Jul 25, 2019

Ian Stark's Four-Star Secrets

Ian Stark poses with Rebecca Farm's newest jump, The Trotter, which was built in honor of Don Trotter. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Each summer Ian Stark designs a big, bold, brush-filled course for the riders to tackle at The Event at Rebecca Farm and this year is no different. In his eighth year of designing in Kalispell, Montana, Stark has set out 25 numbered questions for the CCI4*-L over approximately 6,000 meters and 20 numbered questions for the CCI4*-S over approximately 3,900 meters.

The pivot system watering the course. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Rebecca Farm has always used a pivot watering system, but the last few years the event has used the watering pod system from Richland Park and Stark said that has made all the difference. “For me this is the best ever footing we have had,” said Stark. “The pivot does a lot of the watering, but there are a lot of outreaching areas it doesn’t get to and these pods can get everywhere. It makes a tremendous difference.”

The new pod watering system. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

“Jerome [Broussard] has taken it upon himself to do a schedule of watering and it is honestly the best footing. Normally we stop the pivot on the Tuesday and this year I asked him if we could keep going right up to cross-country day,” concluded Stark.

Fence 1 (The Train), fence 2 (The Brush Oxer), and fence 3 (The Mountain Table) get things rolling for the riders. “The first three fences are just galloping fences to get the horses up into the air,” said Stark. “I like to make the early fences straightforward, but big because I like to get the horses jumping. Some places they start them lower and build up, but for fresh horses at the beginning if they are too small they aren’t going to respect them.”

The first combination comes at fence four – a Hanging Log in the water to a Shark’s Tooth. “This is your early morning wake up call,” said Stark.

Watch below at Stark walks us through several of the influential combinations on course:

4ab - Hanging Log to Shark's Tooth

7ab - Brush Corners

13/14 - Hanging log to Corner

16abc - Normandy Bank

17ab - Ditch Brushes

22abcd - Gator, Tabasco Bottle, Swamp Log to Water Drop

24 - The Trotter

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Oct 16, 2021 Competitions

What Happened Where? 2021 Maryland 5 Star Cross-Country Rewind

Weren’t able to spend your morning glued to the livestream of the 2021 Maryland 5 Star cross-country? Couldn’t be there in person to trek up the hills? We have you covered with a play-by-play of what happened on Ian Stark’s cross-country course which gave both the designer and the riders many sleepless nights, but ended up riding quite well for the majority of the field.

Oct 16, 2021 Competitions

Cooley Master Class Can’t be Caught on Cross-Country at Maryland 5 Star

The forecasted downpours held off until the last horse and rider crossed the finish flags during the CCI5*-L cross-country at the Maryland 5 Star today, confirming the event’s decision to move up the start. The majority of riders had sunny skies and a cool breeze as backdrop to tackle Ian Stark’s five-star course across the sprawling grounds at Fair Hill in Elkton, Md. Before cross-country there was much chatter about the testing terrain, but 11 pairs managed to make the time despite the hills. At the end of the day, the top three riders held onto their podium positions going into show jumping tomorrow with overnight leader Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class (Ramiro B x The Swallow) impressing all who watched at each and every question.

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The Maryland 5 Star Daily: Cross-Country Day

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