Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve...Aiken and More...

It's hard to believe that it's nearly 2012, there's a very good chance it is by the time your reading this entry. The last few weeks have been hectic. I've been detailing the truck saga on the podcast, and it continues. I should be here in the next week or two.

We departed cold NJ for Aiken, SC 2 days ago (68 degrees today). It's always a bit of a cluster getting the entire barn packed and ready to pick up and move. We had my trailer with 5 horses and loaded to the ceiling with equipment as well as a 10 horse 18 wheeler.

Jess offering the horses water at the gas station - yes there are 5 horses in there too!

The trip is roughly 14 hrs and it seemed to take every bit of it just getting out of the driveway! You'll have to check Tuesday's podcast for details, but it involved removing the tailgate and extending the neck of the trailer in the middle of the road and this was within the first mile...

We finally arrived in Aiken on Thursday evening. We're at a new facility this year, it's owned by Taryn Hartnett and it's a beautiful 29 stall facility with ring and the best galloping hill I've seen in Aiken.

The Front of the Barn
Running Order is tentitivly headed for Rolex this spring. Being that we're down here through early April, I was a concerned about getting him fit enough on the flat terrain surrounding Aiken. No worries now, it's 1.1 miles long with a steady grade and good footing, couldn't ask for much more!

RO - Tribute - Trevor (Jess' horse High Society) on the Gallop

View from the Ring back to the Barn
I have to thank Jess, Michelle, Jenny (our fellow Canadian) and Melanie for all of their hard work. It's a monumental effort transporting the 16 horses down here. Taryn and Avery, the barn's owners showed up on day one to sign the lease etc and promptly asked us if we were hosting a tack sale. I should have grabbed a picture. Use your imagination and I assure you that's about half of the actual mess we had the morning after we arrived. Only a few days in, they've established order and it all seems completely under control.

I'll try to get some more pics up online, we do have some more on the facebook page here of the trip down and around the barn.

Coming up this week we have a jumper show at High Fields and with my fingers crossed I might be heading back to NJ to get my new truck.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Podcast #3 is up, like anything else it's a work in progress.

I think this podcast will be a great thing in the future, but like anything there is a steep learning curve. I had a call with Chris from Eventing Radio earlier in the week. She had a lot of great tips. This week we have an interview with our newest working student Jenny from our friends up north.

If you haven't yet downloaded Instacast yet, you should get right to it. Instacast will allow you do automatically download your podcasts directly onto your iPhone or Droid.

Again the podcast web address is

Merry Christmas and Stay Warm!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Podcast Live!

This has been in the works for a short while now. The podcast should be a very exciting broadcast which will introduce everyone to the horses, owners, sponsors, vets and farriers as well as current happenings.

Every tuesday by 9pm. Today's broadcast is live, we cover the happenings of the week and our first horse profile. This week we have Larry and Amelia Ross' Crown Talisman.

The direct link is or search DPEquestrian in iTunes.

Stay warm!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter is here and soon will be 2012!

'Tis the is in full swing! At least that's my plan from now through February. We've had a great year, so not that I'm looking forward to it's departure, but I can't wait for 2012!

I would like to thank everyone who has helped make this year a possibility.

From our Owners:

Kristin Michaloski
Patti Springsteen
Jane Dudinsky
Kristen Burgers
Larry and Amelia Ross
Wendy Luce
SNS Syndicate
Melanie Nasser
Cindy Strate

To Sponsors:

Five Star Tack
Georgetown Stable Outfitters
Hit Air
Horseware Ireland
Leather Therapy

To the best Farrier in the world:
Sue Donatsky

To our Vet:
Greg Staller at Running S Equine

The winter months are usually filled with a number of tasks that have fallen through the cracks during the competition season. I'm in the process of getting a new truck, which will be very exciting. The poor Chevy has just shy off 200k and has seen better days. I was up at the Freightliner dealership today signing the sales order, so hopefully within the next two weeks we'll be fully equipped and ready for our journey to Aiken at the end of the month.

As for showing, most of the event horses are just coming back to work. The jumpers on the other hand are in full swing. We made a trip over to Duncraven yesterday and came back with a bunch of ribbons! Vesko W aka Llama, owned by Rosie DiMola, finished 3rd, 2nd and 1st.

This is his winning Level 3 Speed Class

Melanie Nasser's Urlando aka Larry won both of his classes.

Last but not least was Kristin who came along with us and rode her horse Hughie. He has done a few trainings and will be looking to move up in the spring.

In addition to the jumper show, now USDF Hall of Fame Inductee, Linda Zang was up for a dressage clinic this weekend. I took Tali aka Crown Talisman owned by Larry and Amelia Ross over to her both Saturday and Sunday. Linda was very helpful, I can't say enough about her. Tali was equally impressive, I can't wait to see what happens this year with him!

We have a quiet next few weeks from showing, but of course the packing has just begun for our migration. Stay warm and see you soon!


PS Without Cam I really don't know what war their fighting, all I can say their losing. Regardless, Jess remains in the background... 'War EAGLE'

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

HJU and Ecogold at it again!

I have to thank both HJU and Ecogold for their support...Patricia has a great write up on HJU that I had to share. 

Click here to view


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dominant day in Jumperland!

What a difference a week makes...we headed out early this morning to Nona Garson's beautiful farm in Asbury, NJ. Nona was hosting another one of her great schooling shows.

Larry went from this performance at the Royal...

to this...

I'd say his message came through loud and clear that he prefers the colored poles! Larry finished up 4th and 1st in the Level 3's. Brandy, also owned by Melanie Nasser, finished 4th, 3rd and 1st in the level 1-2's. This was especially good considering she hadn't been out in a year! Wishfull finished off the day in great form winning all three Open Jumper classes!

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's here...Royal Indoor Eventing Day #1!

Last year's video is just a preview of what's to come tonight...

Live feed is available here, just around 10 pm tonight.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Fair Hill Experience

I've been fortunate enough to have good luck at Fair Hill, it's courses are always well designed and a true test for the level. So as you would expect I was looking forward to this week.

Where to begin...

I had initially planned to leave mid day Tuesday to make it to FHI with enough time to complete the in-barn inspections before the vets left for the evening. I had some unexpected developments at the barn that made my departure less than timely. I then found out out that the vets would be leaving shortly after 6pm. I decided to leave very early Wednesday morning. The plan was to leave just after 4:30 am to get to FHI, complete the in-barn inspections with enough time to drive down to the BWI airport and pick up Steph who was helping us out this weekend.

This plan worked reasonably well, aside from the fact it forced me to wake up in the 3's. I hate that. I arrived without trouble, got the horses done and picked up Steph returning by 1. This left us just enough time to get ready for the Jogs scheduled to start at 3. Not to get into every minute detail of the day, but I don't think Trev is a detail, it was not missed by anyone here this weekend that he is minute. Even the Chronicle of the Horse commented on it for Sunday's Jog's, Chronicle Jog Photos

Being that the two big (or 1 big, 1 small) horses, RO (owned by Patti Springsteen) and Trevor (owned by Jess, Joan and Carl Hampf) were in the 3* I was placed at either end of the order. I was indifferent as to who should be first, Trevor ended up being the first of mine to go, 2nd out, and RO was just a few before the end.

I figured that this was good in that Trevor has a lot of expereince, but our partnership is about 4 weeks young. Having jumped him a handful of times you just don't know what to expect 100% of the time, adding to the apprehension. Of course I know RO much, much better, but he is greener and less predictable when it comes to new combinations or jump complexes. I was just about as indifferent as you can get as to who should go first.

Dressage for Trevor was thoroughly underwhelming. I felt as if we made great strides at Morven, and I was hoping to build on them. It didn't happen for this weekend. There were parts that had improved, but overall he was fussing and just generally not consistent. Running Order in contrast had his best test to date. He finished tied for 8th just a few points back with a 47. We were dumped on by the rain.

