Your Guide to the 2023 $50,000 Grand-Prix Eventing Festival at Bruce’s Field

Boyd Martin and Fedarman B en route to the 2022 win. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

It’s nearly time to get this 2023 season kicked off in earnest! While we’ve been in the thick of late-winter competitions already, the $50,000 Grand-Prix Eventing Festival at Bruce’s Field, presented by Taylor Harris Insurance Services, seems to signify the buzz that accompanies the ramp-up of each eventing season.

Returning for the fifth year in 2023, the Grand-Prix Eventing festival features a competitive roster of horses and riders and an experience fit for both new and old eventing fans.

Eventing Nation is pleased to provide the media experience for this year’s Grand-Prix Eventing, and if you’re following along with us you’ll want to keep this article bookmarked as your hub of information. We’ll keep this page updated with links all weekend. For those unable to join us in Aiken, our friends at Horse & Country will provide a livestream of all three phases. Abby Powell will also be providing live updates for cross country on Saturday afternoon.

Information Links:

GPE Website

Entry List

Dressage Order of Go

Ride Times

Live Scores

Facility Map

H&C+ Livestream

Ride for Charity Public Vote

The Entries

Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Woods Baughman and C’est la Vie 135
15-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Contendro I – Anette, by Aarking xx)
Owned by Kim, James, and Woods Baughman

A Lexington, KY native, Woods Baughman packed his bags and went off to work for 5* rider Sharon White at the beginning of his upper-level eventing career. In the process, he found his current 5* partner, C’est la Vie 135 (“Contendro” in the barn), in Germany via Dirk Schrade. Woods recently struck out on his own to carve out a path as a budding professional. While Woods and Contendro have had to work hard at finding the rideability they need to communicate well enough to stay competitive at the 5* level, this pair is certainly one to watch as a potential to impress this weekend. If Woods can adjust his horse’s massive stride on Capt. Mark Phillips’ tight track on Saturday, their dressage marks may keep them in contention for some of the $50,000 prize pot. This pair was most recently sixth in the Advanced at Rocking Horse in early February.

Amanda Beale Clement and Carlson 119. Photo by Abby Powell.

Amanda Beale Clement and Carlson 119
13-year-old Brandenburg gelding (Camarque 3 – Palma, by Phantomic xx)
Owned by the Get Ready Syndicate

Amanda Beale Clement’s international eventing career began when she was 15, and she’s collected several Young Rider accolades along the way to becoming an Advanced rider. Carlson 119 has become a horse on which Amanda can pin her aspirations, becoming her second 4* horse and journeying with her to major events such as Morven Park’s 4*-L, and the USEF National 3*-L Championship at Maryland 5 Star. This pair will be out for redemption at Grand-Prix Eventing this year, having parted ways at the 2022 event.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Buck Davidson and Carlevo
16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Eurocommerce Caresino – Ramatuelle, by Levernois)
Owned by Katherine O’Brien

Carlevo is another horse on the entry list sourced through Germany’s Dirk Schrade, coming to Buck Davidson in time for the 2015 season having done some 2* and 3*-level eventing. Since then, he’s become a stalwart campaigner for Buck, and the pair most recently finished 12th at the 2022 Maryland 5 Star. They were also fifth at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2022. This is a pair who are well capable of putting down a competitive dressage mark, and if they can get up on the time come Saturday they could be one to threaten the top of the leaderboard and take home a chunk of the prize money.

Buck Davidson and Erroll Gobey. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Buck Davidson and Erroll Gobey
13-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cassini II – Ulla II, by Contender)
Owned by Cassie Segal, Lisa Darden and Natalie Sandler

Erroll Gobey has spent the vast majority of his FEI career under the tutelage of the very experienced Buck Davidson, who’s taken the gelding up from his first now-3* level events and eventually making his 5* debut in 2021 at Kentucky. Though he’s yet to notch his first 5* completion, he’s been a solid citizen for Buck in recent years, most recently finishing 10th at the Morven Park 4*-L last October. He also picked up a handy win in the Advanced at Rocking Horse in February. The tight, twisting track with a tough-to-beat time may prove challenging for this pair to stay competitive, but luckily Gobey’s got a good jockey in the irons who knows exactly how to put the pedal to the metal to give it all he’s got.

