On Feb. 24, four-star eventer Holly Payne was schooling cross-country on a 4-year-old horse when a freak accident resulted in a broken foot. “I was literally just walking across the field, and he spooked at something, and he spun and just slipped and fell down and landed on my foot. The only thing I can think of is that my foot was in the stirrup, and it crushed my foot,” she said.
Payne shattered her navicular bone and four other bones in her left foot. She underwent surgery on Feb. 26 in Charlotte, N.C., where doctors put screws in the navicular bone. She’ll have to spend three months without bearing weight on the foot before she can start physical therapy. “I guess it’s a tough bone in the body that doesn’t get a lot of circulation and doesn’t heal that well,” she said.
The injury comes in the middle of U.S. Eventing High Performance training with David O’Connor in Aiken, S.C. Payne had ridden Santino in a couple of sessions and O’Connor rode the gelding twice for her while she was undergoing surgery.
While she’s recovering, Payne’s mother, Marilyn, a dressage judge, will ride her four-star horse Madeline and work on the mare’s flatwork. Payne hasn’t decided yet if she’ll find a temporary rider for Santino and her other intermediate horse, Never Outfoxed.
“Everybody’s been incredibly supportive and helpful, and that’s been nice. I’m hoping to get around and teach. I have a bunch of horses and students down here [in Aiken], so I’m hoping to rent a golf cart and sit on that and teach,” she said.