USEA Board of Governors member Morley Thompson is on the ground in Lima, Peru at the 2019 Pan American Games and will be sharing his thoughts from the spectator's seat!
Wow, what a day. It's obvious that there is a wide range of experience in the horses and riders here, but I did not expect as much carnage as we saw across all levels of riders. Out of 42 starts, only 25 finished and five of those ended up with a two-day total over 100. We knew the course was big and challenging, but it was the turns and skinnies/corners that caused most of the problems that I saw. Look at this map and you'll get a sense of the layout.
I really felt the busy layout and the twisty, short approaches caused some horses to get overwhelmed and backed off. It seemed that if something at an obstacle rocked a horse/rider team's confidence it was very hard for them to get back on track.
Boyd and Lynn were the only double clears of the day and Doug sailed around boldly with just a few seconds of time faults. They truly showed the spectators what great riders on great horses look like. I did not see Tamie's trouble - when I saw her she looked great. One of her problems was at the corners option which caused trouble for many. Both options had tricky approaches to very narrow corners with decorative pots both on the approaches and on the jumps making it even more difficult. Apparently the pots were actual clay not something safer like plastic. Canadian rider Dana Cooke's Mississippi got some minor cuts from a too-close encounter with the pots and was withdrawn this morning before the final horse inspection.
On my side of the ropes the volunteers were again wonderful. They were everywhere and smiling and gracious and even willing to help bozos like me who don't speak any Spanish. The thing really missing for spectators was any form of PA system. Only in the dressage arena, with its two jumps and a few nearby, were there any announcements and there was no form of video coverage. Most people were not even aware of the online scoring (I was, thanks to useventing.com).
The spectators were a mix of people who had some team or rider affiliation and many others who really didn't know that much about what they were seeing. I chatted with many (at least the ones who spoke some English) and they were excited to learn more about what they were seeing. To some families it was just a picnic day on the grass away from the bustle of the city.
Our USA team really did a great job and is in a very strong position going into show jumping. Best wishes to all!
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.