Colorado Blue and Austin O’Connor Make History with First Irish CCI5*-L Win in 58 Years!

Shannon Brinkman Photography

Edited Press Release

We are thrilled to announce that three-time Olympian, Austin O’Connor, hailing from Ireland, secured an historic victory at the MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory. His remarkable achievement marks the first CCI5*-L win by an Irish rider in nearly six decades, an unforgettable moment for Irish eventing.

He and his trusty partner, Colorado Blue, jumped from fourth place at the start of the show jumping finale to claim the top spot on the leaderboard. Their flawless round on Sunday, which included the competitions’ only clear jump, and a finish within the time on Michel Vaillancourt’s course, secured their victory with a final total score of 34.9.

The podium featured notable competitors, including five-time British Olympic veteran William Fox-Pitt, who finished in second place, and World No. 1 Oliver Townend, who claimed the third spot.

Shannon Brinkman Photography

In addition to Austin O’Connor’s triumph, Caroline Pamukcu and her incredible mount, HSH Connor, dominated the 2023 USEF Eventing CCI3*-L National Championship. They led from start to finish, completing the competition on their first-phase score of 25.4.

HSH Connor, an impressive 2016 Irish Sport horse gelding, has been on a winning streak, securing three consecutive FEI events in 2023. Pamukcu’s success doesn’t stop there; she has earned an impressive eleven international wins this year, making her the world’s most accomplished rider.

If you missed any of the action, you can still catch the excitement! The entire CCI5*-L event was available via livestream through USEF Network for domestic viewers, Horse & Country TV for international viewers, and Maryland Public Television. USEF Network also provided exclusive coverage of the CCI3*. You can find links to on-demand livestreams, along with information on a discount for USEF memberships, on the event’s website via How to Watch.