Photos by Tony Gibson and Joanne Maisano

Congratulations to all of the riders who competed in the MARS Great Meadow International last month. The weekend featured fine riders in all levels of competition. The four star winner of the MARS GMI big show was Middleburg based Lynn Symansky who rode Mary Ann Ghadban’s Under Suspection.

Lynn Symansky who rode Mary Ann Ghadban’s Under Suspection was the 4* winner of the MARS Great Meadow International.  (Tony Gibson)

It takes a lot of coordination to put on an event of this size with daily attendees in the hundreds. If Five Rings Eventing, LLC’s vision was to draw more spectators, enhance the community flavor, and be a fun family-friendly festival focused on everyone including man’s best friend-then the new management team was spot on. The team did a spectacular job of showcasing sponsors, finding incredible talented riders, enlisting dozens of volunteers, coordinating great organizations for the vendor village, finding interesting exhibitors for demonstrations, and providing plenty of excitement for people and pets.

“We were thrilled with the event’s success. From the quality of the competition, to the sophistication and generosity of the sponsors, to the variety of demonstrations and vendors, to the quality of the hospitality, we were so thrilled to see how far this event has come,” said event organizer Darrin Mollett who co-owns Five Rings Eventing, LLC with David O’Connor who was also the cross country designer.

Top riders from across the area celebrated wins at MARS GMI. (Tony Gibson)

“Although we have run the competition side of the event for several years, this was the first year that our small, all-volunteer organizing committee took on all aspects of the event. It was a huge undertaking with a big learning curve, but everyone on the team really stepped up to the challenge,” added Mollett.

Stadium jumping caught the eyes of spectators and judges. (Tony Gibson)
Beautiful horses and talented riders enjoyed the diverse course over the multi-day event. (Tony Gibson)
Crowds gathered around the water jumps to watch the action and see who made a splash and a dash for the cash. (Tony Gibson)
Lauren Kieffer on Landmark Monte Carlo owned by Jacqueline Mars. (Tony Gibson)
Lauren Kieffer on D.A Duras owned by Jacqueline Mars. (Joanne Maisano)
Clearing the Rutledge Farm jump was a favorite for many. (Tony Gibson) 

The division winners include:

First: Chin Tonic HS; William Coleman
Second: SpectraVET Tempranillo; Lynn Symansky
Third: MTF Cooley Knight; Catherine Pournelle
Fourth: Get Gaudi; Lauren Kieffer
First: Fernhill Pick Pocket; Phillip Dutton
Second: Ally KGO; Caitlin Silliman
Third: Electric Lux; Bruce Davidson
Fourth: Landmark’s Monte Carlo; Lauren Kieffer
First: Under Suspection; Lynn Symansky
Second: Covert Rights; Colleen Rutledge
Third: D. A. Duras; Lauren Kieffer
Fourth: Landmark’s Monaco; Kimmy Cecere
Under 25
First: MTF Cooley Knight; Catherine Pournelle
Second: Charmeur; Sydney Hagaman
Third: Redemption Song; Jordan Riske
Fourth: Woodstock Easy; Michael Pendleton
First: Fernhill Fine Diamond; Mia Farley
Second: Wallaroo W; Bradley Champagne
Third: Sweet Natalie; Chris Talley
Fourth: Daytona Beach 8; Cornelia Dorr
First: BGS Firecracker; Mia Farley
Second: Steady Eddie; Michael Pendleton
Third: Regiment; McKenzie Dey Cumbea
Fourth: K.E.C. Zara; Zoe Crawford ML

This article first appeared in the September 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.