Chronicle of the Horse - Lisa Slade

XC was next. Due to the rain, Trevor had a distinct advantage. He was 2nd out on course and would have the best ground anyone would see all day. The only downside, being 2nd out you don't have any feedback on the course. You don't have opportunity to see what lines etc work best. Trevor jumped great, we finished up with a bit of time but clean! He recovered very quickly, and was dragging Steph back to the barn.

Running Order was next up. He couldn't have had a better round. Granted there were a few spots where I could have been more aggressive with my line etc, but he jumped great. I think it's finally all falling into place. He finished up very strong. In hindsight, I could have probably started off at a slightly stronger pace. But as Bruce Davidson told me this morning, better to have started off too conservatively that to have gone out to fast returning with nothing in the tank or worse yet on the floor after a fall. I spoke to him for a while about relative fitness between here and Kentucky. He figures due to the conditions they'd be on par. Great news!

Both horses jogged up well and felt great Sunday morning. Trevor was first to jump, his video is below. He jumped great, twice I couldn't get the right lead! You'd think that shouldn't be a problem at this point, Trevor was convinced it wasn't one. I did have one rail down, it was totally my fault. I sent him on the far green oxer and didn't re-organize quick enough for the natural combination. Such is life, it's an easy problem to fix, so next time...

Running Order was last to jump of mine in the 3*. He jumped well, we did have the 3rd fence down. I'm still not sure exactly why. For whatever reason, it came down. He finished the rest of the course strong and clean. We ended in 6th place in the CCI***. Running Order was also asked to stick around for the USET vet evaluations. This was done for several of the top finishers, it allows the team to track the soundness of all of the potential team horses. RO couldn't have looked better, our exam couldn't have lasted longer than 10 mins!

Chronicle of the Horse - Lisa Slade
As with anything to get better you just need to be out there doing whatever skill it is you're looking to improve. It was a great help to have Trevor along with RO this weekend. The dressage wasn't what I'd hoped, but his jumping was excellent. Jess has done a great job bring him along, I just got to enjoy the ride this weekend! I did have the helmet cam on for Trev's XC. Hopefully I'll be able to get it up tomorrow. My computer is quite slow processing the 1080p footage, but I can tell you it's pretty damn cool! He is tiny (15.3 on a very good day with 4" withers) hence the jumps look huge!

Last but not least was Tribute's exciting weekend. The Prodigy as he's known around the barn had a spectacular final outing for the year. He continued his winning ways taking the USEA Young Event Horse 5 yr old class title with the highest score ever received in the program! They have a great series of videos on it here: at

He is one of the most talented horses I've ever had the pleasure of riding. Kristin Burgers and I have some very exciting plans for him in the near future. So make sure to check back for more details, but it's probably a ride you don't want to miss!

What's up next?! The next big thing is the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto with Larry owned by Melanie Nasser. For anyone who hasn't yet seen or heard of the Royal watch the video's unlike anything you've seen before. Until then enjoy this video...


Sunday, October 2, 2011

I think I might finally be dry and warm...

Morven Park did not make it easy this past weekend... Certainly not to the degree Fair Hill a few years back, but cold and wet none the less.

We had Jess' horse Trevor and Running Order along with us at Morven. It served as both of their last advanced outings prior to Fair Hill. Running Order was a definite go, but Trevor's ticket to Fair Hill was dependent on his results from this past weekend.

Trevor returned with us following the AEC's. Jess, my girlfriend for those out of the loop :), is at Auburn getting her final prerequisites out of the way for her admission to pharmacy school. Physics, Bio-Chem and Organic II has made riding on a consistent basis very difficult. I was elected to be the lucky one to continue for the fall with Trevor. The plan was to see how things went this weekend, and if all was good then continue on to Fair Hill CCI***.

Not often do you get a chance to ride such a great little horse. Little (~15.3) being the operative word here. He's just about 1.5-2 hands smaller than all of my other horses going at the moment. It's funny what 6-8 inches will do to your perspective. The other day I was jumping, and thought to myself. "hmmm that was a big jump." Then I walked over to the standard and realized it was only 3'3", not so much... Jess has done a great job with him, guiding him through the ranks, at this point he's been around Rolex twice. He can jump just about anything, so I found myself thinking. I've got to jump 8 more inches on XC and 10 more in SJ! All you can do is jack the jumps up, and see how it goes. It goes well.

Leading up to the event I'd been riding him for 2 weeks. I squeezed 3 jump schools in, one of which was over a little XC. Nothing quite gets you ready for the real deal until you arrive. Conveniently, Running Order drew a lower number placing him first in the order for my two. His dressage had some very good moments, he was not quite as ridable as at the AEC's but good for him none the less scoring a 31.

Trevor finished up also with a solid test, he's a bit stiffer on the right and following the walk I didn't quite have him in the right canter. Unfortunately, our first change was marred as a result, but he finished up well with a 36.

The sequence at Morven placed dressage on Friday, SJ on Saturday and XC on Sunday. The rain was not a concern on Friday being that we rode in the indoor, Saturday was a different story. The rain came down harder by the minute. It was a balmy 48 degrees when we rode. The ring was soaked, and warm-up a bit treacherous. Running Order jumped well, the first few riders had some time penalties. I shaved a corner tighter than I should have risking a rail at the first of the 1 stride. Unfortunately, I got it! The rest of the course rode and jumped great.

Trevor was next up, again I want to reiterate, he's tiny! AKA the course looked huge as we traveled around it. He jumped like a rock star. Finishing with a clean round. The video is posted on the previous blog post, found here.

The rain continued to fall all day. That afternoon we headed out to check the conditions of the XC course. As expected there were some wet spots, but to out amazement most of it looked great! The hope was of course that the rain would stop over night. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. We woke up in the am to the sound of raindrops.

We got to the barn and fed, the headed directly out to the course. Again it looked to be taking the rain without much trouble. A bunch of us were out inspecting the course and discussing the modifications. We ended up laughing about how if this was England there would be no discussion of the conditions. We'd all be running. A number of people withdrew before XC, Jess and I decided to go for it and if for whatever reason it wasn't going well or the conditions deteriorated I'd pull up mid course. That was not necessary in the end, both horses jumped out of the muck without trouble. I think Running Order enjoys the conditions, like his old racing days in Ireland I'm sure.

As for the course itself, it was a good test as Morven often is...John at Eventing Nation did a great preview of the leaf pit, one of the mainstays at Morven, his valiant efforts still don't do it justice.

Running Order was first out. As I said before, he enjoys the rain. Overall he was excellent, I took his bravery for granted at the leaf pit though. As I've done with all of the drops I've jumped in his past, I figured I'd jump the log and give him his head and neck to see the landing and ease off into the pit. Bad idea, got right up to the log and he's thought better of it! Annoyingly I was forced to circle around and jump the complex again, this time without trouble. Again chalk it up to experience, you're not going to improve standing on the sidelines. Although frustrating at times, the more time in the saddle the better off I'll be in the future. There was a lot to like about the rest of the course, we'll be ready at Fair Hill!

The great thing was I was able to get right on Trevor and jump the entire course again. This time things appeared a bit bigger, but that little horse has rockets in his hind legs. He jumped great around the course. We're officially set for FHI in 2 weeks.

If you missed it Trevor's XC was posted on EN along with most of the other Advanced rides of the day. Click here for the bounce and here for the water. 

Intentionally I went slow with both horses, they finished up looking great and in 5th (Trev) and 7th (RO).

So what's next. We have Princeton Show Jumping this week for Larry and a few others, Radnor HT on Saturday and I'm teaching an XC clinic on Sunday to benefit the Somerset Handicapped Riders at Red Tail farm in Bedminster, NJ. (Info is found here for those interested: or email

I think I'm officially off to bed!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Flora Lea Canceled!!...Pre-Morven Notes...

