Allentown, N.J.—May 13
When you’re galloping around your very first CCI**, it would be nice to have mother nature on your side, but Cornelia Dorr had no such luck. It was a rainy, mucky day at the Jersey Fresh International with temperatures in the low fifties and the rain driven by gusts of wind. Riders were coming home wet and with a bucket of time penalties.
But that didn’t stop 19-year-old Dorr, who went out on course for her very first CCI**, and came home with no jumping penalties, no time penalties, and the lead in the division on Louis M going into show jumping. Even better? She’s sitting third on her other mount, Sir Patico MH.
“It’s a great feeling, I am really happy with how they felt going on throughout the course,” Dorr said with a smile. “It’s a really nice spring season final. I had fun, it was pretty exciting.”
Louis M made waves in Europe for his regular sub-forty dressage scores at two- and three-star level, and Dorr has had the ride since June of last year.
“He was fabulous, he is much more used to these conditions than my other horse so it was nice that I got to go out on him first and get that confidence in myself to make the less experienced one confident in himself,” Dorr said. “I was really happy with it.”
With her second mount, the adorable pinto Sir Patico MH, Dorr had a spectacular save at the water obstacle (appropriately titled the Jersey Shore). The horse appeared to trip on landing and tossed Dorr up out of the tack, and she managed to land back on the horse and kick on out of the water.
“I think he sort of put me back underneath him a little bit,” Dorr said with a laugh.
Dorr credits her trainer Sharon White for helping her get both horses home with no time penalties.
“I think it proves that Sharon and I, mainly Sharon, have worked to put together a really good fitness program that helped them get really for this,” Dorr said.
Phillip Dutton and Mr. Candyman are leading the CCI*** on a score of 58.9, well ahead of the next best competitors Lizzy Jahnke and Princeton on a 74.8. Over night dressage leaders Tamra Smith and Wembley withdrew before cross-country, with Smith explaining that the gelding didn’t feel quite himself after dressage, opening the field up for Dutton to move to the top despite picking up 8.4 time penalties.
“He’s a work in progress, he’s not the most confident horse in himself,” Dutton said. “So I can’t go 100 percent. I’ve got to go about 90, 95 percent to stay confident on him, and he handled it all easily today.”
Dutton thanked volunteers and organizers for helping get all horses and riders back to the barn safely despite trying conditions from the rain and mud.
“It stayed safe for horses and riders. It was obviously a bit more challenging as it got wetter and wetter,” Dutton said. “But part of becoming better on cross -country in this country means we have to learn to deal with adverse conditions. I was excited to take mine out and see how they go and handle these conditions, so I’m glad I did.”
Marilyn Little and RF Scandalous held on to their lead in the CIC*** division with a score of 53.7 heading into show jumping.
“I was thrilled with her,” Little said. “She’s a bit of a beauty queen on the first day, so it’s easy to think she’s a delicate horse but she’s actually a really courageous horse.”
Little is using the event as a bit of a prep for the CCI**** at Luhmühlen (Germany) coming up in a month.
“I was looking forward to the chance to ride her in the weather, she hasn’t had a real run in the rain since Boekelo [the Netherlands] in 2015,” Little said. “She’s gotten lucky I suppose with fair weather events, so this was a big opportunity to see where she is in her training and fitness going into Luhmühlen which will also have plenty of mud.
“You want to know what you have before you head over there,” Little continued. “And she was confident in her feet and confident in her head.”
Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras also maintained their lead in the CIC**, just narrowly ahead of Sharon White and Cooley On Show on a score of 50.9 (White is on a 51.8 after logging the fastest time around the CIC** course).
“He was really good,” Kieffer said. “I very much appreciated how much effort the volunteers put into keeping the take-off distances staying safe.”
Volunteers were busy all day adding dirt and gravel to the muddy pits horses were leaving as they pushed off the ground. A tractor was adding gravel by the bucketful to a couple jumps at the second water complex.
“I haven’t ridden him in mud like this before, I actually felt like I wasn’t going fast enough,” Kieffer said. “But he’s got a big stride and he’s an efficient horse so it was nice.”
Kieffer agreed with Dutton on riders needing to learn to persevere in adverse weather conditions.
“You can only teach people so much about cross-country, then you just have to go out and do it,” Kieffer said.
Course designer Capt. Mark Phillips was happy with how his course performed, the first he has designed at the Horse Park of New Jersey for Jersey Fresh.
“I think we made quite a few changes and tried to make it horse friendly, and thank God because when the weather turned nasty we needed it to be,” Phillips said. “I was nervous with the last few horses on course with this weather rolling in, because we couldn’t have gone on much longer with the footing giving out.”
There were only three rider falls throughout the day in all four divisions and no horse falls. Buck Davidson fell off Park Trader at fence 30 in the CCI*** and was eliminated on Halimey after three refusals at the water complex in the CIC***.
Dutton jumped the incorrect first fence aboard Fernhill Revelation, second after dressage in the CIC*** and was eliminated. Bevin Dugan fell of Kemmerlin at fence 17 in the CIC**. Nilson Moreira Da Silva fell from Cash at fence 26 in the CCI***.
Check back with the Chronicle for show jumping coverage from the Jersey Fresh International CCI/CIC and don’t forget to check out the June 6 issue of the magazine for in depth coverage from Jersey Fresh!