Marilyn Little delivered a one-two punch this weekend at the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International ending as the USEF CCI3* National Champion with RF Scandalous, and Reserve Champion with RF Demeter at the Elkton, Md. venue.
Her name never dropped from the top of the three-star leaderboard during the competition, but she swapped between horses after each phase. Scandalous or “Kitty” took the early lead on Thursday after her brilliant dressage gave her 41.5 penalty points. After picking up 4.8 time penalties on cross-country, she paved the way for her stablemate, “Demi,” to put her nose ahead. On the final day of the event, Demi, the more experienced of the two, had an uncharacteristic rail today across Sally Ike’s show jumping course for the final swap in placings.
“Truthfully, I thought it was Demi’s weekend. It’s just the way the chips fell, but she’s just as deserving and truly and incredible horse and an incredible partner. She has made my time in eventing so special and I owe her everything,” Little explained. Demi also earned the Fitness Award for being best conditioned on the cross-country course yesterday.
Marilyn Little and RF Demeter. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.
“I really couldn’t have had a better day with those two. Scandalous was lovely out there. She came back a little tired, it was her first CCI3* and I was thrilled with her effort and the heart she showed today. She really stepped up and showed what a horse she is and what an exciting horse she is for the future. She’s got a great group of owners behind her that have brought her to this point, Jacqueline Mars, Robin Parsky, and Phoebe and Mike Manders, who were here today. That made it very special,” she continued.
Clear rounds proved valuable, and Hannah Sue Burnett and Undersuspection were one of the many pairs who found themselves climbing the rankings. Mary Ann Ghadban’s 12-year-old Holsteiner “Pippy” moved from fifth to third after leaving all the rails up. “I was pretty excited to show jump Pippy today. She’s a really fantastic jumper and gives me a lot of confidence in the ring,” Burnett shared. “I know that if I cluck at her at the base if I’m a little wrong she’s going to take care of it and try really hard. She really proved that today, she’s fantastic.”
Hannah Sue Burnett and Undersuspection. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.
Fair Hill was a girls weekend this year, with lady riders taking the top three spots in both international divisions, and mares holding the top three CCI3* and top two CCI2* placings, a result which has not been seen here before.
There were many clear rounds in this division, 14 in total, but rails proved to be costly. Fourth-placed MacKenna Shea and Landioso and fifth-placed Buck Davidson and Park Trader found themselves outside the top ten after each having two rails, and third-placed Emily Beshear and Shame on the Moon had a disappointing round, accumulating five rails. Phillip Dutton moved from seventh to fourth with I’m Sew Ready and from ninth to fifth with Mr. Candyman after piloting both horses to double clear rounds.
Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude. USEA/Shelby Allen Photo.
Other notable finishers include Jenny Caras who ended sixth with Fernhill Fortitude, and earned the Alexander MacKay Smith Trophy for being the highest placed young rider. Caroline Martin and Pebbly Maximus, and Meghan O’Donoghue and Palm Crescent broke a tie for fifteenth place after cross-country to end in eight and ninth respectively. Will Coleman, after impressively having four double clear cross-country runs yesterday, pulled out a clear round with Soupcon du Brunet to jump from seventeenth all the way to tenth today.
Click here for final scores.