Eventer Marilyn Little has withdrawn from the United States World Equestrian Games (WEG) team under guidance from the team vet and in “the best interests of my lovely mare”.
Marilyn’s ride RF Scandalous, a 13-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars, Michael Manders and Phoebe Manders, sustained a minor injury during her final training session with the team.
“It is with a heavy heart and through endless tears that I am announcing that RF Scandalous and I won’t be competing at WEG this week in Tryon,” Marilyn said.
“Scandalous has been going absolutely amazing during the final training camp in preparation for WEG, but following my final ride yesterday, she showed mild inflammation in her lower limb.”
Marilyn said the prognosis for “Kitty” is excellent.
“But under guidance from the US team veterinarian and in the best interest of my lovely mare, I have made the decision to withdraw Kitty and not move forward with competing this week,” she said.
“To say that I’m devastated would be an understatement. I am grateful for my owners as well as my entire team for supporting my decision during this very difficult time.
“As athletes, we commit our lives to our sport. Kitty is my best friend and my teammate. For us to not be able to perform at this year’s biggest global competition after all of the endless hours of preparation is heartbreaking.
“Not only was I looking forward to competing alongside my teammates but it was even more special to represent my country in the US. I am committed to making sure that Kitty is back to herself, and I am looking forward to returning to the international eventing scene. In the meantime, I will continue to cheer for team USA, and know my replacement Will Coleman is fully prepared to step in.”
Marilyn and Scandalous have an impressive international record, including 10 wins at one- to three-star level and placings at CCI4*. But the rider is not without her critics as blood has been seen in the mouth of her horses while competing on a number of occasions.
Their replacements, Will and 11-year-old French thoroughbred gelding Tight Lines, have notched up good placings at three-star level and finished in 12th place at the CCI4* Kentucky Three-Day Event in April.
Will said getting the call-up was “bittersweet”.
“On the one hand, we are excited for our horse and all of his connections to represent our country at this championships,” he said.
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“But on the other, we are truly gutted for Marilyn and her entire team. They have done some amazing things this year and were looking fantastic all week, every bit deserving of the chance to compete here. To miss out on this opportunity because of an injury to Kitty is a devastating thing, especially at this hour, and I feel terrible for her and her owners.
“But I know they will be back, and, better than ever, when they do return. For her part, Marilyn handled this entire situation with absolute class, and was the first to congratulate me when the decision was made. Now it’s on to the business of competing here.
“Thanks always to my amazing owners, my family, our incredible team of grooms, vets, and farriers looking after our horse, and all of our wonderful sponsors. Wouldn’t be here without any of you. Let’s get it.”
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