Great Scot! Maryland 5 Star Cross Country Live Blog

It’s very nearly go time for the main event at the MARS Maryland 5 Star presented by Brown Advisory. Our first pair, Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue leave the startbox at 1:35 PM ET to set out on Ian Stark’s 2023 iteration of the Maryland 5 Star cross country course.

Riders seem to agree that the course looks a little bigger this year! Check out our roundup of rider reactions here and a full course preview here.

MARS Maryland 5 Star: [Website] [Entries, Schedule & Times] [Live Scores] [Live Stream (North America)] [Live Stream (Outside North America)] [Tickets] [5* Form Guide] [Digital Program] [XC Maps] [5* XC Order of Go] [EN’s Coverage]

EN’s coverage of MARS Maryland 5 Star is brought to you by Kentucky Performance Products.

4:20 PM: PHEW I needed to catch my breath there after all that. I don’t think there will be any grumbling about this track not being up to five-star standards this year. Stay tuned for a full report on the day’s action from the EN team. Here’s a look at the top of the leaderboard as things now stand:

Out of 25 starters, 16 completed the course and just ONE made the optimum time. Mia Farley, you’re a hero!

4:16 PM: Lexi and Sprout trigger and frangible at fence 12 and Lexi opts to retire. That brings our cross country day to an abrupt end!

4:13 PM: Gah, Lexi and Sprout stop at fence 9, the Brown Advisory Chesapeake Bay Canoe. Looks like he might have taken a peek at the waterfall feature and spooked himself!

4:11 PM: OK Lexi and Chicos Man VDF are indeed on course and clear through the arena. They went out of order because “Sprout” threw a shoe in the warmup.

4:10 PM: Oh my goodness, hang on the last few minutes have been chaos. Here’s what happened:

  • We didn’t get to see much of Zach Brandt and Direct Advance on the live stream since they followed Oliver, but they had two problems on course first a 20 at the MagnaWave Hollow and then again at the Cecil County Corners where Zach puts a hand up and calls it a day.
  • The camera then suddenly pans to Boyd Martin who is on the ground and then to Contessa who is galloping in the direction of the main arenas.
  • Now Frankie Theriot Stutes is handing Oliver a box of Altoids and I totally missed why??
  • OK, phew, Boyd is up and looks OK. He must have gotten the wind knocked out of him. Contessa pecked on landing after the last element of fence 3AB, the Maryland Sports Commission Splash and Boyd got ejected out the side door.

4:03 PM: They’re home! Oliver and Rosie cross the finish flags with 6 time faults, but plenty of breathing room in the standings such that they’ll hang on to first place headed into dressage. There’s no sign of a frangible penalty on their scorecard.

4:01 PM: Oh goodness, “Rosie” takes an extra but non-existent step with her hind legs and off the Fair Hill drop and hind end collapses a bit on landing, but she stands up gain without issue and continues easily.

4:01 PM: Quite the growl from Oliver as he sees a stride from waaaaay away to the Foxcatcher Ditch:

4:00 PM: Hmm, might have a little bit of drama on our hands? The front clip of the second of the Cecil County Corners releases as “Rosie” lifts off over the fence. I’m sure the ground jury will take a look.

3:56 PM: Barnaby is still full of running after fence 24, the Fox Catcher Ditch. He and Lillian tackled the Crab Water with ease, even jumping nearly the large part of the brush on the way out of the complex.

3:55 PM: Cooley Rosalant has just the most delightful pricked ears. Oliver was a little worried about her spooking at fence 9, the Brown Advisory Chesapeake Bay Canoe.

3:52 PM: Alright, our leaders after dressage, Oliver Townend and Cooley Rosalent are on course! Oliver had her on a really nice soft rein through the arena and she makes the Kelso Question look like a walk in the park. Sidney Solomon and Early Review C unfortunately ran into more trouble up at the Crab Water, picking up another 20 and opting to retire.

3:50 PM: We have times in for both Erin and William: both have 11:23 on their scorecard which seems a little sus so we’ll consider those unofficial times for now. But those 5.2 time penalties would still see William move into first on the clubhouse leaderboard.

3:49 PM: Aw darn, Early Review C doesn’t get his eye on the first of the Cecil County Corners and picks up a 20. Meanwhile, Lillian and Barnaby make easy work of the sunken road.