It just doesn't seem to stop raining...we got another 2" in the past 24 hrs, our rain soaked fields, ring and horses just can't get a break!

We had a brief respite yesterday morning, I took advantage of the opportunity to install our new EquineLite Mats which came last week. I had run into Justin and Will from EquineLite at Rolex this spring, after stepping on them once knew I had to figure out a way to get them in my trailer. Their just about 1.25" thick, very soft and durable. I'm sure the horses are going to arrive in much better condition than they had in the past!

Bacon enjoying the new Equinelite Mats
After finishing up with the mats the daily riding began. I always start off with the big guys first. Both RO and Trevor are walking for an hour in addition to their normal work. So of course, I was rain free when we left the farm, but about 30 min later the rain came down as if I were in the heart of the the amazon rain forest. Running Order of course loves the rain, harkens back to his racing days in Ireland I'd imagine. He is not bothered in the least. I, however, really do enjoy being dry. I rode Trevor next after scrounging through the trailer for a dry shirt. He didn't seem to mind either, after finishing his ride I ran home for a complete change of clothes.

I rode the rest of the horses who were supposed to be competing today (Saturday) at Flora Lea. Until the 1st of the month we're down one person in the barn, so I braided the 3 babies and nearly finished packing when we got word they canceled the event. So frustrating...especially after braiding, no less (not a job I enjoy or do frequently :) )!

On to this morning, Conor and I headed out for our gallop. I wasn't convinced we'd be galloping, I figured it'd be too wet and we'd be trotting on the dirt roads. We headed over to the fields anyway to see how wet they were. I was shocked, it really wasn't that bad.

At this point they're going up the hill 5 times, the 3rd walk down I was serching my iphone as you do when walking and came upon a very cool GPS app. We have always wondered exactly how long the hill is, now we have an answer. 6/10th of a mile. The very cool thing about it was it would overlay your gallop on google earth. It also gave real time info our normal pace up the hill was roughly 17-20 mph or just around prelim speed. The 5th time up the hill is posted here:

So at the moment their doing 3 miles on a good grade.

Of course we didn't actually gallop through the house...but close enough

The nerd in me found this very interesting. Not only on the technical side that I could post this on facebook/twitter instantly, but also that it could overlay the path etc. This in addition to the fact that we could now actually compare gallops across the country to gauge what we're all doing to get horses fit for the fall 3 days. On the walk back I called DOC to find out how long 'the mountain' in the plains is as well as it's change in elevation. Still awaiting word...

Running Order and Trevor on their gallop today...
I'm heading over to my Mom's place tomorrow with RO and Trev for some dressaging...then a little xc schooling Tuesday and on to Morven Thursday. It's going to be an exciting check back in a bit for updates...and stay dry.


Monday, September 12, 2011

The video's are up from the AEC's!

Running Order's XC Helmet Cam

Then Running Order's SJ finishing up in 3rd Place!

The last of the long road trips is over for this year!!

Bacon and Mom on our road trip...

My Mom, Bacon and I returned home last night around 10 pm following another long of a day on the road. I woke up at 3:30 hoping to get to the barn by 4 and leave by 5. That didn't quite happen. Going back a week or so Buck Davidson had asked if I'd drive his rig down from Pa. It's not too far out of the way and he'd cover the diesel. He was returning from the UK and flying directly down to the AEC's. Buck's rig is a bit more than your normal truck and trailer, it's obnoxiously long. I paced it off to just a hair under 100' from nose to tail.

Yes it was too long to capture the entire thing in the frame...

It's a Freightliner tractor and an Eby trailer. To say you need to make wide turns is an understatement. I have to say once on the highway, it's exceptionally comfortable. You're basically sitting on your couch and driving this mammoth beast down the road. It's shocking how you really don't get tired driving it, a very good thing when it took 16 hrs to get down and 14 hr back.

So back to leaving, we had to reconfigure the trailer. We had 5 with us going down and 7 coming back. The whole process of reconfiguring and packing for the 7 just seemed to take forever. We didn't pull out of the event until about 6. Then off to pick up my mom on the way to the highway. Sounds simple enough, gps routes you to the exit, Mom will be waiting coffee in hand and we're off. Well if we were 65' shorter it would have been a much faster process. I pulled out, and within the first few mins went to turn on a road that would cut straight to our rendezvous point, the sign read, "35' max trailer length." I'm usually one to say bring it on...not this time. Being more than twice their max seemed like a bad idea. We had to back out on to the main road and on we went for a bigger byway. Finally made it, Mom hopped in and we're off. The great part is that we only had to stop twice for fuel, might have actually got away with once, but didn't think trying to cram into a normal size gas station was a good idea.

Once at Bucks, I pulled my truck up which now felt like a mini cooper, loaded my 3 up and off we went. For those paying attention I did say 3. Running Order, Tribute and Trevor. Trevor is making the trip back with us following the AEC's to allow my girl friend, Jess, time enough to concentrate on school. I don't envy her course load this semester, organic 2, bio chem and physics, but am very proud of her for going back. She's working on going to pharmacy school next year and was missing a few pre rec's required.

Once all loaded up we made the hr long trip back to my place and finally off to bed!

So as for the weekend. Dressage was covered here. XC was great for both horses. I don't want to jinx myself, but I think I've got it. Running Order was completely on. We had a few striding options throughout the course, and we were able do do the short and the long options. The water was riding in 4 all day for people, but quite short. There was a direct 3 stride option, where you jumped a jump in the middle of the water and straight to the corner in the water. I thought this would be a better for us. I got a great jump in and it rode great. Later in the course there was a large drop to two skinny chevrons. This was again riding in a very tight 4 for most, although Jess did it in 3. I jumped down and waited for the 4 and it again rode very well. Thanks to John at EN I have a short video clip of it here. Running Order finished up clear and under the time. I did have the helmet cam on, it's uploading as we speak and will be posted soon.

Tribute was the best he's been by a long shot on XC. He's only 5 and jumped around the very technical course as if it were a walk in the park. It was not the biggest, but the hardest training course I'd ever seen. He was more responsive and lackadaisical than he's ever been in the past about anything presented to him. He's going to be one spectacular horse in the future! Speaking of training, my Mom also had a great ride on her horse known around the barn as the princess. Jumped a double clear where time can be an issue for this pair, Mom found the petal on the right and was looking great.

Show jumping was up on Saturday. Running Order was first up, actually Trevor was...Jess had a very nice round, just one rail to finish off her weekend. Trev was jumping great. Running Order was up next, the course went well. We had one hell of a spook at the triple bar where I ended up in the back seat, but all was good and finished up with a clear round and 1 time penalty which didn't effect our placing. I was in 5th going into SJ and with a few issues ahead of us we finished up 3rd! It was a great weekend for him, and I have to say what a relief! I think we're back on and going to take over here soon enough. Or at least we'll give it our best shot. I forgot to mention looking at the dressage test on the way home, the two uncharacteristic late changes were both x2! He's usually good for a 7 or 8 we got 4's leaving 12 raw pts on the table!! Next time...

Tribute was next up, and to say it was an epic clean round was an understatement. I often say it's better to be lucky than good. I was very, very lucky. He is a phenomenal athlete, just still figuring out where his legs are being that he's a 17.3hh 5 yr old. I think he was a bit tired from the day before, but long story short there were very few jumps in warm up that remained in the cups. Some how, some way they all stayed up in the ring securing our 3rd place finish.

Yellow is a good color...

My Mom finished up 8th in the same division, and my sister finished up 4th in the prelim..

