Marilyn Little started cross country day at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International sitting first and second in the CCI3* with RF Scandalous and RF Demeter, respectively, and she ultimately swapped the two on the leaderboard after delivering one of the 14 clear rounds inside the time with “Demi.”
RF Demeter, a 14-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars, Raylyn Farms and Patrick Witte, now sits in first place on her dressage score of 44.6, with RF Scandalous, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Phoebe and Michael Manders, Jacqueline Mars and Robin Parsky, adding 4.8 time penalties to slip to second place on 46.3.
With RF Demeter hunting for CCI redemption following Rolex Kentucky this spring and RF Scandalous making her return to the level following an injury at Boekelo last fall, Marilyn said she couldn’t be happier to still be topping the Fair Hill leaderboard after cross country with these two mares.
“I was hoping that Demi would be very good today and she was, from start to finish. She jumped very well, was focused and looking for the fences. I had a little bit of a ‘cross country moment’ at the second water. She just got a little slow with her front end, but she’s a wonderful sport. She picked herself up and went off to B, and that’s just her experience and her heart. She gave me a great run around and was able to slow up a bit at the end and come in under the time,” Marilyn said.
“Scandalous is green to the level and got a little excited before going into the startbox, so I started a few seconds late and … had a hard time settling into the rhythm, so we started a little slower than I would have liked, but it was the right thing for her. It’s only her second run at the CCI level, and it rode around very true for her. She’s a very courageous horse, and she was nice and straight and finished comfortably.”
Christian Landolt, president of the ground jury, confirmed in the post-cross country press conference that officials received reports of blood in RF Scandalous’ mouth at fence 20, and the ground jury confirmed that blood was visible at fence 22. Christian said officials decided not to stop Marilyn and RF Scandalous on course to evaluate the blood because they were five fences from home, opting instead to evaluate the mare in the vet box after she completed the course.
“With barely a minute of cross country to go, the easiest was just to let her finish and get the vet to look at her at the end, because we would have actually had to have a vet involved anyway. It was easier for everybody for her to finish if there was no interruption of her cross country,” Christian said.
“At the finish the vet was informed there might have been some blood, and on inspection she saw nothing. There was no open wound and no blood or anything. That’s the information we were given, so there isn’t really a case. Clearly the mare bit her tongue or something like that, but … the vet couldn’t find anything, any fresh injury or any fresh blood on the horse at the finish.”
EN will be publishing a full report on the blood later tonight with quotes from Marilyn Little and Christian Landolt, so keep checking back.
Emily Beshear had a cracking day at Fair Hill, jumping clear with 1.2 time penalties aboard Deep Purple Eventing’s Shame on the Moon to move from sixth place up to third on 48.1. The 10-year-old Trakehner/Thoroughbred mare finished seventh at Blenheim CCI3* last fall and has struggled to find her cross country mojo a bit this year, but “Delta” put that firmly behind her today.
“She came out this year much bolder and less focused, so I’ve had some stupid run-bys just with her not being focused, so I was really determined at the beginning and concerned about the first water and the angled brushes, just making sure I got her eye on it. Then I’ve also had trouble with her at the end when she tires listening to me and getting a little haphazard in her jumping form, so I was probably a little more defensive with her at the end of the course than I needed to be,” Emily said.
“But she was awesome, and I definitely set up for a few things more than I needed to because she listened much better than I thought she was going to, just based on her history, and she had tons of gallop left and jumped all the hard stuff as well as I could have asked, so I’m thrilled with her. I feel like I’ve got my girl back!”
While the Elkton, Maryland area usually battles downpours during this time of year, the weather lately has been mercifully dry, giving us fast ground for horses and riders to cruise around Derek di Grazia’s course. We saw 14 clear rounds inside the time in all, along with a number of other trips that nearly caught the optimum time of 10 minutes.
Looking to the rest of the leaderboard, Mackenna Shea and her own Landioso moved from eighth up to fourth place on 49.1 with a clear round and just 0.4 time penalties. Buck Davidson cracked the top five with a clear round inside the time, moving from 10th up to fifth on 49.4 with Carl and Cassie Segal’s Park Trader.
Hannah Sue Burnett and Mary Ann Ghadban’s Under Suspection picked up 2.8 time penalties to move one spot on the leaderboard to sixth on 49.6. Lauren Kieffer and Jacqueline Mars’ Landmark’s Monte Carlo stormed around double clear to move from 14th to eighth on on 52.2. (His full brother Landmark’s Monaco jumped double clear in the CCI2* to move to third; stay tuned for that report!)
Phillip Dutton has two rides in the top 10, with John and Kristine Norton’s I’m Sew Ready jumping clear with 1.6 time penalties to move up two spots on the leaderboard to seventh on 50.8 and Plantation Field CIC3* winner Mr. Candyman jumping clear and inside the time to move from 15th to ninth on 52.9.
No one has a bigger smile in Maryland tonight than Jenny Caras, who jumped clear and inside the time with her own Fernhill Fortitude but was then marked as being technically eliminated for missing a flag at the final water. After further review (thanks to photos by Lawrence J. Nagy — go photographers!) the decision was overturned, and her clear round was re-instated to boost her up to equal 10th place on 53.5.
Will Coleman and the Conair Syndicate’s Tight Lines, who win the USEF CCI2* National Championship at Fair Hill last year, are also sitting in 10th place on 53.5 thanks to a clear round inside the time.
Three cheers for the other pairs that delivered double clears: Caroline Martin and Pebbly Maximus (tied for 15th), Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent (tied for 15th), Will Coleman and Soupcon de Brunet (17th), Sharon White and Cooley On Show (18th), Ryan Wood and Fernhill Classic (21st), Joe Meyer and Clip Clop (22nd), Woodge Fulton and Captain Jack (24th), and Erin Sylvester and Campground (31st).
We saw three rider falls and two horse falls in the CCI3* with no major injuries. Julie Richards was taken to a local hospital to treat a shoulder injury after she fell with Urlanmore Beauty at fence 22, but she is expected to be released soon. For a play-by-play of what happened where on course, check out EN’s live updates here, and you can also see the fence report courtesy of scoring guru Rick Dunkerton here.
Stay tuned for much more from EN, including a full report on the CCI2*, which Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois are leading after cross country. Click here for live updates from the two-star. Click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage so far.