Thoroughbred racehorses that go on to second careers are unique in that they have two retirements in their lifetimes: the first from the track and the second from the show ring. Thoroughbred Legends seeks to honor off-track Thoroughbreds that went on to accomplish great things as upper-level eventers and now enjoy a second retirement in their golden years. If you know of a great Thoroughbred for this series, email [email protected].
In 1996, a small bay Thoroughbred gelding was born in Australia, destined for racehorse fame. Dubbed Glenfidditch (Vain Karioi x Test Bat, by Double Century), he only raced seven times before it became apparent that he was going to find his niche in some other sport. The details of his retirement from racing are largely unknown, but he was imported to the United States in 2003 to become an eventing star.
Jessica Payne (nee Hampf) was searching for a horse to help her learn the ropes of upper-level competition, thinking that it would be reasonable to look for a horse with at least CCI2* potential. Working with Mike and Emma Winter at the time, she found “Trevor” at Ruthie Harbison’s farm, where he was for sale. He had been renamed High Society III, although Jess wishes that his original racing name had been saved. “My father, Carl, changed one of his horse’s names to Macallan because it’s his favorite Scotch,” says Jess, “So it was only fitting that Trevor was part of our family, starting with the name Glenfidditch, which is a popular scotch.”
Topping out at 15.3 hands and with a slightly unconventional jumping style, nobody really expected Trevor to become a CCI4* horse. Dressage was always a little bit of a struggle for him, but he was by far one of the best cross-country horses she ever competed, she said. “He was the perfect event horse for me. I grew up as a hunter/jumper rider, and Trevor taught me to love cross country,” says Jess. “He is probably the bravest horse I will ever be able to ride!”
Trevor is a total ham on the ground, loving all the attention he can get. He has been known to take naps with Jess’ 3-pound chihuahua, Nolin, as well as give pony rides to Doug’s dog, Bacon. He is known for his ability to take all of his clothes off in the field, and for the fact that he was practically impossible to catch!
Together, Jess and Trevor competed at the Advanced level for six years, never missing an event due to soundness problems. They competed overseas at Blenheim and completed Rolex Kentucky three years in a row. “I can only hope to find another horse as tough as him in the future. He was always such a good jumper and always willing to go,” she said. “He never backed off a fence; while everybody else was walking cross country at Rolex thinking, ‘Oh, I really have to ride at that’, I was thinking ‘Oh, I really need to wait to that!'”
After completing Rolex in 2012 for the third time and continuing to Bromont to try for a spot on the Canadian team, Jess tried her hand at show jumping for a while. Trevor was still sound and loving life. In the spring of 2013, one of Doug’s owners, Wendy Luce, began taking a few lessons on Trevor, as she had moved from the hunter world into the eventing world. He now competes at the lower levels of eventing with Wendy, as well as hunter derbies, taking very good care of Wendy the whole time.
“Trevor was the perfect horse for me to learn about eventing at the upper levels,” Jess said. “He taught me the importance of having a really good jumper and one that will be able to take care of their rider. He has given me such a great standard of what I should look for in my future event horses.”