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.
“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.”
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.
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.