I want to thank everyone at the USEA, Land Rover, Bit of Britain and all of the other sponsors which made this championships possible. Carl Bouckaert deserves a special thanks, for all of his incredible facility, perfect conditions (although I'm not sure he controls the weather, but it was perfect) and support of our sport. Without people like him, the sport would not be what it is today. 

Next up is Flora Lea in a week or so and the big guys are back out for Morven in 2 then on to Fair Hill 3*!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

AEC's dressage day

The first day of dressage is always exciting. With talented horses you always feel as if you have a shot to make a run at the top of the leaderboard. I am very lucky to have two of the nicest horses I've ever ridden here this weekend. Neither of them disappointed.

Running Order built on Richland, He was the best he's been in the ring yet. He was through, and active for almost the entire test. I was annoyed with myself when we finished knowing I threw away a number of points in the last two time will be different. I have to thank my Mom for her help this summer, I guess she knows what she's looking at afterall! :)

Tribute was next up. I really don't know what to say, he his just phenomenal. For a 5 yr old to come out as he did today, he is very special. They don't come around like this often. I have to thank Kristen Burgers again for her support, and for picking him out as yearling!! The judges did not agree in the least about our score, leaving us in 3rd. Luckily it's not a dressage show, and the future for him couldn't be brighter.

The courses look good for tomorrow, and the footing couldn't be better. I'm very excited to implement the new plan for RO tomorrow. Fingers crossed! RO is around 10 and Tribute around 4.

Best of luck for all competing tomorrow...


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Revamping Life...

Bacon and Nolan of Course

We've spent a lot of time in the truck recently, and I hate to say it but I've got a bunch more time on the way being that the AEC's are in Georgia next week. I'd say 35+ hrs in the past 3 weeks, and another 28 to go next week! The great thing about the long rides, aside the road coma induced uninhibited conversations, is you have plenty of time to reflect on the past. More importantly how you're going to improve conditions for the future. At this point in the year I've had a bunch of great things happen, but also my fair share of disappointments. Fortunately, I think the light at the end of the dark tunnel is coming near.

Lets start with the DL (disabled list for those non-sports fans). The DL is diminishing by the day. Tali, owned by Amelia and Larry Ross, who if you remember had a freak injury to his stifle at Pine Top this spring is more or less fully recovered. He's 100% sound, which is such a relief I can't tell you, and is up to 8 mins of trotting. He should be back in full flat work within the month. When their on the DL you tent to forget what each horse was really like, and damn this horse is a freak of nature (in a very good way).

Simon, owned by the SNS Syndicate, who ended up having a minor tear in his minicus of his right stifle in the dressage warmup at Jersey is also on the same path as Tali. He's up to 6 mins of trotting.

We had a few other random minor cuts, bumps and bruises all now on the mend.

A lot of this reflection has been focused on Patti Springsteen's, Running Order. He's had an inconsistent year. He's sitting in 5th place for USEA horse of the year and had a number of top placings. He's also had few minor hick ups which have simply highlighted holes in his training. Following this weekend, I took a quick trip down to Phillip Dutton's on Tuesday to get another set of eyes on the topic. His assessment, which it's not like I hadn't heard before, was a simple one. He just needs to be better jumping out of a bad distance on his own. Up until now I've been able to keep things very calculated for him, but by Advanced he's got to carry more of the burden. Phillip was able to whittle it down to a very easy fix which I'm confident will resolve this issue once and for all. Long story short I just need to get better at training him. I've got a plan so we're set!

That's the best thing about working with horses. I can't tell you how many horses I've started who have developed into upper level competitors, each one is different. They find a way to keep you on your toes, and keep you thinking and learning.

Other happenings, a big weight is about to be lifted from my shoulders. My book will go to the publishers tomorrow, it's subject is training/rehabilitating difficult or problem horses. It's been in the works since the spring, and what a process. Funny thing is that being an Engineering student in college, the longest paper I'd ever written was 10 pages double spaced of course. The book is just around 150 pages at the moment. It's been a great experience, putting ideas things on paper has a way of becoming clarifying what it's all about. Without a doubt it's helping my riding. Being this is the first time I've gone through this process I don't know the exact next steps, but it should be out by summer of next year.

What's on the horizons this week? We come out of the hurricane relatively unscathed, our barn still does not have power. We're lucky that's the only issue we have at the moment. I feel horrible for the people east of us and up in Vt. We'll have a crew going to the Briarwood jumper show on Monday. Then in the truck again, this time heading down to the AEC's Tuesday with Running Order and Tribute.

Until then...


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Character building...

I have to say that I'm happy to put this weekend behind us. Life with horses is a constant learning process. I've come away from Richland with a PHd.

Coming up we have a jumper show on Tuesday and the AEC's in 2 weeks. Running Order and the Prodigy will be heading to Ga. Better things to come!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

XC day at Richland

Very much like dressage there was a lot to be happy about, but of course some stuff still to improve. Running Order jumped well as usual. We had one run out at the 6th fence a drop and brush to skinny combination. He jumped very well in, and I should have been there to support him more for the skinny. I don't think he saw it until it was too late. Although I hate saying it diminishing what happened today, there is always another day. I will be scrappier next time without a doubt.

The rest of the course was good overall. The first water was a big hanging long, 4 to a corn on a knoll then 4 to an angled brush. I jumped in strong and Running Order responded very well. The same was true with the sunken road and coffin.

I had a lucky moment at the corner table corner combination in the back. Next up was the second water. It was a similar set up to Millbrook. We covered the long 3 without an issue.

Overall today was very good. I'll make the most of the experience and look forward to tomorrow's SJ and the AEC's in a few weeks.

One quick note I wanted to add was in reference to Thursday's dressage report. After reading on EN I realized the post could have been interpreted that I was unhappy with the judging. This couldn't be further from the truth. Our score was not his best and I think the judging was accurate. The parts that made the test great for RO will not be reflected in the score yet. When I can keep him that consistent and add power he'll be unbeatable. That day is coming!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dressage day is complete at the Richland CIC***

The scoreboard today does not reflect the progress made today. I spent the last half hour watching my video from today.

Running Order was much improved in many ways. His halts are becoming consistently square and well balanced and in general the test flowed very well. The biggest improvement was in the consistency of the connection. He was more confident and steady than he's been before. I was thrilled that I was able to keep him from stiffening in the corners coming out to the shoulder in's. We did have one inadvertent change, surprisingly right to left. Otherwise the test could have had a lot more energy, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Jennie Brannigan and I were able to walk to xc with the course designer Ian Stark. It was great to hear his perspective. I like the course in that it will reward a forward ride, one I intend to execute.

Tomorrow will be a quiet day, we'll have a light flat school. Aside from riding we'll walk the course again and hopefully I'll get close to finishing the editing process of my book due to the publishers on the 1st.


Doug Payne
PO Box 179
Pottersville, NJ 07979

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Millbrook's SJ and a Change of Course

With time comes clarity, but before that lets cover today's results. Running Order jumped very well, the time spent at HITS last week really payed off. It was very funny, in warm up I wanted Jess to keep putting the jumps up. They just seemed insufficiently small. Usually this isn't a problem, but when she replied, "um...their already big enough." I wasn't quite sure she was telling the truth. Then she reminded me that we were jumping a few holes higher last week.

So long story short, he jumped a very good clear round. We were the third in the ring. Unsure of the time allowed, we finished with 1 time penalty. Not a bad result at all being that there were not very many clean rounds in the division. RO just seems to get better and better each day.

On that note, I also decided following this weekend that it would be a better choice for me and RO to pass on the USEF grant and withdraw from Blenheim. He and I are still too green to confidently go over to try to win. Looking down the road, I need to get him to a point where he can be very competitive at Rolex in the spring. If I did go to Blenheim, it would be his final run of 2011. By skipping it, I can have 2-3 more horse trials and Fair Hill CCI*** this fall. Our tentative schedule would be Richland, the AEC's, Morven and Fair Hill. Of the listed events, Richland CIC*** is the only course he's seen before. (Helmet Cam from 2010) This would allow us to see a number of new courses, and number of new questions. He will be a better horse in the end for the experience.

