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.
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The USEA is so incredibly proud to allow the thrill of the 'chase to live on for those who want to experience the unforgettable rush of the classic long format three-day event through our USEA Classic Series events. Long-format events from the Beginner Novice to Preliminary levels are still a reality with the USEA Classic Series and include roads and tracks, steeplechase, and cross-country on "endurance day," as well as horse inspections. In addition, educational activities are offered at the USEA Classic Series Events to help prepare competitors, especially those who are contesting their first-ever long format event.
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