They halt at the end and Lillian’s got a big smile on her face and there’s a nice pat for Barnaby. It’s a shame about the start of the test because Barnaby really settled into it after the first few movements. Barnaby looks a real picture – a testament to Lillian’s program with this older guy. It’s such a treat to see a really established partnership working together with what they’ve got.
Lillian Heard Wood and LCC Barnaby score 36.4.
3:57pm World No. 1 Oliver Townend has made his way over from Great Britain with Cooley Rosalent for the mare’s second 5* start.
Oliver won one of the best turned out riders prizes at the First Horse Inspection yesterday for looking particularly dapper in his Tokyo Olympics suit 🕴️ Suits you sir!
Maryland form 🥈🥉 It’s Oliver’s third trip to Maryland, where he’s no stranger to the podium – he was runner-up with Cooley Masterclass in 2021 and took third place last year with As Is.
Hot form 🌶️ Oliver’s had a great season thus far, reclaiming the World No. 1 title, winning Burghley and coming second at Badminton. Cooley Rosalent comes to Maryland off the back of a win in the 4* class for eight- and nine-year-olds at Blenheim, where she finished on her dressage of 24.7.
📺 Oliver has appeared on the UK TV show Question of Sport – where they asked him a bunch of horse racing questions (He knew the answers though.)
He’s one tough cookie 🍪 At Kentucky in 2010, he broke his collar bone, shoulder bones, sternum and four ribs – he was in hospital for one day!
Royal approval 👑 Oliver was awarded an MBE for his services to equestrianism by the late Queen of England in 2022.
Dressage form 💃 They posted a 37.4 at Luhmuhlen on the mare’s 5* debut. At 4* they’re mid- to high-20s. In 16 FEI runs, they only have three scores that aren’t sub-30 on their record.
Boop! from Cooley Rosalent:
Oliver canters up the center line looking like he’s meaning business. There were a couple of little trot steps into the halt but Cooley Rosalent sets off in a beautiful outline with lots of expression and swing in her trot. She looks absolutely beautiful – so soft and supple and really working for Oliver.
Oliver’s riding for every single mark, really showing off everything this mare has. He pushes for the extended – it’s stunning – but they’re not quite square in the halt. The rein back is a little quick, but they set off into a very relaxed walk.
There’s such quality in this mare’s gait which Oliver shows off in every single stride of the walk.
The transition into canter isn’t totally clean, and she’s a smidge late in the first change, but we’re talking tiny margins.
Oliver pushes for the extended canter and then makes Cooley Rosalent wait for the change and they absolutely nail it. There could have been more stretch at the beginning of the circle, but then she takes the contact forward and shows just how relaxed and comfortable in her work she is.
The next change is slightly late, but it’s a super square halt to finish and Oliver looks absolutely delighted. Huge smiles, huge pats, a huge cheer, and a hugely exciting young mare. There were a couple of very tiny blips – tiny – but this test was truly lovely. Stunning, in fact. And she’s just a nine-year-old. Wow.
Oliver Townend and Cooley Rosalent score 23.1 and they go INTO THE LEAD.
3:34pm Zach Brandt and Direct Advance come forward for their third 5* together.
Zach and ‘Rosco’ have been together right from the gelding’s first event.
They made their 5* debut here last year and had their first 5* completion at Kentucky this season, where Zach won the James C. Wofford “On the Rise” trophy.
Zach’s based in Florida where he runs Zachary Brandt Eventing with his partner Audrie Stanker and their business partner Crissa Gillette, sourcing, training and matching horses with riders.
Dressage form 🕺Their scores at 4* range from low- to mid-30s to just into the 40s. They posted 35.9 here last year and 43.5 at Kentucky.
🏆Well I know who I’d give the prize for perfect braids to:
Rosco canters straight up the center line and there’s a tiny trot step into the halt, but he stands very square and still, so a good start for them.
Rosco is in a lovely frame as he trots round the ring and this pair look in total harmony with one another. Zach’s making sure that Rosco carries himself, using his double rein exactly how it’s meant to be used – just a little reminder every now and then. Overall Rosco is showing self-carriage nicely, better than he perhaps has before.
The halt is good and the walk is relaxed. There’s a clean transition into canter and they continue in the same way – working nicely as a team and showing themselves off to their best.
He skips through the change slightly and there’s a tiny break at the end of the extended canter. But Zach gets Rosco straight back and the horse seems to be trying really hard for him.
The changes continue to be a little muddled, but for Rosco they’re really very good and he’s trying to do what Zach’s asking – he’s showing a lot of improvement from previous tests.
They finish up and Zach seems pleased. There are things to work on, but there’s a lot of improvement and potential on show, so overall this was a very good performance from Rosco today.
Zach Brandt and Direct Advance score 39.7.
3:43pm Lexi Scovil and Chico’s Man VDF Z come forward for the gelding’s second 5*, having made their debut at Kentucky last year.
🌱 ‘Sprout’, as he’s known in the barn, has gained experience on both sides of the Pond with Lexi, as well as in Europe, where he started his early eventing career with Belgian rider Raf Steegmans.
Lexi bought the gelding in 2017 and has spent time producing him from 2* to the top of his sport.
Lexi relocated to England in 2019 to learn from eventing legend and fellow Maryland competitor William Fox-Pitt, before moving back to Florida to start her own business.
