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.
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.”
“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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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.
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.
It's the day we have all been waiting for, cross-country day at the inaugural Maryland 5 Star! Both the CCI5*-L and CCI3*-L field will contest Ian Stark's terrain-filled track across the historic grounds at Fair Hill today and there is lots of chatter about how the questions, terrain, and time allowed might impact the current placings.
Chris Talley came into the Dutta Corp USEA YEH East Coast 5-year-old Championships knowing that the Corwin Sport Horse LLC’s owned 5-year-old Hanoverian mare Gina (Gentleman x Ballerina) possessed a lot of quality, but to emerge victorious out of the 42 horse field was an absolute treat for the pair.