Mary Bess Davis and Imperio Magic. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Mary Bess Davis and Imperio Magic
9-year-old Anglo-European gelding (Cassander C – Khadija des Hayettes, by Banboula du Thot)
Owned by rider

This weekend presents a big test for one of the youngest horses in the Grand-Prix Eventing field. Imperio Magic has been carefully produced by Georgia-based Mary Bess Davis of Triple Creek Eventing, and he’s got an impeccable cross country record to show for this care. Mary Bess and Imperio Magic moved up to the Advanced/4* level in 2022, not once finishing outside of the top four in three starts at the level. This weekend will likely be a “teaching” weekend for this pair, who will tackle the 5* dressage test as well as a different type of cross country than they’re accustomed to seeing. However, don’t count this pair out as ones who could surprise us with a competitive finish if they can be quick enough across the country on Saturday.

Phillip Dutton and Azure. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Phillip Dutton and Azure
11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Omar – Cavalier Roselier, by Cavalier Royal)
Owned by Anne Moran, Caroline Moran and Michael Moran

Azure was one of the most exciting purchases by a U.S.-based rider in 2022, coming to Phillip Dutton’s barn from Irish rider Esib Power. With experience through the 4* level in Ireland, she makes a competitive addition to Phillip’s string as he looks to qualify horses for the upcoming Olympics in Paris. She’s only done a handful of FEI competitions with Phillip in the irons, but she was third in the USEF 4*-L National Championship at Tryon last fall. This weekend marks her first eventing competition of the new season, so we likely won’t see Phillip kicking for the win on Saturday. He’ll instead be looking to show this young mare some atmosphere, test her skills and training in the 5* dressage test, and give her an interesting challenge to gain some experience come cross country day.

Phillip Dutton and Z. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Phillip Dutton and Z
15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Asca Z – Bellabouche, by Babouche VH Gehucht Z)
Owned by Evie Dutton, Ann Jones, Suzanne Lacy, Caroline Moran, Tom Tierney, Patricia Vos and David Vos

Z came to Phillip Dutton having formerly been partnered with Portuguese rider Duarte Seabra, who rode the gelding in honor of his brother, Francisco, who passed away in a riding accident in 2015. Duarte made the difficult decision to sell Z as a future top event horse, wanting to focus on show jumping in his own career. Through Fernhill Sport Horses’ Carol Gee, the gelding found his way to Phillip and would go on to be his partner in the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (finishing 13th individually) as well as the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo (finishing 21st individually). This pair knows each other quite well, now in their eighth season together. Most recently, Z was fourth in the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in October of 2022. This is a horse we could expect Phillip to go for the gold on, though it may well come down to how quickly he can get around Saturday’s cross country.

Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Sydney Elliott and QC Diamantaire
13-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Diarado – Lantana, by Sandro Hit)
Owned by Carol Stephens

Fan favorite QC Diamantaire has become quite the world traveler with his longtime partner, Louisiana-based Sydney Elliott, having come into his own at the 4* level and earning a ticket to represent the U.S. at the CCIO4* FEI Nations Cup at Aachen as well as Boekelo in 2021. They’ve notched up a healthy amount of competitive results, finishing fifth individually at Boekelo and eighth overall in the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in 2022. Sydney has been partnered with Carol Stephens for many years, importing horses and producing young superstars together in an empathetic and intentional way, and those results really shine with “Q”. This pair competed in the Grand-Prix Eventing in 2022, finishing eighth overall and securing a rare clear cross country inside the time — can they match or even improve that placing this year?

Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way
12-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Mighty Magic – Straightaway, by Star Regent xx)
Owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables

Last weekend at Pine Top, I was sitting ringside with Ema Klugman watching the Advanced dressage. As Will Faudree trotted by on “Mason”, as Mama’s Magic Way is known at home, Ema remarked, “that’s the type of horse who could jump around any course in the world.” And to look at this striking Hanoverian gelding is to agree with that sentiment — he just looks like a classic event horse. He’s got three different 5* events under his belt at this point in his career: he was 14th in his debut at Kentucky in 2021, following that up with a top-25 finish at the Maryland 5 Star as well as a trip over the pond to compete at Badminton in 2022. This year, Mason has spent some time in the jumper ring with Will in prep for his eventing season, and he most recently won that very Advanced division at Pine Top last weekend (it was definitely the good juju from Ema, at least in part!). This weekend will be just a combined test (dressage and show jumping) for Mason, who is aimed at Kentucky’s 5* in April. For his part, Will is getting back to the swing of things after breaking his foot last season and spending much of the off-season healing.

Will Faudree and PFun. Photo by Abby Powell.

