New Zealand eventers Caroline Powell and Monica Spencer have finished sixth and seventh at the MARS Maryland CCI5*-L in the United States this morning.

There were emotional scenes all round as Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue became Ireland’s first 5* winner in 58 years. He took the victory with the only clear and inside showjumping round of the day, thanks to a healthy dose of luck, to charge his way from fourth to the top of the podium with a final score of 34.9 penalty points. Fourteen-time 5* victor William Fox-Pitt (GBR) aboard Grafennacht was second on 35.3, and overnight leader Oliver Townend (GBR) aboard Cooley Rosalent slipping to third on 37.1.

Caroline Powell and Greenacres Speacial Cavalier, Maryland Showjumping Oct 2023. Credit Cynthia Lawyer

Caroline aboard her highly rated 10-year-old mare Greenacres Special Cavalier looked spectacular in the showjumping, going clear but picking up .8 of a time penalty to finish on 42.6 for sixth place.

Caroline was over the moon with the efforts of the mare she has had so much belief in. The horse was picked out as a very raw four-year-old by her partner Greg Kinsella and his mum Gwen. “It is amazing – any horse you get as an unbroken four-year-old and take right the way through is a huge bonus to the system you have got,” she said. She was thrilled for Greenacres Special Cavalier’s owners Chris and Michelle Mann as well as winner Austin O’Connor. “When you luck is in your luck is in. For him to come through and do it is just so special.”

Monica and her off-the-track thoroughbred Artist bagged their first 5* completion, winding out the competition with eight faults for a final tally of 51.6. “I am absolutely rapt to have completed our first 5*,” she said. “I feel so fortunate to have this incredible horse ad he was a superstar all week. I am loving this journey we are on and can’t wait to see where the next chapter leads.”

Monica is flying home this week to compete her team in the New Zealand season before returning to the States in January to re-join Artist.

Monica Spencer and Artist, Maryland Showjumping Oct 2023. Credit Cynthia Lawyer

ESNZ high performance director Jock Paget said it was great to have two more combinations having ticked all the necessary Paris qualifications for this year as they build towards Paris. All they have to do now is a 4*-S next year. “You can see so much potential in both of these combinations,” said Jock. “There is still lots more to come from Monica and Artist. It was good to see Caroline go clear in what was a tricky place to do that.”

Maryland is the newest 5* on the world’s calendar, running for the first time in 2021 and alongside Badminton Horse Trials, Burghley Horse Trials, Kentucky Three-Day, Australian International Three-Day Event, Luhmuhlen and Les 5 Etoiles de Pau. These are the highest ranked events in eventing.


Artist (by Guillotine) – owned by Monica and Andrew Spencer
Greenacres Special Cavalier (by Cavalier Royale out of Greenacres Touch who is by Touchdown) – owned by Chris Mann

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photo credit: Cynthia Lawler