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Sat, 2017-04-08 18:16

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous Maintain Top Spot on Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* Leaderboard

Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

The top two places of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup CIC3* at The Fork Horse Trials remained unchanged following the show jumping phase as both Marilyn Little with RF Scandalous and Kim Severson with Cooley Cross Border jumped fault-free rounds. Chris Barnard’s show jumping course in the George Morris Arena at the Tryon International Equestrian Center caused very little trouble for the three-star competitors with 14 of the 19 pairs leaving all of the rails in their cups.

Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky and Phoebe and Michael Mander’s 12-year-old Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia) hasn’t had a rail down since 2014 and that didn’t change today. “I feel so much more pressure show jumping at an event,” said Little. “I think I walk the courses an extra 15 minutes than I do at a horse show. When I am show jumping I do 15 rounds a day, and here walking into that ring that is all the pressure of a grand prix because that is her grand prix. We have worked so hard to prepare for this moment just as you are going into a grand prix at Wellington. Although the jumps are lower, the pressure is higher.”

“For me eventing is for fun and show jumping is full time,” continued Little. If I can help with anything that is the one thing.”

Little only has two penalties in hand for the win, but you may not see her at the top of the leaderboard tomorrow. “This is her first run so I won’t start out too quickly,” said Little. “So we will see how she is handling it and how her adrenaline is.” Little commented that she thinks the first combination after the bridge is quite substantial and right on the edge of a four-star question. “I think once I get through there I will pick it up; I am not sure I will be able to make it up because of the terrain, but we will see. I will just try and take care of her out there and have a nice confident round.”

As for RF Scandalous’ spring plans. “This is the event that will determine really where are season goes from here. There will be a big meeting of the minds with Jacqueline Mars and her other owners and David [O’Connor] and make some decisions. Whatever I do I am looking towards the World [Equestrian Games].”

Kim Severson sits in second with Cooley Cross Border, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Diamond Roller x Whos Diaz) owned by the Cross Syndicate. Sara Kozumplik Murphy moved up from fifth to third with a clear round aboard Rubens D'Ysieux, a 12-year-old Selle Francais (Balougran x Orenda D'ysieux) owned by the Rubens D'Ysieux Syndicate.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night. USEA/Leslie Mintz photo.

Rails Prove Influential in the Advanced Divisions

The two Advanced divisions also show jumped this morning over the same track as the CIC3*, but there was significantly more trouble with only five clear jumping rounds in the A division and just two in the B division – although neither made the time.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Fernhill By Night, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Radolin x Argentina XII) owned by Deborah Halliday kept their lead in the Advanced-A division with a double clear round. Jessica Phoenix climbed from third to second with Don Good’s Pavarotti, an 14-year-old Westphalian, and Allison Springer and the Arthur Syndicate’s Arthur, an 18-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Brandenburg’s Windstar x Kelly) also moved up a place to third.

“He tried really, really hard,” said Halliday-Sharp of her round with Fernhill By Night. “He wasn’t quite awake in the warm-up and needed a bit of a giddyup in the ring. He is a great jumper as long as I don’t make any mistakes – he is a bit of a sensitive flower. I am prone to time faults with him as I usually look after him a little too much, so I was really pleased with him today.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow, Halliday-Sharp says the main plan is to get a clear round. “It is no secret that [Fernhill By Night] can be a bit tricky. He is actually probably in the best place he has ever been – despite what the record might show. He is actually going the best he has ever gone cross-country.

As to entering the Advanced instead of the CIC3* as the final prep run before the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event – that has to do with Fernhill By Night’s mojo. “Mainly I thought it would be a nicer run to be honest,” said Halliday-Sharp. “He is definitely the type of horse that benefits from not having the hardest run of his life right before a big event. He is very much a horse we drop down a level here and there it just suits his brain; you kind of have to keep his mojo in check, so to speak.”

