Doug Payne Given A Dangerous Riding Penalty at Jersey Fresh

Apparently they ground jury gave him a dangerous riding penalty in the 3*-L for taking a shorter route between two of the fences. I don’t think it was warranted, not to mention a real slap in the face to a fantastic cross country rider when there’s actual dangerous riding happening that never gets put down. Can he appeal to the FEI?


is it because of the presence of the person on foot , a fence judge I assume?

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Doug said on his social media that he was never anywhere near a person, but I also wondered about that person on foot.

I don’t think it’s unwarranted and it’ll be interesting to see if this sparks any rule changes in the future. Imagine if every rider walked the course trying to figure a way to “hack” the course to make time. DP does this often and perhaps the officials thought he took it too far this time.


But why couldn’t you?

Is there a rule that a rider has to stay on a certain track, roped or not? Roping tracks is really done more to keep wandering spectators out of the way at bigger events.

I’ve seen spectators and course walkers walk right in front of horses because they aren’t paying attention to riders on course, and that’s a pedestrian issue and not a penalize the rider issue.


I think you’re probably onto something re: his tendency to “hack” the course. But if that’s the case, I am a bit irked that the chosen “solution” was to give him dangerous riding penalties to make an example of him, when they could just change the ropes to make it so riders can’t do that.

Unconventional routes aside though, I’m not sure I would have called that dangerous riding. He looked in control, stayed a reasonable distance away from the person standing there and there was more than enough room to ride between the rope and the first fence he passed.


Think of trying to keep all pedestrians, volunteers, and fence judges safe. Imagine the burden to organizers to try to figure out every possibility. The “intended path” was clear but DP thought he was being clever. The person in his path then did not know that they were in his path. Did his riding seem dangerous, not really, but it could have been dangerous. Just my 2 cents.


That didn’t look at all dangerous to me. I’ve seen some truly dangerous riding ignored. If he’s not supposed to ride outside the ropes, is that in the rules anywhere?


No. You can’t protest a warning card. FEI General Regulations Article 161.

Luckily no one was in this path, but Doug is on a dangerous path of trying to outsmart course designers and should just stay on the intended course. It doesn’t appear to always make him faster, with a great example being at Land Rover this year. Making the horse jump the brushes to only disrupt the rhythm and add up to a table, which other riders were able to swing wide and gallop and lose less Time. I admire DPs ability to make his horses adjustable but it just isn’t always the right answer.


Hi! Lindsay from COTH here. I was the person in the video! I was walking out to shoot the table he’d just jumped, and that area was not really roped off into specific galloping lanes. I can understand why since Jersey Fresh has four different courses all winding back and forth. On Saturday I did see a few people go down the wrong galloping lanes and have to turn around.

I was walking in front of a ditch and brush fence that was on the advanced courses, so thought I was safe.

I saw him jump the table and make a turn, but I hadn’t been in that field yet so didn’t know what path riders were taking, but assumed since it was Doug he was probably taking an alternative, shorter route.

I just stopped and waited for him to pass. There weren’t a lot of spectators in that field, and I never felt in any danger. Not sure about the penalty, but I will say they’re so often applied inconsistently, at least for FEI yellow cards.


Do you know if the yellow card had anything to do with your presence or if it was that he took the wrong path?

Edited to correct. He received penalty points, not a yellow card.

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I only know what I’ve seen in Doug’s Facebook post, which I read while I was driving home from the event. I was just surprised to see myself in the video!


I haven’t read the facebook post. What did he say?

A rule is a rule. It shouldn’t matter if you are a “nobody” or DP. If the officials make a determination based on what they saw, good for them! Just because you have a “name” should not be a justification for not having the rules applied.

I’ve had 2 “no name” friends spend thousands of dollars appealing FEI for infractions similar to this. I say, good to see the rules applied equitably!


Courses are also roped to keep the total course distance the same. There used to be mandatory crossings.

If you’re leaving the roped course, your horse is not traveling anything like the same distance as the other horses. As there is a minimum distance listed for each level, that’s cheating.

Also, it’s dumb. The roped course has had the footing checked and probably manicured. The unroped portion may be holey, rocky, to over grown to see the ground any way. That doesn’t seem to be the case in this situation, but this is becoming quite the habit for Doug Payne. Maybe it’s better to get a slap on the hand now than have something go badly wrong later.


I’ve never attended an event as a volunteer or competitor locally that has been roped off so this notion of having to stay on a roped path to protect wandering spectators or to stay on manicured footing (I thought we’d already covered how eventers can get it done in all sorts of footing on the Kentucky thread) appears to only be attached to larger events with more spectators.

Spectators are expected to watch where they are going, and I’ve seen a TD warn a spectator that walking or riding a bike in front of a galloping horse could earn THEM a yellow card, not the rider. If you can’t watch where you are going when you are course walking or spectating then you stay off the course while riders are competing.

As for this spectator, she’s already commented that she didn’t feel she was in any danger whatsoever.

Is there an actual rule about staying in the ropes when ropes are used?


Is “stay between the ropes” an actual rule or just an “unspoken rule” or just a “norm” or none of the above?

Assuming purely going outside the ropes (and nothing else) is the reason for the card— that doesn’t seem quite right if it’s just an unspoken rule or a norm.

One year at Devon in the Grand Prix someone jumped some fill to make a shorter track (rather than go around it) and while that wasn’t intended or typical, I don’t think anyone would have characterized it as dangerous simply because it wasn’t the way the course was designed to be ridden. This seems similar to me.

Of course if the track was actually dangerous due to a walking person nearby, possibility of crossing the path of another rider, etc. that’s a different question. But simply because the track was unexpected— that doesn’t seem dangerous to me. Maybe the better practice is simply a rule that riders must stay inside the ropes? That seems much simpler and less subjective.


I was volunteering at Jersey Fresh and did not see that but did see someone go in the wrong galloping lane, correct and jump a jump judge which I thought would earn them a dangerous rider.


Does anyone know what the other rider, Katie Lichten, did to get a DR?
Was it something similar or something more obvious?