There is really no need to push such a talented horse, the last thing I want to see is for it to blow up in my face and have him lose confidence. The added bonus is that it also gives time to head to more jumper and dressage shows. So on to Richland Park!!


Today's show jumping video from Millbrook:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sat Millbrook - the Ups and Downs of Horses

The day started with Tribute's SJ. A little background, Tribute is one of the most exciting and talented horses I've ever had the opportunity to ride. He's 5 yrs old and didn't start eventing until this spring. He's going to be excellent in the future, but needs to grow into his 17.2 hand frame and figure out exactly where his legs are at all times!

Following last week at HITS and a few lessons with Anne Kursinski, I was feeling much better than events in the past heading into show jumping. A clean round is still a tall order, but I had a much better plan heading into the ring. Luckily, he had a great dressage test on Thursday, a clean round was not necessary to secure the win. We were up by 10 pts. He jumped very well, rubbed a few rails with only one falling. So with that we won by nearly 6 points. Pretty damn good way to start the day.

Running Order was next out. This was his last run before Blenheim. It was a fair but difficult advanced. There were a few tough combinations on the course. The one most concerning to me was the water. It was a one stride in then it walked 3.5 strides to a corner then 3 or 4 more out over a vertical. Drawing on past experiences at Pine Top this spring which had a very similar question, my first instinct was to go for the forward distance in the water. He has a huge stride, and can cover the distance without much trouble. In hindsight I should have stuck with it, and I'm kicking myself for not doing so today. After speaking with a number of riders, the prevailing opinion was to stick with the 4.

He started the course off well, a bit green at the first combination, but was jumping great! I got the exact distance and pace I planned for jumping into the water. He landed well, and upon photo examination, I was taking back starting the second stride until the corner as planned, but I got there in 3.5 strides. I can't tell you how frustrating it is, I should ride the horse I have and just keep my leg on. Without doubt he should be more adjustable, and will be in the future, but regardless I have to get to the jump with my leg on without pulling. Next time I'm going with my gut!! He finished up the course very well, and no worse for the wear other than my frustration. Experience is what you need just after you needed it...

Charm and Leo were next up in the novice show jumping. Just before hopping on Charm, I ran out to watch Jess' XC round. Trevor jumped around like a rock star, he's a great horse to watch. Not much phases him, and Jess does a great job staying out of his way.

Charm warmed up well for SJ and did not disappoint in the ring. He jumped clean to finish 2nd. This was very impressive following last weeks win being that he hadn't been at an event in a year and just showed up at the barn from Cindy Strate's Vt farm 2 weeks ago.

Leo, owned by Kristin Michaloski, was last to go today. He had one rail, but overall jumped great. I couldn't be happier with him, he's going to be something special in the future. He finished up in 7th.

Tomorrow is RO's SJ, I'm looking forward to putting together what I learned last week at HITS.

Back again soon,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jumperland Day 2 + Blenhiem!!

The ponies continue to improve up at HITS in Saugraties, NY. I can't overstate how great it is to be able to concentrate purely on jumping. In the three days here, we're jumping half a season of jumping rounds if we were eventing. Tribute and Hughie jumped much better today. We made a few minor adjustments that went a long way.

RO had his first day of jumping today, and jumped like a star. He finished 4th of 31 on the FarmVet $1000 level 5 speed class. He's heading back tomorrow for the 5's and 6's.

Tomorrow night we'll have a full report and hopefully some videos.

The second very exciting bit of news that came my direction today was from the USEF. Sara send me a text mid afternoon stating that I have received a grant to fly over to Blenheim this fall for the CCI***! This is very exciting, and hopefully will set us up very well for a potential shot at Rolex in the spring. I have to keep reminding myself that they are both a long way away, and still have a lot of skills to refine before being super competitive, but it's not a bad start!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stuart, Stone Gate Farm eventing camp and of course Bandit

Following Sock's hunter derby (video below) Tuesday we quickly entered eventing mode. Both he and RO went over to my parent's place to jump some XC. This was Running Order's first run back since the Jersey CCI*** in May. Socks was pretty damn good schooling, he's very brave and quick on his feet. Of course I was still a bit nervous, as you always are when moving up a level, but he was prepared so he was good to go!

Socks's Hunter Derby

We arrived up at Stuart on wed night following our XC schooling, packing and riding. Coincidentally, this was the start of the massive heat wave. Nothing better than sweat pouring down your face as your unpacking the trailer. Luckily for the horses, we have fans in the trailer, but of course you still have to feel bad for them.

Dressage went well on Thursday, Leo finished his XC in the afternoon. Leo has been getting better and better over the past few months. I was very happy with him, especially considering he's 4 and this was his 3rd Novice and 4th event ever.

Leo's Stuart Video

Friday was the last day for Leo, and the start for the big guys. All of the horses went well. The show jumping at Stuart is always great for the younger horses being that they have the sponsors tent, banners as well as gazebo for judges. Leo did have one rail, the lack of attention span caught up with us. I don't think it ever registered that the jump was there until it was too late.

The other highlight of the day was keeping the counter canter in Sock's first prelim. Not only did he keep it, but he managed to get a 28! Pretty impressive.

We spent all afternoon on Friday walking the courses. They were, as expected, on the difficult side. Not only is it a function of the jumps, but also the terrain. Unlike any other event we go to through the year, the steep terrain gives Derek a bundle of options for blind landings etc.

XC started bright and early with Socks. He was excellent, I can't say enough about him. He never stops impressing, he jumped around with ease. He's very quick on his feet, and very brave. We had a few green moments, but really can't expect more!

Sock's XC

Sock's XC Helmet Cam with Commentary

Running Order jumped around as if it were child's play. It was a great course for him, challenging, but the perfect prep for Millbrook and Blenheim. Tribute and the others jumped around very well also.

Sunday was SJ day for everyone aside from Leo. They all jumped well. The video of the day goes to Running Order who finished 2nd in the CIC**. Socks finished 8th, and Leo 6th.

Running Order's SJ

We drove back following the event. I was able to ride at the barn all day Monday, then caught a flight out to Ohio to Stone Gate Farm for their first annual Eventing Camp. I along with Eric Dirks taught Tues through Thursday. The clinic was great fun, it was a great group of people. As always I end up learning a great deal in the process.

Jackie Smith should also be commended for her job organizing the clinic. Without a doubt, I'll be back next year! I have to say, Bandit stole the show! Bandit was a rescued raccoon who was approx 12 weeks old, and pretty damn cute.

Bandit Smith

Bandit Smith the Raccoon and Bear the lab

We're off of eventing for the week and on to show jumping. I'm jumping at the USET on Tuesday with Anne Kursinski then on to HITS in Saugraties Wed-Fri. We'll be back eventing on Sunday for the NJ horse trials.


Monday, July 18, 2011

All new guided prelim tour courtesy of Socks

You might enjoy was the brain child of Brian O'Connor. Filmed on Socks the same one that did the derby on Tuesday, whose video is listed a few entries below. He finished 8th on a pretty damn hard first prelim! I've got to say it was much harder than I would have expected. I'm generally not a big talker on course, I now know why. I was panting like a dog in the summer sun.

Socks is owned by Wendy and Fred Luce, he finished up 8th here:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hunter time continues...