Will Faudree and PFun
16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Tadmus – Celerina, by Cento)
Owned by Jennifer Mosing and Sterling Silver Stables

Pfun is a veteran at the top levels of the sport as he enters his 16th year and 10th season of FEI eventing. Pfun has also enjoyed his fair share of big tracks in his time with Will, including three trips around the Kentucky 5*. In 2019, the pair traveled to Ireland and finished fifth in the tough 4*-L at Millstreet. This year, Will plans to focus primarily on 4*-S events instead of aiming for another 5*, he told The Chronicle of the Horse.

Heather Gillette and Vincent Chase. Photo by Alleyn Evans for Shannon Brinkman Photography.

William Fox-Pitt and Vincent Chase
11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Value Plus – Her Entourage, by Elusive Quality)
Owned by rider

A very special treat awaits this weekend as British Olympian and 5* winner William Fox-Pitt returns to compete at Grand-Prix Eventing once more, this time partnering up with Heather Gillette’s Vincent Chase. Heather has produced “Vinnie” herself since he came off the track, moving up to the Advanced and 4* level in 2022. Heather volunteered Vinnie as William’s teammate this weekend, and they’ve spent the last few days getting to know one another in Ocala. Vinnie’s dressage marks won’t threaten the top of the board on Friday morning, but he’s a keen jumper who’s eager to do the job. If William can put the gas pedal down, he could leap up in the standings with two clear jumping rounds. Meanwhile, Heather — a 5* rider in her own right — gets to play nervous owner/mom/groom this weekend, so if you see her, maybe give her a cookie.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Deniro Z
15-year-old KWPN gelding (Zapatero – Zonne-Trend, by French Buffet xx)
Owned by Ocala Horse Properties

Here’s our first former winner of Grand-Prix Eventing — this pair won the 2020 edition of the event and remain a real threat to take a second win this weekend with a strong performance. Deniro Z has been with Liz since the beginning of his FEI career in 2015 and has been a real competitor for the former racecar driver/current adrenaline junkie. After rehabbing from a hoof injury that kept him out of the Tokyo Olympics, Deniro Z returned to competition in the spring of last year, finishing the year with a second place in the 4*-L National Championship at Tryon. This weekend will be Deniro’s first eventing competition of the season, and if we know Liz, she’ll be testing her chops to go for a competitive finish.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Quicksilver
12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Womanizer – Kylemore Crystal, by Creggan Diamond)
Owned by The Monster Partnership

Cooley Quicksilver has proven himself to be a tough competitor for Liz Halliday-Sharp, who has produced him through his entire international career. She knows this gelding well, often remarking about how much he’s come up and progressed from his “over-cooked noodle” days, when she found him in a small dealers’ yard in Ireland. Purchased as a project, he grew into his own and put any and all doubts to rest when he finished seventh at the FEI WBFSH Young Horse World Breeding Championships at Le Lion d’Angers as a seven-year-old. “Monster” has now completed three 5* events and could prove to be just as competitive this weekend if Liz decides it’s his weekend to go for the gold.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Liz Halliday-Sharp and Miks Master C
11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding (Mighty Magic – Qui Luma CBF, by Flyinge Quite Easy 958)
Owned by Debbie Palmer and Ocala Horse Properties

Miks Master C is one of the newer additions to Liz’s string, joining her in 2022 and picking up a slew of competitive results (how does three consecutive FEI wins sound? Pretty good, eh?) in the earliest days of their partnership. Liz teamed up with Miks Master C to represent the U.S. at Boekelo last fall, finishing fifth individually. This is a supremely exciting horse for Liz to have in her pocket, especially with an eye on next year’s Olympics. He’s competitive across all three phases and is well capabable of a leading dressage mark on his day to set the tone. Keep your eyes on this one this weekend!

Emily Hamel and Corvett. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Emily Hamel and Corvett
16-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Corrido – Tina XII, by Clearway)
Owned by Black Flag Option LLC

It’s everyone’s favorite jumping bean, “Barry”! Corvett is one of the most exuberant jumpers you’ll see in this sport, always making sure to clear even the biggest 5* fences by a healthy margin. Despite this, he’s quite nimble and light on his feet, though the hang time does add a bit of time on the clock come cross country day. This has been Emily’s first 5* horse, and they’ve done quite well to see the sights together: they’ve competed at Kentucky, Maryland, Badminton, and Burghley. Perhaps we should add a certain German and a certain French (and heck, a certain Australian) 5* to that list! Get your cameras out while this pair jumps around on Saturday — you won’t be disappointed.

Lillian Heard & Dassett Olympus. Photo by Abby Powell.