3:48 PM: Woooo another tight, tight turn in the arena, this time by Lillian and Barnaby! They take a flag with them, but are clear. We’re also getting glimpses of Oliver Townend and Cooley Rosalent circling the startbox.

3:46 PM: Early Review C does a brave one stride between fence 10AB, the Brown Advisory C&D Canal Barges. Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby are officially out on course for their 13th start at this level!

3:44 PM: William and Lillie cross the finish flags and we’re guessing that they’re going to be within the optimum time, but we won’t actually know until after their hold time is calculated!

3:42 PM: Easy peasy for William through the Cecil County Corners and then the Crab Water. Sydney Solomon and Early Review C are now out on course as well. Jennie Brannigan and Twighlightslastgleam were slated to go between these two but have withdrawn before cross country.

3:38 PM: Alright, we’re getting underway again. Erin Kanara and Camground are off to finish up the last couple fences on course for them. William and Lillie have now resumed as well, picking things up at fence 17.

Editor’s Note: We have updated this article to correct an incorrect statement that Arielle was pulled up by officials. This was untrue, and she pulled up on her own to attend to Dutch Times. She reported last night that he was resting comfortably at New Bolton and would hopefully be able to return home soon. We’re thinking of you, Arielle!

3:32 PM: We’re still on hold and have word from our team on the ground that Dutch Times is being loaded onto the horse ambulance with his right front leg wrapped. He’s showing lameness, but standing and loading of his own accord. I’m just gutted for Arielle and her team. The EN team will certainly be wishing them our very best healing vibes.

3:28 PM: We still have a hold on course.

3:25 PM: William and Lillie have now been pulled up and are being held on course right after the fence 15, Bodgie’s Fox Covert. We’ve confirmed that Arielle and Dutch pulled up right before fence 27AB, Fox Mill Farm Turn For Home and their scorecard lists them as retired.

3:24 PM: We have word that Arielle and Dutch times have pulled up near the end of the course. We see Erin and Campground also now being pulled up after the Fair Hill Drop. William is still out on course and have a lovely ride through the Baltimore Barricades.

3:21 PM: William makes some tight turns in the arena, which gives the crowd a little thrill! Here’s a still:

3:19 PM: William Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht aka “Lillie” are freshly out on course now!

3:18 PM: Strong ride for Erin and Campground through the Sunken Road. Meanwhile Arielle takes the not-so-long long route at the Cecil County corners.

3:15 PM: Dutch loses a little momentum over the last two elements of the MaganaWave Hollow and scrambles a bit to make it over. Arielle then makes a super smart decision to take the option at the Select Event Group Baltimore Barricades. Erin Kanara and Campground are next out on course and clear through the arena.

3:13 PM: Oh damn, I spoke too soon! Mr. Cash speeds right past fence 15, Bodgie’s Fox Covert, which is after those huge barricades. Sarah goes on to jump the next couple fences and the first of the Cecil County Corners but then pulls up and calls it a day.

3:11 PM: Caroline Powell crosses the finish and stops the clock with 12.8 time and the 20 on their scorecard for the drop has already been removed. Sarah and Mr. Cash are through fence 17, the Visit Harford Podium Boxes, without any additional problems.

3:09 PM: Another first-timer, Arielle Aharoni and Dutch Times are now on course. Shout out to Arielle’s mom Christine, who owns the horse and actually bought him in utero. Basically she’s watching her two kids go tackle their first five-star together, can you imagine? We also have word that apparently Sarah had two stops in the arena, unfortunately.

3:07 PM: Oh my! Greenacres Special Cavalier grinds to a halt at the big Fairhill Drop. We’re betting this stop will be reviewed – the horse certainly came to a stop but it’s questionable whether they took a step backwards. We don’t think so.

3:06 PM: Sarah Kuhn unfortunately picks up an early 20 penalties in the arena. We weren’t able to see what exactly happened.

3:05 PM: Caroline was up on the clock coming into Cecil County Corners but takes a wide 9 strides to the second element which now puts them down on the clock by a few seconds.

3:03 PM: Our trot up fashionista Sarah Kuhn is out of the start box now with Mr. Cash van de Start. Caroline is fast through the MagnaWave Hollow. Rain has now picked up, and this is really the first time anyone has had to tackle this five-star course in any kind of weather since the event’s inception.

3:00 PM: We’re back underway! Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier are through the Timber Rails now where they were held. Spencer reports that Jacob actually fell at the next fence after the brush fence 12, the Armstrong Unnamed Trib Oxer, and that he’s OK!

