The inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill kicked off this afternoon with the first horse inspections for both the three-star and five-star competitors. In the five-star, 46 horses were presented and all but Sharon White’s Cooley On Show were accepted. Leslie Law’s Voltaire de Tre was initially held but then was accepted upon re-inspection. In the three-star horse inspection, 50 horses were presented and all were accepted.
Riders who crossed the pond to compete this weekend include Great Britain’s Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class and New Zealand’s Tim Price on Xavier Faer and his wife, Jonelle Price, aboard Classic Moet. Great Britain’s Zara Tindall and Class Affair will also compete. Leading U.S. riders include Phillip Dutton with Sea of Clouds and Fernhill Singapore, Boyd Martin and On Cue and Doug Payne and Quantum Leap.
Dressage kicks off tomorrow with the three-star riders at 8 a.m. and the five-star riders 1 p.m.
As for the cross-country course, which is a completely new track from the previous Fair Hill International course, coach and former Olympian Jim Wofford said about the five-star, “It’s amazing the job they’ve done here in the first year. The jumps themselves are works of art. [Course designer] Ian Stark has broken the mold a little bit because usually a first-time builder dials it back just slightly, and Ian has absolutely put up a five-star test, so it’s going to be quite a weekend.”
As for who is going to be in the winner’s circle Sunday, Wofford added, “Definitely Tim and Jonelle are going to be there. Ollie Townend is going to be there, Harry Meade [Great Britain]—he won’t win the dressage but he’s got a very, very classy horse and it’s going to take a classy horse here because of the terrain. It’s a very physical terrain. There’s a lot of up and down that’s going to take a lot out of the horse. It’s going to take a horse with a lot of Thoroughbred in it to gallop to the finish line.”
Below is a look at some of the horses and riders the horse inspections.
For more information about the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill and to purchase tickets, visit maryland5star.us. Follow Practical Horseman’s coverage of the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill on Facebook and Instagram with Mane ‘n Tail, Cowboy Magic and Exhibitor’s, here.