On the Rail
The Fork international event is moving to Tryon, N.C.

The Fork International CIC 1-, 2-, and 3-star event and horse trials, often used as a prep for the Rolex Kentucky 4-star, is moving to the Tryon (N.C.) International Equestrian Center next year from its current base in Mill Spring, N.C.

The event has been run by Jim and Bernadette Cogdell (she's the mother of Sinead Halpin) and they want to see it continue at the same level.

 "We have proudly hosted The Fork Horse Trials for 15 years, and it has grown into one of the premier horse trials in the United States. We are very proud of what we have created in North Carolina. It has taken a great deal of time, effort, passion, and funding to create this event, and it is now time for the next chapter in this competition's history.

"We believe that moving the location of this event to the TIEC will secure its future and elevate the level of competition while enhancing the fan experience,” said Jim, who will remain the chairman.

Explaining the decision to partner with Mark and Katherine Bellissimo, he added, “We want the legacy to continue and keep the event moving forward with The Fork at TIEC." 

Although the change of venue has received provisional approval from the U.S. Equestrian Federation's Eventing Committee, the move is contingent on a site inspection and cross-country course approval.

Resignations at the troubled 2018 World Equestrian Games


Five board members of the 2018 Bromont, Canada World Equestrian Games have resigned, stating, “without major changes and the reiteration of their strong support from all partners and stakeholders, they will not be able to deliver and to stage the Games as planned in two years. They therefore resigned from their positions, both for professional reasons and in the hope of delivering a necessary wake up call,” according to a story in Horse- Canada.

The group includes CEO Luc Fournier and Linda Heathcott of Spruce Meadows. A previous CEO resigned in August.

Fournier said in an interview with the regional newspaper La Voix de L'Est, that he realized last week the organizing committee would not be able to deliver a quality product and that it would take somebody better equipped than him to make it work.

At the Equestrian Canada convention in Montreal last weekend, he noted lack of financial support from the federal government has made securing major sponsors almost impossible, because that makes sycg sponsors too nervous to commit millions of dollars.

However, the remaining board members are continuing and interim CEO Rosaire Houde is “optimistic about the future.”

“Although we have heard nothing official from Ottawa, we have been told that the file is progressing well,” he commented about the likelihood of receiving Federal funding. A board meeting for restructuring is planned for this week.

The WEG would be the biggest sporting event ever presented in Canada.

FEI President Ingmar De Vos said, This does not come as a surprise as I was in Canada last month together with the FEI Commercial Director Ralph Straus and, in addition to other obligations, met with the Bromont Organising Committee and Equine Canada specifically to address the outstanding issues and delays, which mainly centred around planning and finance.

We need to get a full picture of the situation and look at how we can work together with Equine Canada and the remaining members of the Board to deliver the Games. We are confident that we will find a good solution, but we need to look at all options.

The FEI remains fully committed to the concept of the World Equestrian Games and believes that this way of organising World Championships across all our disciplines is absolutely right for our sport. The World Equestrian Games are enthusiastically embraced by a large majority of our community and there is already strong interest in the bidding process for the 2022 Games.

We are confident that solutions will be found, but in the interests of our whole community, we have the responsibility to ask the right questions and protect the future of our flagship events.”

Murray Kessler nominated for USEF presidency

The former president and CEO of Lorillard, Murray Kessler, has been named by the U.S. Equestrian Federation's nominating committee to serve as president of the organization.

The election will be held held June 21 at the USEF's mid-year meeting. Murray, the father of 2012 teen show jumping Olympian Reed Kessler, has been a board member of the North American Riders Group, a show jumping lobbying organization. He also competes in the jumper division.

The Kentucky resident, a member of the USEF board, has bachelor's and master's degrees in business and extensive experience as an executive in the food and tobacco business.

He would succeed Chrystine Tauber, who held the post for four years. She succeeded David O'Connor, Olympic gold medalist and now the USA's eventing coach. David was the first president of USEF.

Hunter paces are on the spring calendar for the Garden State


It's hunter/trail pace time again in New Jersey, with a variety of these competitions around the state. Get your horses in shape for some fun, no stress.

Though paces began with hunts and required people to be in formal or ratcatcher dress suitable for hunting, restrictions have eased greatly these days in many cases.

Often, western riders and those in casual attire (but always with a helmet) are welcome. Although many paces have fences, most offer go-arounds and it is not required for participants to jump.

