This year’s Jersey Fresh CCI3* has a great field, and promises to be a very exciting competition. We have several horses and riders that did not have the success they wanted at Rolex and have re-routed to Jersey, a good contingent from the west coast, and quite a few first time pairs looking to make a splash in their debut at this level. Interestingly enough, we have more than our usual entry of mares in this field, which perhaps could indicate that Veronica started the year of mare domination in the US? We shall see!
While unfortunately Jersey falls on the same weekend as Badminton this year, don’t worry! We have Jenni Autry in England giving you full coverage of Badminton and Sally Spickard in New Jersey making sure you don’t miss any action there either. Without further ado, I present to you the Jersey Fresh CCI3* preview.
Darren Chiacchia & Amendment 15: This pair have been competing together at the Advanced level for two years now, and Pauli did his first CCI3* last year at Bromont, where they finished in 18th place. While they jumped around clean, they had a 66 in dressage and then an almost matching tally of time penalties on cross country. I’ve seen that Darren has been patronizing the dressage show circuit and has been working hard to improve their scores together, so hopefully we will see them performing at a competitive level this weekend.
Hallie Coon & Namaste’: Hallie is the youngest rider in the field, but just because she’s nineteen doesn’t mean you can discount her as a competitor this weekend. This will be their first CCI3* together, but Namaste’ is a really keen and careful jumper, and a great one to gain upper level experience on for Hallie. While they might not be at the top of the pack after the first day, I expect them to climb their way back up with two clear jumping rounds, and finish their first effort at this level with a big smile.
Courtney Cooper & Who’s A Star: Courtney and her homebred Tag were third here last year, after posting two clear rounds and just 6 time on cross country. They had unfortunate problems on cross country at Fair Hill CCI3*, and are coming back here looking for a little redemption. Their spring campaign has been strong, with no finishes outside the top seven all year. Their dressage scores have been consistently good, and outside of a little blip on the tricky Fair Hill course, they’ve been clear in the jumping phases. They are poised well to repeat their performance this year with this competitive field.
Barbara Crabo & Over Easy: Barb is one of our west coast competitors here this weekend, and while she’s been here before with Eveready, this will be this lovely mare’s first time here at Jersey. She has brought this mare up from the very beginning, and they have a great partnership together. They completed their first CCI3* last fall at Galway Downs in 11th place, unfortunately racking up two stops on cross country after lodging a good dressage score of 53.1. These two are coming off a fourth place in the spring Galway CIC3*, with just a rail and some time to add to their initial score, so they have had a good prep this spring for their first east coast competition together .
Buck Davidson & Mar De Amor: After finishing 9th in his CCI4* debut last year at Rolex, Dinero has competed very lightly. Unfortunately at his last Advanced horse trials in Millbrook, he misjudged a fence early on in the course and crashed through it, with Buck popping off the front. This year, these two have placed second at a Preliminary and third in the Intermediate at Carolina International, but this will be their first attempt back at the Advanced level. This horse has oodles of talent in all three phases, and if anybody can prepare him without competition, it’s Buck. While certainly a bit of a wild card decision to take him directly to a CCI3*, they still have the potential to do well this weekend.
Buck Davidson & The Apprentice: Buck’s second mount this weekend is quite experienced at this level, and has finished in the top ten of all three of his CCI3* completions. They are fully capable of a dressage score in the high forties, as they demonstrated at Galway Downs in the fall, and always go clear on cross country. Dirk’s nemesis is the show jumping, which at this level can make the difference between a top placing and falling down the levels, but he’s only gotten better this spring, and Buck could ride a donkey around Advanced clean, so I have faith in them, and expect that they can keep to their top ten record.
Buck Davidson & Copper Beech: Sean moved up to the Advanced level this spring, and this will be his first effort at a CCI3*, after achieving his qualifying result at the very challenging Red Hills CIC3*. While he did lodge an unfortunate 20 penalties on that course, he rebounded to jump clean in the Advanced at Carolina International, finishing in 14th place. While their dressage might not be as competitive as Buck’s other mounts, this will be a good step in this young horse’s education.
