It was all about Marilyn Little today, who had two spectacular rounds on RF Smoke On the Water and RF Demeter, becoming the eventual winner of the CIC3* with RF Demeter. I saw Marilyn from fence 11, Lizzie’s Leap, through fence 12AB, Stonehenge, and both she and Demi looked fiercely determined. Marilyn and Demi finished on their dressage score (46.2), moving from eighth after dressage to fifth after show jumping and, finally, to first after cross country. Both RF Demeter and RF Smoke On the Water are headed for Rolex this year, so I’m sure Marilyn will be quite pleased with how well their spring prep is going.
The optimum time proved elusive today, although many pairs were likely not pushing for time quite yet this year. Marilyn was one of only two to come home inside the time: Timothy Bourke and Luckuan Quality were the other pair to get it done. Marilyn also came close with RF Smoke On the Water, who clocked in with just .8 time penalties to end up in eighth place provisionally.
Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM (Reggie) also had a quick round, coming home with only 2.4 time penalties to add to their dressage score of 48.0 to clinch second place. I saw Buck and Reggie as they pulled up at the vet box, and Buck looked positively thrilled with Reggie, who looked like he had simply warmed up and was ready for another (harder) go.
Michael Pollard and Ballingowan Pizazz had a solid run today but accumulated just a few too many time penalties to stay in the lead. Michael ended the weekend on a 51.1, adding 8.8 time penalties today after jumping double clear yesterday to finish third. I saw Michael through Zoe’s Bank as well as Stonehenge, and they both looked calm, cool and confident. Michael said yesterday that he wasn’t going to turn this event into the Olympics, and I think he will be pleased with Mango’s showing this weekend.
The CIC3* course rode quite well, with only a few issues cropping up sporadically. Sharon White and Rafferty’s Rules had a run-out at fence 8B, the corner that was part of Zoe’s Bank, but went on to put things together for a solid round the remainder of the time. Buck Davidson and Petite Flower had a glance-off at fence 18AB, the Aires Marine Pine Line. Flower jumped her eyeballs out for Buck today, and aside from that little blip they had a beautiful round.
Michael Pollard and Mensa were the only pair to have a fall on course; Michael fell at the A element of fence 18 (the Aires Marine Pine Line) and was immediately up on his feet. Both horse and rider appeared to be fine. Kimberly Kojima and High Time were the only other elimination of the day, picking up three refusals on course, with the final stop coming at fence 22 at the second water.
Two horses were withdrawn prior to cross country: Holly Payne’s Never Outfoxed and Kim Severson’s Fernhill Fearless.
I must say that my personal favorite ride of the day was Buck Davidson and The Apprentice, the trailblazers for the CIC3*. Dirk looked like he was having the time of his life on course today, and clearly thought that clearing the fences with as much room as possible was the order of the day.
I also have video footage from throughout the day, and Jenni just ran off to catch up with Marilyn and Buck, so keep it locked here for more from Carolina International.