Lillian Heard Wood and Dassett Olympus
10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Lancelot – Cushlamochree, by Cruising)
Owned by rider

Another younger horse in the field, Dassett Olympus is entering his 10-year-old season ready to compete, having already picked up several top results in 2022. He represented the U.S. at Bromont last summer, finishing fourth individually, and was in the top 10 at the Morven Park 4*-L later in the year. This is an exciting rising star for Lillian, who knows a thing or two about producing a 5* horse (she brought two to her own debut at the level, for starters!). She’s also got her more seasoned horse, LCC Barnaby, with her this weekend, giving her double the chances to put those quick-riding cross country skills to the test for a strong finish.

Lillian Heard and LCC Barnaby. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Lillian Heard Wood and LCC Barnaby
17-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Guy Cavalier – Lady Tanjour, by Rafael)
Owned by rider

Another very experienced horse in the field, LCC Barnaby brings seven 5* completions to the table this weekend, having traveled the world with longtime rider Lillian. They were most recently 11th at Maryland last fall, where Lillian told us he’s felt better and better as he’s gotten older, allowing her to ride him more efficiently and lower his dressage marks in the process. He’s historically not been the most rideable horse across the country but once more, Lillian credits time and experience with him understanding the task at hand better each year. At 17, Barnaby is an older guy, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him — he’s still got energy and spring to spare!

Erin Sylvester and Campground. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Erin Kanara and Campground
16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Forest Camp – Kneel)
Owned by Marnie Kelly

The cutest (okay, one of the cutest) elements of Campground’s story is the fact that when he isn’t out jumping around 5* events with Erin Kanara, he can be found gallivanting about with owner Marnie Kelly. Marnie is one of those incredible owners who just loves to see her horses doing what they love, and once she figured out that Campground wanted to be a superstar she handed the reins to Erin to produce him up the levels. They made their 5* debut together at Maryland last fall, finishing 15th overall and solidifying the off-track Thoroughbred gelding’s status as a true-blue event horse. Erin is another speed queen on cross country, and she’s seen some big tracks in her career. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Erin open the throttle come Saturday to go for a strong finish.

Sara Kozumplik and Rubens D’Ysieux. Photo by Abby Powell.

Sara Kozumplik and Rubens D’ysieux
18-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Balougran – Orenda D’Ysieux, by Mr Blue)
Owned by the Rubens D’Ysieux Syndicate LLC

A true unicorn exists among us, folks. At least, that’s what we like to call Rubens D’Ysieux, whose easily recognizable coloring makes him a fan favorite and whose jumping skills have earned him more than a few prizes in the jumper ring, to boot. Sara has primarily focused on short-format events with Rubens as he’s gotten older, an avenue he seems to relish. They wrapped up their 2022 season with a third place finish at the TerraNova 4*-S and are certainly a pair to watch this weekend. They’re capable of delivering a sub-30 dressage mark, and if they can also lay down two clear jumping rounds they could find themselves in that prize pot when the dust settles.

Dan Kreitl and Carmango. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Dan Kreitl and Carmango
10-year-old Westphalian gelding (Chirivell – Taramanga, by Templer GL xx)
Owned by Kay Dixon

Everyone loves a good amateur story, and you need not look further than Indiana native Dan Kreitl for a great one. Dan doesn’t keep a ton of horses in his string — Carmango is his top horse at the moment — but he’s made the most of it, even winning the USEF 4*-L National Championship in 2022. Dan’s wife, Alyssa, has battled a rare form of cancer for the past few years, and the couple also have two children at home in addition to a college housing rental business that keeps them busy. It’s one of those “make it work with what you can” situations, and Dan’s lucky to have the support of longtime owner Kay Dixon, who can even be found in the barn helping out with chores from time to time. It’s a true family affair, and the successes couldn’t have come to a nicer guy. Dan can typically be found at events wearing his signature green and with his Great Dane, Dwight, in tow, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him without a big smile on his face, happy to be out with his much-loved horses experiencing the sport that keeps him grounded. This pair will lay down a competitive dressage mark, though show jumping has been more their nemesis. If they can leave the poles up Friday, they would be one to watch to grab a top finish here this weekend.

