Marilyn Little & Clearwater. ph: SportFot
On Saturday, October 14, 2017, USA’s Marilyn Little and the ten-year-old Holsteiner gelding Clearwater (Clearway x Tricolore-W) took home top honors in the $130,000 Suncast® Commercial Grand Prix CSI3* at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina.
Little and Clearwater, who is owned by Karen O’Connor, were one of 44 horse and rider combinations to compete in the feature event of the Tryon Fall IV competition. The course, designed by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN), saw 11 return to the jump-off track, where Little and Clearwater flew to the top of the leaderboard with a winning time of 35.32s.
Coming off her win, Little noted that she is happy to break her recent streak of “one-fence-itis”.
“I haven’t had great luck lately, so I’m happy to break that tonight. This is a great venue for him, and he’s really developed a lot here this summer and in the past year. These have been great classes for him to really step up to being a real horse and a top horse. I can really count on him. The footing is fast in here, so you can really take a shot at it, and he’s a really fun horse to ride in the jump-off.”
“There were so many in the jump-off. I thought Beezie was quite fast, and that I’d be trying to beat her, and then they just kept getting faster and faster,” said Little. “That’s a little how the class went tonight, overall. I knew I was going to have to go in and put in a personal best, and if we did that, he would win because he’s so fast.”
USA’s Eve Jobs crossed the the timers in 35.638s aboard her own Charleville, a 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Quasimodo Z x Wickeyville). The duo secured the 2nd place finish. Belgium’s Nicola Philippaerts and H&M Harley VD Bisschop, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Dulf Van Den Bisschop x Charisma I), claimed the 3rd place honors with a time of 36.119s.
Little and Clearwater will contest the $380,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* next week for the first time together, with tonight’s win being a real confidence boost. The duo then plan to head to Wellington, FL for their winter circuit, where Little will look to compete in the top classes during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).
“From here, he will go to Wellington and will hopefully be a real contender there. He was an eventer initially, tried some jumpers and we decided to see how far he could go. It’s been a wonderful ride for us both and he’s a really special horse.”