Monday, September 18, 2017

Blenheim Palace CCI*** is a wrap!

Blenheim Palace International CCI*** is a wrap, and as I sit on the plane returning to the US I figured it’s time to look back and review what was learned from the experience. I was lucky enough to receive a travel grant from the USET Foundation and Jacqueline Mars for Vandiver (aka Quinn) to compete at Blenheim. I can’t thank them enough, during every international trip a lot is learned and hopefully I can apply what was gained here to earn a US team medal in the near future! 

We were meant to depart from Miami direct to the UK on the Wednesday prior to the start of competition. At the time, I was frustrated to hear there was not enough cargo to warrant a flight which would have delayed Quinn’s departure to Friday. This would have been too close for comfort with dressage starting on Wednesday, so we opted to reroute via NYC. Horseflight, our shipping company, was a lifesaver in replanning the logistics needed on such short notice. 

Courtney Carson our extraordinary groom left our farm in Aiken, SC with Quinn on Tuesday and headed head north. In hindsight, this was such a blessing being that had our flight actually left on time our rig would have been stuck in Miami just in time to be flooded by hurricane Irma!

Courtney and Quinn took off on Wednesday without trouble. I too hopped on a plane to meet them at Jesse Cambell’s yard on Friday. Quinn handled the trip with unexpected ease. He’s the most genuine creature you’ll meet. Along with genuine nature and willingness to please, he’s an internalizer and worrier. Usually he’s attached to whichever horses is shipping next to him. I think this time around, Courtney was his traveling security blanket. Jesse’s place was a great resting spot before our move to the show grounds on Monday. Day one I just took him for a light hack, followed by flat work on Sunday and a final gallop Monday before heading out. Check out my instagram for a blow by blow here: www.instagram.com/dpequestrian 

Moving into the show grounds was uneventful. He’s generally much better day 2 or 3 in a new place so I was very happy to hear of our Thursday dressage time. We had 85 starters in the CCI*** at one of the most beautiful venues you could imagine, pretty much walking through a Disney movie set. 

photo by Richard Payne

Quinn was as relaxed and confident in the first phase as he’s been yet. He continues to improve and with a 46.6 this was his best CCI*** or **** score to date. I would expect this improving trend to continue as he gains more strength and confidence. The first few minutes of warm up were about as good as he’s ever been. Two weeks earlier I had planned for 25 minutes in warm up at the American Eventing Championships. In the end I think it was just a bit too long, we cut that down to 20 this time around. I think this too was a hair too long, he was in perfect shape to head in as the horse before us cantered down the center line. Next time around we’re going for 15 mins. Regardless, in a venue with lots of atmosphere I couldn’t have been much happier with him. 

Now to the best part, cross country of course! The track is beautiful and the ground was about as good as you could expect with the amount of rain we’d received. The time on the course was set at 10:12 so just about a minute shorter than Rolex, but with the rolling terrain it was expected to take a fair bit out of them. The course itself was quite good, with a lot of flowing lines. There were certainly a number of very good questions, but nothing that kept me up at night. Thankfully for me, Quinn is essentially a seeing eye dog. As long as you get him roughly in the vicinity of a jump he'll try is best to make it happen. I went out with the goal of coming home double clear or as close to the time as I could manage. I was on the clock or up slightly early in the course, and based on my experience with him at Kentucky the previous couple of years I expected him to get a little tired at the end so I didn't press him in the first half. I kept expecting the other shoe to drop and the gas light to come on. Apparently he was far fitter than I knew! To my shock, I asked him to move on after the last water, maybe 2 mins from the end, and he absolutely took off! By that point was nearly 20 seconds down, he closed on the time, but just not enough course left to make it all up. I finished up clear with 5.2 time penalties. I was annoyed not to have made it, but frankly it was comforting to know he came in with more in the tank. He's an incredible horse, by far the best cross country horse I've ever ridden. I did wear my Cambox Sport helmet cam, check it out below:



photo by Richard Payne

photo by Richard Payne

Quinn recovered quickly and looked to be in great shape for Sunday. Jess, my wife, of course putting the the final touches prior to the jogs. He passed the final horse inspection with ease, on to Show Jumping. 


