Marilyn Little-Meredith and RF Demeter

Cross-country day at Rolex! Those of us who are true eventing “junkies” live for this last Saturday in April. It’s our Mecca, our meeting of the whole sport on one day in one place. We keenly discuss the dressage, the tack, the riders, the horses….and watch fence after fence. This year some of us stuck at home got a real treat — The USEF Network televised the live feed, AND made both the morning and evening goes available on tape.

While I had to go and cross-country school a horse myself, my SO who is not really an eventer was left to watch the live feed this morning. He doesn’t ride, but he’s a real Boyd Martin fan. “Most of those riders can’t carry his whip,” he says. He loves Phillip too, because he respects them as horsemen. They get around, he says, and their horses jump everything right. (From the mouths of babes!)

Our impressions:

Karen’s one tough you-know-what and Mr. Medicott is all that. She said in her vetbox interview that you know as a rider he can do it — leave out the strides — and that is her kind of horse. While I saw her tumble on Veronica this morning at the Head of the Lake, I know that’s a green mare at the level and she can’t hold it against her. Mr. Medicott was purchased just in time to make the Olympics rules cut-off and I think she really needs to first get through the Sunday jog, then have a sparkling clean stadium and she’s set herself in a very good spot for another space on the US team.

Boyd put the pedal down on Otis yesterday and I think that’s another really impressive, scopey horse that is going to give Neville Bardos a real contest for Boyd’s Best Ride. Remington is again wonderful, and seems to like Kentucky. The Martin stable needs a wood allergy today and they’ll leave the Bluegrass state happy.

Phillip rides so well and has such nice horses in his string. Mighty Nice just looked wonderful all the way around. He saves ground, gets the strides right, sees a distance, stays out of the way and gets up off a horses back quickly and stays still while they work for him. He is a lesson in equitation efficiency.

William Fox-Pitt rode perhaps as green a horse as I have seen him “hack” around Rolex before, but did his patented “complete package” job, and I know everyone thinks he’s a winner but I think Richard Jeffery will set a difficult stadium and he’ll have to jump clear.

Andrew Nicholson is my freakin’ hero. Every year I miss Rolex, he enters. I love this guy, I love the way he rides, I love the stirrups home, the hands down, the body in complete control and he just never misses a distance no matter what. His horses gallop like machines and it’s a shame he came off on the first horse but he made up for it with a super job on the second horse, Qwanza.

Those of us in Area II that get to see Sally Cousins ride all the time sort of take her talent for granted — I am so glad that Kentucky got to see the great eye and super feel we get to see every weekend! Tsunami got around as we back home in PA-DE-MD all predicted!

Kate Hicks and Belmont didn’t surprise us, either. We’ve watched her for a while and she did a great job. And how super is it that the daughter of the governor gets around, too! Emily Beshear did a wonderful job with Here’s To You and I look forward to watching all of them in stadium tomorrow. Best of luck and don’t touch the rails!

You have to like the new Arthur and Allison. I saw a bit of a change in this rider, sort of more gallop and kind of an enjoyment of the cross-country by both. He’s a special horse with such scope, the fences don’t really seem to be big enough for him at times. The smart long-way approach to the brushes at the end this year was good thinking (I saw her fall there last year and it was so heartbreaking so close to home.) Good luck to her in stadium tomorrow!

I think Marilyn Little-Meredith proved, once and for all, that she is truly a 4 star rider. There are many eventers in the US, a few four star riders and even less that can get two horses around Rolex ON HER FIRST time. And both are placed high. She’s the real deal, folks, and I think that when Karen O’Connor says she’s learned some show jumping tips from her, it’s time to take a good look at Marilyn’s technique.

Who else impressed you? I was SO disappointed that Lucy Jackson took a tumble at the Head of the Lake. I loved her course walk description, she is so knowledgeable and well spoken and her horse is lovely. I really felt for her, and hope she considers coming back!

The course designer, Derek Di Grazia, set a tremendous course this year. I thought it was awesome — and I knew he would really test the bravery and adjustability of the horses. It was exciting to watch and I think those of you who were there can add more.

Crossing fingers for all to present to the jog, and all to pass!

Holly