Allentown, N.J. - May 10
Doug Payne was looking for the perfect prep event before heading overseas to the Saumur CCI*** in May, and that’s just what he got at Jersey Fresh, leading the CIC*** from start to finish on Crown Talisman.
“The cross-country I think was a great track as a preparation,” he said. “There was certainly plenty to do and being that it was a little bit twisty I think is an advantage going to Saumur. From what I understand from speaking with people who’ve been there and by watching videos, it’s quite twisty so I think that was a really good thing.”
Payne received a Land Rover competition grant in early April and chose to do the dressage at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** two weeks ago to get “Tali” used to a bigger atmosphere.
While the atmosphere on Friday at the Horse Park of New Jersey was very quiet compared to Rolex, Tali still put in a solid test to score a 42.0 and lead the division. Payne admitted there were a few mistakes, but knows what he has to do before Saumur to improve.
“The funny thing actually—the dressage, he’s just getting better and better each competition we go to,” he said. “But I’m also still learning how to ride him better and I think in the end, I probably warmed up a little bit too long, and I had a bobble out of the counter canter. I had a couple other sort of bobbles that I think he was just a little bit flat by the time we got there. Come France I think we’ll shorten that up a touch.”
The CIC divisions show jumped this morning and only five jumped double-clear, including Payne. They completed their cross-country in the afternoon.
“The big help [was that Silvio Mazzoni], the jumping coach, was here and sort of continued on what we had been working on [when we jump schooled] the Friday at Rolex,” Payne explained. “He was just saying that it would be best if he came a just little bit sharper off the ground. And so for his warm up on the takeoff, just clucking and giving him a little tap and then it was really nice, because in the past in the ring I was hesitant to use my stick, which would have gotten him sharp off the ground but it also would have gotten him frantic. It was really good because that sort of trained him so that I didn’t actually have to go to the stick, I could just cluck and sort of get the same response.”
Payne, 32, used John Williams’ cross-country track as a fitness run and mental preparation for both he and the 11-year-old Holsteiner-Thoroughbred gelding (Carlson—Lakewoods Crown Jewel). He was hoping for a confident run, so he went quicker on the first third of the course, coasted in the middle and when he saw Tali had more in him, picked up the pace towards the end.
No one made the time in the CIC***, but Payne, Apex, N.C., had one of the faster rounds, picking up 10 time penalties to retain his lead.
“It really couldn’t have gone any better,” he said. “Of course there are things to improve, but I think coming out of it, I’m quite confident in his abilities and mine. I think we’ve got a great opportunity now.”
Watch Payne's helmet cam video of his cross-country ride:
Putting The Hammer Down
Meadowbrook’s Scarlett has had a fulfilling week. After her first Mighty Magic foal was born on Wednesday via embryo transfer, she hopped on the trailer with three runs at intermediate under her belt and finished first in the CIC** at Jersey Fresh.
Her rider Lauren Kieffer took a risk by asking a bit more than usual of the 7-year-old homebred, who responded well to the challenge, adding only .4 cross-country time faults to their 46.70 in dressage to clinch the win.
“She picked it up pretty fast,” said Kieffer, 26, who moved “Scarlett” up to the level this year. The pair placed sixth in the intermediate at both Ocala (Fla.) and the Cloud 11-Gavilan North LLC Carolina International (N.C.). They also took fourth in the intermediate at Rocking Horse (Fla.) this spring.
“It’s not all completely solid yet. She’s gone in and had good tests but has had green moments,” continued Kieffer, of Middleburg, Va. “I’ve been working hard with [Canadian dressage rider] Jacquie Brooks and Scarlett certainly has always been a lovely mover. This spring, it’s just been learning the new movements. This weekend she was really good and it kind of all came together.”
Kieffer thought the cross-country questions were fair, and while Scarlett had already learned about all the types of elements on course, she’d never been asked to put them all together.
“Really the thing you don’t know with these younger horses is how they’ll react when you put the hammer down for the first time,” said Kieffer. “This is sort of the first time at this level I’ve gone out to make time on her, and sometimes that makes them a little nervous and back off, and sometimes they eat it up, and she ate it up. She’s always been a great cross-country horse and she’s always had a good gallop, so it was fun for her.”
Marie Lemenestrel bred and owns Scarlett (All In Black—Bliss), and approached Kieffer about a training program several years ago when she saw her riding horses at an event for Jacqueline Mars, her usual business partner in the horse world.
Though Scarlett’s breeding is a bit mixed and mysterious, “she’s a very, very careful and scopey jumper,” said Kieffer, appreciative of the lighter qualities coupled with the horse’s Warmblood-quality movement.
- In the CIC***, Lynn Symansky also fell victim to the water jump when she came off at the corner in the water, which was 15a for that division. She was up, but visibly sore and was taken to the hospital for evaluation because Donner stepped on her arm and leg with his studs.
- Katie Wherley fell from Mr. Indiscretion at the brush drop in, which was 20b on the CIC*** course. She was up quickly and walked off the course.
- Several riders in the CIC** withdrew when late afternoon storms rolled in. Winner Lauren Kieffer fell from her third place horse Landmarks Monte Carlo at "the easiest fence on the course", a cabin at 5 during one of the rainstorms. She commented that she had to use mud studs by that point and "it was like riding two different courses."
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