Tag Archives: Marilyn Little

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous Victorious in $50,000 MARS Eventing Showcase

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo © SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – February 9, 2020 – Victory in the $50,000 MARS Eventing Showcase went to Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous on Sunday, February 9, at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Little and RF Scandalous vaulted to the lead in the opening dressage phase on Saturday and held it through Sunday’s show jumping and cross-country phases.

From a starting field of 40 horse and rider combinations, 33 advanced to the morning’s show jumping phase, held on the beautiful grass derby field. Maintaining her lead from dressage, Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous added four faults in the show jumping phase and stood on 23.4 penalties.

With a clear round in show jumping, Buck Davidson (USA) and Carlevo moved from fourth place to second and had 28.6 penalties going into cross-country.

Six-time Olympian Phillip Dutton (USA) rode Z to a clear jumping round and sat just behind Davidson in third place following show jumping with 28.7 penalties.

Heading into the cross-country phase, which was designed by Capt. Mark Phillips, 28 combinations contested the track that included a two-stride “triple-brush arrowhead” combination, a water feature, and corners.

Little and RF Scandalous ended with 4.80 time penalties on the cross-country course, but despite that, her early lead gave her the buffer to hold onto the victory with a total of 28.20 penalties.

“I’m disappointed that the performance in the cross-country wasn’t better, but this is a three-phase event, and she also did put in two wonderful performances,” said Little. “Although she did have a rail this morning [in show jumping], the score wasn’t indicative of the performance because she’s just come so far. To me, to know what she was dealing with out there on course, I have so much respect for her.

“I wish that this afternoon had gone better, and yet, in sports sometimes we have wonderful days. We deserve to have a great placing and it doesn’t happen,” Little continued. “I was disappointed in the performance this afternoon, but the horse still deserves all of the accolades and all of the credit because her heart was so huge. It was just a rough day out there. But she still came in and she still stood in the stall very proud of herself. That is what sports are about.

“I’ve been so blessed to have the ride on a horse that just goes out there, and she tries every time,” said Little of the 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia x Lario) owned by Jacqueline B. Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders. “For me, in many ways, this is a hometown show. It’s just really one of the greatest honors of my life to ride a horse for Mrs. Mars, who I think of as one of the greatest horsewomen this country has ever known and certainly one of the greatest sportsmen and supporters of our national program. I’m so grateful that Mars Equestrian took on the sponsorship here, because I do think it’s an important event and a very meaningful one for me. I’m glad that Scandalous could be the winner of her event. It means a lot.”

For more information on the MARS Eventing Showcase and full results and scores, please visit https://pbiec.coth.com/article/50000-mars-eventing-showcase.

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous Top Dressage Phase in $50,000 MARS Eventing Showcase

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. Photo © SusanStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – February 8, 2020 – Setting the score to beat in the MARS Eventing Showcase, Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous showed their partnership is still strong on Saturday, February 8, at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

Forty combinations started the dressage phase competition, but it was Little and RF Scandalous, a 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia x Lario) owned by Jacqueline B. Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders, who took the lead with 19.40 penalties.

It was a very solid test for RF Scandalous, who is back in competition form after having off in 2019.

“She was so with me from start to finish,” said Little. “She’s just a supernatural horse that way. She came back at Ocala and was very fresh in November. Today she picked up from where she left off before. Not many horses would have a break and come back better versions of themselves than before. She’s a great competitor, and she understands the sport. The fitness is a big thing for us. We’ve been pushing on this. She’s stronger, has a stronger topline.”

The riders performed the five-star B test, which will be the one used at the 2020 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. Little noted, “Getting to ride the test we’re going to see in Kentucky is a huge leg up for our riders. I got some pointers from my test that I will use in the lead-up to Kentucky to know how to train this test better. There [are] still some points on the table that we hope to pick up in Kentucky.”

