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Caroline Pamukcu and HSH Connor Take the Lead in the 2023 USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship; Oliver Townend and Cooley Rosalent Lead MARS Maryland 5 Star CCI5*-L

by Leslie Potter/US Equestrian | Oct 20, 2023, 9:00 PM

Elkton, Md. – The second day of competition at the 2023 MARS Maryland 5 Star brought some changes to the leaderboards in both the CCI5*-L and the USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship. The second half of both divisions completed their dressage tests on Friday, setting up an exciting cross-country contest to come.

Caroline Pamukcu and HSH Connor
Caroline Pamukcu and HSH Connor. ©Leslie Potter/US Equestrian

2023 USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship

Caroline Pamukcu (Springtown, Pa.) brought out the last two of her three rides in the division and had an exceptional day in the dressage arena with both horses moving into the top four. Pamukcu currently stands in first place with HSH Connor (Connor 48 x Galwaybay Merstona), a 2016 Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Sherrie Martin, Luann McElduff, and Caroline Pamukcu, after the pair earned a 25.4 for their test.

“This one’s very special,” said Pamukcu. “He won the 4-Year-Old Young Event Horse. He was placed second in the 5-Year-Olds. Last year he placed second in the Young Event Horse World Championship. This year he’s won three or four three-stars, and hopefully this can be another checkmark for him. He’s still young; he’s 7. It’s a big ask for him with all the atmosphere, but we think the world of him. We’ve had him since he was a baby and I’ve got to give a big thank you to my incredible owner, Luann McElduff who owns half of him along with my mom, Sherrie Martin, and is the reason I got to keep the ride on him.

With a score of 28.2, Lauren Nicholson (The Plains, Va.) and Larcot Z (L’arc de Triomphe x Kocote de la Londe), a 2013 gelding owned by Jacqueline Mars, sit in second position after the first phase of competition. Nicholson said she had admired “Larcot” since his early days and had followed him while he was in Will Coleman’s program. When Larcot came up for sale, she was quick to get him in her string.

“He’s a new ride for me, and all the credit goes to Will Coleman and Reagan LeFleur who campaigned him previously,” said Nicholson. “He’s a super classic horse and lovely in the ring. He’s very much a pleasure to ride in there.”

Taren Hoffos (Ramona, Calif.) brought Caroline Hoffos’s 2011 Oldenburg mare Regalia (Sir Donnerhall x Rubiera), all the way from their home base on the West Coast to compete in the CCI3*-L National Championship. The pair performed a lovely test that earned a 28.6 from the judges and put them in third position.

“She’s a homebred. She was born at the farm and I started her as a young horse,” said Hoffos. “She did the young horse eventing out west, and honestly didn’t really excel at that. She went to be a dressage horse for a few years, and that helped quite a bit. She came back to us when she was 8, and we thought, ‘Let’s give jumping another try.’ She really took to it. She’s been great ever since.”

Maryland 5 Star CCI5*-L

Returning after a third-place finish at last year’s Maryland 5 Star and a second place in 2021, Great Britain’s Oliver Townend is back to see if he can make it to the top of the podium on his third try. With Paul Ridgeon’s 2014 Irish Sport Horse mare, Cooley Rosalent (Valent x Bellaney Jewel), Townend has positioned himself well to do so, earning a 23.1 with a clean and steady test, edging fellow GBR athlete Piggy March out of the top spot.

“I thought Piggy’s mark would be tough to catch,” said Townend. “I can’t tell you how happy I am with Cooley Rosalent, Rosie. She’s still very young and inexperienced at this level, but she’s done everything that we’ve ever asked of her at the level below. I love coming here to Maryland. I’ve had good experiences the last couple of years, so I was excited to bring her here and see how she coped.”

March and Brookfield Cavalier Cruise (Cavalier Carnival x Ryans Cruise), a 2023 Irish Sport Horse stallion owned by Alison Swinburn, Chloe Perry, and John Perry, held on to a close second-place standing with their 24.2 from Thursday’s test. With a 26.1, William Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht (Birkhof’s Grafenstolz x Nachtigall), a 2012 Oldenburg mare owned by Amanda Gould currently stand in third, giving Great Britain all of the top three spots heading into cross-country day.

Winner of the inaugural Maryland 5 Star CCI5*-L in 2021, Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa) is currently the top-placed U.S. athlete with Contessa (Contender x Veritas), a 2009 Holsteiner mare owned by Club Contessa. The pair earned a 28.8 in their test on Friday, putting them in fifth position overall.

Competition continues on Saturday, Oct. 21, with the CCI3*-L cross country beginning at 9:00 a.m. and the CCI5*-L cross country at 1:30 p.m. ET.

US Equestrian fans, subscribers, and members can watch the live stream of the 2023 MARS Maryland 5 Star and USEF CCI3*-L Eventing National Championship on USEF Network powered by ClipMyHorse.TV. Not a member? Join now.

Click here for more information on how to watch the 2023 MARS Maryland 5 Star.

Competition Information

Event Website | Schedule | Results

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