TALLAHASSEE, FLA. – Stadium Jumping on day two of Red Hills International Horse Trials changed the leaderboard, but not the leader, Marilyn Little.
Marilyn Little on Scandalous (22.4) boasted a perfect ride at the CCI4-S level, securing the top position after day two.
She attributed today’s success to Scandalous being a reliable competitor and a careful jumper. “She jumped very well, she was very brave,” Little said. “Time was definitely a factor, [the course] really kept you on the ball and didn’t give you a second to breathe.”
Little is looking forward to tomorrow’s cross country. Little hopes to capitalize on the long galloping tracks to make up time because the combinations of the three water jumps will slow the ride down. “The course is exactly what I expected, it’s big, it’s beautifully presented, the footing is lovely,” says Little. “It’s a great track and the lines are better than they have ever been.”
Alexandra Knowles riding Ms. Poppins (31.3) moved up to second place from seventh. Colleen Loach on Qorry Blue D’Argouges (32) moved to third place tenth.
Knowles was “super happy with the round” saying that “Ms. Poppins is a very good show jumper. I wasn’t expecting her to jump clean, but I was hoping she would.”
Knowles said the stadium jumping was a smooth course and that she liked the track. She was surprised, however, that she was riding the course’s outside lines, but it wasn’t a reflection on the course. She said Ms. Poppins is covering more ground because as she’s gotten older she’s opened up her stride.
Red Hills is Knowles first FEI event since 2019 because she had a baby in 2020. She is a bit nervous but excited and thinks this will help her as she heads into tomorrow’s cross country phase.
In response to moving up to third place, Loach said, “Qorry was jumping really, really well. I like Chris Barnard’s courses; he always sets a really good course. I find they are always fair courses, inviting you to have a nice flow and the horses tend to jump well.”
It’s been about six years since Loach has been to Red Hills. Looking ahead to tomorrow’s cross country, Loach said, “Qorry is an amazing cross-country horse and we have a super good partnership so I feel good about it. I don’t know how fast I will run him; I’ll see how good he feels on the ground.”
Tamra Smith’s comment rang true for her ride with En Vogue (38.6) today. Following a strong dressage day, when asked what she thought about the rest of the weekend, she replied, [En Vogue] is really good on the Dressage and awesome in the cross country, and I think her weak link is the show jumping.” En Vogue dropped three rails, falling to the 17th spot.
Lauren Nicholson on Landmark’s Monte Carlo (34.0) dropped from third place to sixth. “Monte Carlo has always hated show jumping since the first one he ever did,” Nicholson said. “He was actually pretty good today so I was pretty happy.” Nicholson is optimistic for tomorrow as she said Monte Carlo “is a great cross country horse.”
Leslie Law riding on Voltaire De Tre (33.8) moved up from 15 to fourth place. Law said, “[Voltaire De Tre] rode great today and jumped really well, and we look forward to tomorrow.”
Chris Barnard Red Hills Stadium Jumping Course Designer
When asked about today’s run for the CCI4-S level Design, Stadium Jumping Course Designer Chris Barnard said, “I thought the horses jumped great, I think I had a few more clears than I thought I would.”
Barnard’s approach to designing his courses is simple: “The trick for me is building a course that caters to the whole group. You are going to have people doing their first 4 star and people that have done 500 of them so the key for me is building for the time of year and at the appropriate level but also not losing confidence for the greener horses or greener riders and not having it too easy for upper-level horses or more experienced riders. I like 30 percent clean, ideally. That’s a nice number in eventing.”
For more information, visit rhht.org.