Frederick, MD, USA. October 22, 2012
International eventer and grand prix show jumper, Marilyn Little, rode two horses into the top four at the Dansko Fair Hill International this weekend to finish the season as runner-up in the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s National Three Star Championship on the seven year old Wurttemburg gelding RF Smoke on the Water (Samos x Zuchtbuch Rapaula – Rapaulo) owned by Raylyn Farms, Inc. & Michael & Pheobe Manders with a score of 52.4, and fourth place riding the 10 year old Oldenburg mare RF Demeter (Rubin Royal x Patricia) owned by Raylyn Farms and Team Demeter on 56.6.
“This weekend was an excellent finish to an incredibly trying year; there have been some fantastic successes, but also some real disappointments,” said Little. “In any walk of life, some things are meant to be, and sometimes there are moments that leave you looking back wondering how things went awry. Luckily, several things remain constant: I fortunately have an extraordinary group of horses that have stepped up to bat every time I have called on them, and I am blessed with a wonderful team of support behind me. I cannot thank the owners of these horses enough, the veterinary team and farriers, my sponsors, Karen O’Connor, Francesca Pollara, the staff at Raylyn, and of course my incredible parents (Lynne and Ray Little) for their incredible support throughout this year, and leading up to this Championship.”
“On paper, the performance and placings of RF Smoke on the Water and RF Demeter this weekend is certainly admirable; an exceptional finish. However, to understand the circumstances puts this finish into even greater perspective. “Smoke” is just a seven year old; most horses his age are just becoming competitive in the two star field. For him to have stepped into the three star field only this summer, consistently improved his dressage scores, remained confident and cool on numerous three star tracks worldwide, and learned to rise above the Sunday pressure of the final round is a testament to this horse’s character and talent,” added Little who was marking her two year anniversary in the sport this weekend.
“Not to be outdone, RF Demeter performed no less a feat by returning to the show ring in top form on her first outing back into the sport after an injury at CCI Bromont (Canada) kept her out of the competition arena since early June. “Demi’s” incredible fight and will to compete is an inspiration – I cannot think of another horse that could return to the ring in such a short time, perform in such style in their first outing back, and put in her best show jumping performance to date, all at the same time!”
Little’s string of event horses will now be rested for some weeks before returning to training in Florida this winter while she turns her attention to Raylyn Farm’s team of show jumpers who will be heading to the West Coast next week for three weeks shows.