They come here off the back of two top-10 finishes.
Dressage form 🩰 At Kentucky last year they posted a first phase score of 35.5 and are consistently mid-30s at 4*.
🍪 A smart pony snaffling snacks:
Sprout trots a little into the first halt and goes to have a quick look round. Lexi reminds him he’s in his 5* dressage test though and he responds by setting off in a lovely trot.
There’s a little tail swishing going on but Sprout is stepping out nicely for Lexi. You can see him looking out of the corner of his eye as he goes ’round the arena, but he’s staying with her and she’s able to really push for the extended trot – tons of reach and it looks very impressive.
Sprout stands nicely in the halt at C and the rein back is clean and accurate. They set off in walk and Sprout looks relaxed and keen to do as Lexi’s asking of him. He knows the canter transition is coming but waits for Lexi to ask for it and they get a clean strike off.
Ah, there’s a break at the end of the medium canter and Lexi has to bring Sprout right back to walk to get him back with her. They set off again and are back together, and Lexi’s brave enough to push for the extended, which works out well for her.
The stretch circle is very relaxed and they finish up with a very clean and true change.
There have been a couple of unfortunate mistakes, but they finish with a super square halt. Overall this test has been very impressive – lots of relaxation and Sprout seemed totally rideable. They’ve obviously got a wonderful partnership with one another and look to be a real team. Lexi gives Sprout a huge pat as he walks out of the ring looking incredibly relaxed.
Lexi Scovil and Chico’s Man VDF Z score 31.9 and go into 7th place.
3:51pm And finally, wrapping up the dressage for us is unofficial Ice Man (I’m pretty sure Wim Hof lays claim to the official title) and Maryland champ in 2021 Boyd Martin who brings German-bred mare Contessa forward for her second 5* start.
Ready? Yo VIP, let’s kick it! 🛀 (Ice, ice baby…)
Contessa made her debut at the level at Kentucky in the spring, finishing in 14th place.
At fourteen, she’s relatively low-mileage, having been produced slowly by Boyd, spending a good while at the Intermediate level and sitting out the 2021 season.
It’s no secret that Boyd is partial to a nippy dip, but have you ever wondered where his love of ice baths comes from? Perhaps it’s in the genes 👖 Boyd’s parents met at the Winter Olympics – his mom competed in speed skating ⛸️ and his dad in cross-country skiing ⛷️ So that’s why he’s so speedy across the country!
He may be the ice man, but he’s on hot form! 🌶️ Boyd won the 2*-L, 3*-L and 4*-S all in one weekend at Bromont in June. He’s had 14 top 3 finishes this season, is currently the top rider on the USEA leaderboard and World No. 3, and comes here off a win in the 4*-L at Morven Park last weekend.
Breeding info 🧬 Contessa has the same sire as Tim Price’s Burghley 4th place ride Vitali.
Dressage form 💃 They scored 35.5 at Kentucky and have generally been low-30s at the 4* level this season.
Eventing’s self-appointed PR star, the perks of being a wallflower are not on Boyd’s radar:
There’s a cheer as Boyd ad Contessa come forward to walk ’round the outside of the arena. They set off into canter and come straight up the center line. The halt is square and Boyd means business.
Contessa looks great. Boyd’s able to really push in the medium and Contessa shows off her expression as she strides across the arena. So far so good for this pair – they really look to be working together.
Contessa is really soft across the top line, so relaxed and happy in her work. They’re very impressive in the extended and then halt totally square. The rein back is off the track, kind of diagonal into the arena, but the walk is relaxed and Contessa steps out nicely for Boyd.
This test is going really well for Boyd and Contessa. She’s working totally with Boyd so far. The first change is a little tight but Boyd’s able to really ride forward for every mark.
Ah, the extended is great, but they pay for being so brave in the corner. There’s a break in the canter, but it looks like it’s because she’s trying so hard.
There is stretch in the circle and the next changes are a bit better, although still slightly tight. But again, it’s because she’s really trying for Boyd and you can’t complain about that.
The halt is perfectly square to finish. Boyd gives Contessa a big pat and she looks relaxed and happy as she finishes up her test.
This has been a great showing from the pair – a couple of mistakes in the canter, but overall a really happy combination working together.
Boyd Martin and Contessa score a PB of 28.8 and go into 5th place.
4pm And there we have it! Maryland 5 Star is well underway with the first phase wrapped up and thoughts turning to tomorrow’s cross country.
It’s a British 1, 2, 3 after the two days of dressage.
Here’s a look at how things stand:
Leading overnight is Oliver Townend with Cooley Rosalent on a score of 23.1.
Just over a point behind, in second is Piggy March with Brookfield Cavalier Cruise on 24.2.
And rounding out the top 3, just under two points behind Piggy, is William Fox-Pitt with Grafennacht on 26.1.
In fourth is New Zealand’s Monica Spencer with Artist on 28.4.
And best of the Americans is Boyd Martin with Contessa, who go out onto cross country tomorrow on a PB of 28.8 in fifth place.
Watch out for EN’s full round-up of all the day’s dressage – coming soon!
Tomorrow is everyone’s favorite day – cross country day 🏇
The 5* action kicks off at 1:30pm EST / 6:30pm BST and Team EN will be bringing you live updates from Ian Stark’s track – so keep it locked on to EN – and go eventing!
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