Five-star dressage continued today, October 14, at the 2022 MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory and welcomed the last 12 pairs of the 24-horse and rider line-up into the arena. Though the day saw some of the sport's best, Woods Baughman (USA) and C'est la Vie 135 (Contendro I x Anette) couldn't be caught and hold on tight to the lead going into tomorrow's cross-country with 27.2 penalties.
A new day did bring some new faces into the top three, and FEI World Number One Tim Price (NZL) currently sits in second place on a score of 27.4 penalties with 10-year-old Selle Français gelding Coup de Cœur Dudevin (Top Gun Semilly x Tiebreak Combehory), owned by Jean-Louis Stauffer.
"I've taken a leap of faith [coming to the five-star] because he is very short on experience," admitted Price, "but what he has done, he's done extremely well. It's my job to give him a good experience around the course. . . I'm very happy with him today, and I want a nice experience building weekend. "
This may be the gelding's first five-star, but Price already has a lot of faith in his mount. "He has been great with everything he has done," he explained. "He was my second in line for the World Championships even though he's on the less-experienced side. He wasn't required for that, so this has been a great second choice. It's a big deal to put a horse on a plane and bring them over, but I believe in the horse a lot, and it's great fun to come over here; this is a fantastic event."
The gelding has been in Price's stable for about a year but was first with his wife and team member Jonelle. "When he moved to our stable, Jonelle started with him last year," he explained. "He's just got so much power, she found it quite difficult to contain it, and she's small, so she just got thrown around a little bit and didn't feel totally at home with him, so she very reluctantly suggested he come my way. She knew he would be a five-star horse and a proper horse for the level, so it was quite a difficult decision for her to offer him up to me."
Price will put his partnership with the gelding to a true test tomorrow and is looking forward to riding on Ian Stark's course. "He [Ian Stark] doesn't muck about," said Price." It's got some decent questions; he's always got some questions that we haven't seen before, it's his brand of cross-country designing, and that's very exciting for the riders and horses."
Alexandra Knowles (USA) and Katherine O'Brien's 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Morswood (Ricardo x Present Arms) will head into cross-country in third place after earning a 28.8 in dressage.
"I'm really happy with my ride today," said Knowles. "He's been getting stronger over the last twelve months; he returned a more mature, stronger horse, and today he gave me his all. This isn't always his favorite phase; he can be good at it, but he gets kind of nervous; he's just eager to get out there tomorrow. I'm happy he held it together today and behaved because he's a bit excited."
Knowles continued, "He's got a lot of personality. He's an excellent cross-country horse; he enjoys every minute of it. That was a great fit for me, as I am not the most aggressive cross-country rider, and I love dressage and working on show jumping; so to have a horse like him complimented my riding very well, so over the last couple of years it's just been a steady progression. . . This is our second year at the five-star level, and we are a very close partnership. I've got complete faith in him, and he's got complete faith in me, so it makes every event something to look forward to."
The first five-star horse will leave the cross-country start box tomorrow, October 15, at 2:00 p.m.
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The United States Eventing Association (USEA) has opened nominations for the annual appreciation awards through Oct. 29. This is an opportunity for the sport to recognize those horses and riders who excelled in eventing throughout the year. It is also an opportunity to recognize and honor the very important people who have served the sport tirelessly both in a non-riding capacity and riding capacity during their golden years.
Anticipation for the 2024 USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championship and inaugural USEA Interscholastic Eventing League (IEL) Championship is growing, and the host venue, Stable View, is up for the task of making both events an unforgettable experience for all involved. For the first time, the Intercollegiate and IEL program championships will be hosted on the same weekend at the Stable View H.T. in Aiken, South Carolina, on May 4-5, 2024, creating greater unity between the programs and demonstrating a clear pipeline of participation in the sport from grade school through college and beyond.
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.