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Charlie Jayne Wins USEF Talent Search East Coast Finals at Gladstone

Gladstone, NJ – October 12, 2006 – The USEF Talent Search East Coast Finals were held this past weekend (October 7-8) at the historic Hamilton Farms in Gladstone, NJ, home of the USET Foundation. Twenty year old Charlie Jayne of Elgin, IL, made his last equitation class ever count when he rode to the win on Cassino Z, owned by Lauren Sturges. Jayne trains with his father, Alex R. Jayne, and Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run.

For his victory, Jayne was awarded the French Leave Trophy by the USET Foundation. The award was donated to the U.S. Equestrian Team by the Gerald A. Nielsen family of Darien, CT. The trophy is named for the horse which Sandy Nielsen rode when she won the first USET Medal Finals East in 1982. Clark was given the Leading Trainer Award from the USET Foundation for the second year in a row.

The USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals is a demanding competition for riders up to 21 years of age. It has produced some of the top show jumping stars of today who often go on to compete for the USEF in international and Olympic competition. Some previous winners include Joie Gatlin, Meredith Michaels- Beerbaum, Richard Spooner, McLain Ward, and Lauren Hough.

This was Jayne’s fifth time competing at the Finals, and he placed second in 2003. Although he was one of the top equitation riders as a junior, Jayne had never won an equitation final until now. “I’ve been close a lot,” he said with a laugh. “It feels pretty good to say I’ve won one now and have that underneath my belt.” Clark said, “He’s worked so hard. He’s always had such a good attitude and kept plugging away and showing up. It’s nice to see he got the win since he deserves it. He’s a super talented kid and has a lot of natural ability.” Jayne triumphed over a field of 72 riders, which is the largest in 15 years.

Jayne had only ridden Cassino Z, a ten year old Holsteiner stallion, for a week. The Talent Search Finals was their first competition together. Jayne started riding at his family’s farm when he was very young, and he began his equitation training with Clark when he was 12 years old. “I rode a different equitation horse of Missy’s every year,” Jayne explained of the decision to ride a new horse. Clark affirmed, “I wasn’t concerned. He’s ridden a lot of different horses.”

Sturges, who owns Cassino Z, also owns the venerable equitation horse Lando who won the Finals last year with Clark’s student Julie Welles. “Lauren clicked better with Lando,” Clark went on to say. “I said, ‘How about we give Charlie the ride on Cassino?’ and she thought it was a great idea. He got on a plane last week and had a lesson before the Finals. I felt confident it was a good match, and it was.”

On Saturday, the riders completed the flat phase, a two-minute time period where judges observed the riders’ ability to prepare their horses for jumping, followed by the gymnastics phase, where horse and rider were tested on communication and physical ability to successfully navigate a course composed of a variety of lines of jumps.

Jayne received an 89 in the first flat phase and sat in third place. In the second gymnastic phase, he “rode down the line a little early to get to the liverpool.” His combined score after the first day was an 84. “It felt like I was getting to know him the first day,” Jayne acknowledged.

On Sunday, all riders returned for the third phase, a timed show jumping course. At the conclusion, the four best riders, as judged over the course of the weekend by USEF Show Jumping Chef d’Equipe George H. Morris and U.S. Show Jumper and Olympian Alison Firestone, were invited to return and compete against each other to determine the champion. After Jayne received a 92, he was in fourth place and joined the ride-off with three other top riders: Michael Delfiandra, Maggie McAlary, and Addison Phillips.

“It was a great course,” Jayne said. “It was very technical. My horse and I handled it well, and I felt confident for the final four. Missy told me that I had nothing left to lose and just ride my ride.”

With the score card wiped clean, each rode a new and shorter course of jumps on each of the four riders’ horses. Delfiandra went in for his first round on LeGrand, but when McAlary got on to warm up, it was clear that the horse had a soundness issue. From there, the riders were judged on three rounds instead of four. “Luckily, there are specifications about that happening,” Clark mentioned. “I was pleased that it didn’t affect Michael’s score, and he wasn’t dropped automatically to fourth place. It was just one of those things.”

Due to his experience, Jayne felt confident about riding the other horses in the ride-off. “Cassino is 16.3 and rides like a stallion. I thought the other riders might have difficulties. My grand prix horse is only 16.1 hands. I’m kind of a big guy, but I can adjust.” Clark added, “He’s not your typical equitation horse. He was a jumper in Europe, and he proved that in the switch.”

After three rounds on his own and the other girls’ horses, Jayne had a solid score of 273 points over reserve champion Maggie McAlary, who had 271 points. Delfiandra and Phillips tied for third with 259 points.

“The final four was great. They’re all talented riders,” Jayne said. “I got lucky. It could have gone any way.” Clark was pleased that the Talent Search lived up to its name. “It truly is a talent search,” she said. “The kids in the top four are real riders; they didn’t just have a lucky day. It was such a great event, and this is certainly one of my favorites. To have it at Gladstone is great because of the history here. I really believe in the nature of the event.”