Sarah Kuhn and Mr. Cash van de Start. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Sarah Kuhn and Mr. Cash van de Start
11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Deauville Van T L – Ishtar Van de Start, by Toulon)
Owned by Deborah Kuhn

This will be the second full season at the Advanced and 4* level for Mr. Cash van de Start and local rider Sarah Kuhn. This pair has been together since Mr. Cash was five, and he’s become her first 4* horse now with multiple finishes at both Long and Short format events. They capped off 2022 with a 10th place finish in the 4*-L National Championship at Tryon and have gotten off to a light start in 2023 with a couple of Intermediate starts. This pair has a great cross country record, though time might keep them from climbing too far up the board on Saturday. Nonetheless, the weekend offers great opportunity to get some 5* practice and acclimate to some heightened atmosphere.

Kendal Lehari and Audacious. Photo by Sally Spickard.

Kendal Lehari and Audacious
10-year-old Oldenburg/Thoroughbred gelding (Iron Man – Meagan’s Mayflower)
Owned by rider

Canadian rider Kendal Lehari has an exciting prospect for this year’s Pan American Games and potentially the Paris Olympics in the 10-year-old Audacious, who got his first taste of the Advanced level in 2022. Kendal has become a well-respected producer of event horses, bringing 13 along from unbroken or unproven to become international eventers. Audacious was purchased as a three-year-old, a part of Kendal’s program since the beginning of his career. This pair also competes in the show jumping arena when they aren’t out eventing. This weekend will likely be an educational focus for Kendal, who will be keen to get her rising star in front of some crowds in anticipation of bigger things yet to come.

Shannon Lilley and Ideal HX. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Shannon Lilley and Ideal HX
10-year-old KWPN gelding (Vittorio – Elocia, by Ustinov)
Owned by Shannon and Alex Lilley

Californian-turned-East Coaster Shannon Lilley is another rider who’s earned herself a reputation as a producer of horses and has also represented the U.S. internationally at the Pan American Games. Ideal HX is the top horse in Shannon’s string, coming her way via breeder Stal Hendrix as well as Caroline Martin’s sales program. They first began competing at the 4* level in 2022, capping off the year with a top-15 finish at Morven Park’s 4*-L. Most recently, this pair was fourth in the Advanced at Rocking Horse.

Colleen Loach and Vermont. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Colleen Loach and Vermont
11-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Van Helsing – Hauptstutbuch Hollywood, by Heraldik xx)
Owned by Peter Barry

Canada is well-represented this weekend, adding Olympic rider Colleen Loach to the mix with her two top horses, Vermont and FE Golden Eye. Originally selected to travel to Italy for the FEI World Championships for Eventing in 2022, Colleen withdrew Vermont from the event due to a minor setback, but the pair is back and ready to get to it here in 2023. Colleen galloped to two top-five finishes at Grand-Prix Eventing in 2023, and we’ll look for her to do the same or even improve on those placings this year.

Colleen Loach and FE Golden Eye (CAN). Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Colleen Loach and FE Golden Eye
11-year-old Hanoverian gelding (Goldfever 3 – Cascade, by Contendro I)
Owned by Peter Barry, Amanda Bernhard and rider

Also quite the powerhouse in the show jumping arena, FE Golden Eye is a horse of many talents who we’ll likely see making the step up to the 5* level before too long. This was Colleen’s Pan American Games partner in 2019, and they’ve also represented Canada in Nations Cup competition. They were sixth in the very tough Lexington 4*-S at LRK3DE last spring and finished off their season with some jumper shows. “Monty” moved up from 16th to finish 7th last year at this event thanks to two clear jumping rounds. Can they do it again this year?

Boyd Martin and Fedarman B en route to the 2022 GPE win. Photo by Christine Quinn Photography.

Boyd Martin and Fedarman B
13-year-old KWPN gelding (Eurocommerce Washington – Paulien B, by Fedor)
Owned by the Annie Goodwin Syndicate

Our 2022 Grand-Prix Eventing winner needs little introduction. Boyd Martin took home an emotional win with Fedarman B, who he rides in honor of the late Annie Goodwin. Since taking the reins, Boyd has collected multiple top finishes with “Bruno”, who exudes a natural ability and generally affable demeanor that makes him a quality partner. It’s a bittersweet scenario for all involved, and there wasn’t a dry eye to be found when Boyd secured the win last year. This is a highly competitive pair who would also be one to tap for the upcoming Olympics, and it won’t be surprising if they manage to repeat their victory this year.

Boyd & Luke 140. Photo by Kim Miller.

