It was a wild day full of bloodthirsty athletes here at the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. Ian Stark’s “scrappy” course saw a completion rate of 64% and just one double clear round claimed by Mia Farley — our highest-placed US rider as well, currently sitting in third place. This incredible feat was not only her first 5* start, but marks her 20th jumping clear cross country round to maintain her career perfect record. Ian was pleased with the way the day turned out, saying Mia rode amazingly given it being her first run at the level. “What really thrilled me is, because I’m a racing man, it’s a thoroughbred,” he said, before joking, “It’s sort of a ‘I won’t make the gesture’ to the warmbloods, but I’ve always been a thoroughbred person, so I’m delighted for her.”
William Fox-Pitt and the absolutely adorable “Lillie” were a pleasure to watch, putting in one of the faster rounds of the day to finish in the second position. “What I liked about the course was there were quite a few questions out there with some different striding for the same fence,” he explained. “I liked where we had to react to what we were on — you couldn’t just walk the course and say ‘I’m gonna do that that.'”
Oliver Townend and Cooley Rosalent maintained their lead going into show jumping with just 6 time faults tacked on to his score. After taking third place here last year, he says Ian has definitely “tweaked it into a true five-star — probably one of the toughest five-stars in the world right now, as of today.” And boy does that feel right! Walking the course ourselves on Thursday morning was a very exhaustive endeavor, so heaps of respect given to every horse and rider that tackled that monster today.
The Maryland 5 Star CCI3* Show Jumping will start up at 10:30 AM EST, with the CCI5* competitors taking to the ring at 2:00 PM EST — don’t miss a second of this nail-biting finish! And while I’ve been eating, sleeping, and breathing Maryland all week, we can’t forget about our friends over in France at the FEI WBFSH Eventing World Breeding Championships at Mondial du Lion, who will also be bringing their weekend to a close today. Show jumping is set to start at 11:00 AM CET / 5:00 AM EST — watch the 6-year-olds here and the 7-year-olds here on the FEI YouTube channel.
Coverage of both Le Lion and the Maryland 5 Star are both brought to you via ClipMyHorse.TV/USEF Network in the US and via Horse & Country TV for those abroad. I’ll also be bringing you live updates from the 5* right here on EN!
Major International Events
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]
U.S. Weekend Preview
Links to Start Your Sunday:
Sponsor Corner: In the mood to listen to something to improve your horse-y education on your next road trip? Check out the Etalon podcast, Genetics Unbridled. Their latest episode talks about the captivating realm of coat colors, starting with the well-known Agouti gene.
Morning Viewing: Get your tissues ready, because we were all a bit emotional about Mia’s big success on course yesterday — especially owner and mentor David O’Connor.