Buck Davidson & Petite Flower: After surviving the cut for Buck’s Rolex entries, Flower’s CCI4* destiny was delayed for a while, as he decided last minute to re-route her to Jersey instead. A phenomenally talented mare, Flower has had a bit of an unpredictable cross country record, but when she goes clean, she can barely be beaten. She travelled to Galway CCI3* last year after falling prey to the course at Fair Hill CCI3*, and rebounded to take the win with just a single rail to add to her dressage score of 55.2. They were eliminated in their last event at The Fork, but Buck released a statement saying that Flower had a wound on one side of her mouth that made it almost impossible to steer properly. She’s had plenty of time to heal from that, and is poised to do well here this weekend, given a good clear cross country round.
Phillip Dutton & Fernhill Fugitive: Jack moved up to the Advanced level last spring, and was 7th in his CCI3* debut at Bromont with a 55 on the flat, some time on cross country and two rails in the show jumping. He was withdrawn from Fair Hill in the fall, so this will be his second go at this level, hoping to improve on his performance from last spring. They had a good prep at The Fork CIC3*, with a 51 in dressage, some time on cross country and two rails in the show jumping. Phillip will undoubtedly try to get a good clean show jumping round this time out, and improve their overall standing at the end of the weekend.
Eliza Farren & Bantry Bays Dublin: Eliza and the small but mighty Dublin have been together for many years now, and have a great partnership. They completed their first CCI3* last fall at Fair Hill in 26th place, with a 61 on the flat, 60 penalties on cross country, and two rails in the show jumping. While their dressage is never quite competitive enough to place them high after the first day, they are perfectly capable of producing two good jumping phases to improve upon their performance from last fall. Eliza will be looking for a good clean round on Saturday to take their partnership to the next level.
Lauren Kieffer & Lucky Devil: Taz and Lauren did the CCI2* here last year, and are returning this year for the next step up on the ladder. They don’t have as much experience at this level as some of the other pairs, and achieved their qualifying result at the Carolina International CIC3* this spring, which is their only Advanced competition of the year. However, they had a decent score of 54 on the flat, and only added a rail and some time to that to finish in 17th place overall. With our newly crowned USEF National CCI4* champion in the irons, Taz will undoubtedly have a good trip around his first attempt at this level.
Lauren Kieffer & RF Cosima: Lauren’s second ride is this super talented mare, Cosi. Coming off a wire to wire win in the Advanced at Carolina International, they are poised well to continue Lauren’s domination of the upper levels with athletic mares. They made their debut at this level at Fair Hill last fall, and posted a 52 on the flat to be well placed after the first day. Unfortunately they had a green moment on cross country, resulting in twenty penalties, and added two rails to that to finish in 20th place. Lauren thinks the world of this mare, and I don’t doubt that they’ll be able to pull off a much more competitive result this time at Jersey.
Emilee Libby & Nonsensical: Emilee and Nonny are one of our west coast contingent here at Jersey, and they received the 2014 H.E. ‘Tex’ Sutton Forwarding Company Travel Grant to help with getting across the country. This chestnut thoroughbred gelding is a super talented jumper, and they placed 4th in their debut at this level last fall at Galway Downs CCI3*, lodging one of only two double clear cross country rounds. While Nonny can sometimes be a bit naughty in the dressage, his skills in the other two phases more than make up for that, and Emilee rides him wonderfully. Don’t be surprised if they finish on their dressage score this weekend.
Caroline Martin & Quantum Solace: As our reigning NAJYRC champions, Caroline and Nacho are very much ready for the next step in their education with their first CCI3* together. Caroline rides with skill that defies her young age, and Nacho is a ridiculously good jumper. They most recently finished 6th after a good run in the Advanced at The Fork, and are poised to do very well this weekend. If I had to bet on a spoiler for all the big professionals, I think I would put my money on this pair.
