Time Waits for No One at a Five (and a Half) Star: Riders React to Maryland 5 Star Cross Country

A rollercoaster ride round Maryland 5 Star. Photo via CrossCountry App.

It’s cross country day at Maryland 5 Star and we’ve got the riders’ scoop on Ian Stark’s track as they prepare to kick on and go eventing.

First, the facts:

The optimum time is 11 minutes and 10 seconds and there are 28 numbered fences comprising of 45 jumping efforts: there are six double combinations, three trebles and three with ABCD elements.

Really, it’s ‘That (insert vocab here as you will) Crab’ that’s causing the most water-related conversation. To be fair, the crustacean does have a menacing kind of gleam in his eye but – unlike a lot of the riders – Ian doesn’t foresee any problems with the horses leap-frogging the tasty delicacy. “They’ve jumped [him] for two years now, so I’m kind of hoping that it’s not going to spook the horses, but there is an alternative” – albeit still a bounce.

“Everyone’s chatting about the last water.” Photo via CrossCountryApp.

There has been some discussion about the striding at the fence out of the water [22AB], with Britain’s William Fox-Pitt being particularly vocal about how many strides he thinks it is (hint: it’s not two, or three), but Ian’s adamant that unless someone’s riding Pegasus, the distance will come up on two strides. We’ll have to wait and see if any of the horses have grown wings overnight.

Another fence that’s taking up a lot of space in the riders’ heads is the Foxcatcher Ditch at 24, but again, Ian believes that it’s more rider-frightener than anything and the horses will pay it no heed as they sail on over: “It’s not that scary. It’s only when you stand up at the edge and look at it for five minutes, and hopefully the horses aren’t going to do that. I might have a different theory on Saturday night, but there is a very, very, very, very friendly alternative”.

Will the Foxcatcher Ditch catch anyone out? Ian doesn’t think so. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Ian’s thinking the time will be will be a changin’ this time around: “I’ve had stick for two years here, about too many people getting inside the time. In my defense, the first year was the first time we had the competition here [and we were] getting to know the ground. The second year was like a first year again because the start and finish was in a different place”. And this year? “Be careful what you wish for!” he warns.

There are a number of places he’s deliberately planned to slow the riders down. As well as the finale being in water, he’s moved the table at Fence 26 to the bottom of the hill, so the riders will have to steady up rather than just cannoning down towards the finish flags. The long routes are long this year, so there’ll be no taking the easy option if you want to make the time, and there are a couple of fences on frangible devices which riders will have to respect if they want to avoid penalties.

Ian does point out that the footing at Maryland is perfect, and the riders are top-class, so it’s not entirely his fault if the optimum time has been gettable in the past. He doesn’t agree that it should be unobtainable as he doesn’t want horses to be under that kind of pressure on his tracks, but he would be happy if, this year, nobody got the time: “I’d like them to get around and be safe, but a few time faults for the lot wouldn’t do them any harm”.

Ian has listened to feedback from the rider reps, and has amended where necessary, including having an alternative into the waterfall water – the canoe at Fence 9 – but, of course, going the long way there adds a fair few seconds because he doesn’t want the time to be uninfluential, right?

He’s a little concerned about the proximity of the tailgaters to the combination at 14AB, but they’ve put up barriers “to stop little children and little dogs running out in front of the horses*” (*Quote amended slightly, because Ian definitely doesn’t have strong opinions on little kids and little dogs). He’s got a plan for if things get a big raucous up there, but we’ll wait and see what happens rather than pre-empt the actions of an angry course designer, just in case everyone behaves themselves and there’s nothing to see here.

Overall, Ian believes that this year, his track is “fantastic with knobs on – Print that if you like”. OK Ian, we will! Stay tuned for a full course preview coming next from Allie Heninger.

So, now we know a bit about what’s out there, but what do the riders think? Divulge yourselves of their expert offerings, and go eventing!

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] [3* XC Order of Go] [EN’s Coverage]

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

Oliver Townend (GBR) – Cooley Rosalent – 23.1 – 1st

Oliver Townend and Cooley Rosalent. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Cooley Rosalent may be the youngest horse in the field this week, but she came out into the dressage ring like a total pro and put herself in pole position going into the cross country. Her mother won the Scottish Grand National, so this young mare sure is bred to gallop and jump. Oliver’s been runner-up and third at Maryland over the last two years – he’s surely looking to add Champion to that list.