photo by Richard Payne

Coming off of the AEC's where Quinn was the first of only 5 double clears under the lights 2 weeks ago and the fact that he's only had 2 rails total in the past 15 advanced events I was pretty confident heading into the final phase. In walking the course it looked to suit him well. I personally love when the time allowed is tight. Quinn is agile, quick and careful. The time was tight on Sunday and rails were flying. We chose to keep the same studs as used on XC the day before. In warm up that seemed to be a good decision. He jumped very well and we headed into the main arena. We ended up having the 5th fence down. I did take an aggressive line in the turn, I'm 100% confident it would work on an artificial surface. Quinn's achilles heel is if he loses traction behind. When it happens he becomes a lot more cautions and tends to get more up and down rather than active and forward with his hind end. He did slip slightly in the turn for the first rail. I was kicking myself for not being a little more conservative and giving him a step or two more in the approach. Into the triple I saw the exact same distance I'd seen at an option the 2 weeks prior, I went to steady and he trotted behind!! Certainly doesn't give you the warm and fuzzy feeling heading into the triple. We had the A & B down, from that point on I made sure not to rush him in the turns by choosing a conservative approach. He finished the course in great form. 

Experience is what you gain just after needing it.  Uuuuggghhh too frustrating to convey here, I should have recognized the difference and compensated. It's a tough and annoying as hell lesson, but one that will certainly stick. We dropped 2 places to finish in 14th. While I will continue to kick myself, it's comforting to know that we are now qualified for the WEG's next year. With the knowledge gained, we will undoubtedly be better off. Thinking back on it, we've not jumped on a natural dirt surface since my second event on him ever at Richland Park 2 years ago in the CCI**.

photo by Richard Payne

Blenheim was the best option for Quinn and I being the earliest CCI*** on the fall calendar he can now enjoy a very well deserved vacation before starting back up in preparation for next year without being rushed at all. 

I want to again thank USET Foundation and Jacqueline Mars for their generous grant, Joanie. Morris for all of her help managing the team, my parents Marilyn and Dick who came to support (mom's invaluable advice and my dads photos all above), Jess my wonderful and 6 months pregnant wife, Debi and Kevin Crowley (Quinn's breeders and owners), Courtney our groom & life manager as well as our crew back at home (Little Courtney, Hunter, Adrianna, Holly and of course Joan and Carl Hampf!). Can't also forget our many sponsors and partners which allow our horses to preform at their best! 




We'll back stronger in the spring and far better off for the experience gained here. 

Upon our return we'll be in Aiken for a few days then off to Kentucky for Quincy's (Quintessence owned by Jane Dudinsky) shot at the 6 year old jumper finals as well as Marshal's (Marshal M Dillon owned by Wendy and Fred Luce) shot at the $35k grand prix on Saturday morning prior to hopping on another plane for Flynn (Getaway owned by Olivia, Lisa and Bob Wall) to jump in Central Park Saturday night! 

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Site Updates - Sponsor Discount Product Codes!

We've made a number of tweaks to the site, but the most exciting is a list of discount codes which could be used with nearly all of our sponsors! Check them out below or visit the sponsor link here. 


Sunday, December 4, 2016

2016 Show Jumping Statistics

DPE's 2016 Statistics for Show Jumping. Again this would not be possible without an incredible team at the barn as well as owners and partners.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

2016 Eventing Statistics!

DPE's 2016 Statistics for Eventing. None of which would not be possible without an incredible team at the barn as well as owners and partners



Sunday, October 23, 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016

Busiest week of the Aiken winter season is a wrap!

We just wrapped up the busiest week of our Aiken spring season. We had a 6 horses showing at March Madness I held at Highfields in Aiken on Thursday and Friday with Quinn (owned by Debi Crowley) spending some time jumping this week in the Welcome Stake on Friday as well as the 1.35m Mini Prix held on Sunday.

Vandiver on his way to 8th in the $5k Mini Prix on Sunday Afternoon - Photo by Laura Fazio
A video posted by Doug Payne (@dpequestrian) on


Our jumpers all finished up great with a full results below. In particular I was very proud of both Quinn and Leo (owned by Kristin Michaloski) , both eventers, who more than held their own in the show ring! Both are jumping more confidently and I can't wait to see them in action in a few weeks at the Carolina International. 


Following both Thursday and Friday at Highfields we headed over to Sporting Days on Saturday with Missy (owned by Robbie Peterson), Marshal (owned by Wendy Luce), Cascor (owned by Stephen Blauner), Quincy(owned Jane Dudinsky) and Rio (owned by Jim Green). All were a bit wild for dressage, but jumped in great form to finish as follows: 
Preliminary: Missy 1st, Rio 4th and Marshal 10th
Beginner Novice: Quincy 7th and Cascor 1st

A video posted by Doug Payne (@dpequestrian) on


Back again to Sporting Days on Sunday morning where both Quantum finished 4th and Jess & PJ finished 6th in Training. Following cross country we headed home for a quick power nap below. 


