American eventer Marilyn Little is competing at The Fork in Tryon, NC this week with her veteran partner RF Scandalous.

Officially, it’s the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Eventing Test Event (WEG) for the the championship coming up this summer. But for Little, it’s also a personal proving ground.

“Last year we had a mixed bag of success,” said the Pan American Games double gold medalist.

“The Fork was wonderful for us, that was a great event. I came back in the fall for [the American Eventing Championships] and that didn’t go so well for me, so there are some things that I would like to accomplish out there.”

So far, the event is unfolding in their favor.

Little and the 13-year-old Oldenburg mare hold the lead after the dressage phase, having incurred a mere 24.2 penalties. It’s a personal best for the pair and their second dressage score in the twenties this year. In March, due logged a 25.6 in dressage at the Red Horse Trials CIC3* in Tallahassee, FL, an event they went on to win.

“I think RF Scandalous is much more mature than she was a year ago,” said Little. “She went in there [on Thursday] and had some of the best canter work she’s ever done. I…