Oliver may be World No.1 and have a recent Burghley win under his belt, but is there anything he thinks will be particularly tricky out on the Maryland track this afternoon?

“How long have you got?!”

So that’s a yes then!

“It’s a proper five-star, definitely the toughest five-star we’ve seen here, and it’s right up there with the toughest in the world now. A few of the riders were saying it was four- and a half-star last year – which I didn’t actually believe – but it’s definitely five- and a half-star now. The combinations are very serious. I’ll just be trying to look after her and give her time where I need to give her time and where I can hopefully press on and catch time, I’ll be trying to do that.”

Piggy March (GBR) – Brookfield Cavalier Cruise – 24.2 – 2nd

Piggy March and Brookfield Cavalier Cruise. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

On why she chose to travel to Maryland with her 5* first-timer, Brookfield Cavalier Cruise:

“The guys that have been here over the last few years have given it nothing but a glowing report, and how amazing the ground is. And it’s a brilliant first-time five-star because it’s big and bold and attacking. It can get wet, which I don’t really normally mind. And the time can be easy – I thought maybe they’ll tighten that up over time if everyone’s still getting the time, but it’s not a big field so hopefully they won’t go mad.”

And was she right about that?

“The further I got round [the course], I’m like, ‘Oh God! I should have gone to Burghley and just gone a bit slower’! I’ve paid all this money and come all this way to just be absolutely terrified and think, what am I doing?!”

So what does a Badminton and Burghley winner tell herself when she’s terrified?

“I’ve grown up watching Ian Stark and riding lots of his courses, so it’s like, ‘Shut up Pig, and get on with it’!”

“I’m going to give it a bloody good go that’s for sure.”

William Fox-Pitt (GBR) – Grafennacht – 26.1 – 3rd

William Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht. Photo by Sally Spickard.

William’s here at Maryland with ‘Lillie’, who he describes as a “tough old wench” – for sure a compliment when you’re talking about a 5* event horse! What else does he have to say about the mare?

“She’s fabulous! She always says yes. You always know she’s going to have a go, like at Badminton this year, she completely fell onto the Normandy Bank but she found a leg, not only to jump it, but to jump through the Owl Hole on a bounce stride! Because she really just gives no shit.”

So that’s what he means when he says she’s a yes kinda gal!

And how will her can-do attitude fare her on the Maryland track?

“Famous last words, but I’m hoping she doesn’t do any belly flopping tomorrow! Actually, if she did belly flop coming out of that bloody water fence [Fence 21AB and 22AB – AKA (from now on) ‘That Bloody Crab’], it might help the striding! There is a stride, but going down to the last – D – is two-and-a-half – it’s not two and it’s not three, so it’s ‘please God, just take off’! That for me is the unknown jump – it’s totally fair, but it is quite unknown.”

Monica Spencer (NZL) – Artist – 28.4 – 4th

Monica Spencer (NZL) and Artist. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Monica hadn’t had chance to walk the course proper when we spoke to her, but she had walked parts.

“It looks amazing. There’s plenty to do out there! I doubt it’ll be a dressage competition, let’s put it that way.”

Boyd Martin (USA) – Contessa – 28.8 – 5th

Boyd Martin and Contessa. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Boyd’s best of the US on the scoreboard sitting in 5th place after the first phase. How’s he feeling about today’s cross country?

“Tomorrow will be a real test. I’m quietly, quietly confident and quietly terrified. I haven’t been this nervous at a 5* in a while! I just think it’s a huge course. I’ve got the luxury of sitting back and watching the other horses go and seeing how they read the questions. I think my plan is to start out quite settled and and pick it up as I go. I feel like if I can get through the first half good, she should she should come home strong.”

Boyd’s last out of the start box this afternoon, so he gets to see how everyone else gets on – if he wants to. How many rounds does he plan to watch?

“A lot. We all have a plan of how we think the horses are going to read the jumps, but you just never know.”

And where does he plan to get going to make sure he doesn’t get caught out by Ian’s plan for a tighter time?

“I’ve just got to be sensible and pace her. If I try and go real fast in the beginning, it blows her mind a bit, and I think I’ve got to ride calm but be efficient – pick the jumps that I feel like I could fly and the ones that I’ve really got to slow down. I’m just going to ride her as fast as I can.”

