Doug Payne holds all three top places across both sections of the Advanced division after day one of competition at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) at Tryon Resort. The Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials at TIEC presented by EquiSafe Global kicked off Friday, September 11, with nearly 350 entries in the event’s sophomore year at TIEC. Payne scored 23.10 with Vandiver to top the Test B section, grabbing the top two scores in the Test A section with Starr Witness, the 2011 Dutch Warmblood mare (Chello III VDL x Veneur) owned in partnership with Catherine Winter and Laurie McRee, receiving a 25.70. Quantum Leap, the 2011 Zweibrücker gelding (Quite Capitol x Corporate Report) owned by Doug and Jessica Payne, earned a 26.10 just behind.
In striking distance behind Payne, Whitney Mahloch (Ocala, FL) rode Military Mind, her own 2006 Thoroughbred gelding (Military x Beau Genius), to a 26.60 in the A section, with Hallie Coon (Ocala, FL) also coming in sub-27 with a 26.90 aboard Celien, the 2007 Dutch Warmblood mare (VDL Tenerife x Hamlet) owned in partnership with Helen Coon, in the B section.
“I really couldn’t be much happier with any of them. You’ve got to look at the bright side, and I think the time that we had during the COVID suspension of competition obviously worked well for our horses. Quinn [Vandiver], the older one, just keeps getting stronger and better as we go,” Payne said of the 2004 Trakehner gelding (Windfall 2 x Mystic Replica XX) owned by Debi Crowley in partnership with Doug and Jessica Payne. “And the two younger horses, I think in a little bit of time are going to be superstars. It’s a lot of fun to see them start to be able to put it all together, which we’ve been working towards for a while.”
Payne and his team have been a familiar face at TIEC for years in multiple divisions, and he explained that his approach includes gaining exposure without necessarily competing in horse trials. “We were planning to go to the [USEA American Eventing Championships] before that got canceled, and they’ve been here jumping. Vandiver was the 1.30m champion and Starr Witness was the 1.20m champion here recently. We try to bring them places – we may be a little bit different probably from a lot of eventers in that we don’t go to all that many events."
“We try to pick the best quality of competitions with good venue, courses, and footing, and then we supplement that by taking them on the road with the jumpers,” he continued. “I think there’s a lot of value in putting them into a bigger environment more frequently. Then, as they get more comfortable with that, I think you’re more likely to get what you can get at home in a competitive environment.”
Looking ahead to the next several days, Payne shared that he’s using this event to prep for November’s international competition at TIEC. “In a perfect world, I don’t want to add anything to those scores,” he said. “They haven’t done cross-country in a while, but I think all are capable of being near to the time. I’m not trying to go totally crazy. All these guys and Baymax, who’s in the Intermediate, are all aiming to come to the Tryon International Three-Day Event in November to do the CCI3*-L and CCI4*-L. We will go reasonably fast, and jumping-wise, we will try and just knock the rust off and go from there."
“To me, it’s one of the best, if not the best venue, in the country, and we’re very lucky to have the opportunity to ride here. Having the CCI 4*-L National Championship is just a huge, huge asset, not just for the riders and horses, but also for Tryon. There’s a great opportunity now, which is really exciting,” Payne concluded. “We live reasonably close and we’re here a bit, so we’re a bit biased, but we’re happy to see it succeed.”
For full results and live scoring from all divisions, click here.
The FEI has announced that the Swiss horse Jet Set, ridden by Robin Godel has had to be euthanized after pulling up extremely lame on the Sea Forest Cross Country Course during Equestrian Eventing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on August 1, 2021.
In 2002, at the age of 15, I was at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Maine while Tremaine Cooper was there building some cross-country jumps. I helped him build a trakehner, not realizing that this day would set the course for my future. A few weeks later he called asking if I could help him at Millbrook Horse Trials. From there I helped Tremaine during most of my school vacations and throughout the summers. After graduating high school I kept at it never looking back. I lived the gypsy lifestyle for about six years going from coast to coast and event to event. In 2013 my wife Kathryn and I settled down in Lexington, Kentucky. These days I spend roughly 60-75 percent of my time on the road preparing events or building private schooling areas. I’ve had the privilege of being involved with some really great events around the states and have cultivated many friendships all over the country. In 2019 I was asked to be a part of Team Evans Olympic cross-country building crew. As I write this I am on my third trip to Tokyo. Here’s a day in Tokyo . . .
The British team cemented their gold medal position at the Tokyo Olympics with three magnificent cross-country performances, all clear inside the time. Added to that, their first rider, Oliver Townend, holds pole position individually after the dressage leader, Germany’s Michael Jung, picked up 11 penalties for triggering a frangible device.
The 2012 and 2016 individual Olympic champion, Germany’s Michael Jung, blazed into first place after dressage at the Tokyo 2020 Games with a superb test on Chipmunk.
Deservedly scoring 21.1 - a record for both rider and his country at an Olympics, according to EquiRatings - it was a joy to watch. From the first extended trot, the pair looked secure, positive, and harmonious. The test was as accurate and as well-delivered as that of long-time leaders Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class (GBR), but with more expression and ease. Jung and the Contendro 13-year-old demonstrated all this specially-written, short Olympic test asks for and each movement flowed into the next.