Both Jayne and Clark were thrilled to have Morris and Firestone as the judges. “I knew they would be fair and accurate, and the courses would be brilliant. Anytime George Morris is there, I find it positive. It’s great to have his input and opinion because he is so incredibly knowledgeable,” Clark expressed. “I respect them both so much,” Jayne remarked. “It meant a lot that they judged me.”

Clark said of Jayne, “He could certainly go on to ride for the USET. I hope to continue to be part of the Jayne family and their pursuits.”

It was a sweet win for Jayne, who automatically gave credit to Clark, Brennan, and his family. “Missy has done so much for me in the past eight years,” he asserted. “I wanted to win not only for me, but for her, John, and my dad.”

The winner of the USEF Talent Search West Coast Finals was Nick Haness of Coto de Caza, CA. Haness was in the final four with Hannah Selleck, Amber Levine, and Alexandra Conforti.

Haness was awarded the Denali Memorial Perpetual Trophy by the USET Foundation. The Denali trophy was donated to the U.S. Equestrian Team by Mrs. Maya Z. Hamburger of Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Denali was a racing quarter horse that was foaled in Alaska and went on to win state championships in pole bending and then to a new career in show jumping. He won grand prix events in California and Arizona and was a Junior Jumper champion with rider Melanie Hamburger. Bragg won the Leading Trainer Award from the USET Foundation.

Haness rode Caracas and trains with John Bragg. He was another rider who was quick to credit the people who have helped him along the way, including his mother Shawna, trainer Bragg, trainers Michael Endicott and Alison Sherred, and Ali Nilforushan, who loaned Haness his horse for the Finals.

The West Coast Finals were held at the L.A. Equestrian Center and judged by Olympic Show Jumper Anne Kursinski and top hunter rider Carol Hoffman.

The United States Equestrian Team Foundation (http://www.uset.org) is the non-profit organization that supports the competition, training, coaching, travel and educational needs of America’s elite and developing international, high-performance horses and athletes in partnership with the United States Equestrian Federation.

Final Results: USEF Talent Search East Coast Finals

1. Charlie Jayne, 20, of Elgin, IL, riding, Cassino Z, a 10-year-old Holsteiner Stallion, owned by Lauren Sturges, trained by Missy Clark, John Brennan, and Alex Jayne

Phase IV Score: 273 points

2. Maggie McAlary, 16, of Amherst, NH, riding Mid Accord, a ten-year-old Hanoverian gelding, owned by Maggie McAlary and Beaver Brook Ponies, trained by Andre Dignelli

Phase IV Score: 271 points

3T. Addison Phillips, 17, of New York, NY, riding Flight, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, owned by Addison Phillips, trained by Andre Dignelli

Phase IV Score: 259 points

3T. Michael Delfiandra, 18, of Delray Beach, FL, riding LeGrand, a 13 Holsteiner gelding, owned by Jacquelina Attwood-Dupont, trained by Alan Korotkin

Phase IV Score: 259 points

5. Nikko Ritter, 18, of Geneva, FL, riding Clove Count a 10-year-old Irish Warmblood gelding, owned by Linda Bakker, trained by Wendy Peralta and Frank and Stacia Madden

6. Whitney Goulart, 18, of Mendham, NJ, riding VDL Cadillac, a 12 year-old Warmblood mare, owned by Laura King-Kaplan, trained by Frank and Stacia Madden

7. Sloane Coles, 18, of The Plains, VA, riding Louisiana, an 11-year-old Warmblood gelding, owned by Julie Coles, trained by Frank and Stacia Madden

8. Maria Schaub, 17, of Holmdel, NJ, riding Teddy Bear, a 10-year-old Warmblood gelding, owned by Laura King-Kaplan, trained by Frank and Stacia Madden

9. Hillary Dobbs, of West Palm Beach, FL, riding Quincy B, a 10-year-old gelding, owned by Hillary Dobbs, trained by Missy Clark and John Brennan

10. Jack Hardin Towell, 18, of Camden, SC, riding San Remo, an 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood Stallion, owned by Missy Clark and North Run, trained by Missy Clark and John Brennan

Final Results: USEF Talent Search West Coast Finals

1. Nick Haness of Coto de Caza, CA, on Caracas, trained by John Bragg

2. Hannah Selleck of Thousand Oaks, CA, on Cirka Z, trained by Karen Healey

3. Alexandra Conforti of La Cañada, CA, on The Graduate, trained by Karen Healey

4. Amber Levine of Temecula, CA, on Ketel One, trained by Susie Hutchinson

5. Adrienne Dixon, of Hillsborough, CA, on Cassandra, trained by Benson Carroll

6. Nicole Husky, of Pacific Palisades, CA, on Time to Believe, trained by Jeni Brown

7. Michelle Morris of La Cañada, CA, on Lotus, trained by Karen Healey

8. Veronica Tracy of San Juan Capistrano, CA, on Muscadet de la Saveutere, trained by Karen Healey

9. Tina Dilandri of La Jolla, CA, on Cartier, trained by Karen Healey

10. Carly Anthony of Redmond, WA, on Dynamic, trained by Cara Anthony and Karen Healey

Photo Credit: Charlie Jayne, winner of the USEF Talent Search East Coast Finals. Photo © 2006 Lyndee Kemmett.


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