Little praised the program of high performance Eventing with US Equestrian. “We’re in a national program that’s really making a big effort to support the riders in every phase,” she said. “I felt an incredible amount from that today, and I think it’s working. The scores seem to be improving. Everything really went according to plan with the way that [U.S. Performance Director for Eventing] Erik [Duvander] and I had mapped it out.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to be here and be in this environment,” continued Little of being in Wellington. “As [the MARS Eventing Showcase] works its way into people’s programs, as riders we’re going to be able to use it better and better to our advantage. I hope that it sticks because it can really be a game-changer for our program.”

For more results and information on the MARS Eventing Showcase, along with ride times, live scoring, and the live stream, please visit https://pbiec.coth.com/article/50000-mars-eventing-showcase.

Marilyn Little and RF Casablanca Bound to Blue in $25k Vita Flex Grand Prix at ESP New Year’s

Marilyn Little and RF Casablanca. Photo Credit ©AnneGittinsPhotography.

Wellington, FL – January 1, 2019 – Marilyn Little (Frederick, MD) leaped to victory in the $25,000 Vita Flex® Grand Prix in the 2018 ESP New Year’s at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). Little flew through the course in 40.158 seconds to secure the win aboard RF Casablanca, a 2010 Holsteiner mare (Cosido x Landos) owned by Raylyn Farms, Inc. Jumping in close behind, Manuel G. Torres (Waterford, VA) claimed second place riding Alejandro, a 2009 Rhenish Warmblood (Acorado’s Ass x Continue) owned by Santa Catalina Farm with a time of 42.787 seconds. Diego Vivero (Wellington, FL) earned third place jumping in tandem with Capiche ‘Ter Elzen’, a 2008 mare (Bamako De Muze x Nabab De Reve) owned by Javier Estrada earning a time of 40.373 seconds.

Jumping against 20 pairs, Little remained victorious in the course set by Jasen Shelly (Wellington, FL). “She’s been second in her last grand prixs, so I was really happy that she won. It was a great way to finish the year. She’s only eight, but I’ve had her since she was three, so it’s been really special to bring her up to this level,” Little stated.

“She’s quite small, but she doesn’t know it. Jumps look a little big from where you sit on her back, but she’s got an incredible heart, she’s fast, and has lots of game. She’s a really exciting horse coming into next year, and I’m really happy to have her,” concluded Little.

For full results from the $25,000 Vita Flex® Grand Prix, click here.

For more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Little Leaps to Another Victory in $132k Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* at Tryon

Marilyn Little and Clearwater. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 7, 2018 – Marilyn Little (USA) and Clearwater maintained their winning streak for the week, this time in the $132,000 Horseware Ireland Grand Prix CSI 3* to highlight Tryon Summer IV competition, blazing through the short-course timers in 45.818 seconds. Fernando Cardenas Jr. (COL) and Quincy Car, the 2004 Oldenburg stallion (Galiani Car x Amour Parfait), claimed second after clearing the timers in 49.463 seconds, while Sydney Shulman (USA) and Villamoura, a 2009 Warmblood mare (Diamant de Semilly x Kasina) owned by Jill Shulman, finished third on a fast 43.939 second jump-off round with just the last rail down.

“He was really on fire in the first round,” Little said of the 2007 Holsteiner gelding (Clearway x Come On) owned by Karen O’Connor. “He was very aggressive. He had a very fast class on Thursday, and as I said, I’ve just got him really strong and really fit coming in here and he was on fire tonight. He loves showing at night and he is a great night horse. He felt the energy and was totally amped when he walked in there, so I had a lot of horse on my hands.”

Little continued, “It made it a little hard going into the jump-off, but I knew that I could just have a nice easy clear and still slip ahead because he’s such a fast horse, but if I had done that, Clearwater would’ve known something was up, so I just came to the first jump like I always do, let him find it and turn him loose, and he was like ‘Okay I got this.’ He was easier to ride through the jump-off.”

Thirty entries toured the course designed by Alan Wade (IRL), with four horse-and-rider pairs returning to fly around the short track. Little complimented Wade’s building, emphasizing his attention to detail and evaluation of the field.