The Friends of Lord Stirling Stable and the Somerset County Park Commission's Lord Stirling Stable on April 24 held the first in the 2016 Hunter Pace Challenge, a series of five events,

Additional competitions include the Rutgers Equine Science Center Fundraiser Pace May 22; the 2016 SCPC/FLSS Fall Pace Sept. 11, the State 4-H Horse Program Pace Oct. 23 and the SCPC “Stuff the Turkey” Pace Nov. 6.

Teams participating in four of the five events are eligible to win a cooler for each of the team’s horses. Team members must remain constant but are not required to ride the same horses for every event

Specifications are posted on the Friends’ website, www.flssnj.org. Ribbons are awarded to the first six teams in each division finishing closest to the ideal time set by the pace team.

Register in person on the day of each event. For additional information or questions about the Hunter Pace Challenge call 908-766-5955.

On May 7, the Essex Foxhounds will have their pace at Cedar Lane Farm on Homestead Road in Oldwick. Go to essexfoxhounds.org for information.

May 15 is busy for paces. From 8 a.m.-2 p.m., the Somerset Hills Pony Club pace will be held starting from the Fowler Road Parking Area of the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation in Gladstone.

This is a fundraiser to help SHPC educate members, while developing leadership skills, confidence, and sportsmanship. A bonus here involves points given for correct answers to checkpoint trivia questions.

Contact 908-507-7354 / baytoff@hotmail.com

The same day, the Alexandria Equestrian Association's Trail Pace will start from The Salvation Army’s Camp Tecumseh, 445 Mechlin Corner Rd., Pittstown. The pace runs from 8 a.m.-noon, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Salvation Army. Check www.aeanj.com or call 908-295-0819 (day of pace only) for status updates.


Learn from Bernie Traurig at Coker Farm

Bernie Traurig had quite a career as a rider. Fluent in three disciplines, the Medal and Maclay finals winner went on to be a star in the hunter and jumper ranks with such great horses as Gozzi, Royal Blue, the Cardinal and even Jet Run--before he was ridden by Michael Matz.

Although riders and trainers often focus on giving clinics when they quit show business, Bernie decided to do it in a different way. He started EquestrianCoach.com using video as an integral element of his business. And the intensity with which he always trained and rode now comes through in his teaching, both in person and via the recording.

His operation is popular around the country, and next month the Californian is heading east to a workshop hosted by Judy Richter and Coker farm in Bedford, N.Y.

The workshop, which also is USHJA-approved as a trainer certification clinic, runs May 6-8, with an optional session over natural obstacles May 9.

It's a semi-private riding and auditing experience,, with three days and evenings of immersion and educational interaction. Bernie works with small groups of three to four riders, including amateurs, juniors and professional from all jumping disciplines at several levels.

When Bernie decided teaching was going to become his life, his question was, "How can I reach the masses?" rather than just dealing with 25 people a weekend at ordinary clinics. Bernie said he realized "education is desperately needed. I had a great desire to spread knowledge."

He knew nothing about video or developing a website, but he understood what it would take.

"I surrounded myself with good people," he said, noting "it evolved as I competed less and less and I started to do more clinics. Your ability to improve people and horses and relate to them; your skills get so much better if you do a lot of it. That made it easier for me to get a point across, whatever the topic was."

Auditors are encouraged to join in the daily discussions between Bernie and the riders, and are also able to participate in video presentations and Q&A during dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Coker Farm, a respected operation in Westchester County, is easy to get to from New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

For more information and to register go to EquestrianCoach.com and click on East Coast Workshop.

It's time to order Dressage at Devon tickets


Reserved seating tickets are now available on line for Dressage at Devon, Sept. 27-Oct. 2. Held at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair grounds in Devon, Pa. This six-day event features the largest open breed show in the country.

The performance division draws top horses and riders to the 18-acre facility, where the Festival Area Shops at Dressage at Devon offer everything from riding apparel to tack and fine art, jewelry, antiques, pottery, and Dressage at Devon souvenirs.

To purchase seats, visit the online box office at www.dressageatdevon.org and click on “spectators.”


This Week's Column

Rolex Kentucky Update: Sinead Halpin finishes 10th in the Western Hemisphere's only 4-star event

By Nancy Jaffer

May 1, 2016

Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville, seen over the iconic Churchill Downs spire jump in the Rolex Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, finished 10th at Rolex Kentucky.

The show jumping phase today at Rolex Kentucky was marked by heavy rain alternating with sun and sprinkles, but the riders paid it no heed and focused on the tough course Richard Jeffery put together in the Rolex Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park.