I had another exciting day today. We left the barn early this morning making our way to Briarwood for my and Sock's first hunter derby. In hindsight, upon arrival we should have headed straight to the secretary's office, but we went down to walk the course. Unfortunately, entering late we were placed 2nd in the order of 40. I know I'm partial, but I think he got robbed!! Socks was impressive, he never ceases to surprise me how easily he adapts to whatever situation we stick him in, especially considering he's 6 this year and just started competing in Aiken this spring. Overall he jumped very well, he didn't have the best 2nd jump. I also should have stuck studs in being that the outside portion of the course was quite slippery, making for a tentative effort, but like I said he jumped very well otherwise.

When we left he was 2pts out of making the cut for the handy round. Such is life, we'll be back again.

Now the tricky part comes in...Over the past 2 weeks, I've spent nearly every day working on his changes. I've got to say they came off quite well, however, Socks is headed to Stuart this weekend for his first prelim. For all of those aware of the Prelim test, we have to do a counter canter across the short side of the ring. So, needless to say, we'll be working on counter canter until Friday's dressage. Fingers crossed!!

I'm heading over to Anne Kursinski's tomorrow with Tribute for a jumping lesson. I've been looking forward to the opportunity to take him over to AK's for a while now, we've finally matched up our schedules.

Mid afternoon we'll be heading up to Stuart. Running Order will be in the CIC** for his first run back following Jersey. Tribute and one other in the training, Socks in the prelim and Leo in the novice.

Check back for more...

Sock's Video:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The First Edition of My Chronicle Connection Column

Kat who is the editor at the Chronicle asked if I'd be interested in writing a periodic column. Of course I jumped at the chance. Although wiring an open ended piece was significantly more difficult than I thought it would be! So click over an let me know what you think.

Direct Chronicle Connection Link - Click Here


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Leo @ NJHP and Sock's Hunter Style...

Leo was pretty damn good yesterday. This was his 3rd event, and his second novice. He wasn't exactly thrilled with the pvc dressage ring. Every time the sand would hit it he'd spook off the rail. He held it together reasonably well coming away with a 33 in 4th out of 20. Show Jumping was next, he jumped very well. Much better than any of the previous times off the property. While he looked at a number of them, he still remembered where his feet were. All expect for one remained standing at the end. I couldn't be upset with him, especially considering his level of experience and the fact that he's a 17.3h 4 yr old! XC was very good, he's going to be a great horse in the future. He's very easy on himself, and has a great gallop. He almost needs bigger jumps to pay attention. I think we'll do a few more novices then on to training! He managed to finish up 6th at the end of the day.

Sunday rolls around. Conor and I went galloping with Running Order and the Prodigy. The radar didn't look too good, but I figured we'll give it a shot. I haven't melted in the rain yet. On our second time up the hill the lightning came a bit too close for comfort! So we decided that they were fit enough for today.

Following a quick change of clothes. Socks and I headed over to Jen Bauersachs' place for a hunter lesson. We're entered in a Hunter Derby not this Tuesday, but next. Jen was great, in that I knew nothing. I needed to know everything from what should I wear, to the tack that should be used, to common etiquette...the list goes on. Below was our last course, simulating the second round. Still have to clean the changes up a bit, but overall I was very pleased. It's really a great opportunity to get a taste of all disciplines, there's always something to learn.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Finally perfecting this video!

It's an arduous and amusing process, but I've finally arrived at what is, for now, the final cut of our syndicate video. I'm very OCD, so I'm sure small changes will continue indefinitely. Usually, I can pick things up the first time around, and be more than happy with the results. Unfortunately, for this video, this has not been the case. I wanted to convey more of what it takes to keep this team firing, and how exciting it really is to see the horses progress over time.

On the technical side, fix some lighting issues etc. We also had some fun jumping the camera. The final cuts appear in the opening sequence. Running Order was elected, on his first jump back from Jersey, to demonstrate for us. I've got to say, not often do you have such motivation not to miss your distance. The last thing you want it to have a 4x4 go crashing down onto your camera. It's really is not all it's cracked up to take a look and enjoy!

It has been posted on youtube and is embedded in the bio page on the site.


PS we do have an event tomorrow. Leo or Lysander mentioned in the video is heading to NJ horse trials tomorrow for his 3rd novice. I'll make sure to post an update afterwards...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bacon is ready to reign over his pride...

The heat was catching up with Bacon. A set of clippers and two shovel's full of hair later, he's ready to take on the world!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Tribute was very good in his 2nd training. He won the dressage, had some rails in sj and clean XC.

Kristin and Danielle go to Boyd's benefit dinner.  


PO Box 179
Pottersville, NJ 07979

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Site updates...

I wanted to thank Carol Hill for the slide show tip. Just finished revamping the main page as well as the bio page. This should be great, in that it's quite easy to add photos. I'll try to get a new photo or two integrated as they come along. Pretty damn cool if you ask me. Thanks again Carol!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quick BCHP Report

Tribute made his training debut today. He was a little up in the dressage, but still came away with a 28. He jumped great on xc and was only a few seconds slow. I was very excited finishing the course being that he'd be so brave throughout. I've got to say I was even more excited coming out of show jumping with this first clear round since Aiken, and with the jumps 4" higher no less! I actually think he needed a bigger fence to pay attention. I don't think we ever managed to have a clean round at Novice. Whatever the cause, it was exciting, and he finished up in 3rd.

Socks was characteristically good, finishing up on his dressage score of 27 and winning the division.

Virgil and Leo was next out in the novice. Both horses are very green, it was Leo's 3rd and Virgil's 4th event ever. Both were good in dressage, Leo with a 25 and Virgil with a 29. They continued doing well through XC where they jumped clean. I can't wait for the pictures, Virgil must have landed 2 strides out into the water jump.

SJ was last up, Virgil jumped clean to finish in 3rd and Leo had one down to finish 4th. Not bad for Leo especially considering he had 4 down just a few weeks back!

On to surefire next weekend...

Stay cool!


DPE - Event Owner's Task Force Bio

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Bromont XC Helmet Cam is Up!

Quick Bromont update...

Unfortunately, I have to report that we've crossed the border returning to the US and its only 8:30 am on Sunday. Following a great day of XC yesterday, Tom had some swelling on the outside of his right front. We had it scanned as a precaution, and it all looked quite normal. So after a long night and early morning of aggressive icing and lasering, we decided he wasn't sound enough to continue. It's certainly frustrating being that we were in 2nd and he's an excellent show jumper, but Tom's welfare is paramount. He must have just twisted something akin to a sprained ankle. I'm sure he'll be back in action soon!

I did have the helmet cam out yesterday so with any luck I'll get it online tonight.  


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dressage Day at Bromont

Long story short, Tom (aka Camerlingo owned by Kristin Michaloski) made the trip alone. Jess came along to help, so needless to say we're having a relaxed weekend. We drove up late on Tuesday to arrive in time for the in barn inspections and jogs on Wednesday. Today was our first day of competition one step closer to qualifying for the Pan American Games. Tom's dressage was quite good. He finished on a 45.7 which placed 2nd out of the 39 competitors.

We had a quick look at the cross country. For anyone who hasn't yet been to Bromont, it's a beautiful setting and Derek has done a great job designing the courses. We'll spend most of tomorrow walking and re-walking the courses. More to come...


Friday, June 3, 2011

Quick DVD Sales Update

I spoke to Jimmy yesterday, we've decided to push the benefit for True Prospect Farm through the end of the year. It sill amazes me how quickly people respond to tragedy. The DVD's are just one avenue to help, but we sold 15 just yesterday.

The best way to purchase is through this site where we don't have to split the proceeds with any distributors or retailers. The direct sales link is over at the store head over by clicking here.

I spoke to Boyd briefly this morning, he was very appreciate of all the help he's received. I still can't imagine what their all going through. On the upside it does sounds as if all the horses at New Bolton will survive. Otis is heading home today, and the others will stick around for a few more days as a precaution.