“This week is a huge victory for me because I haven’t seemed to have so much luck with and I’ve really had to learn how to ride Alan Wade’s courses. They’ve always been a real learning experience and this week the courses were definitely challenging, but I loved them,” she said. “I don’t have anything bad to say about them. I think they were very technical. In this ring, the footing is fantastic, the lighting is excellent and the jumps are beautifully presented, but being square, it can become difficult if they build into the corners.

“Alan is such a ring craftsman. He knows exactly how he’s using the ring in addition to how he’s using his course,” Little continued. “His courses are always a little deceptively tricky. We watched the first few and everybody thought he under built, but you always just have to sit there and wait because the more you study them, the more it’s like ‘Oh my gosh. There’s a lot to this.’ It’s wonderful when there isn’t just one difficult spot; the rails really came for people all over the course.”

Following her win in the $35,000 1.50m Welcome Stake on Thursday, Little credited Clearwater’s technical skill for their success and said that the same talent helped them prevail. “As I said the other day, my horse is really great at the technical aspect of things and he was just on this week and fresh and ready to go. What a fun week it was with him!”

After a busy winter circuit in Florida, Little is keeping things light with Clearwater and choosing shows that suit him best. “We did a lot during Florida and I just had an unlucky winter circuit. I won a couple in the beginning and then I just decided that I needed to go home, re-group, train a little bit, let him get fresh and start over again. I think we’re just going to keep going and I’m going to show him when he feels like he’s really peaking, not just show because there’s a show I want to go to and we’ll play it by ear.”

Little, a multi-discipline athlete who is also preparing for September’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 as a member of the Land Rover US Eventing Team, revealed that continuing Clearwater’s jumping career is critical to her preparation. “I only have one eventing horse, so this is really how I stay sharp and all of my horses are my support team for the Eventing as well. I have to keep going with him and I need him, but I’m starting to find the balance for what’s right for him and it’s really paying off.”

Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

Little and Clearwater Conquer $35,000 1.50m Welcome Stake CSI 3* at TIEC

Marilyn Little and Clearwater. Photo Credit ©Sportfot.

Mill Spring, NC – July 5, 2018 – Marilyn Little (USA) and Clearwater scooped up a win in the $35,000 1.50m Welcome Stake CSI 3* to officially open FEI Tryon Summer IV competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), sweeping through the short-course timers in 31.617 seconds. Aaron Vale (USA) and Major, a 2007 Danish Warmblood gelding (Carmargue x A’khan Z), claimed second place after clearing the jump-off in 32.701 seconds, while Samuel Parot (CHI) and Thriller P, a 2004 Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Lucky Light) finished third on a fast, four-fault round of 31.416 seconds.

A total of 39 entries contested the first-round track set by Alan Wade (IRL), with seven pairs welcomed back for the short test. After watching both Parot and Vale’s performances, Little and the 2007 Holsteiner gelding (Clearway x Come On) put in a quick and clean round that could not be beat.

“It’s always exciting to ride one of Alan’s courses,” said Little of the competitive class. “He does an incredible job and they’re always extremely technical and challenging. I think he usually evaluates the field that he has very well. Today’s was a well-planned course and there were not too many clear. It’s a step up for the 3* week, which was nice and it was a lot of fun.”

Little further elaborated about the course’s technical nature, which plays to Clearwater’s strengths. “There was a center line that was quite difficult – [Wade] included three doubles today and he does that somewhat regularly. It really allows the course to be even more technical. The doubles really caught a lot of people out, but my horse is very technically able. He’s really easy to ride and when I see those kinds of lines in a course, it’s definitely to his advantage,” she explained. “He’s a very quick horse in the jump-off.”

“I knew that with that group of people, whether some had rails or not, I’d have to put in a personal best to win,” Little described, noting the day’s stiff competition. “Clearwater is very fast, and he was really excited to be here, too, since it’s his first week here this summer. He’s had a lot of good rounds in this ring, so we’re looking forward to Saturday’s [Grand Prix].”

