Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous began their weekend in the CCI4*-S at the 2021 Red Hills International Horse Trials with a strong performance in dressage and added two clean jumping phases to finish on their dressage score of 22.4 and take home the blue ribbon.
“Kitty had a great run,” said Little who was extremely pleased with RF Scandalous, the 16-year-old Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Richardia) owned by Jacqueline Mars and Phoebe and Michael Manders. “She was able to take the water jump in four strides, I thought she might when I walked it but wasn’t sure, and she did it.”
Little executed her strategy well, taking advantage of the long galloping tracks to make up some time from the combinations in the water jumps. Little has enjoyed previous success at Red Hills, winning the four-star in 2018 and the three-star in 2015, and now looks ahead to the goal of competing at the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event.
Colleen Loach on Peter Barry’s Qorry Blue D’Argouges, a 17-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Mr. Blue x Hardie Du Bourg) had a great cross-country run that moved her to second place from the overnight third-place position.
“Qorry was great,” Loach said. “I thought it was a good course for him because he is not a very fast horse, and it’s quite twisty in the woods. He is so ridable that I could make up a bit of time on the turns.”
Loach was especially pleased with how Qorry jumped overall. “I thought he did the coffin quite well because that was a bit tough and also the first water. He just jumped everything well.”
It has been more than five years since Loach has ridden at Red Hills and she said, “I had a good experience. It’s a greatly-run event.”
Leslie Law riding on Voltaire De Tre, Tre’ Book’s 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Gentleman IV x Jasmina Du Fresne) moved up to third place from 15th after dressage.
“He is a horse that is always going to move up,” Leslie Law said. “Although he was 15th he was in a very competitive place, and that’s the main thing, after dressage to have him in a competitive position, because then, if he’s only fractions of points behind the other horses, he’s going to get them in the next two phases.”
Law attributes Voltaire De Tre’s success to becoming a “real seasoned cross-country horse.”
“He’s an absolute joy to ride cross-country,” said Law. “Over the years I’ve ridden a lot of horses, in Olympic games, in world championships, in European championships, and I think he has to be one of the best cross-country horses I’ve ever ridden.”
The CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S, and Advanced all saw wire-to-wire winners with Tamra Smith jumping clear across the country on David and Julianne Guariglia's Solaguayre California, a 10-year-old Argentinian mare (Casparo x Solaguayre Calandria) to take the CCI3*-S win. Alyssa Phillips jumped a clear round on her own Cornelius Bo, a 7-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Concours Complet x Charlotte) to win the CCI2*-S. In the Advanced division, Jennie Brannigan won with Tim and Nina Gardner's FE Lifestyle (Leo von Faelz x Berina A), an 11-year-old German Sport Horse, after picking up just 1.6 time penalties.
For the first time in its 23 years, Red Hills International Horse Trials ran cross-country on Sunday rather than Saturday. According to many riders, the course was beautiful, well dressed, and offered long galloping tracks. “The change to running the cross-country last for all classes will hopefully prove popular, there is no question that competitors prefer this for short format classes,” said Michael Etherington-Smith.
Etherington-Smith designed the CCI4*-S and Advanced courses and David O’Connor designed the CCI3*-S, CCI2*-S, Intermediate, and Preliminary courses. The cross-country course builders were Tyson Rementer and Levi Ryckewaert. Etherington-Smith said of this year’s courses, “A few changes have been made but the course still runs right-handed as last year. This way round has a good feel to it and seems to flow better than going left-handed.”
Red Hills International Horse Trials built 18 frangible jumps for its six levels of cross-country courses, taking advantage of emerging technology to reduce risk for horse and rider.
Both the CCI4*-S and Advanced divisions are qualifiers for the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final that will take place at the USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds in August.
"Too plain" is not a description that fits today's wire-to-wire winner of the Twin Rivers Spring International's inaugural CCI4*-L. But that's what Amber Levine heard five years ago after importing the now 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Classe VDL x Walta) as a sales prospect. So, she kept him. His long-delayed debut at the CCI4*-L level proved the wisdom of that decision.
This year’s pre-Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event USEA Official Podcast isn’t a traditional preview show, but rather Host Nicole Brown and the team of Max Corcoran, Rob Burk, and Diarm Byrne are discussing their favorite Kentucky memories as everyone gets giddy for the 2021 event!
At the second-to-last of 40 efforts, "I thought, 'This is actually happening,'" said Amber Levine of a faultless finish with Cellar Farm's Cinzano today to stay on their 31.5 lead going into show jumping tomorrow morning in the Twin Rivers Spring International CCI4*-L. The Jeffs Hot Tub Waves complex at 19 a/b was the awkward exception to a Hugh Lochore-designed course that otherwise "rode great" for the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Classe VDL x Walta) in his long-delayed debut at the level. An entirely new portion of the course around the racetrack featured a series of bright-white painted obstacles, but nothing distracted Cinzano's "tunnel vision for those flags." Levine expects a similar game attitude tomorrow and has a rail to spare.
Black stallion antics after the CCI4*-L jog inspection yesterday were not a preview of Cinzano's dressage test today. "When you are riding and working him, he's all into what you are doing," says Amber Levine, who owns the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Classe VDL x Walta) through her Cellar Farm. A 31.5 dressage test puts them atop a field of four, three of which, including Cinzano, are first-timers in the division in Paso Robles, California.