Kurt Martin & Anna Bella: As proof of the mare domination movement, Anna Bella is here to casually dominate at her first attempt at this level. After their good showing at Fair Hill in the CCI2* last fall, they were named to the Winter/Spring Training lists and have benefitted from some extra training with Team USA lately. Kurt seamlessly moved this mare up to Advanced at Carolina International, and most recently won the CIC3* at Fair Hill, finishing on their dressage score of 46. This mare is supremely talented, and (knock on wood) seems to have no weak phase, so I think this could be Kurt’s year to make a big splash. Top ten result easily, top five totally reasonable.
Maddy Mazzola & Mojito: As Kate Brown’s Rolex 2012 mount, Mango certainly knows his way around these big east coast events, and will be happily taking his new young rider Maddy around her first attempt at this level. Traveling all the way across the country, Maddy will be thrilled to be competing against some of the best riders in our country, and happy to finish this big competition. Together, they’ve only done one Advanced and one CIC3*, both last fall. This spring has been light for them, with only one competition at Intermediate, so this will certainly be a big challenge, but one that Mango will be happy to romp around with his usual ease.
Bobby Meyerhoff & Utah B: Bobby took over the ride from his wife Danica last year, and took him down to the Intermediate level to gain some more experience together. The moved back up to the Advanced level this spring, completing both the Red Hills CIC3* and The Fork CIC3* in 6th and 20th places, respectively. While they haven’t been able to break into the more competitive dressage scores, they excel in the other two phases, especially when the tracks get tough. They could easily climb into a good position when the three phases are done, for this lovely horse to complete his first CCI3*.
Gina Miles & S.V.R. Ron: Many of our east coast riders will be thrilled to see Gina back here, and I can’t be the only one excited to see her on this talented young horse. They moved up to the Advanced level late in 2012, but were unfortunately out of commission for the majority of 2013. They rebounded this year, and moved right back to this level, placing 8th at the Galway Downs CIC3* in March, with a 55 on the flat and three rails to add to that score. While show jumping might prove to be their weakest phase, this will be a good step for this young horse, and nice to see Gina back at the top levels.
Holly Payne & Never OutFoxed: Fox is an 8 year old thoroughbred gelding that Holly just moved up to the Advanced level this spring, and has great hopes for him as he progresses. While he hasn’t yet accepted the necessary evil of dressage, he’s an incredible jumper, and superb in the next two phases. They were recently 6th together at the Fair Hill CIC3* over a tough track with just a rail and some time to add to their dressage score. This weekend will be a great part of this young horse’s education, and will cement him as another superb part of Holly’s upper level stable.
Jessica Phoenix & Abbey GS: Jessie is well on her way to becoming the Buck Davidson of Canada, building her stable of Advanced level competitors by the minute. Last year she won this event with her old partner Exponential, and while this mare is certainly less experienced, she will certainly have a good trip around. They were 14th together at the Red Hills CIC3* and 25th at The Fork CIC3* most recently. They haven’t been able to crack the next level of competitiveness on the flat, but they are great together in the next two phases, and this will be a great effort at this mare’s first CCI3*.
Michael Pollard & Ballingowan Pizazz: This will be Mango’s first CCI3*, because despite having competed at the Advanced level for almost three years now, he has been continually thwarted by small injuries. However, this spring, Michael has been able to have a great preparation for this event, and they’ve been getting along together really well. They have a good record on the flat, and was 3rd at Carolina International CIC3*, and 6th at The Fork CIC3* with both clear show jumping and cross country rounds. I think Michael should be able to pull out a top ten finish at least, if not top five. Fun fact: there are TWO horses named Mango competing in this division.
Liz Riley & It’s The Truth: This pair has been competing at the Advanced level for over a year, and made it all the way to Bromont CCI3* last year only to withdraw at the last minute due to a minor bruise, and decided instead to recover from that and continue their education before re-routing to this competition. This spring they moved back up to the Advanced level, and were 12th in the Carolina International Advanced, and 8th in the Advanced at Fair Hill just a few weeks ago. Liz will be thrilled to have her old partner by her side as they take on their first CCI3*. They won’t be competitive enough on the flat to give themselves a chance at ribbons, but a lovely clear round to complete the event will have her leaving with a smile.
