Company Raylyn Farms’ RF Demeter had back-to-back second-place finishes at Schenefeld and Breda during her European campaign last fall, and Marilyn Little is thrilled she clinched a win today in the Carolina International CIC3* — the mare’s first event back on U.S. soil — thanks to a double clear trip across the country. Marilyn said Demi came out of the box feeling strong, and aside from a sticky moment at the second water, the trip was everything she hoped it would be.
Demi has actually been back in the States since December, but she spent two months in quarantine due to falling ill after Pau. It took awhile to get their season going as a result, and Marilyn said Red Hills was just coming up a bit too quickly considering their delayed start this year. But Demi came out swinging this weekend, especially when you consider the mare has been down in Wellington, where hills for conditioning aren’t exactly plentiful.
The course proved to ride a bit tough from a fitness standpoint, as the hilly terrain and lots of turning took its toll on the horses. Demi is the type of horse who gets right to work on course, Marilyn said, meaning she doesn’t lose time setting up or rating her, which allows them to make the time more often than not. Like the rest of the horses preparing for Rolex, Demi heads to The Fork next, and Marilyn will plan on an easy prep run there.
As you’ll hear in the interview, Marilyn said her team has had great luck keeping Demi on EquiOtic, which has helped her develop a more girlish figure. Marilyn said the mare lost about 100 pounds while recovering from her sickness, and they’re working to put those back on. She also keeps her on straw now after a recommendation from Dr. Mark Koene, one of the Team USA vets, and that has also played a big role in solving the mare’s weight issues.
Buck Davidson was another rider very happy with his horse following the CIC3* cross country, as Carl and Cassie Segal’s Ballynoe Castle RM continues to romp around with ease on his comeback tour. They jumped double clear with just 2.4 time penalties to finish in second place. Buck said he brought Reggie in too fast to the bending tables at 5A, blowing past his line to 5B. He got Reggie to 5B on an off stride, gave him a little tap, and the horse scrambled over in true Reggie form.
The vet box crew told Buck that Reggie had the best heart rate and recovery time they’d seen all day, which has to be reassuring heading into their final prep run for Rolex at The Fork. Buck said he always feels like he didn’t do his job when Reggie finishes anywhere but first, as he thinks the horse is good enough to win anywhere — and I’m sure Reggie’s legions of fans agree. But he’s thrilled the horse is looking fantastic in the lead up to Kentucky.
Many thanks to Marilyn and Buck for taking the time to chat. It’s always a relief to be able to say the course rode smoothly with relatively few problems and no major injuries, and Hugh Lochore’s track offered beautifully presented jumping efforts with appropriate questions the horses will come away better for having answered. Congratulations to the organizing committee and officials for a wildly successful weekend in the inaugural Carolina International CIC3. Go eventing.