May 11, 2017

It Takes a Team to be on Top of Dressage at Jersey Fresh International

By Rob Burk - USEA Staff
Louis M and Cornelia Dorr lead the CCI2*. Stacy Lynne Wendkos Photo.

Louis M and Cornelia Dorr Have Early Success

If you haven’t heard of the name Cornelia Dorr, then get familiar with it quickly! The 19-year-old from Massachusetts was talent spotted from recognized competitions and was added to the U.S. Equestrian’s Eventing 25 list in 2017. As the second rider out in the CCI2* division riding the 12-year-old Rhineland Pfalz-Saar gelding Louis M (Lissabon x Angelique M), Dorr took the lead with a 45.8 and did not let go. Louis M had previously made a name for himself ridden in Germany by his breeder Pia Münker to some amazing dressage scores.

“I have had him just about a year now in June. He obviously is quite experienced with his other girl, Pia, in Germany. So he is teaching me how to ride like a German and what it should properly feel like. I am very grateful for it” said Dorr. 

Dorr noted that much of her accomplishments have come with the help of some strong trainers in her corner. 

“Sharon [White], I went to for a summer when I was 15 just to be a working student,” said Dorr. “To see if I could actually work that hard.” 

“I love it and fell in love with her way of teaching philosophies and her farm. I sort of tucked it away when I went back to school and said I would love to go back there one day.” Dorr didn’t let go of the positive experience continuing “out of high school I decided, with the support of my parents, to take a gap year and see how far I could pursue this and continue the learning curve.  I did go back to Sharon’s and I’ve been with her for about a year now” she said. “I am hoping to extend it for a second-year full time and push college off for another bit, but that is still up in the air.” She was also clear that working with Emerging Athlete Coach Leslie Law was also a positive influence noting that “between the two of them I am pretty covered.”

Smith Travels the Distance

Tamie Smith and Wembley photo by Stacy Lynne Wendkos.

If you travel over 2,700 miles across the country to compete at an event, you would hope for a strong showing. Tamie Smith, riding former USEA President Kevin and Gretchen Baumgardner’s 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Wembley (Lester x E-Vip), can say after day one of the Jersey Fresh International that, so far, the trip has been worth it. They finished dressage on a score of 45.9 to claim the lead in the CCI3*. 

Since 2014 Kevin regularly competed Wembley, including just recently at the Fresno County Horse Park CIC2*, but as a strong supporter of Tamie he was gracious enough to turn over the ride this spring.

“We found [Wembley] on a shopping trip to England,” explained Smith. “We went with Joe Meyer and we bought [Wembley] from Tim Price for Kevin. Just this year Kevin, Gretchen and I were looking at what horses could be ready for Kentucky for me to compete next year. They offered to have me, kind of, take over the ride so I’m really fortunate. They are one of my biggest supporters, so wonderful. They own two of my other horses in the syndicate. I hit the jackpot meeting them” 

Smith was also quick to note the support of her trainers and friends as a central reason for her success. “On the flat I work with Niki Clarke who I have ridden with forever!” said Smith. “I’ve been struggling [with Wembley]. He wouldn’t be the easiest horse on the flat, and so I called her after our last competition. I am grateful to have her.” 

For the additional phases of competition Smith commented that “I show jump with Susie Hutchinson and Phillip [Dutton] comes out and teaches us quite a bit on the cross-country. So it’s a good team!” 

Wembley is not the only horse in the trailer for Smith as she has also brought along the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Dempsey to compete in the CIC3*. She has brought along two fellow competitors from their home base in California. 

“Bec Braitling who is a really good friend of mine. She’s trying to get her horse qualified to do a CCI3*, so she came along on the truck and then Frankie [Thieriot Stutes] is here on Chatwin” said Smith.

There are two full days of competition still left for Smith’s leading horse Wembley and the rest of the field. 

“[The cross-country] looks great. It’s very galloping and open and there’s some technical questions which I think, with all the galloping, might get the horses a little surprised” said Smith. “They are kind of just going along gallop fence after gallop fence. Phillip [Dutton] thought that the course would definitely be a fitness test. There is a lot of turning and switching back, but Mark [Phillips] has done a great job with keeping the courses as open as possible.” She finished by saying that “It looks really good. I am excited that I brought him here for his first three-star.”

Taking the second spot on the leader board was Buck Davidson riding Carl and Cassie Segal’s 15-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding Park Trader (Master Imp x Ballyhast Polly) with a score of 50.2. The pair had a rough go at Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event last month – falling at fence 4 –  but Davidson is pretty sure they know the reason why.

“I am, in some ways, quite happy because in Kentucky he was not at all himself” said Davidson. “He didn’t play around. That horse is the bravest horse I have ever ridden, and I couldn’t get it going in the warm-up. He kind of jumped and just stopped on the fourth fence.” 

Once back in the barn they tried to figure out why the normally ornery Park Trader was not quite himself. “So we did some blood work and the blood work wasn’t great. He just had a little bug I guess” said Davidson. “He feels back to himself now. He is back to trying to bite you and kick you and just don’t touch me kind of thing.” 

Rounding out the top three is the always dependable Phillip Dutton riding the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding Mr. Candyman  (Canto x Montara) owned by Tom Tierney, Bridget Colman, Caroline Moran and Ann L. Jones with a score of 50.5. 

The action for the CCI3* and CCI2* will be on pause until Saturday while the CIC divisions take to the dressage rings.

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