Boyd Martin Makes History at the Inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill

Kurt Martin Wins the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship

From Maryland 5 Star Press Release

Boyd Martin and On Cue are the first winners of the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill. © Shannon Brinkman

Elkton, Cecil County, Maryland – Oct. 17, 2021 – Three-time Olympian Boyd Martin became the first American to win a CCI5*-L since 2008 when he piloted On Cue to victory at the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill.

The Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, one of only two 5 Star level events in the United States and just the seventh worldwide, took place October 14-17 at the newly constructed Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Elkton, Maryland (Cecil County). 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 featured a 3 Star competition (CCI3*-L), which served 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 featured Dressage (Thu-Fri), Cross-Country (Sat) showcasing the new Ian Stark designed courses, and Show Jumping (Sun).

Thirty-four horses returned to the Main Arena for their final showjumping test after Sunday’s second horse inspection on the new jog strip recently put in by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Martin and his 15-year-old Anglo-European mare – co-owned by Christine, Thomas, and Tommie Turner – turned in one of only seven clear rounds over the 16-effort, 1.30m course designed by Ken Krome, ending on their dressage score of 25.0.

Martin was all smiles after winning the title and a third of the $300,000 prize money. “To be quite frank, Oliver [Townend] and Tim [Price] own super-duper jumpers, and I was just hoping to finish in the Top 5 today. On Cue really gusted out and jumped around; I think Lady Luck was on our side. We bumped and thumped a few poles, but I never heard one come down. I couldn’t believe that I got a clear round. I would have been happy with third or second, but winning is a great privilege. [Oliver and Tim] are two riders that I’ve sort of idolized and looked up to, and I learned a bit from their mentality and their championship ideology. Today was On Cue’s day, and it’s great to win it.”

Boyd Martin and On Cue © Shannon Brinkman

“Coming into this thing, I thought I had a chance just because she was really good at Kentucky this year and was sort of my backup horse for the Olympics and was fit for that,” Martin said. “I knew there was a chance but that it would be very, very competitive.

“I think obviously you want to bring out a really good athlete for any 5 Star, and I think this event’s going to evolve in years to come,” he added. “It’ll probably be the world’s greatest 5 Star. This year already established it as a world-class event. It was just fantastic.”

2021 Olympic Team Gold medalist Oliver Townend (GBR) and Cooley Master Class seemed unbeatable throughout the four days of competition with their dressage score of 21.1 and a clear round over the Cross Country Driven by Land Rover. A dropped rail at the fourth fence knocked him into second place. He and Angela Hislop’s 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding finished on a total score of 25.1, just 0.1 behind Martin’s clear round.

“I have so much respect for Boyd,” Townend said. “We always have a conclusion with a few words between myself and Karyn [Shuter], who runs the show with me. When I got off, we said we were very happy with how our horse jumped. We’re very happy with Boyd, too. Some days are your days, and some days aren’t your days. Today was Boyd’s day.

“It does show people that we are normal people, and that you can make it to the pinnacle of the sport,” Townend added. “That’s the message I want to get out to any kid that’s thinking, ‘I can’t do it. I’m not from a wealthy background.’ You can make it to the top of the sport, and it is very possible. I’m very proud of Boyd, Tim, and myself to have worked hard and thankfully be once again sat [on top].”

Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class © Shannon Brinkman

Although two-time New Zealand Olympian Tim Price had the fastest showjumping round aboard Xavier Faer, a 15-year-old British Sport Horse gelding owned by Price, Trisha Rickards, and Nigella Hall, a pole down at the second fence moved him into third place with a score of 28.3.

“I’ve just been so grateful to have another competition at this level, even in its early 5 Star stages,” Price said. “I’m excited to see what comes in the future here.

“I brought a horse myself that I felt was going to be very capable of the cross-country,” Price added. “That’s the place where you can really fall out of a competition or stay in the competition, so I felt with a course designer like Ian Stark and from the reputation I’ve heard this place has with its undulations, I brought a horse that could go around. Having the second rail is not a great beginning to your [showjumping] round, but he’s a trier. He’s a very simple horse; if I get him to the fence the right way with the right energy, we can get away with it most of the time. I’m very pleased with the result and just to be up here again with these boys.”