Power Nap with Bacon

Quinn finished up the weekend with just 1 down in the Mini-Prix to finish in 8th. We're heading back to Highfields this week to jump getting and getting the eventers ready for Pine Top our next outing! 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

2016 Carolina International is Open!

Cellar Door - Carolina International CIC - Photo by High Time Photography
With our spring season in full swing, one my my favorite events of the year, the Carolina International CIC, if fast approaching. Being on the board of the competition has given me some incite into many of the great changes to be implemented this year.

The most significant change of which is that Ian Stark, one of my personal favorite designers, is now taken the reins and the course. It's going to be a big departure from years past, not only in size and construction but also utilizing a brand new water complex allowing the track length to increase along with its difficulty. With $75,000 in total prize money it's going to be a spectactular competition!

This year, not only with spectators on the grounds be able to enjoy the show, but EQSportsNet will be broadcasting a live feed with Karen O'Connor and Charlotte Skinner on the microphones.

The after party will remain an epic event, this year's theme is 'Spanning the Globe' which will be presented by Jaguar Land Rover of Cary, NC. It will feature the CIC awards, international dinner, open bar with music and dancing by 'Liquid Pleasure'.

If interested everyone is able to pre-order Carolina International merchandise on the Carolina Horse Park site.

Hope to see everyone there!

-Doug


$75,000 Wellington Eventing Showcase - Helmet Cam Video

Friday, September 25, 2015

September Update - Wins at Bruce's Field & Plantation Field CIC**

Quinn on XC in the Plantation Field CIC** - Photo by Rough Coat Photography



We've been on the road not stop it seems over the past few months with some great performances for both the jumpers and eventers. At the moment we're split just about 50/50 between the two. It's a great mix that, along with the new Tryon facility along with Bruce's Field opening up in Aiken has allowed us to alternate between the two disciplines.

Bruce's Field - Aiken, SC - The Evening Following Eli's $25,000 Grand Prix


We were lucky enough to show at Bruce's Field inaugural show in Aiken just a few weeks back. The highlight of the week was Portugal's (aka Confire La Pomme) move up to the 1.30m classes. Impressively he also managed to win in his very first class!



Following Bruce's Field we head north to Unionville, Pa for the Plantation Field CIC** with both Big Leo (Lysander owned by Kristin Michaloski in partnership with Doug) and Quinn (Vandiver owned by Debi Crowley in partnership with Doug). Quinn was slated to run in the CIC*** but I found out just before heading north that we still needed at CIC** prior to our CIC*** debut despite our 5th place finish in the Five Points Advanced Horse Trials (Raeford, NC).

Both horses were excellent but Leo stepped up to the big stage with a massive statement on dressage day with a 31.7! He was well ahead of the 70 horse field and never gave up the lead finishing with his first CIC** win!



Leo on XC at the Plantation Field CIC** - Photo by Jenni Autry/Eventing Nation

Leo on SJ winning the Plantation Field CIC** - Photo by Jenni Autry/Eventing Nation
Quinn was also quite good, he wrapped up the weekend in 9th place. On to Morven Park (Leesburg, Va) and the CIC*** this coming weekend along with 8 others from DPE. The jumpers are laying low for the next couple of weeks. They will be back in action the week following Morven.

Updates to follow...

-Doug

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Horse Profile: Quantum Leap

I'm excited to introduce a periodic blog in order to profile our horses which we are lucky enough to work with day to day. Each have a unique personality and talents which deserve to be better known by all.

The first of which is Quantum Leap who is known around the barn as Q or Quantum. He is 4 years old and stands 17.1hh at the moment. USEA Record



He's a true old soul. Even from day one he has always seemed to just 'get it'. I bought him from Didi Callahan at CNG sport horses, direct link here, as a yearling.

Baby Pic of Q

Just before our purchase from Didi (~1 yr old)
He grew up with us, turned out with Big Leo as his little brother. Periodically we ponied him along with some of the more experienced horses when heading out on the trails. Funny enough he was often braver than the horse were ponying him off of!

Last November we started him for real. He was probably the easiest horse I've ever started. He has been incredible, in that ultimately you show him once he ready to move forward.

End of week 1...out on our own!
Below are a number of videos of Quantum throughout the year. His progress has been remarkable.