Boyd Martin and Luke 140

12-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Landos – Omega VI, by Limbus)

 Owned by the The Luke 140 Syndicate 

Where Fedarman B might be described as “affable”, stablemate Luke 140 might be described more as…not the most chill horse in the barn. He’s a freakish talent who came to Boyd’s program in 2019, and he was originally selected to be Boyd’s horse for the Tokyo Olympics before sustaining a minor injury that saw Tsetserleg step up to fill in. When he’s not trying to buck Boyd off, he’s quite the athlete who’s picked up three FEI wins to date. He had a light competition year in 2022, but Boyd will be aiming the 12-year-old gelding for a spring 5* event and will use this weekend to open up the pipes in prep for bigger goals.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF. Photo by Shannon Brinkman Photography.

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg
16-year-old Trakehner gelding (Windfall II – Thabana, by Buddenbrock)
Owned by Christine, Thomas and Tommie Turner

Boyd’s Tokyo and FEI World Championships partner is back in action this year and stands as a positive threat to take the win from stablemate Fedarman B. “Thomas” is the little horse that could, one of those horses that might be unassuming at first but seems to grow a few inches taller when faced with a beefy cross country track. He and Boyd know each other quite well at this point in their lengthy tenure together, and this partnership has served them well with countless top finishes in both National and FEI competition. Show jumping would be the only “weak” link in the 16-year-old U.S.-bred’s repertoire, but Boyd works diligtently with coach Peter Wylde to coax the best possible results out of Thomas.

Doug Payne and Starr Witness. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Doug Payne and Starr Witness
12-year-old KWPN mare (Chello III VDL – Carmen, by Veneur)
Owned by Laurie McRee, Catherine Winter and Doug Payne

The “Ginja Ninja” is back in action for 2023 after having a light 2022 and a winter spent honing the 12-year-old mare’s already-stunning dressage. This pair finished sixth in the USEF National 4*-L Championship at Tryon last fall to finish their year strong. Doug says Starr Witness would definitely be a supermodel if she were human (we agree!), and she actually got her start in the hunter ring before switching to eventing. This mare can throw down in the first phase, and she loves the challenge of cross country. If this pair can make the time, and if Doug decides it’s the right time to go for the win, we could be in for an exciting finish come Saturday.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap. Photo by Tilly Berendt.

Doug Payne and Quantum Leap
12-year-old DSP gelding (Quite Capitol – Report to Sloopy, by Corporate Report)
Owned by Doug and Jess Payne

The reigning USEF National 5* Champion, Quantum Leap, has stepped up wonderfully to fill the horseshoes of stablemate and Olympic veteran Vandiver, who was retired following Kentucky last year. Affectionately known as “Baby Quantum” for most of his younger years, you can’t quite use that name these days as the gelding has notched four 5*s to date, only finishing outside of the top 10 once. Quantum Leap also turned in his first sub-30 dressage mark at the 5* level at Maryland last fall, and he stands to be a serious contender for some prize money this weekend — especially if Doug decides to be bold with his line choices on cross country.

Doug Payne and Camarillo. Photo by Shelby Allen.

Doug Payne and Camarillo
9-year-old DSP gelding (Chicardo – Rehobeth, by Riverman)
Owned by Patrice Jennings-Rado and rider

“Carl” is a relative newcomer to the 4* level, having moved up to his first 4* competitions in 2022. As he’s matured, he’s gotten more rideable and stands to be another competitive horse for Doug’s Pan American and Olympic bid. He’s got some improvement to make on the flat (as young horses go), but he’s shown greater strength and abilities as his career has progressed. This weekend will be an experience-building one for this gelding, who’ll be taking on the 5* test for the first time. Doug has three chances at a share of the $50,000 prize, and we’ll likely see him go for it more with his other two, more experienced horses rather than Camarillo.

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights. Photo by Abby Powell.

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights
17-year-old Thoroughbred cross gelding (BFF Incognito – Let’s Get It Right)
Owned by rider

Colleen Rutledge and Covert Rights can always be marked in the program as a fan favorite, and they make their return to Grand-Prix Eventing as they prep for their spring destinations. They last competed at Bromont’s Nations Cup leg, where they finished in the top 15 overall. Most eventing fans know that Covert Rights has a good amount of Clydesdale in his breeding — a fascinating tidbit that makes him quite the attraction!

Ryan Wood and Cooley Flight. Photo by Abby Powell.

Ryan Wood and Cooley Flight
11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Pot Blue – Making Moments, by Laughton’s Flight)
Owned by Linda Ledray and rider

Australian rider Ryan Wood has been partnered with the 11-year-old Cooley Flight for his entire FEI career, stepping up to the 4* event last year. They were fifth in the Morven Park 4*-L last fall. This weekend will also be an educational one for this pair, but they’re a good pair across the country and should make for a fun ride to watch on Saturday.

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