After riding her dressage test at the 2022 MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill CCI5*-L, Hannah Sue Hollberg said this will be Harbour Pilot’s last cross-country run. Hollberg and the 19-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding have been together for about 12 years.
“For me, having such a long partnership with him, it’s really crazy,” Hollberg said. “I never really thought about it ending until now, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s horrible. … [But] it’s special to be able to take care of him his whole career and do the right thing for him. But I’ll miss him, for sure.”
Hollberg and Harbour Pilot are tied for eighth place after dressage at the Maryland 5 Star CCI5*-L, which is presented by Brown Advisory. They have a score of 29.8. They will tackle the cross-country course at 3:14 p.m. EST today (Oct. 15, 2022). The Cecil County, Maryland, event runs Oct. 13–16, 2022.
As for Harbour Pilot’s future plans, Hollberg, based in The Plains, Virginia, said he’s best friends and the field mate of Capitol H I M. She is competing the 15-year-old Holsteiner gelding in the Maryland 5 Star CCI3*-L this year. “I think [Harbour Pilot] is just going to hang out with me. He can go retire at Miss Mars’ beautiful farm in Virginia, but I’m not ready for that yet. He’s going to hang out with me a little while.” Harbour Pilot is owned by Jacqueline Mars.
Hollberg said that the gelding, by Cruising out of Shannon, probably still will want a job. “As he’s gotten older, he has gotten more like happy to be out a lot. So I think he’ll transition well,” she said. But “he is mostly Thoroughbred, so he really does like to have a job. We’ll kind of play around with that a little bit.” One option may be that groom/working student, 18-year-old Katherine Maroko, who has ridden him before and gets along with him, might practice on him.
Maryland 5 Star Dressage
Olympic eventing gold medalist David O’Connor helped Hollberg before the Maryland 5 Star dressage phase on Friday. The horse had been having challenges with the lateral trot work and changing directions in the test. “He gets kind of like scrambly with his legs,” Hollberg said. “So I asked David to help me this afternoon before I went in. And he gave me some good pointers, and it really paid off.”
She said she thought Harbour Pilot’s canter work in the dressage test was excellent and the trot work was pretty good. She added that he didn’t really want to stand still at the halt.
In terms of how Harbour Pilot has changed over the years, Hollberg said, “He feels the exact same, a little bit quieter. Sometimes he can still kind of freak out, but he’s more reliable … than when he was a little bit younger.”
And in terms of the horse’s management, she added, “I’ve always put him first. Like if the footing wasn’t great, I wouldn’t run him. And I love him, so I always took care of him. If something didn’t feel just right, I wouldn’t push him. So it’s maintain the same all the way through.”
Thanks to ADM Animal Nutrition for our coverage of the 2022 Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, including rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more!