The Chronicle of the Horse coverage of the Maryland 5 Star

The Chronicle of the Horse

Eventing Issue

October 4 & 11, 2021


COMMENTARY – The Long Road To The Maryland Five-Star

Although it’s hard to imagine now, most American event riders had never seen a five-star course before Kentucky offered the first one at that level outside of Europe in 1998…

Despite Kentucky’s success… the new Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill was still a major leap of faith for all involved.

IAN STARK Goes From Five-Star Winner To Five-Star Designer

Ian “Scotty” Stark knows a little something about the “Saturday morning stomach.” For decades, the British team stalwart and multiple title winner spent cross-country mornings fretting before throwing a leg over a mount to ride massive tracks. Now that he’s designing those courses, he knows that feeling even better.

“You feel sick and nerves and adrenaline,” said Stark, 67. “There’s a ghastly feeling in the stomach. Now I get that as a designer, but it doesn’t leave you until the last horse is finished. There’s a lot of pressure on [designers]. Those mornings I have been seen to be bent over double on the ground, revisiting my breakfast. It’s stressful but exciting and thrilling when you see your courses ridden well.”

And at the Maryland 5 Star At Fair Hill, taking place Oct. 14-17 in Elkton, Stark will make his five-star course-designing debut, something he’s been after since he started designing tracks in 2005.

Fair Hill: A Horseman’s Oasis
William du Pont Jr. altered the trajectory of the more than 5,600 acres of land in the corner of Maryland that now hosts this country’s second five-star.

During these meditating mowing moments in the ’90s, Coldren always found herself in awe of the land’s history, where William du Pont once followed his Foxcatcher Hounds as they bayed at the whiff of a scent. And now, it remains as a 5,656-acre slice of nature halfway between Philadelphia and Baltimore, owned by the state and preserved as a natural resource management area.

“One of my favorite things is to be out there at Fair Hill in the evening when nobody else is around, and the sun’s starting to go down, and the deer are running around. It’s just such a peaceful piece of land,” she said. “And you think about the history of [it]. Sometimes when you’re driving past some of the old sheds and paddocks and stuff, you think, ‘This is Willie du Pont’s hunting preserve.’ And then you think about all the years of foxhunting there and all the park users for years and years and years.

“I don’t know how you could not feel the history,” she added. “His contribution to horses at Fair Hill—I mean Fair Hill wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for Willie du Pont.”


Read more, HERE: COTH October Eventing Issue