The U.S. Equestrian Federation announced Sept. 8, that Will Coleman and Tight Lines, The Conair Syndicate’s 11-year-old French Thoroughbred gelding, will step in as a substitute combination for The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Squad at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.
Coleman and Tight Lines were named as a reserve combination when the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Squad was announced in June, and will now serve as substitutes for Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous, the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare owned by Jacqueline Mars, Michael Manders, and Phoebe Manders.
RF Scandalous sustained a minor, lower limb injury during the final training session that will keep her and Little from competing at the WEG. While the prognosis for the mare is very good, under guidance from the U.S. team veterinarian and in the best interest of the horse, Little made the decision to withdraw RF Scandalous and not move forward with competing. Competition begins for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Squad on Thursday, Sept. 13.
“It is with a heavy heart and through endless tears that I am announcing that RF Scandalous and I won’t be competing at the World Equestrian Games this week in Tryon,” Little wrote on her Facebook page. “Scandalous has been going absolutely amazing during the final training camp in preparation for WEG. Following my final ride yesterday, she showed mild inflammation in her lower limb.
“While the prognosis for Kitty is excellent, under guidance from the U.S. 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 continued. “To say that I’m devastated would be an understatement. I am grateful for my owners, Jacqueline Mars, Phoebe and Mike Manders, 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 U.S. 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,” she finished.
“It was bittersweet to receive the news early this morning that myself and Tight Lines were being called up to replace Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous on the WEG squad,” Coleman wrote on his Facebook page. “On the one hand, we are excited for our horse and all of his connections to represent our country at this championships. 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,” Coleman continued. “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.”