Lexi Scovil (USA) – Chico’s Man VDF Z – 31.9 – 8th

Lexi Scovil and Chico’s Man VDF Z. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

“It’s big! I think individually, there’s nothing he hasn’t seen before, but it’s obviously always a cumulative effect, and you’ve always got the hills that go with it. You never feel 100% confident beforehand, but he’s jumped around Kentucky so I know he can do the distance. He really stepped up when I took him to Kentucky so I’m feeling super optimistic that he loves a big atmosphere and he’ll be brave as he can be. We’ll give it a shot and we’ll see what happens – whether we go for time or we just go to jump around. I can’t ask for any more than the horse has already given me so I’ll be happy with the outcome regardless.”

Is there anything she’s particularly worried about out on course with ‘Sprout’?

“Not for him. I think everyone’s a little bit looking at the last water [Fence 21AB and 22AB – AKA ‘The *** Crab’] thinking it’s a lot. But having said that, you’ve got a good couple waters before so you’ll have a good idea of what they should do there. And what’s nice again, is if he peeks a bit at the first water, then there’s always the option of going long. I think I’ve got a lot of possibilities and I should know what my goal is by the time I get there. Anything can happen anywhere, but there’s nothing else that I’m particularly thinking that he’s not likely to do.”

Hannah Sue Hollberg (USA) – Capitol H I M – 32.4 -9th

Hannah Sue Hollberg and Capitol HIM. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Hannah Sue is one of the rider reps at the event. What was her reaction to her course walk?

“Good Lord! What is happening?!”

Can she expand on that?

“There’s a lot of things out there that – well that one jump after the Crab water, I’ve never seen anything like that before [Fence 24, the Foxcatcher Ditch that A LOT of the riders are talking about]. I’m not really sure what’s going to happen there – you’ve just got to get to the other side, you know?”

And are there any other fences she’s scratching her head about?
“The waterfall jump [Fence 9, the canoe into the water that has water spilling off the top] kind of took me by surprise – I didn’t expect to see that on this course. And the bounce with the Crab is weird [[Fence 21AB]. I think that out of that combination is really going to be hard [Fence 22AB].”

The ultimate question that’s been on everyone’s mind in the lead-up to the event – the time. In previous years we know it’s been entirely gettable, how about this year?

“The whole thing is going to be a bit jarring, I think. He obviously doesn’t want people to make the time this year! I don’t think they will, just with how you have to gallop something and then really quickly change directions or change pace.”

And how will ‘Chito’ find the course?

“I’m really glad to be riding this horse because he’s really really rideable and he turns really well. I can’t imagine being on another horse that isn’t that way because I just don’t know how you would do any of those combinations. So I’m excited to ride him. I’ve been galloping him a lot – he’s fitter than he’s ever been, so fingers crossed.”

Mia Farley (USA) – Phelps – 32.9 – 10th

Mia Farley and Phelps. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Mia is here with Phelps for their first time at 5*, and with their combined age being just 33, she’s brought her youthful sense of humor along for the ride.

What does she think of her first 5* track?

“It just looks like another show!” she jokes (we think!).

In all seriousness, though?

“I think it’s pretty demanding. I think, once we go up the hill, he’s [Ian’s] kind of laid off a little bit, but we’ll see what we’re made of, I guess.”

She’s been doing lots of hills to prepare Phelps for his first 5* and is confident that he’s fit – and glad that he’s a Thoroughbred.

Andrew McConnon (USA) – Ferrie’s Cello – 33.4 – 11th

Andrew McConnon and Ferrie’s Cello. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Andrew’s got a firm plan in mind already for how he’s going to tackle the Crab [Fence 21AB]:

“I’m already planning to go long at the main water for a couple of different reasons. I’ve never gone that length [of time] – we’ve obviously never done a five-star – so I’m already deciding to go long there. I think that will suit him [Ferrie’s Cello] better, with the angles and banks and things.”

Andrew’s had some solid support on his course walks so far, with not one but two Olympic medalists – Great Britain’s William Fox-Pitt and US based Brit Leslie Law – on hand to help out.
“When I was in England for two years with William, he got to know me pretty well, and so he was able to walk the course with me, and then I’ll walk it with Leslie, and then a bunch of times on my own, so we’ll come up with a good plan and then see if we can execute it.”