None of the top 18 riders--not even winner Michael Jung of Germany on Fischerrocana FST--were double-clear, and only two in that group had no jumping faults. They were Lauren Kieffer, the top-placing American who was second with Veronica on one time penalty, and Hannah Sue Burnett, 15th on Harbour Pilot with two time penalties.

Sinead Halpin of Branchburg, whose best finish at Rolex in the past was third place, finished 10th on Manoir de Carneville after dropping two rails. She had been 11th after cross-country, but there was so much trouble among the riders ahead of her in the standings that she moved up.

Holly Payne Caravella of Gladstone wound up 38th with Santino after dropping three rails, but her real heartbreak of the day came when the ground jury rejected her other horse, Never Outfoxed, who had been ranked 19th after only 2.8 penalties on cross-country. The president of the ground jury told her the horse had a weakness behind and shouldn't go forward to the jumping, a decision from which there is no appeal and which obviously upset and bewildered Holly and her supporters.

Holly said veterinarians who checked the horse at the barn found him to be fine. She added he always has had a slightly unusual way of going behind, but of course, he passed the initial horse inspection before the competition began.

Dr. Thomas Daniel, a veterinarian who was helping Holly this weekend, said he had asked eight veterinarians and a number of horsemen what they thought about Foxy's condition when they saw him go.

“Not a one of them could see what the ground jury saw,” he said.

For a recap of the rest of the weekend, check out today’s earlier column, below.

Jersey riders handle the weather

at Rolex Kentucky

By Nancy Jaffer

May 1, 2016

Sinead Halpin is 11th at Rolex Kentucky after a difficult go on cross-country with Manoir de Carneville.

Rolex Kentucky is the Western Hemisphere's only 4-star event, and one of just six in the world, so it's always difficult.

But throw in a day of rainstorms and the cross-country phase becomes even more testing. No one made the 11-minute, 15-second optimum time yesterday on the course designed by Derek di Grazia, who also will be laying out the routes for the 2018 World Equestrian Games and the 2020 Olympics.

It takes experience to know how to handle a situation like the one riders faced at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington this weekend. With 64 horses competing, the ground became difficult as both the competition and the rain continued.

“Horses that ran earlier in the day had different going than the horses at the end of the day. I was shocked at how much the footing changed. It deteriorated quite a bit,” said Sinead Halpin, who operates a stable in Long Valley. Even so, she moved up with Manoir de Carneville from 18th after dressage on Friday to 11th following cross-country.

The question is, if the ground had been better, could he have risen higher in the rankings? Tate, as the Selle Français is known, has finished as high as third place at Rolex. He enjoys quite the resume, having been an Olympic alternate in 2012 and part of the U.S. effort at the World Equestrian Games in France two years ago.

“I was really happy with him, but I would have loved to have run earlier in the day,” commented Sinead,  who went on course with her chestnut Selle Français at 1:36 p.m., more than three and one-half hours after cross-country began at 10 a.m.

Rolex leader Michael Jung of Germany, who has Olympic, world championship and European championship gold medals to his credit, started on course at 11:36 a.m. He was only two seconds over the optimum time with Fischerrocana FST, but no one was any faster.

Interestingly, Holly Payne Caravella, who operates a stable in Chester, went at 10:24 a.m. on the thoroughbred Never Outfoxed, and her effort that collected only 2.8 time penalties (which means she was a mere 7 seconds slow) boosted her from 67th after dressage to 19th. She was tied with two other women for the best time by an American

Holly Payne Caravella went from 67th after dressage to 19th after a super trip cross-country with Never Outfoxed.

Holly called the trip around the course “exhausting,” yet noted that early in the day, the footing was good and she thought it would have been possible to make the time if the ground didn't deteriorate.

But it did.

“I've been in competitions where you can normally find an inside track to stay on,” said Sinead.

“From about the fifth minute to probably the seventh minute, I was trying to find good footing, and I couldn't find it. I was zigzagging to find something that wasn't deep.”

She eventually realized she wouldn't find it, but was pleased with Tate's effort and the fact that he accumulated just 8.8 time penalties.

“He kept jumping for me, and he was more tired than I felt him in a while. It was a lot of work at the end of the course. It's the most difficult Rolex I've ever ridden in,” she said, citing the technicality of the questions posed by the fences near the end, which also involved a climb up a hill. The obstacles included one involving water (there were four water obstacles on course, an unusually large number) and making a choice of which of two narrow Hillside Cabins to jump for the proper line to a corner.

