Marilyn Little and RF Demeter Make a Steady Climb to the Top with a Fast Run at the Carolina International CIC3*

March 24th, 2014 9:24 AM | Comments Off on Marilyn Little and RF Demeter Make a Steady Climb to the Top with a Fast Run at the Carolina International CIC3*

Press Release

Marilyn Little and RF Demeter made a steady, if unexpected, climb to the top of the leaderboard at the Carolina International CIC*** and Adequan USEA Gold Cup/PRO Tour Series.

Little and “Demi” (Rubin-Royal/Patricia) weren’t the pair to beat until they clocked one of only two double-clear rounds on Hugh Lochore’s cross-country course, where time was of the essence.

“I planned to start the course on both horses [including RF Smoke on the Water] as if I was going for time,” Little of Frederick, Md. said. “I was hoping they were fit, and depending on how they were jumping and galloping, reevaluate at three or four minutes and see how they felt.”

Little explained that the 12-year-old mare, who finished on her dressage score of 46.2, had a big of an unconventional winter this year, since Little had an extended stay in Europe to work on the jumper side of her business.

“She spent so much time in quarantine, so whereas a lot of horses can get let down, have their shoes pulled and go out in the field, she spent it in quarantine,” said Little. “It was hard on her. She lost weight and condition. She hasn’t seen a dressage saddle until a few weeks ago.”

On her decision to stay in Europe last year after a solid showing at their first CCI**** at Pau, Little explained that it was partly a financial decision, and partly a strategic one.

“I have a lot of jumpers in Europe and primarily my business is jumpers still, so it was a financial decision. The decision to keep the eventers there – I really wanted to get my eventers in front of those ground juries,” she said. “You don’t want them to think ‘here’s the letup rider,’ and they won’t give you those points unless they know you, I think. That’s why we’re trying to expose the [American] riders to those [European] competitions, and those competitions’ judges to our riders.”

Little was certainly thrilled with Demi’s performance, especially since it was her first outing this year aside from a few horse shows in Wellington, Fla. She explained that her mare is typically fast, covers the ground efficiently, and it easy to make time on.

Second-placed Buck Davidson explained that his veteran ride, Ballynoe Castle RM, also had a less-than-ideal winter season. After a bizarre bone bruise in his stifle, probably from laying down in his stall, to a bout of pneumonia, “Reggie” missed several weeks of his winter training.

Regardless, the 14-year-old gelding had the best heart rate and temperature in the vet box of the 40 cross-country starters.

“He went to Red Hills (Tallahassee, Fla.) in the Intermediate and we went slowly,” said Davidson of Unionville, Pa. “He knows his job, and he really took care of me. At fence five, I completely butchered it. I was on the wrong stride and he went to stop. I slapped him on the shoulder and he jumped on top of the house and back onto the other side, so that was sort of the one bad moment.”

The pair added only 2.4 time penalties to their dressage score to finish on a 50.4 for the weekend.

Michael Pollard and Ballingowan Pizazz spent their entire weekend in the top three. After taking the overnight lead before the final day of competition, a handful of time penalties bumped the pair into third.

“I wish I’d gone a little bit faster here and there but I think it’s just a matter of finding the right bit set up,” said Pollard of Dalton, Ga. “Right now I waste time setting up. He’s really quick to the jumps and turns well, so I just need to be able to gallop to the jumps more before I have to set him up.”

Earlier in the division, Pollard and his other CIC*** ride Mensa parted ways after the horse seemed to misread the fence. The horse appeared to be fine, and despite the apparent limp that Pollard had after the fall, he felt good enough to get back on for a second go.

“I was a bit disappointed to fall off because [Mensa] was going really well and is a little bit more experienced. It was one of those things,” Pollard said. “I was hurting a bit to be honest. It was good to get back on [Ballingowan Pizazz] and have him go around.”

On having show jumping run the day before cross-country in the CIC format, all three riders agreed that depending on the horse, that format can be valuable.

“I don’t think it always makes a difference,” said Pollard. “The ones that are a little bit more careful, I think it helps them to have jumped something before the go cross-country. I like the fact that [the cross-country runs in] the reverse order of standing. It’s good for the crowd and good for us to have to go in the start box last and know you have to go quickly. It gives you the feeling of a big event, and that there’s more to lose.”

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