And what’s it like walking the course with William Fox-Pitt?

“He’s very relaxed and it’s really comforting to have him here and really fun to walk the cross country. He’s serious about it, but he’s also realistic and understands different people’s plans and he’s really supportive. He’s really supportive.”

“I feel like I’ve got a good group of people around me which is really important.”

Austin O’Connor (IRE) – Colorado Blue – 33.7 – 12th

Austin O’Connor (IRE) and Colorado Blue. Photo by Sally Spickard.

It’s Austin’s first time at Maryland, although he’s been to Kentucky a couple of times, but not for ten years. How’s he finding his trip Stateside?

“The cross country looks incredible. I can’t say a bad word about [the event].”

And the cross country course?

“I think it’s all a challenge – a proper five-star. It’s a nice start, quite gallopy, and then it gets quite intense with a lot of big jumps, so I think it’ll be an interesting day.”

But he’s on an undeniably great cross country horse.

“Yes, but we still have to keep focused and have a bit of luck on our side.”

And how does he feel about going out as trailblazer?

“It is what it is. It’s no one’s ideal situation, to be honest. It’s nice to see half a dozen, and see what’s happening, but it’s the luck of the draw and I’ve just got to crack on.”

Buck Davidson (USA) – Sorocaima – 34.2 – 13th

Buck Davidson and Sorocaima. Photo by Sally Spickard.

And we have another rider who’s talking about the waterfall off the canoe at Fence 9:

“There’s some things that he’s [Ian] got to put in there, like speedbumps. The first water [that the horses have to jump into, Fence 9] – my horse, who’s unbelievably brave, but that water fountain, he might go up there and not get from here to the arena. I’m not a big fan of those gimmicky things. But it’s there, he’s [Sorocaima] got to do it. He’s a good cross country horse, he’s fit, and we’ll give it our best shot. Hopefully it rains like crazy, and then keeps raining, and rains more! You’d like the cross country to be pretty influential. I love riding him cross country, and we’ll take our chance.”

Doug Payne (USA) – Quantum Leap – 35.9 – 16th

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Photo by Sally Spickard.

“It’s super solid, so I’m incredibly grateful I have him [Quantum Leap] here – I wouldn’t want to be on a lesser jumper or a less genuine horse.”

And with Doug’s experience in mind, what does he think about the time? Are there places he expects to be a bit down, and where does he think he’ll be able to make it up?

“I think the whole thing’s pretty challenging. Historically, I’ve probably been a little conservative in the first minute or two, just because I didn’t know what I’d have at the end. The awesome thing with Quantum is that he’s got so much blood, he kind of kicks in and boom, you’re good again. There’s a lot to learn each time you go out, but last year he was toasted coming up to the Crab water – I really almost got into real big trouble, but he saved me, he totally saved me. But then, cruising down the hill, all of a sudden he kicked in and was good again. So in that way, I’ve got a confidence that he’s going to have a ton of gas left in the tank at the end. My strategy – I want to try and get up on the clock a bit earlier than I have in the past, and just let him go and resist the urge to fall at the first couple of fences.”

Lillian Heard Wood (USA) – LCC Barnaby – 36.4 – 17th

Lillian Heard Wood and LCC Barnaby. Photo by Sally Spickard.

The most experienced 5* campaigner in the field, at seventeen LCC Barnaby has no fewer than twelve top-level starts under his girth, with six top-20 finishes. Lillian’s had him since he was a six-year-old, so it must be a good feeling to be going out on course with a horse that you have such a solid partnership with. But what does she think of this year’s track?

“The track’s really hard – definitely a big step up from what it’s been the last two years and definitely a real question. I have a lot of experience with this horse and I don’t think it’s a given – it takes rideability, which as you can tell from the dressage is not our strong suit! It’s going to take a lot of work and I’m excited for it. It’ll be a test.”

Barnaby’s known for being a bit of a character, so with that in mind, is there anything Lillian’s particularly looking at out on course as a potential challenge.

“He’s pretty overly brave, so that sunken road [7ABCD] where they have to be careful and backed off, I’m like, ‘Barnaby don’t do anything dumb’ – like, he could do something stupid there. I think the whole thing, I’ve just got to keep him with me, that’s going to be the thing.”