Mackenna Shea & Landioso: Mackenna drove all the way across the country to slay her Jersey Fresh demons, and I take that determination as a sign that she’s officially here to give us all a run for our money. They stole the show last year by winning the dressage on a 46.7, and had a great clear cross country until a devastating elimination at the jogs on Sunday. They took the rest of the year off, but have bounced back this spring, and most recently were 3rd at the Twin Rivers CIC3* with a 49 on the flat an just some time to add to her score. The west coast is bringing the heat this year, in the form of Mackenna Shea.
Lizzie Snow & Coal Creek: Devon has been competing at the three star level for six years now, ever since he won Fair Hill as an eight year old with Amy Tryon in the irons, and he loves every minute of it. Lizzie is a very tactful, quiet rider who can make it all look like a hunter round, and they’ll be looking to notch their second CCI3* together, as they were 17th last year at Bromont. They are both quite capable of putting together three solid rounds, and I’d be thrilled for Lizzie if this was the event where they could really make a splash, so go get ’em Lizzie!
Allison Springer & Copycat Chloe: Allison completed dressage at Rolex with this mare, and the first five jumps on course before collecting a run out at the second element of the first water, and calling it a day. They’ve re-routed here to get a little more experience at the CCI3* level, and hopefully get a more consistent record that reflects their collective talent. They had a good run around Bromont CCI3* last year, finishing in 5th place, but they went to Galway CCI3* in the fall, only to accumulate two stops on course and a fall to end their trip to California. When they are in sync, they can be great, but when they are a little disjointed, Chloe can run into trouble with her confidence, and their scores will suffer. They had a run-out at their last CIC3* at The Fork as well, so they better come out guns blazing to get back on track for this competition.
Erin Sylvester & No Boundaries: Erin and Bucky are another pair that have re-routed from Rolex, after they had a great run around three-quarters of the course there before a stumble and a tumble through the Normandy Bank combination ended their trip early. Luckily, neither Erin nor Bucky were injured at all, and they are able to compete here instead. Bucky has been really good in the dressage this spring, earning them a 3rd in the Advanced at Carolina International and a 9th in the CIC3* at The Fork. They’ve got the talent to pull off the other two phases clean, but Bucky has to keep his hat on in the dressage. Thank goodness the atmosphere at Jersey is much less than at Rolex, and they should be able to stay in the competitive score zone.
Julia Wendell & Cavendish: These two have been competing at the Advanced level since 2012 together, and finished their first CCI3* at Bromont that same year with a 12th place. They’ve run into trouble here and there, and have been unable to repeat that success at this level since then. They were 12th together at The Fork in the Advanced, but retired on the tough Fair Hill Advanced course just a few weeks ago, so they will want to come out full of confidence to get the job done here around this long track. They won’t need to be competitive, but Julia will be thrilled with a good clean round with her old partner.
Sharon White & Under Suspection: Sharon’s been keeping this lovely mare just out of sight, maybe behind her four-star stablemates Wundermaske and Rafferty’s Rules, but this weekend might bring her out into the spotlight. Pippi is absolutely lovely on the flat, and Sharon rides her incredibly well over the jumps, pulling the best results out of her all the time. They were 6th this spring in the Carolina International CIC3* and most recently 4th at the Fair Hill CIC3*. I think they could easily pull a top ten result out of the bag, and Sharon will have to reveal her hand with this talented horse.
Dana Widstrand & Relentless Pursuit: Dana and Rover are re-routing from Rolex along with some of the other riders, after their CCI4* debut didn’t go as planned on the cross country. Rover is eighteen years young, and they completed theCCI3* last fall at Fair Hill, with a stop on course and a few rails. Despite their elimination at Rolex, they’ve had a good lead up this spring, including a second place at Poplar in the Advanced. While being competitive isn’t their goal here this weekend, Dana will be happy to have a good clean round and improve upon her last score at this level.