Jan 12th, jumping at home.




Jan 24th, Q's first XC schooling at Paradise Farm in Aiken



Q's 2nd show - Feb 8th



Roughly two months ago we were joined by long time supporters Susan and Dave Drillock in partnership with the goal of developing Quantum to the best of his ability. Without their support we would not have been able to keep him long term. I'm incredibly fortunate and grateful for the opportunity given to me by Susan and Dave.

SJ at Q's 2nd Event at Novice
At the moment, Quantum just finished up his 5th Novice finishing on his dressage score of 21 in 3rd place at the Millbrook Horse Trials.

In the coming month's we're planning to try to get qualified for the USEA Young Event Horse finals to be held in at the Fair Hill International in October. Check back for updates as they come in!


Monday, June 29, 2015

Introducing DPE's Latest Equine Team Member: Vandiver

It's difficult to express how excited I am to be able to announce that Vandiver owned by Debi Crowley of Elkmont, AL (Cotton Meadows Farm) will remain with DPE for the indefinite future.

Vandiver aka 'Quinn' is a 2004, 17h, Trakehner gelding by Windfall, bronze medal winner on the US eventing team at the 2004 Olympics (New Spring Farm). Quinn was bred, raised, and started under saddle at CMF. Combined with the eventing bloodlines in his dam's (Visions of Grandeur, ATA, also bred by CMF) pedigree. Following his foundation at CMF his training continued and progress successfully through CCI*** level and made an appearance at Rolex Kentucky this spring with Werner Geven.

Quinn is just about the most genuine, hard working and forgiving horse I've had the pleasure of working with. Below is a video taken at the Tryon International Equestrian Center a few weeks ago at our first class together.


We are planning for Millbrook as our first event with the ultimate goal to head to the Fair Hill International CCI*** this fall.

Updates on the farm and other horses coming soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Raleigh - Durham - Chapel Hill Clinic Dates

I'll be stopping in the area the Monday and Tuesday following the Jersey Fresh CIC May 10th and 11th. If you'd like to schedule a lesson please either email (doug@dpequestrian.com) or call 908.399.9112.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Quantum will remain with DPE & Eli's 5th Place $25k Aiken Grand Prix

I'm beyond exited to announce that long time friends and unbelievable supporters Susan and Dave Drillock have just purchased half of our next generation superstar Quantum Leap ensuring he'll remain with us indefinitely. Quantum has been with us for 3 years at this point and is a member of the family. He was bred by Didi Callahan of Maryland and purchased as a yearling just after the Fair Hill International CCI.

Quantum - Day 4 under saddle last fall

I've started countless horses in the past, but Quantum is by far the most easy going, agreeable baby I've had the pleasure of working with. Aside from his personality, he has the talent needed to develop into our next superstar. He is out of a full thoroughbred, Report to Sloopy mare, related to John William's Sloopy and by Quite Capitol a Holsteiner stallion. He is 78% thoroughbred and an excellent jumper and mover.

Quantum at his First Novice at Sporting Days
I'm convinced that in order to develop world class competitors without bankrupting us in the process, horses have to be identified as early as possible, started correctly and not rushed. Quantum was started last fall, at this point he's evented 3 times, one Beginner Novice and two Novice. He's yet to have a jumping penalty and finished up his last novice in 3rd place! He will have a quiet spring in hopes of ramping up for the USEA 4 year old Young Event Horse Championships this fall. Check back for updates both here and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/dpequestrian) for photos and progress reports!


In other news, Eli owned by Mike Rubin had a great showing this past weekend in Aiken. He wrapped up the week finishing an excellent double clear to finish 5th in tough conditions in the $25,000 Deitrick Grand Prix. I couldn't be prouder of him, this was his second grand prix of the year and second top 8 finish! I'm still working to refine how I ride him on course, and how best to prepare him in warm up in order to maximize his potential. This was an important stepping stone, he is one incredible horse. I'm very lucky to have the opportunity to work with him. Certainly couldn't ask for more!



We had a number of other horses both at the horse show from Wednesday through Sunday at Highfields as well as a schooling event at Sporting Days on Saturday. This coming week is no less chaotic, we're in town Monday and Tuesday, heading over to the show Wednesday and then off to Kentucky for Rolex! For those lucky enough to attend, please make sure to stop by the Eventing Nation tent on Saturday around noon for book signing and rider trivia with Jessica!

Further reports coming soon!
-Doug