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Law Leads the Three Star at Jersey Fresh
Allentown, NJ, USA
by Amber Heintzberger
Gina Fiore (USA) and Feral Errol
With torrential rain slamming New Jersey for the past week, the dressage phase of the Jersey Fresh Three-Day Event was moved indoors. Leslie Law and Guy and Beatrice Rey Herme's Selle Francais gelding, Fleeceworks Mystere Du Val, took the early lead with 39.0, the only pair in the entire competition to break the 40-penalty barrier. Jan Byyny and Waterfront are second with 42.0, followed by Michael Pollard on Icarus (44.0). Law is also tied for seventh on Private Heart (52.4). 29 horses should start cross-country today, barring riders who are concerned about the still-damp footing withdrawing before the second phase.

Mystere Du Val won the CCI*** at The Fork (NC) last month and Law said that both horses have been training at home since then. Based in Ocala, Florida over the winter, Law and his wife Lesley Grant-Law only returned to their Virginia home on Monday, since Lesley suffered a broken leg in a fall at Ocala.

Law said that holding the dressage indoors did not affect his horses adversely. "I thought Mystere Du Val might be spooky in there but he was super," he said. "It was probably his most polished test to date. This horse has a great walk and always scores well in the canter. I am looking for him to get better in the trot, so that's where I was happiest - usually he scores sixes with a few sevens, and today he scored sevens with some eights."

He described Private Heart as "very bold, and a different sort of ride. He gets a little keen and travels eagerly - on cross-country it will be a question of settling him, while with Mystere Du Val it will be a question of waking him up and seeing who's the bravest, him or me!"

Mara Dean of Middleburg, VA has the lead in the CIC*** riding High Patriot (46.5). The 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding sustained a soft tissue injury at The Fork CIC*** last year and Dean spent most of last year rehabilitating him, bringing him back into work last November.

"He's still a work in progress- he's mage huge improvements, especially in his flat work which was weak," she said. "He wanted to get low and behind the bit. Shannon Lily had him before and was doing advanced with him, but his injury has given me a chance to go back and put the basics there. His trot work is softer and freer - his changes were a weak point. He used to get nervous, but here he stayed relaxed and rideable."

Following dressage, William Coleman II is ranked second dressage in the CIC*** riding Twizzel, (48.1), followed by Becky Holder on Courageous Comet (51.0).

In the CCI** Gina Fiore of Southern Pines, NC and her 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Feral Errol lead with 46.5, ahead of Karen O'Connor in second and third place riding That's Smart (47.0) and Rocket (49.5) respectively.

Fiore has owned the gelding in partnership with Ellen Sullivan since she purchased him from Carol Gee in Ireland as a four and a half year old. "She hadn't had him long and he'd done a bit of hunting - I rode him in an indoor, never cross-country, and thought he was a nice horse. He knocked everything down, but when I put a trot pole on the ground he cleared the standards, and I just figured he had the talent but he needed to learn how to jump!"

Training with Jim Koford, Peter Norlander and Bobby Costello has helped Fiore turn Feral Errol into a successful upper-level partner. "My first thought in the dressage arena was 'fabulous!' because he was really 'up'," she said. He really liked the footing; I thought he did the best he could do today. He was extremely obedient and felt great, I think he really felt like it was a big deal."

Looking towards cross-country tomorrow she said, "He's a great cross-country horse and great in the mud; coming from Ireland, it doesn't bother him a bit. He's not quite as easy cross-country because he's strong but if I point him in the right direction he'll jump."

Cross-country begins tomorrow at 9:00am with the CCI**. Susan Beebee is the first rider on course with Strike Point. The competition runs through the day, wrapping up with Boyd Martin on Belmont at 3:39pm.

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