2:55 PM: We’re still at a hold on course as the brush is being rebuilt. Our livestream commentator Spencer Sturmey confirms that Jacob and Fabian ran straight though it and we have word from our team on the ground that Jacob fell. We’ll keep you posted on their status.

2:50 PM: We have a hold on course now as the building team is replacing brush at fence 11, the Dubarry Flying Scot where word is Jacob and Fabian ran through it a bit and have since been pulled up. Caroline Powell and Greenacres Special Cavalier are being held at fence 6AB, the Cecil County Timber Rails.

2:50 PM: Frankie Theriot Stutes reports that David O’Connor burst into tears after Mia and Phelps crushed the Crab Water. Mia is also a bit understandably emotional in her post cross country interview!

2:48 PM: Bobby is having FUN and HIGH FIVING FANS after successfully tackling the Fair Hill International Rollercoaster & Drop where the ropes come quite close to the track after those angled houses.

2:46 PM: HUGE jump over the crab for Lumumba and she and Bobby make easy work of the direct route. He punches he air in celebration and the crowd goes wild!

2:45 PM: Bobby and Lumumba are the first to take the long route at fences 18 and 19AB, the Cecil County Corners, which honestly doesn’t add too much time.

2:42 PM: WHAT A RIDE! Five-star first-timers Mia Farley and Phelps are our first to make the time! They are bang on the optimum, too! Nothing runs like a Thoroughbred!

2:41 PM: Bobby Meyerhoff and Lumumba have left the start box and are clear so far as well as the second half of our husband-wife duo: Jacob Fletcher and Fabian who are just starting out on course now. Cornelia finished with 11 penalties and just under 30 time faults. Meanwhile Mia is trucking on to the finish — she and Phelps could be out first inside the time!?!

2:40 PM: Quick screen grab of Mia and Phelps at the Crab Water. They went direct and clear and are really FLYING.

2:37 PM: Go Phelps! The gelding crawls a little over the C element at the MagnaWave Hollow and then demonstrates some fancy footwork to get over the D element cleanly.

2:34 PM: Gah! Daytona Beach triggers a frangible on the first of the Cecil County Corners. Looks like the mare gave the back rail a good rub with her front end. Next, they take the long route through the MARS Maryland Crab Water. Andrew and Ferrie’s Cello completed with 30 and change time faults, plus their score is also showing faults for a frangible at fence 12, the Armstrong Unnamed Trib Oxer.

2:33 PM: Here’s another five-star first-timer on course! Mia Farely and Phelps absolutely attack the Kelso Question in the arena. Andrew also takes the long route through fence 25 ABCD, the Fair Hill International Rollercoaster & Drop.

2:30 PM: We get word from Spencer Sturmey on the live stream that Booli was actually pulled up by the ground jury up near the Crab Water after she had those two refusals and he says the horse seemed to be slipping a little. Andrew takes the full long route through the Crab Water now. Ferrie’s Cello is looking a little tired, but he’s giving his horse a wonderfully compassionate ride. Haven’t seen Cornelia lately, but the scoreboard says she’s clear through the first half of the course.

2:28 PM: Andrew has to make a quick decision to take the long route at the MagnaWave Hollow after a big jump in. Cornelia and Daytona are fast through the arena!

2:25 PM: Really nice positive riding by Andrew though the Canal Barges. We didn’t get to see it, but Booli has had a third runout at the last element of the Crab Water which means their day has ended. Cornelia Fletcher and the spicy Daytona Beach 8 join us on course now as well. Emily and Corvett complete with a total of 44.8 penalties.

2:22 PM: Another problem for Booli and Lance, this time at fence 15 Bodgie’s Fox Covert, where they have a run out.

2:21 PM: Our first five-star first-timer of this event is now on course! It’s Andrew McConnon and Ferrie’s Cello.

2:18 PM: Woo! We get our fish look at Booli Selmayer and Millfield Lancado, who gets a little close to the last element fo the Kelso Question in the arena and pops over it. Haven’t seen much of Emily and Corvett on the live stream, but the scoreboard shows they’ve had a refusal at 13C, which is the MagnaWave Hollow. We have word that Booli and “Lance” also picked up 20 penalties at 10A, the Brown Advisory C&D Canal Barges just now. Lance just ground to a halt at the first barge in the water.

