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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The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) has made five rule changes which will go into effect October 1, 2023. Familiarize yourself with these rule changes below to make sure you are in compliance before heading out for your next event.
With the goal of creating a pathway for young horses in the U.S. and participants of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Program, earlier this year the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and USEA joined forces to launch the USEF/USEA Developing Horse Eventing National Championships for 6- and 7-year-olds.
The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce that Gina, owned by Corwin Sport Horses, LLC, is the likely recipient of the 2023 Holekamp/Turner Grant and The Dutta Corp. prize. Gina (Gentleman x Ballerina) is a 7-year-old Hanoverian mare ridden by Chris Talley and was bred by Hartwig Von Holten in Germany.
At the August USEA Board of Governors meeting, a proposition was brought forth to officially recognize what is commonly referred to as “Starter level” as a USEA division. For many years now, Starter level has been offered as a test at USEA approved events. The decision to recognize the level officially would allow those competing in Starter level divisions to receive recognition on the USEA Leaderboards and to compete at the Starter level at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) in the future. The motion was approved to recognize this level, and the USEA staff have been hard at work preparing all of the rules, guidelines, and standards that will go along with this level’s recognition for the 2024 season.