Erin Kanara (USA) – Campground – 38 – 18th

Erin Kanara and Campground. Photo by Sally Spickard.

“It’s a lot different than last year, that’s for sure. Every piece of it is just kind of turned up another degree. I think there’s a ton to do out there tomorrow. I’m grateful that I’m sitting on a Thoroughbred because I think there are a couple questions later on in the course that are really going to test them, so I’m hoping he’ll have the depth in his fitness and stamina and we’ll be good in those sections.”

Erin makes and interesting point about Ian’s use of fences earlier on setting the horses up for similar but perhaps more challenging questions later on in the course:

“There are questions throughout, and I feel like there are some really difficult questions out there, but as you go around the course, Ian seems like he’s made a really clever warm up for what is the really tough question. You get your feet just a bit wet before they’re going to see something that maybe they haven’t seen before, which is unique. He’s got these verticals out here [the Timber Rails at 6AB] that’s on a very short two strides and I think that’s going to back the horses right up, so when they see the sunken road [Fence 7ABCD] they’re already going to be thinking a little bit that way, which is good. The bounce into the top water [the Crab at 21AB] is obviously very difficult. That being said, the jump into the first water [the Canoe at 9] is massive – it’s sort of that same type of question. I think he’s [Ian] been really clever in that manner – he’s going to keep asking the horses slightly different questions that I’m hoping is going to set them up for the really tough stuff later.”

Sarah Kuhn (USA) – Mr. Cash van de Start – 38.1 – 19th

Sarah Kuhn and Mr. Cash van de Start. Photo by Sally Spickard.

“I think everything’s hard! I think the back water [21AB and 22AB] – the last water – is really hard because we’ve been running uphill for a very, very long time, and then we get up to the top and it’s just a massive effort, especially to go on the straight route, which would be my plan. If I get up there and I feel like he’s just tired, I probably will go long. Ian’s definitely said it – all of the combinations are pretty tough, but I think also if you ride for it, it’s right there for the horses. It’s a really good track.”

Arielle Aharoni (USA) – Dutch Times – 38.6 – 20th

Arielle Aharoni and Dutch Times. Photo by Sally Spickard.

What’s it like walking the course as a 5* rookie combination?

“The first time I went out I was like, I have not seen a lot of these things before ever in my life! But the more I go out there I’m like, you know what, I have seen these just in different pieces. Like the bounce down to the one stride to the bounce out [21Ab and 22AB] – I’ve had bounces down, I’ve had bounces out, now we’re just putting it together. There’s combinations out there where I think it’s definitely going to be challenging if you don’t get A right, but I’m pretty confident in my horse finding the next element. Even if I mess up a little bit, he’s usually trying to take care of me – he’s a good boy!”

Emily Hamel (USA) – Corvett – 39 – 21st

Emily Hamel and Corvett. Photo by Sally Spickard.

“There’s a lot to do, I think Ian really stepped it up this year. Luckily I don’t think it’s going to be a dressage competition – lucky for me!”

“It should ride well. You need to have a good plan and keep going.”

And how does the course compare to last time Emily was at Maryland, in 2021?

“It seems harder this time. I did Burghley last year, so I guess compared to Burghley maybe it’s not quite as hard! But it seems more difficult than the first year, but we’ll see. I think Ian is pretty clever out there on the course.”

Emily and Covett have completed both of the US 5* offerings and both of the British ones too. So let’s get some tips for walking the course from someone who’s ridden the toughest courses in the world:

“The first time I go around and I just give it a quick glance, walk my lines – but I don’t over-analyze it. Then either my second or third walk I like to go with Phillip [Dutton, who Emily worked for between 2015 and 2020] if possible, and get his insight. And then I’ll walk it at least once on my own, or take family or friends. But then my last walk, which I always do the morning of cross country, I go by myself and walk my exact lines. And when I get to the other side of the fence I look and visualize myself coming through it. That’s my way that I like to do it.”

Bobby Meyerhoff (USA) – Lumumba – 39.5 – 22nd

Bobby Meyerhoff and Lumumba. Photo by Sally Spickard.

“I won’t lie, it’s more than I was expecting. She hasn’t done this level. I feel real confident the first half of the course and then it starts to get meaty and asking a lot. So, I just have to take it one jump at a time, stay on my plan and go from there.”

And are there any particular fences he’s particularly concerned about – or looking forward to?

