Tim Price Poised for Victory at the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Presented by Brown Advisory
Hannah Sue Hollberg Maintains Lead in USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship
World #1 ranked rider Tim Price (NZL) and Coup De Coeur Dudevin have moved into the lead following Saturday’s cross-country phase at the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory. Price, a two-time Olympic veteran, coached Jean-Louis Stauffer’s 10-year-old Selle Français stallion faultlessly around the horse’s first 5 Star track to maintain their dressage score of 27.4.
Rounding out the top three are two more Olympic veterans on first-time 5 Star horses. Tamie Smith, U.S. Team Silver medalist at this summer’s FEI Eventing World Championships, moved into second place with Ruth Bley’s 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding Danito following their double-clear cross-country round, maintaining their dressage score of 29.4. World #3 Oliver Townend (GBR) is not far behind, having finished the course on his dressage score of 29.9 aboard John Peace’s 11-year-old Spanish gelding As Is.
The MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory, one of only two 5 Star level equestrian events of its kind in the United States and just the seventh worldwide, returns to the Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, MD, October 13-16. The event’s prestigious 5 Star (CCI5*-L) designation is the pinnacle of the Olympic sport of Eventing, often described as an equestrian triathlon.
In addition to the 5 Star competition (CCI5*-L), the event also features a 3 Star competition (CCI3*-L), which serves as the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship, and The Dutta Corp. USEA Young Event Horse East Coast Championships presented by Dubarry of Ireland. The four days of eventing competition feature Dressage (Thu-Fri), Cross-Country (Sat) showcasing Ian Stark-designed courses, and Show Jumping (Sun).
Course designer Ian Stark revamped his courses after getting a better feel for the terrain at last year’s inaugural event. The CCI5*-L featured 45 total jumping efforts over a 6,555-meter track and presented many technically difficult questions to the competitors, but 13 entries were able to finish clear within the 11.5-minute optimum time.
“I was a little bit nervous and wondered if it was the right thing to bring a newer horse all the way across the world,” Price said. “There’s a lot on the line, from the owner’s investments to the work we put in ourselves. But I always believed in the horse, and today was the perfect experience for him. We had good conditions, a great course, and something I could just try to give him a good education over.
“I was just riding that balance the whole way,” he continued. “He jumped beautifully, took his own initiative through the crab water and made a better decision than me, and that’s what makes this a mark for the top. Nine minutes in, he was still able to have the presence of mind to make a good decision and to keep thinking forward. I’m very proud of him.”