The second year of five-star competition returned to Cecil County today to commence the 2022 MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory, with 12 of 24 entries contesting dressage on day one. Woods Baughman (USA) and C'est la Vie 135 (Contendro I x Anette) topped the leaderboard in the final ride of the afternoon, heading into Saturday's cross-country test on 27.2 penalties.
Despite riding through a torrential downpour, Baughman credited the rain for the 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding's suppleness throughout the test. "I kept having to remind myself to look up because I couldn't see across the ring with all of the rain in my eyes," he said. "It [the rain] did make the lateral work easier because he wanted to go sideways anyway to get away from the rain, so he was pretty supple because he was always trying to turn away from it."
The pair stepped up to the five-star level this year, and though Baughman admits the pressure got to him in Kentucky and Burghley, this week, he is trying to keep a cool head. "Kentucky was the first time I've ever really been nervous," he said. "I felt it a lot, and the result showed. Then I went to Burghley, and we felt better, but still, there was pressure because it was my first time flying over to compete. We've been laughing this weekend because I feel normal like I would at a regular horse trial; he's [C'est la Vie 135 ] definitely thankful for that because we haven't been in any fights, and he's relaxed."
With Baughman feeling relaxed on home turf, he is taking the time and focusing on his mount. "He is a bit quirky, so it's about keeping him relaxed. Yesterday in the arena familiarization, he stood up, so it's really about keeping him calm and focused on what I need him to do, and then he can be pretty good. He can also be strong and stiff, but if we give him enough time, he gets more relaxed."
France's Astier Nicolas is sitting in second place aboard his 11-year-old Selle Français gelding Babylon de Gamma (Mylord Carthago *HN x Sunshine Des KA), with 29.1. Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp (USA) and The Monster Partnership's 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Cooley Quicksilver (Womanizer x Kylemore Crystal) close out the top three on 29.3 penalties.
The second five-star dressage session will kick off tomorrow, Friday, October 14, at 2:05 p.m.
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When super groom Max Corcoran mentioned in 2005 that it would be fun to participate in a USEA Classic Series event, her employer and eventing legend Karen O’Connor took that to heart. “I did a lot of grooming for the classic format when Kentucky and all those other competitions were proper long format,” Corcoran shared. “When Gretchen [Butts] started offering the Classic Series at Waredaca [Gaithersburg, Maryland,] she asked if I would come up and do some lectures to help people understand what the 10-minute box was and how to pack for it. I did that a few times and said to Karen, ‘Man, it would be so fun to do one of these.’ And so Karen's like, 'You want to do one? Yeah, you're gonna do one next year.'”
Has this horse quality? The answer is definitely yes. This first impression is so important. As a selector for the Goresbridge Go for Gold Event horse sale, I have an abbreviation ‘GPO’ which stands for "Good Pull Out." It means that the first look prompts the potential client the need to bring the horse out of his box for a further look.
It was a beautiful but chilly weekend in the pines at the Setters' Run Farm Carolina International. After a record-setting 19.4 in the CCI4*-S dressage, Will Coleman became the first three-time winner in the event's history when he led from start to finish on Hyperion Stud's Chin Tonic HS.
West Coast eventers experienced tremendous success in 2022. Tamie Smith recorded top-10 finishes at Badminton in England, at the FEI World Championships at Pratoni in Italy, and at the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. Helen Alliston won the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final, and Tommy Greengard captured the USEA Intermediate Championship at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), presented by Nutrena Feeds. James Alliston returned to the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event for the first time since 2017 and finished third in the CCI4*-S.