Little has been keeping things light with Clearwater in the Jumping discipline while she focuses on preparing her FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) mount, RF Scandalous, after the duo was recently being named to the Land Rover USA Eventing Team Short List for the event.

“I was last here for The Fork. But recently, I took Clearwater to Upperville in June and then to a small national show to give him an easy round. He won that and so we haven’t been doing a ton, but I’m just trying to choose well-planned, well-timed shows and not push it leading up to September.”

In addition to preparing and maintaining her horses, Little is also still mindful of an older, but serious foot injury and has recently completed a six-month stint in a boot, she added. “It’s pretty good. I expected by now to have had surgery. I did spend six months in the boot, which had I known I was going to be in it for that long I would have tried something different, but in the end, it really let it heal. I won’t say it feels normal now, but it’s certainly manageable and I don’t notice it when I’m riding.”

Earlier in the week, the $5,000 1.40m Power & Speed Stake CSI 3* congratulated Javier Fernandez (MEX) and End Good All Good, a 2009 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Mr. Blue x Caretino) for their victory, stopping the short-course timers in 29.316 seconds to best the field of 32.

Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run’s Almighty, a 2008 Hanoverian gelding (Caspar x Quidam De Revel) slid into second place after their 29.569-second jump-off performance, while third place honors went to Mattias Tromp (USA) and the 2009 Dutch Warmblood mare (Harley VDL x Orthos), Eyecatcher, after they completed the short-course in 30.964 seconds.

Please visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

Marilyn Little Wins Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous (Photo by: Taylor Pence/US Equestrian)

Lexington, Ky. – Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous added another milestone accolade to their resume on Sunday. As the top American combination at the Land Rover® Kentucky Three-Day Event (LRK3DE), they earned the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship. A six-time competitor of the event, Little reached the LRK3DE podium for the first time with a score of 32.8. In a shocking twist, Great Britain’s Oliver Townend and Cooley Master Class placed first with a score of 28.7 to strip Germany’s Michael Jung and fischerRocana FST’s chance of earning their fourth straight title.

“It is a really incredible feeling [to win the National Championship] and be next to Oliver Townend and Michael Jung. For ‘Kitty’ to have this performance this weekend, she just astounds me every day. I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to ride her, and it makes it even more special that [owners] Jacqueline Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders were here,” said a thankful Little. “The people who brought this horse to this level, the hours, the tears, the time – it’s unimaginable to the outside world [of eventing], but we all feel it intensely in the prize giving ceremony, and it’s a very emotional experience. The partnership with [RF Scandalous] is strong, and I’m grateful for everything I have had with her, and I’m looking forward to the future with her.”

As the heavy favorite, Jung took the early lead in the LRK3DE following the first day of dressage on Thursday with a stellar score of 27.1. However, in an interesting turn of events, Little (Frederick, Md.) and RF Scandalous, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare, put in a personal best dressage performance of 24.8 to steal the lead from Jung.

“She was a little bit excited with the Friday afternoon atmosphere, which we are familiar with at Kentucky. I was excited to go on Friday afternoon and knew she could handle it well. She was very businesslike, and it was a great ride. She was looking to please and she did her job,” said Little, who has focused heavily on improving Kitty’s dressage scores over the past year.

Not only did Little compete in the LRK3DE, she pulled double-duty and jumped in Friday’s inaugural Kentucky Invitational $35,000 Welcome Speed Cup CSI3* before conquering Saturday’s cross-country course. Little rode Derek di Grazia’s track cautiously, which resulted in eight time penalties, finishing 11 seconds over the time. As a result, they dropped to sixth place with a score of 32.8.

“I was thrilled with her; she jumped all the combinations well and gained confidence with every jump. She held her line great and tried hard. She has a long, lopey stride and was looking to go,” said Little.

