New Zealand’s Tim Price said what brings his partner Coup de Coeur Dudevin true enjoyment is jumping and galloping. Today they showed that their dressage is solid, too. The pair moved into second place on Day 2 of dressage at the 2022 MARS Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill presented by Brown Advisory CCI5*-L. They sit just behind Day 1 leader Woods Baughman and C’est la Vie.
“He’s just a fun-loving gelding who turns up for work every day and is just a phenomenal jumper and a real powerhouse,” Price said of the 10-year-old Selle Français gelding. The FEI World #1 rider added with a laugh, “So if you saw him today, his back end just wants to do something more than just boring old dressage.”
Price will head into tomorrow’s CCI5*-L cross-country phrase with a dressage score of 27.4 penalty points to Baughman’s 27.2. U.S. rider Alexandra Knowles, who also rode today, finished in third place with the Morswood, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding with a score of 28.8.
Price on Coup de Coeur Dudevin
Price’s Coup de Coeur Dudevin, owned by Jean-Louis Stauffer, is an inexperienced horse at the five-star level. “It’s a big deal to put a horse on a plane and bring them over when there’s probably a more local option. But I just believe in the horse a lot. We believe in his ability, and it’s great fun to come over here.
“He’s here to get some education on the job,” Price added. He commented about their dressage test, “All I want from him in that department is to be relaxed, to show himself in the true light of where he is working, and that’s what he is—a few mistakes, a bit unestablished, a bit comes and goes, but the quality underneath it all and the relaxation is what makes me very happy with him.”
Knowles on Morswood
Knowles’ Morswood was in 13th place after dressage at last year’s event. “He’s a much stronger horse this year,” she said after today’s dressage test. “Last year was his first year at the five-star level and he did a great performance, but he’s just more mature, stronger in the hind end, stronger in his back. His self-carriage is certainly more than it was before. So you know that kind of test is in there, and you just sort of hope it comes out at the right moment. And it did.”
“He gave it his all,” Knowles continued. “[Dressage] wouldn’t be his favorite phase. He can be very good at it, but he gets kind of nervous. He’s very eager to get out there tomorrow. I was happy that he held together today and behaved because he’s a bit excited.”
Following Knowles in the final rankings for the dressage phase were three riders from Day 1. France’s Astier Nicolas and Babylon de Gamma sit in fourth, Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver are in fifth and Tamie Smith and Danito are in sixth.
Doug Payne on Quantum Leap
First to ride today, Doug Payne and Quantum Leap, an 11-year-old German Sport Horse gelding owned by himself, his wife, Jessica, and Susan Drillock, had a bit of a mishap. The wrong gate to the dressage arena was opened for their test and they rode into it off of centerline. The ground jury president rang the bell and the pair started again. But Payne wasn’t rattled by it, saying, “stuff happens.” The pair sit in seventh place with a score of 29.5.
To prepare Quantum for the dressage phase, Payne said he’d been taking him to every sort of bigger environment he could. “I’ll try to find the most chaotic situation possible and go flat him there. So it was just turning the corner, like he’s just getting strong enough where he can hold it. And when he can do that, then he’s super comfortable. I think what makes him most worried and honestly the most tense is when he struggles—not sort of rise to the expectation that he sets for himself.”
For complete dressage results, click here.
Cross Country’s Tight Time
Of Ian Stark’s cross-country course, Price said, “[Stark] doesn’t muck about, does he? He’s got some decent questions and always questions we haven’t quite seen before. It’s just his own brand of cross-country design, and that’s very exciting. I think it brings the best out of us riders and horses.”
Price added that the time allowed on cross-country course is tighter than it was last year. “It’s wheeled a lot tighter. So that’s going to put more emphasis on the likes of ourselves. When I say ourselves, the guys that have traveled over, that you want to make the most of your trip, so you want to be quick and that puts a different element on everything on the course. Everything that’s big becomes bigger. The hills become steeper and the technicality coming home on course becomes more extreme. So it’s a tough course this year, I think.”
He added that one of the water jumps, Fences 23AB and 24ABC, comes up at about eight or nine minutes in the 11-1/2 minute course. “It’s going to really test how well we’ve done conserving our horses’ energy until that point,” he said.
Every Question Is Serious
Knowles said there wasn’t one question on cross-country that she’s particularly focused on. “Every question is serious. You’ve got to take it all seriously. And [Morswood is] game about everything. There’s not one thing in particular that he is not good at. I just need to be paying attention the whole time and minding him, and I know he’ll mind me and give it our best.
“He’s an excellent cross-country horse,” she continued. “He just enjoys every minute of it all the time. He’d prefer to do that every day. That was a great fit for me when [owner] Katherine O’Brien bought him. I wouldn’t be the most aggressive cross-country rider. I love dressage and love working on show jumping. And so to have a horse like him compliments my riding very well. Over the last couple of years, it’s become a steady progression of confidence and strength on his part, like physical strength, and strength of confidence for me on cross country.”
Let the Footwork Sort Itself Out
Payne agreed that the time will be tight on cross-country and that the last half of the course is challenging and doesn’t let up. “I think [Ian Stark] sets courses that are super fair. It’s right there to be done, but there’s so many unpredictable aspects that I don’t know that you can really be stuck in one exact plan. It’s gonna be stick to your line and good balance and let the footwork sort itself out.”
The CCI5*-L cross-country phase starts tomorrow, Oct. 15, at 2:06 p.m. EST with Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver.
Thanks to Mane n Tail Equine for our coverage of the 2022 Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill, including rider interviews, competition reports, horse spotlights, photos, videos and more!