Jessica Phoenix and Bentley's Best. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Jessica Phoenix and Bentley’s Best added one time penalty to their score, but still moved up from third to first. Don Good’s 10-year-old Trakenher (Hauptstutbuch Baronesse XIII x Eichendorff) gelding has a 5-point lead heading into tomorrow’s cross-country over Emily Beshear and Purple Eventing’s Silver Night Lady, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse and Jordan Linstedt with Revitavet Capato, a 14-year-old Hanoverian (Contendro x Annabelle) owned by Barbara and Gary Linstedt.

“He is such a cool horse to ride and he really feels like he is getting really playful at this level which is really fun. On dressage day I was suffering from the stomach flu, so I was just happy I got through that day and then I was happy we had a quiet day yesterday.”

“Always when you are coming to the decision of which event to enter in, it is hard,” continued Phoenix. “I am really thankful that I entered in this event I think just getting them in this atmosphere and this venue – having to walk into this big ring is really great for the horses. Being able to do dressage and show jump in this venue is a really great set-up for Rolex.”  

Kylie Lyman and Lup the Loop. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Kylie Lyman and Lup the Loop Clinch the CIC2*

Kylie Lyman and Lup the Loop headed into today’s cross-country course in sixth place and despite picking up 9.6 time penalties, the pair came away with the blue ribbon. The 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Lupicor x Hogan’s Lass) has quite a bit of experience at the three-star level, including finishing second at last summer’s Bromont CCI3* and representing the U.S. overseas at Millstreet, Blenheim and Boekelo. Lup the Loop’s experience definitely came in handy on Tremaine Cooper and Capt. Mark Phillips’ cross-country course as half the division had trouble and only one pair made time (even with a stop!).

“I was originally entered in the three-star, but we had a little blip at Carolina [International] when my stirrup broke, so I thought we would take just a step back to have just a little confidence booster and it definitely served that purpose,” explained Lyman.

“Today definitely wasn’t a breather for either one of us – there was a lot to do out there, and even though it was a two-star I thought it rode quite difficult. I think he came away from it having learned something, but we both had to work for it even though he has a lot of three-star mileage at this point it was not easy. I was really happy that we made that decision and we gained something from it, which doesn’t always happen when you step down.”

Will Zuschlag and his own, RF Southern Command, a 9-year-old KWPN (Ustinov x Trijntje) moved up eight spots to take home the red ribbon. Third place went to Erika Nesler and Right Above It who had the second fastest round of the day. Doug and Cindy Howe’s Irish Sport Horse, Right Above It, completed the 9-year-old hat trick. as the top three placings in the CIC2* were all the same age.

Valerie Vizcarrando and Favian. USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo.

Valerie Vizcarrondo is Victorius in the CIC* with Favian

It was a crazy close ending to the CIC* as overnight leader Rachel Wilks crossed the finish line two seconds over the time, and those .8 time penalties dropped her and the 8-year-old, Great Expectations (Cobra x Cusheen Beauty) into second place. Valerie Vizcarrando and Favian, a 9-year-old Oldenburg (French Kiss x Risiko) earned the win on a score of 45.9.

“He is a relatively new horse for me, and it took me a bit to get him figured out,” explained Vizcarrando. “It is starting to feel a bit like he is mine.”

While Favian has been competing at the one-star level since last year, Vizcarrando is still working on improving him. “He has this big stride, but he isn’t very strong and it is a bit tricky, so he was in show jumping and dressage boot camp all winter and to feel like you are transitioning back into competition was a question mark. I felt pretty good coming off of Carolina, and I felt like this could be a repeat of that situation, but I have never been here before and I really didn’t know what to expect. He handled the atmosphere great and he was really happy to scorch around the cross-country course today.”

Third place went to Christine Turner’s On Cue, an 11-year-old Anglo-European mare (Cabri D’Elle x On High) ridden by Boyd Martin.  

Full scores are available here. 

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.

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