Thanks again for your help.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rider's Eye - True Prospect Relief

For all those unaware, there was a horrific fire which claimed the lives of 6 horses yesterday at True Prospect Farm. In an effort to help 50% of all sales in the month of June will be donated to the TPF recovery fund. Click on the link below to help: DPE Store

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sock's win at Fair Hill!

Fair Hill Update...Socks Wins!!

Conor, Erin, Kristin and I headed down to Fair Hill yesterday for today's event. The babies were out in force today. It was also Kristin's first event with Hughie and Erin's first in a while with Dalton.

I brought Leo, Socks and the Prodigy (aka Tribute). They couldn't have started better! Socks was first to go, he was great in dressage and finished up with a 23 in first. The Prodigy didn't want Socks to steal the show. He too finished in 1st with a 23. Leo was very good as well, especially considering this was only his 2nd event ever. He finished with a 31, tied for the lead.

Socks on XC - Photo Credit to Steve Berkowitz

Socks was first of the bunch to jump. He was very good, he continues to get better every weekend out. Like all things its better to be lucky than good...we had luck on our side today. We ended up with a much longer distance than ideal on the bank out of the water. Luckily Socks is a great jumper with plenty of scope to spare. We used most of it, landed without trouble and finished up the course in great form.

The Prodigy was next to jump. I was excited to try to implement what I learned at the Briarwood jumper show last weekend. He might be the most talented horse I've ever been lucky enough to ride, but he is a 17.3 hand 5 yr old who has been in eventing for a grand total of 4 months. I was able to get him a bit more active which allowed him to be sharper and jump quite a bit better. I was able to get it for all but 2 of the jumps. Unfortunately those rails fell...XC was great. He finished up in 5th. Still not a bad weekend in the least, moving up to training next time out!

Leo was last of mine to go, as I said before this was only his second event ever. He was very spooky at first. I hardly made it to the start line. We got about half way in the show jumping field before spinning and bolting for the in-gate. He managed to jump around without too much trouble. He did have a few rails, but in the future this will hardly be the problem. He's an excellent jumper, he actually might switch over to jumperland some day. XC was very good, again no room to complain with a 6th place finish at his first novice.

Kristin and Erin also had great weekends. Kristin won the dressage on a 29 and finished in 7th. Erin was very close behind in 3rd after dressage and finished up in 5th.

Back in NJ tonight...we'll be heading up to Bromont for our next event. That's not this weekend but next. Simon is planning on the CCI** and Tom in the CCI*.

Back again soon...


Friday, May 20, 2011

Tali update!! and other news.

Finally have some great news to share! While at Jersey last week (report here) Greg, our vet, came out to check on his progress as well as inject stem cells into the stifle which have been replicating for the past 3 weeks following a medieval extraction from his pelvis. If you've not seen them drawn, it might as well be in a dungeon torture tour at your local castle. No castle close...just imagine drilling in the point of his hip with a T tap which conveniently doubles as a needle to attach a 60cc syringe with extracts the marrow. Anyway long story short, Tali trotted up sound! I was in shock when I received the text. I figured we're on an 8 month journey, he wouldn't be sound for quite a while. This of course is very exciting and bodes well for his compeitive return in 2011.

So in the meantime he's been cleared for hand grazing for the next few weeks. We'll continue to laser it, thanks again to SpectraVet, hand graze for the next few weeks then on to real hand walking and soon we'll be back on him. I'm certain with some chemical assistance, I don't think I'd have a shot to actually getting on without being thrown into the rafters otherwise. Running around the farm, although a great thrill for Tali wouldn't exactly be good for his knee.

So continuing on the good news trend here we're very happy to welcome Parlanti Boots to the DPE team. They are the producers of some exceptional footwear as well as garments. As you may remember from Samantha Clark's blog, my boot situation was dire.

As for the Jersey horses update:

Running Order is thoroughly enjoying all of the mud we have as a result of the relentless rain. I think he's happy to be returning to his Irish roots. 

Tom's cut on his chest is healing very well, he should be back in work within the week and on to Bromont!

Simon is also doing much better, he's getting an IRAP injection into his right stifle. I still can't believe it. Dressage warm up!!! That's horses for you! Again Bromont is the plan.

The Prodigy, coming off his 5 yr old win is headed to a local jumper show tomorrow, and on to Fair Hill next week.

That's all we've got for now...check back soon! Until then try to stay dry if you're reading this anywhere in North America. I saw the sun today for the first time in a week. I was beginning to believe the world is really ending soon. I read that if it ends tomorrow that Bloomburg is suspending alternate side of the street parking in NYC (link). Good thinking!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jersey Weekend - The Exciting Recap

It might be the unpredictability of Eventing that keeps you coming back for more. This weekend fit that mold to a Tee. Coming into it I figured I had a legitimate top 3 shot with 3 of the 4 horses (RO, Tom and Tribute) and a top 10 for Simon.

Dressage Results:
Running Order put in a very good test. He's still a work in progress but it's getting better and better with each day. He was placed in 2nd following dressage.

Video's courtesy of

Tom was next up, he put in another consistent test. As he becomes stronger his scores will continue to improve, but 4th in his first CIC** wasn't such a bad place to be following the first phase.

Simon was warming up well for the CCI**, we were about 30 mins in when something didn't quite feel right. It quickly went from not feeling quite right to outright lame in his RH. The vet's best guess is that he locked his stifle somehow and popped back free. Long story short it's quite painful, but short lived. He's about 98% sound as of tonight (Sunday) so on to Bromont CCI** we go in a month's time. Beyond frustrating, but what can you do...that's horses for you!

The Prodigy didn't compete until Sunday, it was a great opportunity to ride him in a much larger environment than he'd ever seen in the past. I'm certain he'll be at the FEI levels quite soon...this week has been invaluable for his education.

XC Results:
Running Order was first of mine out of the box on Saturday being that Simon was on the DL. He's a notoriously spooky horse, and I have to be very careful in warmup. The first few jumps are always sticky. They hadn't been as sticky as this since winning the Virginia CCI* 2 years ago. We jumped the 2'6" log without trouble the first time around, I cantered around for a second jump. He spooked hard, and landed on top of the log, climbed all over it. I nearly fell off in the process. I think many of the onlookers were more concerned than I. This fits right in his character. I'm sure they were thinking 'how the hell is he going to get around the CCI*** after unsuccessfully jumping the BN log!'. All was well in the end though...he jumped around great. I really needed this as a qualifier for future events. Mark Phillips came up to me prior and said, 'just get a clean round with 10 time penalties.' I wouldn't claim to ever be that good, but I did manage to get just that. He jumped very well, and had exactly 10 time.

The CCI** Course 

FF to 2:20 for Running Order

Tom was out next. He warmed up very well. I was feeling quite good, we were up on the clock and jumping very well. This continued until we were 4 from home. The last water complex had a bounce into water, he misread the drop back into the water and couldn't stick the landing. Many had claimed there must be a 'hole' of some sort. It's very easy to find something out of your control to blame. In hindsight I was a bit too aggressive, and he just a bit green. I was thinking last week to build a bounce into water being that he hadn't seen one since Aiken. I didn't do it, and obviously should have. He tripped on landing and went under. I went clear over his head and right into the drink. It's amazing that in an instant you can get dirt in and under every garment you're wearing. He also managed to get a good cut between his front legs, my best guess is from a stud or rock. It was clean and had to get stitches and a drain, but all should be good in 10-14 days time. So our plan has again changed, it's looking like we might be headed to Bromont for the CCI* and then eventually out to Rebecca farm for the final PanAm games qualifier.

By Saturday, Simon was looking about 95% sound...annoying!! As much as I love that horse he is a princess.

