By Lisa Engel
Charlie Jayne of Elgin, Illinois, is a talented grand prix rider who, in 2006, won the USET Foundation Maxine Beard Award recognizing accomplishment by an up-and-coming show jumper. As a junior rider, he also won the USET Talent Search Finals – East. By age 20, he represented the United States on the gold medal-winning team in Buenos Aires and was the reserve rider for the United States team at the 2012 London Olympic Games and at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. A member of Nations Cup Teams, the Samsung Super League, and a consistent grand prix winner, Charlie had his biggest win in the 2015 Great American $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties, New York. Charlie’s easygoing and approachable nature makes him a pleasure to speak with. Sidelines caught up with him at the Devon Horse Show in-gate while he was waiting to watch his sister Maggie take her turn in the Dixon Oval.
How did you get started with riding?
I’m the sixth generation of horsemen. Both of my parents rode — they met in Pony Club — and I grew up riding on a farm. I think as soon as I started walking, I was on a pony.
Who inspired you the most in riding?
Definitely my dad for the business side and my mom for the supportive aspect of the riding. As far as riders themselves, I’d say Ian Millar has inspired me the most. He has seen the sport evolve over the last 40 years at the highest level and has been able to stay with the changes. When you look at any sport, it changes — athletes usually can’t stay in that sport and how he’s been able to accomplish that and have the London Olympics be his best Olympics is pretty inspiring.
What three things are the most important to you?
My family, my health and probably just continuing my career.
How do you relax?
I’m actually a pretty relaxed person in general. I like to take a nap every day if I can. I like to cycle, run, play basketball and swim. In the winter at Wellington, I’ll play cards with the guys one night a week.
What’s the best feeling you’ve ever had?|
I think the feeling I enjoy most is going early or late in a grand prix or Nations Cup at a high level and being the first clear round. I think that when you achieve something else no one has done in the ring, that’s just the feeling of satisfaction that the whole program, from the team behind you and the management and training, has come together and you show it off in the ring.
What career path would you have chosen if horses weren’t an option?
Acting. I studied film for a bit and criminal law — which doesn’t really make sense. But I thought Jim Carrey was the coolest guy and I guess I wanted to be like him.
What’s your favorite piece of clothing?
I never leave the house without a belt. I don’t have much of a butt and my pants fall, so I guess my belt is my favorite piece of clothing.
What’s your favorite food?
Honestly, ranch dressing. I put it on pizza, burgers, fries — everything. Yeah, I couldn’t live without that.