Major storms and tornados came through North Carolina yesterday resulting in a cold and windy morning at the Fork Horse Trials at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C. Combine that with the atmosphere of the George Morris Arena and only four of the 20 horses that competed in the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* earned sub-50 dressage scores from judges, Christian Landholt and Gretchen Butts.
In her first FEI start since winning the 2016 Fair Hill International CCI3*, Marilyn Little rode RF Scandalous, 12-year-old Oldenburg (Carry Gold x Richardia), to the top of the leaderboard earning a 41.7.
“I was really pleased with her; I thought she did a good job,” said Little of the mare owned by Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky and Phoebe and Michael Manders. “I am coming from very warm weather and it is quite chilly and windy here, so I wouldn’t have blamed her if she had been a bit fresh, but she was very focused and she did a nice test. I could have ridden her up a bit more, I was maybe a bit conservative thinking there would be some effects [from the weather], but she was great.”
While many of the other horses in the CIC3* have been out at events since January, Little has been in Wellington, Fla. competing on the show jumping circuit so hasn’t had a full run this year. “[RF Scandalous] has been in Wellington all winter so her gallops and the fitness has been a bit creative – she has been galloping out in the everglades out on the dykes and in people’s yards. We will see where her fitness is, but regardless this is her first run of the year so we are looking for a nice run to start her season and to get a nice tour of the course so we all know what’s coming and where the course is going.”
Kim Severson and Cooley Cross Border. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.
Kim Severson and the Cross Syndicate’s Cooley Cross Border couldn’t quite catch RF Scandalous, but came close with a 43.7. The 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Diamond Roller x Whos Diaz) is coming off of a win in the Advanced-A division at the Carolina International a few weeks ago.
“He was very, very good today. I was very pleased with him,” said Severson. “I thought the lateral work was good. The flying changes are always . . . well the one is good. Every time I have to do that pirouette and pick up the canter, I pick up the wrong lead. Clearly that is something I need to work on. Overall, I was very happy with him. This show is going to dictate if we go to Kentucky or not. As of right now we are thinking that way – he was great at Carolina so we are going to see how he is.”
Phillip Dutton and Fernhill Revelation. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.
Rounding out the top three is Phillip Dutton with one of his newest rides – Fernhill Revelation. The 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse (You x Hallo Noble Girl) competed through the CCI3* level with Fraser Duffy before he was imported last fall by the Revelation Group. In their second CIC3* start together, Dutton improved Fernhill Revelation’s dressage score by 3.2 points – earning a 48.3.
This is Dutton’s first visit to the Tryon International Equestrian Center as he was competing at Burghley during the Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships last fall. “It is great to be here,” said Dutton. “It was worth the trip here to have the horses in this main arena. I think it is great preparation for bigger events to come.”
“Fernhill Revelation is a new horse for me, and I am excited about him and his future – I think he is going to be pretty smart on the flat.”
Caroline Martin had four rides in the CIC3*, but unfortunately her day ended early when the Ground Jury rang Pebbly Maximus out for blood. According the FEI 3* Ground Jury, after Pebbly Maximus came down the centerline the judge at “C” noticed pink saliva. As the test progressed, the saliva became redder to the point the judge had to interrupt the test. “Although there was no rough riding nor any major wound upon vet inspection the amount of blood was unacceptable. Regrettably we had to apply the FEI blood rule. Therefore, we did not allow her to continue.”
The CIC3* riders will have the day off tomorrow before heading back to the George Morris Arena for show jumping on Saturday morning.
The two Advanced divisions are also serving as Adequan USEA Gold Cup Qualifiying divisions. Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night are sitting on the top of the A division. Deborah Halliday's 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Radolin x Argentina XII) scored a 25.9 in their final run before Rolex Kentucky. Jordan Linstedt riding her Rolex-bound, Revitavet Capato, a 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro x Annabelle) owned by Barbara And Gary Linstedt lead the B division on a 31.5.
About the Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series
The 2017 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Championship features 11 qualifying competitions throughout the United States at the Advanced Horse Trials and CIC3* levels. Qualifying began last fall and continues through August with the final taking place at the USEA American Eventing Championships, August 30 – September 3 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C. Riders who complete a qualifier earn the chance to vie for $40,000 in prize money and thousands of dollars in prizes in the Adequan Advanced Division and the title of Adequan USEA Gold Cup Champion.
The 2017 Adequan USEA Gold Cup Series is made possible through the support of its many loyal sponsors: Adequan, Standlee Forage, Nutrena, Merck Animal Health, Broadstone Equine Insurance Agency and FITS.