Sitting in fourth place, Lynn Symansky (Middleburg, Va.) and The Donner Syndicate LLC’s Donner were the top-placed American combination following cross-country heading into Sunday’s show jumping finale with a score of 31.3. Only four jumping faults separated the top five, and Little and RF Scandalous produced a clean round, which put the pressure on Symansky to jump clean. Unfortunately, they dropped one rail, which moved Little to third place following a clean round by Townend and Cooley Master Class and two rails by Australia’s Christopher Burton and Nobilis 18.

Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Z, owned by Thomas Tierney, Simon Roosevelt, Suzanne Lacy, Ann Jones, and Caroline Moran, were the second highest-placed American combination and placed sixth overall with a score of 33.7 to earn the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Reserve National Championship. The Rio Olympic individual bronze medalist and Z finished on their dressage score, an impressive feat for the nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding’s first CCI4*.

Edited Press Release from Classic Communications

Little Comes Up Big in Dressage at Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous (Photo by: Taylor Pence/US Equestrian)

Lexington, Ky. – It was no surprise that after the first day of dressage, reigning champions of the Kentucky Three-Day Event, Michael Jung of Germany and fischerRocana FST, were sitting comfortably in first place. However, the second day of dressage did hold some surprises, as American combination Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous took control by turning in a personal best to grab the lead with a 24.8, more than 2 points ahead of Jung’s 27.1. Australia’s Christopher Burton and Nobilis 18 are keeping pace in third with a 27.9.

In addition to her top placement on the international leaderboard, Little (Frederick, Md.) is also currently leading the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship. Her stunning score is believed to be the lowest in the history of the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.

“She gave me a great ride today,” said Little. “She was a little bit excited with the Friday afternoon atmosphere, which we are familiar with at Kentucky. I was excited to go on Friday afternoon and knew she could handle it well. She was very businesslike, and it was a great ride. She was looking to please and she did her job.”

Little calls the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars, and Phoebe and Michael Manders, “Kitty.” Kitty served as Little’s mount for the Pan American Games in 2015, where the pair brought home two gold medals.

“She’s been with me for a while, but she’s changed so much,” Little said. “I knew she was capable of putting in a great test today. She’s been steadily improving. We haven’t competed much because we’ve been focusing on training, but I thought if she had a personal best she could be on top today.”

Kim Severson (Charlottesville, Va.) and Cooley Cross Border, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by The Cross Syndicate, sits in second in the Land Rover/USEF CCI4* Eventing National Championship on a score of 28.3. Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Tsetserleg, the 11-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by Christine Turner, and Lauren Kieffer (The Plains, Va.) and Vermiculus, Jacqueline Mars’s 11-year-old Anglo-Arabian gelding, are tied for third on a score of 31.2.

For more information about the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, visit kentuckythreedayevent.com.

Edited Press Release from Classic Communications

Marilyn Little Takes Lead on Day Two at Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event

(LEXINGTON, KY) – April 27, 2018 – USA’s Marilyn Little produced a breath-taking dressage test to score an incredible 24.8 and take the lead from defending champion Michael Jung. Partnered with RF Scandalous, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders, Little looked calm and focused as she entered the arena knowing she needed to achieve under 27.1 to top the leaderboard. Australia’s Christopher Burton laid down the gauntlet earlier in the day to nearly clinch the lead aboard Nobilis 18 securing 27.9, finishing the day in third place.

Marilyn Little commented after her ride, “She gave me a great ride toda;, she was a little excited with the Friday afternoon atmosphere here at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, but then she really focused and did her job. Tomorrow’s course is well presented and Scandalous is a very good cross-country horse, so I am looking forward to it. There are a number of questions on the track but as long as we are prepared I think we will go well.”

“This is a really special weekend for me. I am going to try and enjoy this feeling of the being in the lead for now, as with Michael close behind, I know it might not last!” — Marilyn Little, USA

The cross-country course, described as ‘the best cross-country track in the world’ by Christopher Burton, is set to test the 46 world-class horse and rider pairings as they not only need to cross the finishing line clear, but also need to ride inside the optimum time of 11.03 mins to keep their current scores. Course Designer, Derek di Grazia, carries years of experience and will no doubt have some tricky combinations laid down, with all eyes on the Land Rover Head of the Lake as the riders steer through the famous water complex.

