Mill Spring, NC – November 13, 2020 – The second day of dressage in the BUCKEYE™ Nutrition CCI 4*-L Division wrapped up on Friday afternoon with a continued lead for Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous on a score of 21.50. Gaining second after earning a 24.50, Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp piloted Deniro Z, the 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Zapatero x French Buffet XX) owned by Ocala Horse Properties and the Deniro Syndicate, while Boyd Martin (USA) and Tsetserleg, the 2007 Trakehner gelding (Windfall *PG* x Buddenbrock) owned by Christine, Thomas and Tommie Turner, grabbed third heading into Cross-Country on a score of 26.50. Doug Payne (USA) and Starr Witness, the 2011 Dutch Warmblood mare (Chello III VDL x Veneur) owned in partnership with Laurie McRee and Catherine Winter, keep their top placing with yesterday’s 26.60 to sit in fourth, also tied with Tamra Smith (USA) and Danito, the 2009 Hanoverian gelding (Dancier x Wolkenstein II) owned by Ruth Bley.
“There’s always pressure,” Little admitted about the atmosphere surrounding the CCI4*-L National Championship, “but truly the only pressure I feel is pressure I’ve put on myself. I believe Kitty and I both tend to produce our best performances in the most pressurized moments, so I really look forward to the butterflies! We know how to do weeks like this, and I believe we have come into this weekend prepared and ready to take on all three phases the way we would like – but of course the stars have to align!”
Despite the loss of major events throughout the year due to COVID-19, Little emphasized that this weekend is one of her most important chances to showcase RF Scandalous as an Olympic contender. “I only have one shot out there, and so I try to be patient and careful to never overuse or risk her in a competition that isn’t critical to the greater goal,” she shared of her strategy with the 2005 Oldenburg mare (Carry Gold x Lario) owned by Michael and Phoebe Manders along with Jacqueline Mars. “Weekends like this one are not only goalpost events, but the opportunity to finally pull the trigger and put your preparations to the test – it’s so much fun!”
Little acknowledged that leading up to the MARS Tryon International Three-Day Event, “there have been a host of new challenges, some of which have required me to dig deeper to find answers than I thought possible. The fact that I have the chance to be here at all with Kitty this weekend, with all the excitement that I have, is both a blessing – and frankly – a miracle produced by the many incredible people around us. Their support deserves a personal best from both of us,” she emphasized. “We have to take one day at a time, but each day, that is what we have come here hoping to deliver.”