The United States’ Marilyn Little and Corona 93 executed a skilful double clear to win the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) World Cup Jumping in front of a home crowd at the Live Oak International in Ocala.
In the final event of the inaugural North American League, the 34-year-old rider, and double-gold medallist in eventing at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, showcased her multi-discipline talent aboard the 12-year-old, Hanoverian mare, claiming victory with a time of 43.34sec over a starting field of 32.
The 1.40 metre to 1.60m course, designed by Venezuela's Leopoldo Palacios, had 14 obstacles and 17 jumping attempts and incorporated challenges such as a wide, plank fence and a big scope test in the final three jumps.
After the first two riders on course incurred time faults, the time allowed was extended by three seconds to a new limit of 90 seconds.
Ten riders were clear in the first round to advance into the jump off but it was only three of Americans, who went double clear to secure an all-female sweep of the top three positions.
Little set the bar high as the first to leave the rails standing in the jump-off order, followed in hot pursuit by the youngest rider in the class, 19-year-old Chloe Reid, who clocked 45.19 riding Irish Sporthorse stallion Codarco.
Katie Dinan and Irish Sporthorse gelding Dougie Douglas were the last to go and chose a slightly more conservative track to finish in third with a time of 48.61.
"I thought the course was a little deceiving, a little on the low side," said Little.
"It was very progressive, and Leopoldo turned up the volume exponentially by the time you were midway through the course.
"By the end, there were a lot of technical, scope and stamina questions.
"It was a very long course, and the horses jumped to the best of their ability.
"It was a real thrill for both horse and rider."
Completing the top six were three more Americans; Andrew Kocher and Uppie de Lis, ahead of Quentin Judge and HH Whisky Royale, and Margie Goldstein-Engle and Indigo.
Despite her win, Little’s late start to the FEI World Cup Jumping season means she will not head to the Final in the Swedish city of Gothenburg from March 23 to 26.