“There was not any let-up in the last four minutes,” Sinead pointed out, but she did compliment Derek's work, saying that he had made it possible to navigate the technical aspect, even with a tired horse.

She also thought Tate actually was mentally tired, so decided to let him sleep last night and not get him up early.

Derek conceded that he had made the course tougher than it was the last two years, and coupled with the weather, that explains why every placing but Michael's, and 13th and 22d places changed after cross-country.

Although Rolex is an Olympic selection trial, Sinead wasn't focused on this summer's Games in Rio, saying they are only in her peripheral vision.
Santino put in a good effort for Holly Payne Caravella on cross-country.

“I think the Olympics are something you don't plan on. You say, `Yeah, it would be great,' but you start ticking off the boxes on the way to the Olympics and if they work, they work, and if they don't, they don't. Honestly, the horse is 16 years old and he's a beautiful, wonderful horse and I've been looking to get to Rolex, and if Rolex works out, great.”

Holly is part of a well-known eventing family. Her mother, Marilyn Payne, is judging in Rio, and her brother, Doug, also competed at Rolex, where he stands 25th on Vandiver, moving up from 50th after dressage.

On her second horse, Santino, Holly was 15th after dressage and looked as if she stood a good chance of moving up, considering the way the thoroughbred, who went at 1 p.m., was handling the course. Then she ran into trouble at the new water jump.

“He hung his stifles on the `in' of the water, and I got knocked forward and almost came off. I tried to save him, but by the time I picked up to save it, I was headed right toward the crowd, so there was no way of getting back to the corner (the second element),” she recalled.

“I had to circle back to do the option on the corner, so I crossed my tracks and picked up 20 (penalties) to get back to the option. It was a total shame. I rode a bit aggressive; I should have been more patient. It's nothing related to him. It was totally my fault.” Because of the crowds and roping, there was no way for her to turn back without crossing her tracks. So Santino dropped 26 places to 41st.

Asked about the footing, she said. “It definitely deteriorated. On the galloping lanes I was trying to look for good ground, moving a little left or right The take-offs were pretty good, but a couple of the landing spots, I felt them maybe stumble on landing on the back side of the jump, it was getting a little thick. But it didn't seem to be bothering him.”

The event ends today with stadium jumping. It will be an opportunity for some riders to recoup, and others to drop further in the standings. The prediction is for more rain, but luckily, it is run in an arena on all-weather footing, so the ground shouldn't be a factor.

I'm still drying out from cross-country, but I'll be back in the weather again so I can update tomorrow night to tell you how the Jersey girls fared.
                                New Jersey Activities Schedule

  • May 1: Princeton Show Jumping Spring Classic, Hunter Farms North, 246 Burnt Hill Road, Skillman; N.J. Quarter Horse Association Show, Gloucester County Dream Park, 400 Route 130 South, Logan Township; Garden State Preview Show, Sussex County Fairgrounds, Plains Road, Augusta; Barrel Racing, Horse Park of New Jersey, 626 Route 524, Allentown; Somewhere Farm Dressage Show, 640 Powell Road, Mt. Holly; Jersey Fresh Pleasure Ride/Hunter Pace, Horse Park of New Jersey, 626 Route 524, Allentown; Delaware Valley Horsemen's Association Driving Show, DVHA Showgrounds, 299 Rosemont-Ringoes Road, Sergeantsville.

  • May 4: Garden State Show, Sussex County Fairgrounds, Plains Road, Augusta (through May 8).

  • May 6: Eastern Pennsylvania Reining Horse Association Show, Gloucester County Dream Park, 400 Route 130 South, Logan Township (through May 8).

  • May 7: Central Jersey Horsemen's Association Show, East Freehold Showgrounds, Kozloski Road, Freehold.; Essex Foxhounds Hunter Pace, Cedar Lane Farm, Homestead Road, Oldwick; Carousel Farm Dressage Show, 8 Linn Smith Road, Augusta; Barrel Racing, Horse Park of New Jersey, 626 Route 524, Allentown.

  • May 8: Monmouth County Show, East Freehold Showgrounds, Kozloski Road, Freehold; Suddenly Farm Dressage Show, 325 Main St., Lumberton; Delaware Valley Horsemen's Association Jumper Show, DVHA Showgrounds, 299 Rosemont-Ringoes Road, Sergeantsville.
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