Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous have come out of quarantine as strong as ever, taking the early lead in the 2020 MARS Great Meadow International CCI4*-S.
With the majority of the calendar in limbo, Marilyn elected to keep “Kitty,” a 15-year-old Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia, by Lario) owned by Mrs Jacqueline Mars, Mr & Mrs Phoebe & Michael Manders, in Florida this season, and chipping away at dressage and jumper shows.
“It’s definitely been a challenge to be down there during the summer trying to find all the events and check all the boxes and be as prepared as you can be,” Marilyn told The Chronicle. “Fortunately she’s had a lot of experience, and she feels great. I’m super excited with how she feels, and she’s jumping well, so I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
“Like everybody, this has been a bit of a different year, and I’ve had to get creative to make it all work. It’s been a year where it feels like a lot of doors have closed, and I’m trying to reopen some and find a way forward. It’s a bit of work and requires some creativity,” she said.
Marilyn and Kitty earned a 21.8 today, a new dressage record for this division.
“So many events have been canceled, and this has been such a beacon on the calendar for all of the riders,” she said. “To have a place like this to come during a pandemic is really special. Without MARS’ support, this would never have happened. The feeling from the riders, we’re all just really grateful, and everyone’s happy to be here.”
Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver sit in second place. The Monster Partnership’s 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer x Kylemore Crystal) earned a 26.1, a personal best for the rising star in Liz’s yard.
Hannah Sue Burnett and longtime partner Harbour Pilot hold third overnight. The 17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Cruising x Shannon), who is owned by Jaqueline Mars, kick off the weekend on a score of 26.8.
Phillip Dutton is fourth with Luke 140 on a score of 28. Owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate, Phillip is borrowing the ride while his usual rider, Boyd Martin, remains on the mend.
Colleen Rutledge piloted her own Covert Rights into fifth place on a score of 28.5.
The remaining 44 pairs will continue with dressage tomorrow for judges Peter Gray and Valerie Vizcarrando beginning at at 9 am eastern. Coverage for this division will start on the Horse & Country live stream at 2 pm eastern.
Sharon White and her own Claus 63 have stepped out as the early leaders in the brand new CCI3*-L division. Sharon and the 8-year-old Holsteiner (Catoo x Tina II, by Levisto) were the only pair to sqeak into sub-30 territory, carrying a score of 29.5 into the jumping phases.
Benjamin Noonan and his own Keep Kitty, a 9-year-old Hanoverian (King Julio x Hauptstutbuch Emelie) mare follow in second on a score of 31.2. Third place currently belongs to Katherine Brown and her 7-year-old Hanoverian Carnaby.
The exciting cross country phase begins for these folks bright and early tomorrow at 7 am. Follow the live stream so you don’t miss a second of the action.