Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue Win Maryland 5*

Austin O'Connor and Colorado Blue win Maryland 5*

It all came down the wire in showjumping this afternoon. Irish rider Austin O’Connor sat in fourth place, but pulled off the win with a clear round, passing Mia Farley, William Fox-Pitt and Oliver Townend. Check out the flying leap “Salty” made over the Liverpool and Austin’s quick recovery to understand the luck of the Irish. This was O’Connor’s first 5* win and the first time an Irish rider has won a 5* event in 58 years! O’Connor is no stranger to the podium, as he finished third in this year’s Badminton Horse Trials.

O’Connor and Colorado Blue jumped a clear cross-country round, finishing with just 1.2 time faults.

O’Connor and Salty were 12th after dressage and moved up to 4th after finishing cross-country with just 1.2 time penalties. Only one rider finished cross country within the allotted time — Mia Farley on Phelps, who completed her first 5* event in fifth place. Today, O’Connor was the only rider to jump clear. Townend and Cooley Rosalent, who led going into Stadium, had two rails down, while Fox-Pitt and Grafennacht, who remained in second place, had a single rail.

Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue win the Maryland 5*.

“He always looked a good horse, but I guess a bit like myself, with age he’s just got better. Or lucky!” he said with a laugh. “But he’s 85% Thoroughbred—he’s all blood, he’s all class, he’s all heart, and he’ll try and try and try to the bitter end. From day 1 he looked a proper, proper horse.”

“Unbelievable. People like me, we’re not supposed to win five-stars, but hey, it’s just happened I think. You know, it’s the end result of a lifetime’s work really. Ultimately it’s all about the horse. He’s unbelievable. He’s been a champion for years and privately I was prepared to give him to somebody better because I felt he deserved to win a five-star and I didn’t think I could ever win one with him, but here we are.”

Austin O’connor

There were a lot of tears of happiness after this win and even watching this online, the overwhelming feeling I got was that everyone thought this was a win well deserved.

One thought on “Austin O’Connor and Colorado Blue Win Maryland 5*

  1. Oh, it’s such a pleasure to read a rider’s description of the horse’s personality. I love the look on “Salty’s” face. I’ve met ‘professional” riders who’s sole comment about his or her horse of the moment, well, yes, he’s a horse, or something similar. THe worst ones are the ones who privately blame the horse for losing. When a horse gives you its heart, it’s so precious a gift.

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