Marty Bauman
Chief Press Officer
Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event
508.698.6810
marty@classic-communications.com

Little Holds Lead Heading into FEI CIC 3* Cross-Country at The Fork

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Tryon, NC USA – April 6, 2018 – Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous were uncatchable on the second day of dressage competition at The Fork at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) and FEI World Equestrian Games™ Eventing Test Event (WEG), remaining in first place position and heading into the cross-country phase with 24.2 penalties. Second place was captured by Kimberly Severson (USA) and Cooley Cross Border on a score of 24.5, while Phillip Dutton (USA) and I’m Sew Ready held a tight grip on the third place position with a 26.4. The FEI CIC 3* competition continues April 7 on the White Oak Course, and concludes on April 8 with show jumping in the George H. Morris Arena.

Little reflected that her strategy for cross-country largely depends on how the 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Lario) reacts in the warm-up.

“I got to see the course yesterday and there are so many fly fences. I’m sure plenty will make the time, and I’m just not sure this is the event to push her. I’m working on rideability and control and it would be easy for the horses to get going out there because [Captain Mark Phillips] is using so many portables. So, we’ll have to see how she warms up. I just rode her down there and back and she’s been pretty calm, so it’s nice to see that she’s changed a lot in a year. We’ll just see how she feels.”

Little has been recovering from a broken foot injury that occurred last November, but wasted no time getting back in the tack just two weeks post the start of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival, where she went on to compete successfully throughout the course of the circuit. “Initially, when I injured it, they thought I had just broken a lot of bones,” Little explained. “It wasn’t until January that they found there was more damage to the soft tissue. At that point we were getting quite close, so I thought I would try to see if it would heal, and I decided to keep riding and heading in this direction.”

Kimberly Severson of Charlottesville, VA and the Cross Syndicate-owned 2007 Irish Sport Horse gelding, Cooley Cross Border (Diamond Roller x Whos Diaz), snuck into second place after putting in a solid day two dressage test. Severson commented, “He was very good today. I missed both of my flying changes – this has been quite a thing with him and me – but he’s a really good boy and does a good job, and he tries really hard. I am most happy with his rhythm and frame, but we still have little things to fix, like everybody.”

Severson, who has represented the United States at four FEI World Equestrian Games™, commented on the venue in regard to its purposes come September. “I think there’s a lot of room in there [George Morris Arena]. It’s obviously going to feel a little bit smaller with the seating full, but I actually went all the way to the outside and it feels a lot roomier than it has certainly in a number of other WEG locations.”

As she plans a strategy for her run on the cross-country course, Severson also has Kentucky in mind. Much of her goal will be focused on a smooth water ride. She joked, “You mean don’t fall off in the water?! No, I think he’s good. We did two little water schools in the past weeks. He’ll either be really good for it or worse for it, but I actually think he’ll do much better. That’s how I’m going to plan to ride it – the whole thing.”

The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Bronze Medalist Phillip Dutton moved down one spot from second place standing, but will still enter the cross-country phase in the top three rankings, aboard I’m Sew Ready, the 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Lupicor x Jarda), owned by Kristine and John Norton.

“I was pleased with my tests, but like Kim said, there’s a lot to improve on,” said Dutton. “I haven’t run them a lot, so it is good to see where your training is at and what you’ve got to work on. The cross-country course I think is nice and not overly taxing, which I like at this time of year. The ground’s a bit firm, but I think they’re holding off watering because of the rain coming and I think that ultimately the footing’s going to be really good.”

Dutton is riding a total of three horses across the FEI CIC 3* track, and noted, “[I’m Sew Ready] wouldn’t be the easiest horse I’ve ever had to ride, but we’re just working on getting him reaching in his neck and not being tight in his back. You have to kind of be patient in the warm-up because he doesn’t give you the greatest feel in the beginning, and a lot of times in the past I’ve reacted to that and tried to fix him too quickly, so a long warm-up is good for him because over time he just loosens up anyway. He’s a very quiet horse, so that’s just kind of him. So, I was pleased with yesterday, and had him more forward than I’ve had him and we started to lose a little bit of power at the trot, but otherwise it was good.”

