Mill Spring, N.C.—April 5
Doug Payne is known for his prowess in the jumper ring as well as in his primary sport of eventing, but it’s not often those two paths collide on the same weekend.
Payne rode his reliable partner Vandiver to the win in the ProElite® CCI4*-S division at The Fork Horse Trials at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, in addition to finishing fifth with Quantum Leap and eighth on Starr Witness. In between rides and coaching, Payne was also winning in the jumper rings as part of Tryon Welcome 2 competition, where he went two-for-two aboard Quintessence. Read more about Tryon Welcome 2 results here.
Payne and Vandiver, a 17-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall 2—Visions Of Grandeur, Mystic Replica xx) owned by Debi Crowley and Payne and Jessica Payne, were the only pair to avoid adding time faults to their score after cross-country, securing the win on a score of 25.7.
Holding steady all weekend at second place, Boyd Martin finished on a score of 28.1 with Tsetserleg, the 14-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall—Thabana, Buddenbrock) owned by Christine, Thomas IV and Tommie Turner. Dressage and show jumping leader Tamie Smith placed third with Mai Baum, adding 7.2 to her score to finish with a 28.4 aboard the 15-year-old German Sport Horse gelding (Loredano—Ramira, Rike) owned by Alexandra and Ellen Ahearn and Eric Markell.
Doug reported that his goal with each horse was to “let them flow and see what we could get done.” “Quinn [Vandiver] is the old man of the group, but he’s just getting better and better each year,” he said. “He’s honestly easy and efficient; it’s not that I was trying to go fast, but he’s just a quick horse. He covers the ground and is easy on himself. Whereas, with Quantum, who was pretty close to the time, every once in a while needs to be set up a little more. He’s a five-star horse in the making, without a doubt.”
Starr Witness, Doug’s 2019 Pan American Games (Peru) mount, is aiming at a CCI4*-L run at the Jersey Fresh International CCI4*-L (New Jersey) unlike the others, who are aimed at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event. “She’s a classy horse as well,” said Doug. “She just doesn’t have the base fitness that the other two do at the moment. Fitness is a little less urgent with her right now. We’ll see what we can do the rest of the season.”
Doug was one of numerous riders to take advantage of jump schooling opportunities under the lights in Tryon Stadium and dressage test of choice schooling. “I think it’s a great opportunity, and honestly, under-utilized,” he said. “You seldom ever get a chance to ride in an atmosphere that’s provided here, so to do that in a schooling environment is awesome. Hopefully that continues, because it was super valuable.
“Only at Tryon could you jump and event in the same weekend easily,” he said. “The footing [on cross-country] was excellent, I thought. It’s super helpful that they pulled the little jumps off last night. I can’t say enough [about the team here]. Tryon has done an excellent job here, and we look forward to coming back as often as we can. I’m really lucky to have this group of horses and the team behind us that makes it all happen. There’s certainly a lot going on, but it’s great.”
Lucienne Elms blazed around the White Oak cross-country course with Tremanton to maintain their lead in the CCI 3*-S division, finishing on a score of 28.9 for the win. Allison Springer and Crystal Crescent Moon grabbed reserve on a score of 29.3 after their double-clear cross-country run, while Tamie Smith and Solaguayre California kept their 30.8 score to receive third place.
Elms said the 9-year-old British Sport Horse mare felt confident and balanced, lending to a speedier ride than she had anticipated. “Genuinely, my plan was actually just to let her find a rhythm and then not hassle her out a bit, but I set off riding forward and actually, the way they built it, the course rewarded quite forward riding, I guess, and the combinations were built to sort of just keep moving. So she felt confident and balanced, and the ground was great. So I just kept the same rhythm, and when I got to the furthest part of the course, I saw that I was on a pretty good time at that point. Every time she landed, I kept her just moving forward; she’s got a lot of blood in her with a natural gallop. I rode carefully through the second water. That was a little bit big for her. And then she had loads of gallop left!
“That’s the joy of her having a full Thoroughbred dam: She can open up and dig deep when she needs to,” Elms emphasized. “But I’ll definitely now back off for a month or so to give her some time, but I’m really encouraged with that run. The course was brilliant; it was really educational, and there was a table on four strides to a corner on the way home. When they build like that, it’s lovely because it just prepares them for the next level. It’s just lovely education for the horses’ brains.”
Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way, the 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Mighty Magic—Straightaway) owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables, collected a win in the advanced, test A, division despite pulling two rails in show jumping and adding 16.4 time penalties after cross-country, finishing on a 52.2.
Faudree and “Mason” led the entire weekend in the division. “He’s a really cool horse,” said Faudree. “Everybody that knows me and him knows we’re basically like kindred spirits, like 3-year-old toddlers let loose in a candy store on a sugar high. The dressage is starting to come together, and there’s more there, which is really exciting. He’s a super jumper, and he’s really fun to ride on the cross-country and in the show jumping.”
Though pulling a few rails in the Tryon Stadium Saturday night didn’t cost them the win, Faudree mentioned that his horse’s extreme carefulness became a bit of a foil when shadows on the ground started to look like ground poles. “I felt a bit bad for him last night,” he said. “One rail, I could’ve given him a bit more room, but the next rail it was like he was trying to bounce the shadow rail in front of the jump. The lighting in the ring at the time, about an hour before sunset when he went, just made him a bit spooky. I felt a bit bad for him because he does not like to touch things! He was just superb on cross-country. It was a great track and a great venue to be at leading up to Kentucky in a couple weeks.”
Boyd Martin retained his one-two placing in the advanced, test B, division, with Long Island T taking over the lead after cross-country to finish on a score of 41.8 with the 15-year-old Oldenburg-Thoroughbred gelding owned by the Long Island T Syndicate. Luke 140 finished in reserve on a score of 42.7.
For full results, click here.