Top eventer loses two sponsors after blood controversy

  • Event rider Marilyn Little has parted company with two of her sponsors as a result of the blood seen in her horse’s mouth at the Kentucky Three-Day Event.

    Marilyn released a statement on 1 May offering her “sincere regret” after pictures of RF Scandalous with blood in her mouth on the cross-country course sparked a social media storm.

    But on the same day, Enviro Equine & Pet wrote on its Facebook page: “In light of the recent controversy concerning Marilyn Little’s horse at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and despite the ground jury/veterinary decision to allow her to continue to compete, Enviro Equine & Pet and Marilyn Little have agreed to end their professional relationship effective immediately. This will be the final statement.”

    The company, which manufactures supplements and topical products for horses and pets, had said in a previous post the same day that “horse welfare is now and has always been the driving force behind the mission at Enviro Equine & Pet”.

    “Our company was founded on the principle that the more healthy and happy the horse, the better equipped he or she will be to perform at their best,” it added. “We take great care in who we affiliate our company with.”

    A number of Facebook users have backed the company’s decision, including Kathryn Roan, who wrote: “I don’t even know what you sell, but I’m going to go buy something.”

    Yesterday (2 May) another sponsor, MDC Stirrups, followed suit, stating on social media that it “supports our customers whole-heartedly”.

    Continues below…

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    “Our customer base has indicated that they would prefer we withdraw our sponsorship with Marilyn Little,” the statement read. “Although there have been no official findings against her, we will support our customers in their belief in the integrity of the sport. MDC Stirrups and Marilyn Little have mutually agreed to disengage our sponsorship at this time.”

    Marilyn said RF Scandalous was checked “multiple times” by FEI vets before and at the finish of the cross-country phase on Saturday (28 April), and again at the second horse inspection the following day and “at all times was passed fit to continue”.

    The FEI confirmed this, adding that Marilyn “went through all the correct channels to ensure her horse was given the all-clear to compete”. Read the full statements here.

    For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

    Also inside this week’s edition, 75 years of Royal Windsor Horse Show magic, ‘big dreamer’ sets up eventing grand slam bid and investment sparks debate over grass versus surfaces.

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