Michael Barisone and Neruda Start Off CDI Grand Prix Win but Miss the Grand Prix Freestyle

Michael Barisone and Neruda narrowly edged out George Williams and Rocher for Friday's win in the Grand Prix, but while Barisone had planned to compete at Saturday's Grand Prix Freestyle, he didn't make it to the show ring. Barisone said that Neruda had a small sore in his mouth that made the bit uncomfortable and he opted not to compete him as he didn’t need the freestyle score.

"It's not anything serious. It's just like a small split in the skin where the bit goes, kind of like if you have a small cut on your finger. When I put my finger in his mouth to check it, he was uncomfortable and I thought if he's that uncomfortable to my touch, the bit would be worse," Barisone said. He said the sore should heal up in plenty of time to compete in California.

For more than a year, Barisone had been dealing with a sore that kept appearing on Neruda's jaw, making it impossible to compete the horse when it flared up. A few months ago, Neruda received a sort of prosthetic device to keep pressure off that point of his jaw because the infection seemed to result from a pressure point from the noseband. Barisone said the device "works like a million bucks" and the pressure point sore has not been a problem since. He and Neruda won Friday's Grand Prix with a score of 67.00 percent.

Winner of Saturday evening's Grand Prix Freestyle was Lars Petersen and Succes. That paired had placed third in Friday's Grand Prix, right behind George Williams and Rocher. Williams and Rocher took second in the Grand Prix Freestyle.

Barisone said that Friday's judging was a bit tough considering that all three of these top horses didn't score as well as the riders, including he, had thought. "The horse was terrific. I would say it was the best Grand Prix I had with him, but the score was the one thing that didn't make the ride perfect. I came out of the ring sure of a 71 or 72. Even the changes were great. The ones and twos were excellent. George felt he also had an excellent ride on Rocher and Lars and Succes had a 66 and those are three horses that historically receive scores in the 70s. So, I think the judging was tough," Barisone said.

In other CDI competition, Catherine Malone, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, won Friday's Prix St. Georges with the Danish Warmblood Don Sarok with a score of 65.25 percent. Winners of Saturday's Intermediaire I were Lars Petersen and Chicco Roslev.

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