North Carolina-based eventer Doug Payne announced in his blog on Aug. 27, that he sold his three-star mount Crown Talisman to English-based rider Nick Gauntlett.
Martha Thomas bred “Tali,” an 11-year-old Holsteiner-Thoroughbred (Carlson—Lakewoods Crown Jewel) in Maryland. Thomas sent him to Payne as a sales horse, but after Payne was unable to sell the gelding, he purchased Tali.
Payne developed the gelding, and they won the preliminary division of the American Eventing Championships in 2010. That same year Larry and Amelia Ross partnered with Payne in ownership of the horse. Tali made his advanced debut at the Milbrook Horse Trials (N.Y.) in 2013, where he finished ninth. The pair have seen many top-five finishes in three-stars, including a fourth at the Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International in 2013.
In April of this year, Payne received a Land Rover competition Grant with Tali to compete at the Saumur CCI*** in May in France. Payne chose to only ride in the dressage at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in Lexington, to save the gelding. The pair won the Jersey Fresh International CIC*** in Allentown, N.J., then placed sixth at Saumur.
In July, Payne and Tali were awarded a USEF Land Rover competition grant to compete in the Les Etoiles De Pau CCI**** in France on Oct. 22-26. Since the grant is unused, the money will return to USEF.
Earlier this month, Liz Millikin approached Payne on the behalf of Joanne Bridgman, both agents, about whether Payne would consider selling Tali. Payne didn’t intend to sell the horse, but after discussing it with his wife, and co-owners Larry and Amelia Ross, Payne and the Rosses decided to sell.
Payne, who currently rents his facility in New Hill, N.C., is planning to use the profits from the sale to help him purchase a farm and a permanent home for his business.
“I’m as attached to him as much as I’ve ever been to a horse,” Payne said of Tali. “He has been with me now for six years from his very first event to Saumur this spring. The thought of selling him has literally woke me up multiple times during the past few weeks. However, after speaking to a number of people I respect both in and out of the horse world, I’m confident this is the right decision. Certainly doesn’t make it an easy one!”
Tali will now be ridden by Nick Gauntlett of England. “I’m comforted by the fact that after getting to know Nick, his riding style and care of his horses I know Tali will have a great future,” Payne said. “I will always be his biggest fan and hope nothing but the best for the two of them. I’ll be rooting for them at Rio! I would also like to again thank Larry and Amelia Ross for their continued support, I certainly wouldn’t be here without them.”
In a statement released on Payne’s blog, former co-owners Larry and Amelia Ross shared that they would continue to support Payne in his goal of riding at the Olympic Games. “Our support of Doug and the team’s quest for Olympic gold is long-term. If this helps Doug finance a permanent base, so he can concentrate on building a string of Olympic contenders, he made a very wise decision,” their statement read. “We are confident that owning his facility, rather than renting where conditions may change, will enhance his ability to assemble and train enough top horses to take the worry out of relying on just one mount.”