Charlie Jayne recently competed at the Showplace Spring Spectacular Show on Valenza.
It was just last Sunday night when the road for Charlie Jayne, 26, of Elgin, became a reality. After months of qualifying competitions, Jayne was named to the United States Equestrian Show Jumping Team as the alternate for the London Olympics.
The journey started in March in Wellington, Florida at the Olympic Trials. After three days of grueling show jumping competition, Jayne had three horses on the long list of the top 35 competitors. From there, each rider vying for a spot on the team had to attend at least two observation events to be further considered for the team. From Florida, Jayne then went on to the Tampa Invitational in Tampa and the World Cup Finals in the Netherlands in April. In May, Lexington, Kentucky, and Devon, Pennsylvania, then on to Calgary in Alberta, Canada in June. Jayne and his horse, Chill R Z, owned by the Pony Lane Farm, Utah, showed U.S. coaches George H. Morris and Robert Ridland, what Olympians are made of. Jayne finished 3rd and 6th in Kentucky, 3rd in Devon, PA and won the second event with the only clear jumping round. Then he went on to finish 8th and 9th in Calgary. Jumping clear round after clear round, Jayne moved his way up the list to make the team as the alternate. At the age of 22, Jayne was the second alternate for the 2008 Olympics.
“When George Morris called me Sunday morning to tell me the news, I was shocked and excited all at the same time! It felt very gratifying that the long roller coaster ride I've had this year finally paid off!” exclaimed Jayne.
Jayne joins team members McClain Ward, 36, Brewster, NY, a two time Olympic Gold Medalist; Beezie Madden, 48, Cazenovia, NY, another two time Gold Medalist; Rich Fellers, 52, Wilsonville, OR, the 2012 World Cup Champion; and Reed Kessler, Armonk, NY, the youngest on the team at 17.
Charlie Jayne is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Business Management. “I went to college because my mom wanted me to!” said Jayne. He plans to use his education in the family business, Our Day Farm in Elgin. His road to the Olympics has been a family affair. Jayne’s father, Alex, goes to most of the big competitions with him to help and coach. Jayne’s mother, Linda, helps with the organizing and travel, and sisters Haylie and Maggie, pitch in whenever needed and are his biggest fans.
Jayne has been riding since he could sit up. He competed in his first Grand Prix at the age of 10 and has continued up the ladder to international competition.
“You always dream about the Olympics and hope you get there. Practice, practice, practice,” says Jayne. “You wonder why you have to do all the difficult exercises and ride without stirrups, and once you get toward the top of the game, you are grateful you did it.”
Jayne’s mount, Chill RZ, is a 9 year old black stallion from Belgium, owned by The Pony Lane Farm, Bluffdale, Utah.
“He is a world class horse,” says Jayne. “I think to be a good athlete you have to be happy so I like him to be happy.” Chill RZ gets turned out daily, works out on the treadmill for twenty minutes, gets ridden, and gets spa type treatments such as the Aqua Spa or ultra sound treatments.
As the alternate on the team, Jayne and his horse will travel with the team to participate in many of the events. He will be competition ready as a back up in case something happens to one of the other horses or team members. The experience will be both educational and amazing. In this sport, mileage of horse and rider are a benefit rather than a detriment. Age of both horse and rider offer experience and skill to handle any riding situation as fellow team member, Rich Fellers, age 52 can also attest to. When athletes in other sports are used up by the age of 30, equestrians are hitting their prime. The future is promising for Jayne, this is certainly not his last shot at the Olympics - but rather the beginning.