Tim Price and Xavier Faer © Shannon Brinkman

USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship

Kurt Martin (USA) finished the CCI3*-L on his dressage score of 21.1 after a fault-free showjumping round on Sunday with D.A. Lifetime, a 9-year-old mare owned by Debbie Adams. The pair maintained their spot on the top of the leaderboard throughout all four days of competition to earn the USEF Eventing National Championship and a $7,500 portion of the $25,000 purse.

Although 35 horses returned to the Main Arena for their final showjumping test after Sunday’s second horse inspection, Martin was one of only eight riders who put in clear rounds over the 14-effort, 1.20m course designed by Ken Krome.

Kurt Martin and D.A. Lifetime are the 2021 USEF CCI3*-L National Champions. © Shannon Brinkman

“It sounds amazing,” Martin said of his 2021 National Championship title. “I wanted this so bad, and I’m glad that everything came together this weekend for all involved.

“Competing here has been amazing,” he added. “I’ve been to the old Fair Hill, but coming here, I didn’t know what the course would be like. I didn’t run the test event. I heard that it was going to be a difficult cross-country course regarding the terrain, but I didn’t know how things were like everybody else. I feel like this went pretty easily, quite honestly. The horse went well, and everyone was so kind.”

Martin has been developing “Clarence” carefully over the last year, learning what he could do with her and when. “I know when to get on that horse; I know when to ask that horse to stand and when I can’t,” he said. “I don’t force that horse to do anything. When I went into the showjumping, I just looked up and took a deep breath at every single fence. What was going to be was going to be, and she did that for me. She really worked hard, and that’s what a partnership is.”

Fellow American Hannah Sue Burnett, who sat in fourth place after Saturday’s Cross Country Driven by Land Rover, jumped to a second-place finish with 0.4 time faults in the showjumping test. She and Carsonstown, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Christa Schmidt, earned a final score of 28.1.

“We’ve had Carson for a couple of years, and he’s a really special horse,” Burnett said. “He’s grown a lot physically and mentally since we’ve gotten him. He’s quite a big horse, and he’s a very big mover. It’s taken a bit of time to produce him, but he was really wonderful and performed great under pressure. I was really happy with him.”

Hannah Sue Burnett and Carsonstown © Shannon Brinkman

Oliver Townend piloted Juliana Hutchings Sebring’s Ulises, a 14-year-old Spanish Sport Horse gelding, into third place after clear rounds Saturday and Sunday in the CCI3*-L. The pair finished on their dressage score of 29.4.

Two of Great Britain’s riders won the Shapley’s Best Turned-Out Horse and Rider Awards after Sunday’s horse inspection. Townend and Ulises were the Best Turned-Out CCI3*-L Horse and Rider, while Zara Tindall and Class Affair, Gleadhill House Stud Ltd.’s 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, were the Best Turned-Out CCI5*-L Horse and Rider.

Oliver Townend and Ulises © Shannon Brinkman

Rounding out the Top 3 in the USEF Eventing National Championships was Meg Pellegrini (USA), who finished fourth in the overall CCI3*-L with RF Eloquence and was named the USEF Top Young Rider. She and her 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding earned a total score of 29.5 after adding 0.8 time faults in Sunday’s showjumping phase.

Additional awards included the Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue Award, given to Ellen Doughty-Hume and Breakin’ All the Rules for being the highest-placed American Thoroughbred. The Retired Racehorse Project Trophy went to Phillip Dutton and Sea of Clouds as the highest-placed retired American racehorse.

After welcoming a total of 20,886 spectators to the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill over its four days of competition, President and CEO Jeff Newman thanked the riders who made the event possible. “When we first started the event for the inaugural Maryland 5 Star, we hoped we would get the support and participation of the international athletes as well as the Americans,” he said. “I just want to say a huge thank-you to Oliver, Tim, Boyd, and all of the riders who have participated in this year’s event. Thank you so much for coming to Cecil County, Maryland, and we hope you come back for years to come.”

For full results, visit results.hippodata.de.

Photos from the event are available via Dropbox. Credit to Shannon Brinkman and Eclipse Sportswire (labeled in folder).

The entire CCI5* is available via livestream presented by MARS Equestrian. It can be accessed through USEF Network in North America and through Horse & Country outside North America. USEF Network is also providing exclusive coverage of the CCI3*. A link to the livestream is available on the event’s website via the USEF Network player. Additionally, press conferences are being livestreamed through the event’s Facebook page.