May 11 – Allentown, N.J.
Until today, Buck Davidson wasn’t sure what kind of horse he had in D.A. Adirmo. The gelding had shown talent for the upper levels, winning his first advanced in February, but after a stop at The Fork CIC*** (N.C.), Davidson dropped him back down to intermediate in his last event.
After a confidence-building run at the lower level, “Moe” stepped up and showed his mettle at Jersey Fresh, jumping clear around the CCI*** cross-country track to take the lead going into Sunday’s show jumping.
“He’s a good jumper but he’s not the bravest horse I’ve ever ridden,” Davidson admitted. “He’s only 8, so I wanted to fill him full of confidence for this and try to make a big effort here. He tried his heart out the whole way around and gave me everything he had.”
The Dutch Warmblood (Rash R—Tadirmie, Ircolando) was one of two double-clear rounds over John Williams’ refreshed track. Although Davidson, 37, said he’d like to win, he has no big expectations going into show jumping.
“There was a big question mark on him before today, and he checked every box today. He was really good. [In the show jumping] he’s green. He’s really careful, but I haven’t jumped a clear round in an advanced yet. He gave me everything he had today, and we’ll worry about tomorrow tomorrow,” he said.
Canadian Jessica Phoenix rode five horses across several divisions, including Exponential, who was rerouted to Jersey Fresh after a subpar dressage test at the Rolex Kentucky CCI****. She moved up from fourth after dressage in the CCI*** with the other double clear cross-country round.
“Exponential is just so much fun. It was actually really fun to bring him back to Jersey and let him cruise around this course. I’m really proud of him,” she said. “The dressage was fantastic for him just to get in that ring and do a good solid test and let him get out and attack that cross-country course.”
Faudree Holds Strong In The CIC***
Will Faudree and Andromaque ran the Jersey Fresh CIC*** in part as a fitness run in preparation for competing at the Saumur CCI*** (France) later this month, but topping the leaderboard after cross-country was icing on the cake.
John Williams’ course took out five riders in the division, including three rider falls and two retirements. But for Faudree, of Hoffman, N.C., the run was exactly what he hoped for at the New Jersey Horse Park.
“I feel very good. She ran great today,” said Faudree, 31. “The last couple years the courses [at Jersey] have been very productive in preparing the horses for the next step.”
Andromaque, a 12-year-old Irish Thoroughbred (Anshan—Gortnagale, Strong Gale) owned by Jennifer Mosing, finished her first four-star last year at Rolex Kentucky, but a stop on cross-country kept them out of the top placings. Faudree also ran her at the Burghley CCI**** (England), but they were eliminated for a fall.
“She was fit and ready to go to the [Olympic] Games at the end of July, then she had to wait another month to run [because we were alternates,],” Faudree said. However, the pair got right back on track and will be part of the U.S. contingent to travel as a team to Saumur under the leadership of Chef d’Equipe David O’Connor.
At Jersey Fresh, not a single rider finished the cross-country course double clear in the CIC***.
In addition to Andromaque, Faudree is also second in the CCI** with Riesling De Buissy, an 8-year-old Anglo-Arabian (Oberon Du Moulin—O Vive, Samuel) also owned by Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables.
“He’s just figuring out that he’s 17.3 [hands],” Faudree joked. “He’s taken awhile to come into his own, to figure out where his legs are.”
Faudree has ridden the gelding since Riesling was 5 years old, and Jersey was the longest track Faudree has ridden him over.
Ahead of Faudree in the two-star, Caitlin Silliman maintained her lead on Remington XXV, a horse that had been ridden previously by Boyd Martin. Although the horse has completed several four-star events, Silliman must become qualified on him through the two- and three-star levels before she can compete him at another four-star event.
“We’re getting to know each other,” said Silliman, adding that because he is a warmblood, she can’t slow down and speed up on course. Instead, she tried to stay smooth throughout the course, which worked well for her over the Jersey track.
- Lauren Kieffer held onto her lead in the CIC** with Veronica. Although the mare has competed at advanced with Karen O’Connor, the new FEI qualification rules required Kieffer to take her back to the two-star level. “She was really fun,” said Kieffer. “She just skipped around.”
- Cross-country penalties in the three-star divisions were mostly spread throughout the course, but the Jersey Shore water complex, which riders in three of the four divisions went through twice, caused the most issues. In both three-star divisions, an extremely angled brush fence out caused a few drive-bys.
- Marilyn Little was back on track after sustaining a Grade 3 separation of her shoulder before Rolex. She rode RF Smoke On The Water in the CIC**, but pulled up on cross-country. After falling from RF Demeter on cross-country at Rolex, she rerouted to Jersey Fresh and put in one of the faster rounds in the CIC***, where she currently sits in third place. She’s also in fifth with RF Black Pearl.
- Dressage leaders Mackenna Shea and Landioso dropped to third place in the CCI*** after picking up 14 time penalties. Shea drove from California in hopes of completing a CCI*** with the 11-year-old Bavarian Warmblood after they were eliminated in their last attempt at the Galway Downs CCI*** (Calif.) last fall. “He probably could have come in a lot faster, but I wanted him to come in safe and sound,” said Shea, 20. This was Shea’s first time visiting the East Coast and despite the long drive, she’s enjoying her stay. “I’ve not run on grass for awhile, so it was weird putting in studs,” she said with a laugh. “He felt super. He takes really good care of me.”
- Phillip Dutton had an unlucky day, incurring two falls. In the CCI*** Fernhill Fugitive fell at fence 7, a cordwood pile, when he tried to add a third stride from the corner fence before it. In the CIC*** Dutton fell from Pancho Villa, a horse he was riding for Boyd Martin while Martin is recovering from ankle surgery. The gelding stumbled on landing from fence 22, a hanging drop log into water. Both horses and Dutton walked back to the barn.
- Jennie Brannigan and Cambalda were back in action in the CIC*** after the gelding slipped on pavement at Rolex and had to withdraw. They picked up a few time penalties to slot into second place.