Double Duty for Doug Payne in Blue Ridge Mountain H.T. at TIEC Advanced Divisions

Doug Payne and Starr Witness. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Doug Payne has the Advanced divisions cornered at the Blue Ridge Mountain Horse Trials at TIEC presented by EquiSafe Global. Two first placed spots and one second place position makes him the man to beat after the first phase.

Doug grabbed the top two spots in the Test A section with his Pan American Games partner Starr Witness, the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Chello III VDL x Veneur) owned in partnership with Catherine Winter and Laurie McRee, receiving a 25.70. Quantum Leap, the 9-year-old Zweibrücker gelding (Quite Capitol x Corporate Report) owned by Doug and Jessica Payne, earned a 26.10 to slot just behind.

Doug Payne and Vandiver. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.He scored 23.10 with Vandiver, a 16-year-old Trakehner (Windfall II X Visions of Grandeur, by Mystic Replica xx) owned by Debi Crowley, Doug and his wife Jessica Payne, to top the Test B section.

In striking distance behind Payne, Whitney Mahloch (Ocala, FL) rode Military Mind, her own 14-year-old 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 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (VDL Tenerife x Hamlet) owned in partnership with Helen Coon, in the B section.

Doug has become a regular at Tryon in both the eventing and show jumping disciplines.  “We were planning to go to the AECs 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. 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.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

“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. 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,” he said.

This event was a strategic stop for Payne as he’s using it 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.”

The Advanced group picks up again tomorrow evening starting at 5:29 p.m. local for show jumping under the lights. For more information on how to watch ALL divisions live, click here.

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