SJ - Sunday: 
Sunday's at 3 days are always nerve wracking. The days starts off with a soundness jog in front of the ground jury.  They are looking to make sure all of the horses are sound and fit to compete in the last phase of competition. Of course any significant injuries should have been taken care of the night before, and the welfare of your horse is always paramount, one wants to be spun for a small bruise or cut that might not be a significant issue for the horses while jumping. Luckily Running Order is one tough horse...and all was good, and he passed with flying colors. 

Tribute's day to shine had arrived. Shine he did. The young event horse series starts off with a confirmation and movement assessment. Then on to dressage and then on to the jumping phases. He was great as usual and finished up winning the 5 yr old division! Not a bad start to the day.

Running Order's jumping was next up. He was charastically spooky which helps a great deal in show jumping. He finshed up with a great round. Jumping one of a handful of clear rounds. We had a few time penalties, but moved up to 3rd place in the CCI***!! I was also awarded the sportsmanship award for the weekend. It's always a great honor to receive such an award. Although half of the horses didn't go as planned there is always another day, and it will be here soon enough. I appreciate all the efforts of the organization that was able to put on such a class event.

Photo from the Chronicle of the Horse - Click to head over to

The day finished up by heading over to the US team short course vet evaluation which is intended to start to track each potential team horses' soundness. Again he passed with flying colors.

We then headed home...and I'm just about to step out the door for a celebration!

Until then...


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Jersey Day #1

Dressage day for both Running Order and Tom finished with very little room to complain.

The day started out by riding the two that go later in the week. Simon who completes tomorrow and the Prodigy who doesn't go in till Sunday. Simon was his usual exuberant self. I'm still very excited about his chances in the future but it's just going to take time. I would expect him to put in a good test but tension will limit his chances of coming out on top.

The Prodigy was excellent today especially considering all of the atmosphere. He's not seen anything close to this before. His 5 yr old class isn't for a few more days so we've got some time. Mark happened to be in the warm up and gave me some help while I was riding. He was on my case about expecting more from Tribute. He finished up very well. I find it easy with him to be lulled into just wtc around being that he's such a great mover and talented horse, I need to raise my expectations.

Tom was the first to compete today. He put me in a very solid test we had a few little mistakes but nothing that will prevent is success in the future. He would be the one of, or the greenest horse in the field but came away in fourth place less than 2 points from 2nd! Not bad in the least!

RO was last up today. I can't say enough about this horse he's just getting better and better. It's far from perfect, but were getting closer and closer with each passing day. For the most part is connection was more solid today then it in the past. We had 2 bubbles which prevented us from taking the lead, but 2nd by less than a rail isn't a bad place to be after dressage in a 3*.

Following dressage I was able to walk the 3 star and the 2 star CIC and CCI. All of the courses look great. There is certainly enough to do out there but I think its suits all of the horses well. I can't wait until Saturday. I've said it before at other events, but I think it holds true here this weekend as well. It's not going to be a dressage show.

We also have an open invitation to anyone interested, I'll be walking the 3* course at 2pm tomorrow. If your interested give a call or email or just show up by the barn entrance. It should be a great time for all...

Check back tomorrow here or in person at the course walk.


Doug Payne
PO Box 179
Pottersville, NJ 07979

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Times for tomorrow..

All of the horses passed the jogs today so onto dressage.  

Thursday Tom 11:29, RO 2:57

Friday Simon 12:02

We'll have a more detailed blog up tomorrow. With course info results and more...

Doug Payne
PO Box 179
Pottersville, NJ 07979

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Running Order wins the FHI Advanced!

I love this photo which showed up on Jessica Halliday's facebook today. It was taken yesterday during XC of Running Order...what an awesome horse!

Today was quite the contrast to yesterday. The sun broke through the clouds and it actually warmed up! The mud began to dry, not to say that it wasn't still omnipresent.

Simon was first out of the barn. The CIC jogs started at 8 am. Simon was excited as usual about life. Of all the horses we have at the moment he might have the best life, never a dull moment and always happy, nearly gitty. We were able to get the shoe tightened on last night and it seemed to do the trick. He looked great!

We then went straight to the advanced show jumping. As mentioned last night RO was heading into SJ in the lead but without a rail in hand. We had a rail to 4th, so not much room to spare. I was able to watch a bunch round before I had to get on to start to warming up. There were a few fences causing a majority of the problems. RO is quite spooky so I made a point to give him the tour around the ring prior to starting.

He warmed up great and I headed down to the ring to watch 2nd and 3rd places go. Not that you wish bad on them, but it's always comforting to have a rail in hand. This ended up not being the case. Jennie who was in 2nd jumped a great clear to put the pressure on. RO jumped well in the ring. I had a lucky rub at the skinny, but better lucky then good :). He finished clear without time and won the division! After studying the video there are still a few aspects that need to be improved, but overall I was very happy. This was his 2nd advanced win, and a great set up for Jersey CCI*** in 3 weeks.

Click play to see RO's winning round!

Simon was next in the Show Jumping. Entered Sunday in 11th place. I was very happy with him yesterday and expected a typically valiant effort on his part. He was delivering just that, in warm-up. What I didn't expect was a missing shoe! Sure enough that RF that made it through all of the mud and galloping yesterday didn't make it through the warm-up. Losing the shoe set off a frantic search for the farrier to get it tacked back on before the division finished. We made it just in time. He jumped very very well finishing without adding anything to his overnight total. He moved up a remarkable 5 spots to 6th! I couldn't be happier for him. He's such a genuine horse. FHI also has finished off his qualifications for Jersey CCI**. So you'll be seeing him in a few weeks time at Jersey!

Next up was Socks, back out on XC. I was able to get out to walk the course, and as you'd expect the mud didn't disappear as quickly as the sun had arrived. It was still heavy going, but the crew had done a great job to try to keep the upper hand by adding gravel on the take off and landings of most jumps. Socks warmed up very well and continued that trend out on course. This is his third training and he really seems to be catching on quickly! He jumped around clean and finished in 5th place. His efforts have earned him the second video of the night:

We finished off the day with Beau's SJ. He jumped very well also finishing with a clean round inside the time. He moved up to 4th. Not a bad finish to say the least!

Overall it was a great weekend bar the mud. I'm off to Kentucky on Wednesday for a busy week at Rolex. Keep in's going to be exciting!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Simon's evening XC report

Simon gets the title today being that I'm typing away while waiting for the farrier to reset a shoe of his that has twisted a bit. He's a princess and couldn't possibility have anything that isn't just so. Long story short, he deserves to be one tonight. I did go a slow being that the ground was quite soft, and its not worth hurting him for today. He's got a very bright future ahead of him.

Describing the going as wet is an understatement. It was rather like galloping through a swamp earlier in the morning for RO. More on that later. Simon jumped around his first ** like he'd seen countless ones before. Pretty exciting being that this is effectively his 3rd intermediate. He moved up one spot to 10th.

Back to Running Order. Shipping over to the advanced side is a surreal process. Your half expecting the trade fair, dog agility, all the roping and signage present in the fall. Of course none of it is there. The weather was much like fall of '08 at his first 2* but a touch warmer and less rain. What was the same was the mud. It was quite deep. I didn't press him for time. It's always a challenge to find good ground in the galloping lanes as well as take off and landings on days like this. He jumped very well and finished up winning the division.

Socks started the day with his dressage. He was quite good especially considering that the best footing for warm-up was actually the dirt road heading back to the barns. He got a 28 and was in 3rd. This was his best score to date. He also finished up the day with show jumping. He managed to jump very well, but did have one rail. Unfortunately falling down to 5th. Still pretty damn good for his third training.

Beau finished up the day with his cross country. He was wild in warm-up. Started off the course very strong. He managed to jump well but the footing did take its toll. He was quite tired by the end. He finished up in 7th.

Jogs and show jumping tomorrow except for socks who is over at XC.

Until then...