When we last caught up with 19-year-old Cornelia Dorr in January, she had just shipped down to Ocala to to take part in the USEF Eventing 25 Developing Rider training camp. Cornelia was talent-spotted into the program, having not yet met the requirement of completing a two-star event.
Since then, Cornelia has had a busy and fruitful spring and much has changed. She has now completed several two-stars, including winning the Jersey Fresh International CCI2* on her 12-year-old Rheinlander Louis M and most recently taking fifth in the Bromont CCI2* with her 11-year-old Zweibrucker Sir Patico MH (“Hugo”).
She competed this past weekend at Groton House Farm in Hamilton, Mass., which could be considered Cornelia’s backyard event, having grown up in nearby Manchester-by-the-Sea and boarding Hugo just around the corner at Gathering Farm during her grade school years. Having spent the last yearat Sharon White’s Last Frontier Farm in West Virginia, Cornelia made her homecoming by bringing Louis to Groton House compete in the Intermediate/Preliminary division.
After clinching the win in the division, Cornelia was kind enough to catch up with EN to share how things have changed in the past few months and what it was like bringing the fabled Louis M to Massachusetts.
EN: What was your decision making process in making the trip back to Groton House Farm this year?
Cornelia: “I was originally planning to bring both my horses to Groton House to do the Intermediate/Preliminary after completing Jersey Fresh, but I didn’t actually end up completing it on Hugo. He was spun at the second horse inspection because of a very small heel grab. Once we brought him back home and started trotting him again, he just seemed really hungry and wanted to do something else. We decided to try running Hugo at Bromont instead of bringing him to Groton House with Louis.”
EN: Your coach, Sharon White, was overseas at Luhmühlen while you were at Bromont. How was it traveling and competing without her?
Cornelia: “Rachel Wilks, Woods Baughman and I planned the whole trip out and went up together. Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Brian Murphy took us under their wings while we were there, and it was really great to have their support and mentorship.”
EN: What was it like bringing Louis M back home to your old stomping grounds?
Cornelia: “It’s like bringing a boyfriend home for the first time! Hugo and I were born and raised together in the area. Bringing Louis here was like bringing someone home and and showing him where I grew up. We did a lot of hacking before Groton House and went places that Hugo and I used to ride all the time, and I’d say, ‘Look, Louis — this is where I used to do trot sets!’ or ‘This is where we did all our hill work!’
“Louis stayed with Katie and Maddie Lichten (fellow Area 1 Young Riders), who I’m really good friends with, for the week but I did walk him over to Gathering Farm at one point to get a shoe reset. All the ladies and the kids there saw me walk him into the barn and were like, ‘Ooh, is this Louis?’ and wanted to meet him. He loves all the attention — he thinks it’s the greatest thing.”
EN: Since you’ve had Louis for a year now, was it difficult at first to get used to balancing the workloads of two horses?
Cornelia: “It’s interesting to have two horses. I did worry about how I was going to make it work at first, but I figured it out as we went along and learned how to fold everything into a schedule that works.
“I love having two horses going the same level because whatever horse I go out on first in competition, I’m then curious to see how I ride it on the second horse and I want to see if I can improve on it.”
EN: Which phase is your biggest challenge?
Cornelia: “The hardest thing continues to be show jumping. I’m working to really try and improve that and also fine-tuning everything between the two horses.”
EN: What has been the most beneficial thing about having two horses?
Cornelia: “I’ve noticed an immense difference in my dressage since getting Louis. He’s really helped me improve; everything makes more sense and I’m able to translate it to Hugo better, so he’s been able to improve as well. Hugo got a 48 in dressage at Bromont, which I was so pleased with.”
EN: What are your upcoming competition plans?
Cornelia: “Right now we’re back in West Virginia at Sharon’s. We left Massachusetts two days after Groton House, and we’ll be leaving again for NAJYRC in Montana in a week and a half. I’ll be riding both horses in the CICO2* there. One will be on a team and the other will be as an individual, but I don’t know which will be which yet.
“We have no short-term plans for after Montana, but then my goal is to do the CCI2* at Fair Hill with both horses in October.”
We’re wishing the best of luck to Cornelia in the rest of her season and beyond!