The USEA is saddened to share the news that Madeline, a chestnut Thoroughbred mare by Mysterious Count, passed away on December 4, 2019 at the age of 19. Madeline, also known as “Baby”, was owned by Jill Gordon and campaigned at the four-star level by Holly Payne Caravella.
“Baby colicked due to a herniated diaphragm,” Gordon said yesterday in a statement on Facebook. “The veterinary team at Mid Atlantic Equine Hospital (under the watchful eye of her lifetime friend Dr. Greg Staller) did everything in their power to save this beautiful horse. They were amazing, compassionate and professional but sadly - her time had come. Baby gave it the good fight (as she always did) and her loss will be felt for a very long time.”
Marilyn Payne sourced Baby as a 4-year-old and brought her east where she told Gordon, “This is a good one – if you can ride her, you can ride anything.”
Gordon rode Baby at the Training level for a year before passing the reins to Payne Caravella, who over the next few years rode Baby steadily up the levels, rarely finishing outside the top 10. In 2008, Payne Caravella rode Baby to a fourth-place finish in their first Advanced as a pair. She completed her first CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) later that year at Fair Hill International in 12th place.
In 2009, Payne Caravella and Baby traveled to England to compete in the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials CCI3*, where they placed 38th. In 2010, they competed in the Advanced Championship at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC), placing 6th. The following year they returned to the Fair Hill CCI3* where they placed 14th.
In 2012, Baby earned more top finishes at the Advanced level, including 7th at the AEC and a win at the Area II Championships at Morven Park. They were also 7th in the CIC3* at Richland Park. They closed out the year with a top 10 finish in the Fair Hill International CCI3*.
Following her retirement from the upper levels in 2014, Gordon, who had competed Baby periodically while Payne was campaigning her at the upper levels, took the reins and competed her at the Novice level for a season.
In her statement, Gordon paid tribute to the many people whose lives were touched by Madeline, including Payne Caravella. “Holly Payne, who made this horse what she was. Baby had the heart of a lion - but was never easy until Holly tamed and gentled her. I will forever be in Holly's debt for her years of work, partnership and love for our shared angel! Every ride on Baby was like flying on a cloud - Holly did that - thank you forever!”
“Thanks to all of the people who are reaching out to me as this sad news goes around our ‘little community’,” Gordon concluded. “My sense of loss is countered by my sense of privilege to have been friends with a horse like Baby.”
”Madeline was one-of-a-kind,” added Payne Caravella. “She will surely never be forgotten. I credit the start of my professional career to this fiery little redheaded chestnut mare. She taught me so many life lessons and took me to some amazing places!”
The USEA sends our condolences to Gordon and all of Baby’s connections.
If your farm has the space to set up a cross-country schooling course, it can be to your advantage to have cross-country jumps available for schooling purposes. Safety should be the number one priority when designing and building cross-country jumps, and an expert should be consulted whenever possible.
By this time I am sure that you have received the news that the 2020 USEA American Eventing Championships presented by Nutrena Feeds (AEC) has been canceled. I sincerely apologize for the difficulty this has caused everyone involved. I want to commend the USEA Board of Governors for making an extremely hard decision.
Are you following along with the action from home this weekend? Or maybe you're competing at an event and need information fast. Either way, we’ve got you covered! Check out the USEA’s Weekend Quick Links for links to information including the prize list, ride times, live scores, and more for all the events running this weekend.
The Whidbey Island Horse Trials take place in Oak Harbor, Washington (Area VII) in early July of each year and offer Beginner Novice through Advanced/Intermediate horse trials. The Whidbey Island Horse Trials lost their venue in 2019 but are working on finalizing a new venue for 2021.