The CCI5* category is the highest level of eventing competition under the banner of the sport’s international governing body, the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), with seven competitions around the world currently running at this level.
FEI CCI5* Eventing Calendar 2024
Adelaide Equestrian Festival, SA, Australia: 18th – 21st April 2024
Kentucky Three Day Event, Lexington, USA: 24th – 28th April 2024
Badminton Horse Trials, Gloucestershire, UK: 8th – 12th May 2024
Luhmühlen CCI5*-L, Germany: 13th – 16th June 2024
Burghley Horse Trials, Stamford, UK: 4th – 8th September 2024
Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, USA: 16th – 20th October 2024
Les Etoiles de Pau, France: 24th – 27th October 2024
FEI CCI5* 2023 Wrap Up
It was a season to remember across the seven CCI5* competitions held in five countries in 2023 with ‘the year of Ros Canter’, historic wins for Ireland and the USA, Oliver Townend’s Ballaghmor class joining an elite club and Shane Rose finally winning a 5* on his favourite horse.
Adelaide Equestrian Festival - April 2023
It was a new spot on the calendar for Adelaide in 2023 with an April date and a new name – the Adelaide Equestrian Festival - with the CCI5* as its highlight.
Australia’s Shane Rose held off the competition, despite what turned out to be a broken wrist and ribs incurred just before he left home, to win his third Adelaide title but it was the first 5* win, and an emotional one, on his Tokyo Olympic medal winning horse, Virgil.
Sam Lyle (BF Valour) and Sophia Hill (Humble Glory) joined him on the podium and the crowd doubled Shane’s celebrations by singing him Happy Birthday for his 50th birthday the next day.
Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event - April 2023
The overseas riders once again made an assault on Kentucky CCI5* in 2023 but it was a win on home soil for the USA’s Tamara (Tamie) Smith and Mai Baum
They sealed their first CCI5* win, with Britain’s Tom McEwen having to settle for second place and Tamie being joined on the podium by fellow American Liz Halliday, who took third on the talented young Miks Master C. It was a long overdue win, not just for Tamie but for the USA, as the first American rider to win at Kentucky since Phillip Dutton in 2008, and the first female US rider since Kim Severson in 2005.
Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) – May 2023
It was also a first time 5* win for Britain’s Ros Canter, who started her year on a high at Badminton Horse Trials (GBR) winning on board Lordships Graffalo. As it turned out it wouldn’t be her only 5* win of the year, but it was an emphatic victory for the combination that led from start to finish in very soggy conditions.
They finished on a score of 35.2 with a winning margin of 15 penalties - the largest of modern times - over second placed Oliver Townend riding Ballaghmor Class (50.3) and Austin O’Connor riding Colorado Blue (51.9) and followed it up by taking team and individual gold at the FEI European Championship a few months later.
Luhmuhlen Horse Trials (GER) – June 2023
It was an all-female British podium at Luhmuhlen CCI5* in Germany in June when Laura Collett took her third 5* win on board London 52.
Finishing on their impressive dressage score of 20.3, Laura was joined on the podium by Kitty King (Vendredi Biats) and World Champion Yasmin Ingham (Rehy DJ) who both piled the pressure on by jumping two of just five double clear rounds on the final day.
Another of those double clears came from the USA’s Boyd Martin who had brought two 5* first-timers to Germany to finish in fourth and eighth places while the top German riders, as is usual at this event, opted to ride in the German Championship CCI4*
Defender Burghley Horse Trials (GBR) - September 2023
Oliver Townend may have settled for second place at Badminton, but he was the undisputed winner at Burghley in September.
Oliver and the big grey Ballaghmor Class took their second 5* victory at Burghley with Ballaghmor Class joining Priceless (the winner with Ginny Leng, nee Holgate in 1983 and 1985) and Avebury (Andrew Nicholson, 2012-2014) as the only multiple equine winners at Burghley.
David Doel riding Galileo Nieuwmoed took second place and Harry Meade riding Cavalier Cruise took third, while the leader of the first two phases, New Zealand’s Tim Price riding Vitali dropped to fourth with rails down on the final day.
Maryland at Fair Hill (USA) – October 2023
Austin O'Connor and Colorado Blue ended Ireland's 58-year wait for a CCI5* win when they clinched the top spot at the Mars Maryland at Fair Hill in October.
"People like me, we’re not supposed to win 5*s!" exclaimed a delighted Austin, who produced the only clear showjumping to claim the win on the final day. Unlike Kentucky earlier in the year where American riders dominated, the international visitors were on the podium again with two British riders, William Fox-Pitt (Grafennacht) and Oliver Townend (Cooley Rosalent) joining the history-making Irish winner.
Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA) – October 2023
2023 was without doubt the year of Ros Canter and she finished it by bagging another win at the last 5* of the year at Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA), this time on the less experienced Izilot DHI.
It was once again a competition dominated by British riders, with Oliver Townend taking second place riding Tregilder and Tom McEwen in third on JL Dublin but the spooky Izilot DHI was probably not the favourite horse heading into his first CCI5*, despite coming off two 4* wins in the weeks leading up to Pau.
"I'm extremely proud of Izilot DHI, we've come a long way since we got him as a five-year-old” admitted Ros “He's really taking a big step forward and even at the start of this year, we've had our ups and downs and a few little difficulties, but he's been absolutely incredible this week.”
The history of CCI5* events
These Championships are run as ‘Special Category’ Events, with Dressage and show jumping held at the CCI5* level while cross-country is geared towards a technical CCI4* level (10-11 minutes long with 40-45 efforts)
A new FEI CCI5* system was introduced in 2019, with the CCI5* replacing the previous CCI4* category
The Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing
The Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing is achieved when a rider wins back-to-back Kentucky, Badminton and Burghley CCI5* competitions. This may be done in any order and on three different horses as long as the wins are all within 12 months of each other, a feat so far only been achieved by two riders.
Britain’s Pippa Funnell (2003) and Germany’s Michael Jung are the only riders to have achieved the Grand Slam since its inception
- 2003 Kentucky Three Day Event on Prinmore's Pride
2003 Badminton Horse Trials on Supreme Rock
2003 Burghley Horse Trials on Primmore's Pride
2015 Burghley Horse Trials on La Biosthetique-Sam FBW
2016 Kentucky Three Day on FischerRocana FST
2016 Badminton Horse Trials on La Biosthetique-Sam FBW
FEI Classics Series
The FEI Classics was a series uniting the then six four-star Eventing competitions on the calendar from 2008 to 2017
At the end of each season, the three athletes with the highest number of points collected among the FEI Classics events (Pau, Adelaide, Lexington, Badminton, Luhmühlen, Burghley) were awarded prize money
The FEI Classics Series was initiated in 2008 and sponsored by HSBC from 2008 – 2013 with the following winners
2017 – Michael Jung (GER)
2016 – Michael Jung (GER)
2015 – Ingrid Klimke (GER)
2014 – William Fox-Pitt (GBR)
2013 – Andrew Nicholson (NZL)
2012 – William Fox-Pitt (GBR)
2011 – Mary King (GBR)
2010 – William Fox-Pitt (GBR)
2009 – Oliver Townend (GBR)
2008 – William Fox-Pitt (GBR)