“I think those combinations [13ABC and 14AB] after fence 12 – that big oxer down hill – those things come at you fast, and it’s combination, combination, combination, so I think those are going to be like really hot spot areas. And then that top water [the Crab], I think everybody’s going to be concerned about how much horse they have at the end of the course up there.”

Some scary previous experiences are rearing their head for Bobby too:

“I particularly really do not like that new ditch and wall thing, with the wings to the back [fence 24]. Only because I’ve had, in the past three years maybe, some bad crashes at ditch and walls – just really unfortunate mishaps. Usually those ditch and walls, they’re let-up jumps but I when I walked up to it I was like, ‘Oh God!’. So who knows, I might get there and go, you know what I’m feeling really lucky, I’m going to take the alternate! So if I do take the alternate anywhere, it’s going to be there, but everywhere else I plan to go straight.”

But he’ll be living out his childhood dreams as he sets off round Ian’s track:

“It looks beautiful and big – just what I thought of as a kid, why I got into eventing: let’s jump the crazy stuff that somebody could build. I think Ian’s done that!”

Zach Brandt (USA) – Direct Advance – 40.2 – 23rd

Zach Brandt and Direct Advance. Photo by Sally Spickard.

“I think the whole thing is hard. I think he’s [Ian] laid out an amazing track and I think that there’s not any one thing really in particular that’s harder than anything else. I think the last water [Fence 21AB and 22AB – that Crab again] is going to be tough, and I think that it’ll be interesting to see how that rides, but I think the whole thing is going to be tough and it’s going to be relentless from the moment you start to the moment you end.”

And what’s Zach’s goal for cross country?

“My goal is to finish as close to my dressage score as I can. But realistically, I want to go round and have as competitive a round as I can have tomorrow. I don’t plan on going slow. I think the time will be really hard to make, but I plan to give it my best shot to try and go as fast and clear inside the time if I can.”

Sydney Solomon (USA) – Early Review C – 45.6 – 25th

Sydney Solomon and Early Review CBF. Photo by Sally Spickard.

What’s Sydney hoping for at Maryland with ‘Coco’?

“I really want to go clear! I fell off at Kentucky so I guess the first goal is that I want to stay on this time.”

And are there any fences in particular she’s got her eye on?

“The Crab water [21AB and 22AB] looks challenging with the bank in and then up a huge bank out, and they’re going to be pretty tired at that point. But she [‘Coco’] has a ton of heart so we’re just going to do our best.”

Cornelia Fletcher (USA) – Daytona Beach 8 – 48.5 – 26th

Cornelia Dorr Fletcher and Daytona Beach 8. Photo by Sally Spickard.

At home, Cornelia rides Daytona bareback in a rope halter as they hack out together – not so much when they’re galloping round a 5* though! Cornelia had been for a couple of treks round the course when we spoke to her:

“It’s good. It’s big – it’s definitely big! I think everyone’s chatting about the last water [the bounce into the crab]. But I think it looks good. It’s beautiful and the ground couldn’t be better.”

‘Daytona’ sure was ready for cross country when she came forward for her dressage test on Thursday, making things a bit tricky for Cornelia in the ring. But now she can look forward to the mare’s favorite bit of eventing, and does she think Ian’s track will be to Daytona’s taste?

“I think it’ll suit her – I think, honestly, any course would suit her. But she certainly loves galloping, there’s a lot of that here.”

And how does she go about walking a 5* track?

“The first one is a social walk, and then the second one you start to figure out your plan. The third one, you’re zeroed in – all you see is the path you’re going to ride. I normally, at a five-star, would walk it four or five times, and I try to do it by myself, the last one or two – I turn my phone off and am totally focused.”

And there we have it – off the hoof and straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Now it’s time to kick on, and go eventing!

We’ll see the CCI3*-L first this morning beginning at 9:05 a.m. ET with Marley Bourke and Superstorm Sandy. CCI3*-L cross country will finish at 11:20 a.m. ET, and we’ll continue with the CCI5* beginning at 1:35 p.m. ET with Ireland’s Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue. All of the action will be live streamed on ClipMyHorse.TV/USEF Network — you can access the live stream here. If you’re outside of North America, you’ll find the live stream on Horse & Country 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] [3* XC Order of Go] [EN’s Coverage]

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

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