Like his cohorts, Dutton is here in preparation for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018. “I feel that horses go better once they’ve been to an event at least once,” he said, “and you see this a lot at Championships where a brand new course causes a lot of trouble and rides much better the next year. So I think there’s definitely an advantage to being here, and that’s one of the reasons I sent my entry in!”

Please visit www.Tryon2018.com or follow @Tryon2018 on social media for more information.

Little Fights to Preserve Winning Title at The Fork FEI CIC 3*

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. ©ShannonBrinkmanPhotography.

Tryon, NC USA – April 5, 2018 – Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous sit atop the leaderboard in the FEI CIC 3* division at The Fork at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), receiving 24.2 penalties on the first day of dressage competition during the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 (WEG) Eventing Test Event. Phillip Dutton (USA) and I’m Sew Ready currently hold second with a 26.4, while Jordan Linstedt (USA) and Revitavet Capato round out the top three on a 26.7.

For the second year in a row, Little and the 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Lario) claimed the top spot during the first day of dressage at The Fork, as they strive to maintain their winning record at the event since its relocation to TIEC last year, as they head into their second phase on Saturday. While their position is the same now as it was last year, Little acknowledged that her partner is a much different horse.

“I think RF Scandalous is much more mature than she was a year ago. She went in there today and had some of the best canter work she’s ever done. I was really pleased with her changes. She was perfect. She’s a dream!”

After a graceful start for the duo this spring, Little hopes to go at a more consistent pace throughout the month, keeping “Kitty” active and her fitness level intact as The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event approaches later this month. “This is her final competitive run before Kentucky,” said Little. “I was really thrilled with her today, given that she is incredibly fit right now. My plan was to get her as fit as I could by this time, and then be able to back off a little bit in April and fine tune some things, so she’s coming into this event right where I’d like her to be.”

Thirty-six horse-and-rider combinations will contest the track on Saturday, designed by Course Designer Captain Mark Phillips, who is also responsible for course design at the WEG later this year. Little will strategically map her intentions for her run after she walks the course and confirms a plan for the pair.

“Last year we had a mixed bag of success,” she continued. “The Fork was wonderful for us; that was a great event. I came back in the fall for AECs and that didn’t go so well for me, so there are some things that I would like to accomplish out there.”

Little also plans to use The Fork to prepare the mare, owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Michael Manders, for possible WEG contention. “I think it’s a very important prep event for a lot of reasons,” she explained.

“The management and the staff are really allowing the riders to train for WEG here. Not only do we get to keep an eye on things and see where things are going, but everyone has been very sensitive to the horses and the fact that the next time they come in this ring, it will be for that. You saw that today in the amount of time they gave us around the arena before we started the test. I thought that was very kind, and I thought the horses were able to truly settle.”

Eventers from across North America arrived to test the waters at the venue this week, many taking their turn in the George H. Morris Arena on Thursday in anticipation of the prestigious events to come. “Of course, if there are people that couldn’t get here, there are plenty of opportunities to come to the other shows during the summer and I’m sure that we’ll see people taking advantage of that because it’s such a fantastic opportunity for us to have that chance,” concluded Little.

Later in the afternoon, Lynn Symansky of Middleburg, VA and Under Suspection posted the lead in the Advanced-A division with a score of 25.70, while Symansky reigned supreme once more on Donner, claiming the second place position with 28.20 penalties. Boyd Martin of Cochranville, PA and Kyra rounded out the top three on a 28.90.

Will Coleman of The Plains, VA and Obos O’Reilly currently sit in first place in the Advanced-B division on a 24.50, while Lauren Kieffer of Middleburg, VA and Veronica earned a 26.10 to stand in second. Leslie Law of Ocala, FL and The Apprentice follow in third with a score of 27.00.

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