2:17 PM: Piggy is nearly 30 seconds over time now as they approach the finish, which sees her drop below Auston O’Connor in the standings.

2:15 PM: Piggy senses she might not make the striding in the Crab Water and opts to take the long route after the bounce in.

2:12 PM: Brookfield Cavalier Cruise is really flying — maybe a little too much, as he’s running through the bridle and Piggy is forced to take the long route through the MagnaWave Hollow. Hannah Sue completes cleanly with 7.2 seconds of time faults giving Chito a big hug as they trot out. We are also just now getting our first glimpse at our next pair on course, Emily Hamel and Corvett, who are clean through the combination in the arena, fence 5ABC, the Kelso Question.

2:10 PM: Another one nails it! Hannah Sue and “Chito” have a beautiful ride through the MARS Maryland Crab Water and give the crowd a huge wave to thank them for their cheers.

Here’s Piggy through the sunken road. Sadly our GIF software is no longer functional ad we;ll be looking for new one before Pau next week, but I think I can manage some screeenshots today!

2:07 PM: Here goes Piggy March and Brookfield Cavalier Cruise out on course, our second placed pair after dressage. Buck and Sorocaima finish 30 or so second over time. No one has caught the time yet!

2:05 PM: Buck chooses the long route through the MARS Maryland Crab Water, which will eat up a good bit of time. They also knocked a flag at the second of the Cecil County Corners which might end up showing up as 15 penalties — that one will be up to the video review!

2:04 PM: I had to gather my wits after Monica’s joyous round, but we’ve got Hannah Sue Hollberg and Capitol HIM on course now with a nice ride through the combination in the arena, and Buck Davidson and Sorocaima further along on course.

1:59 PM: OH NO! They were having a cracking round and were even up on the clock at this point, but Phillip and Azure never quite find the line to the second of the Cecil County corners and the mare drifts right, catching the corner with a leg and they both take a tumble. They’re both up and walking off course.

1:58 PM: Monica crosses the finish flags with 15.2 time faults and a HUGE smile on her face and big waves to the crowds! That’s what it feels like to nail your first five-star cross country!

1:56 PM: We’re catching up with Phillip Dutton and Azure now who are already through fence 13, the MagnaWave Hollow, where Azure is leaping like there’s no tomorrow. Phillip is cutting his turns tight and gunning for the time.

1:55 PM: PERFECT ride for Monica and Artist through the whole crab water complex! They nail a perfect two strides from the brush at the top of the bank to the one at the bottom and Monica punches the air in triumph!

1:54 PM: A kiss from wife Jess and a hug from mom Marilyn for Doug, who’s home with 13.6 time faults!

1:51 PM: Beautiful ride for Doug and Quantum into the Crab Water and they get a great shot up the bank and a beautiful stride to the brush on top. Now they have a little too much momentum, though, so Doug guides Quantum over to left nearly to the ropes and they come to a stop, very careful not to cross their tracks as they then turn to jump the last brush.

1:49 PM: Quantum knocks a flag at the first of the Cecil County Corners, but seem just fine. Artist is so keen through the sunken road. He says, ‘Let me fly, mom!’

1:47 PM: Our trailblazing pair cross the finish line 6 seconds over time! What does this mean for the rest of our competitors?

1:46 PM: New Zealand’s Monica Spencer and Artist join us on course next. We haven’t seen much of Doug and Quantum on the live stream, but the scoreboard shows they’re still clear through the first half of the course.

1:44 PM: No problems so far for Doug or Austin, who is now approaching fence 21ABCD, the MARS Equestrian Crab Water… they bounce in easily and get a great stride to the up bank. Salty slows a little and just crawls a bit over the brush D element. Austin knows they need to pick up a little momentum now to make it over the last element and takes a little squiggle approach .. well done, they make it through handily!

1:41 PM: Doug Payne and previous CCI5*L National Champion Quantum Leap are our next out on course. Austin and “Salty” are up on their minute markers as they make their way though fence 13, the MagnaWave Hollow.

1:37 PM: Austin and Salty are going nicely so far and they’re the first ones through the brand new complex at fence 7ABCD, the YANMAR Sunken Road. No problem at all!

1:35 PM: And we’re off! Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue are out of the startbox and on course. This is a super strong pair across country, so they’ll be very exciting trail blazers for us to watch.

1:30 PM: Need a quick little refresher on what the course looks like before we begin? Here’s a lovely flyover video:

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