Who Jumped It Best? Maryland Crab Water Up Bank Edition

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There were more than a few things that made me (and everyone, really) do a double take while walking Ian Stark‘s brand new Maryland 5 Star cross country course ahead of Saturday. There was the steep, steep Viaduct to Ditch Brush at fence 4AB, the keyhole-esque Owl Corners at 25AB, and of course the imposing crab at fence 15, that nearly broke the eventing internet ahead of cross country day. But looking past the crab (literally) something else within the Maryland Crab Water presented by MARS Sustainability Bay caught my eye: a dry, gravel-filled ditch in front of the up bank out of the water. ‘Was it supposed to make the complex more challenging?’ I asked myself, because it certainly looked extra terrifying and I didn’t recall ever seeing something like this before.

Contrarily, the dry ditch was added to help horses read the question better. Course designer Ian Stark explained to the media during a press briefing on Friday afternoon that he decided to add the dry ditch because he has observed many a horse stumble up banks out of water and thought that an added ground line might help them jump it better.

A closer look at the CDE elements of the Maryland Crab Water presented by MARS Sustainability Bay. Photo by Abby Powell.

As everyone counted down to the start of the 5* cross country on Saturday, I made my way up to the Crab Water figuring that I would shoot a few riders through the complex before working my way back towards the start/finish throughout the rest of the division. I wanted to be sure to get a few photos at what will become an iconic fence, plus I, like everyone else, was extremely curious to see how this complex would ride.

Will Coleman and DonDante were the first to reach the crab, and the crowd lining the ropes surrounding the water positively erupted with cheers and applause as they flawlessly cleared the final element. By the end of the day, it turned out at the mind-boggling fence 15ABDCE complex wasn’t as terrifying as it looked. It caused just two problems throughout the day: a single combination picked up a refusal at the crab itself, and another at the final skinny brush element on the downside of the bank. Just as Ian had anticipated, the horses read the ditch/ bank beautifully which made for beautiful rides through the complex and some epic photos, if I do say so myself.

So here you have it, citizens of Eventing Nation: who jumped the bank out of the Maryland Crab Water the best? All rode it beautifully, but just one can be the fan-favorite! Cast your vote in the poll below and Go Eventing.

Will Coleman and DonDante. Photo by Abby Powell.

Will Faudree and PFun. Photo by Abby Powell.

Lauren Nicholson and Vermiculus. Photo by Abby Powell.

Phillip Dutton and Sea of Clouds. Photo by Abby Powell.

Astier Nicolas and Babylon deGamma. Photo by Abby Powell.

Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent. Photo by Abby Powell.