Payne Announces Vandiver's Retirement

Doug Payne announced the retirement of his Tokyo Olympic partner Vandiver from top-level competition.

Eventer Doug Payne said that his Tokyo Olympic partner, Vandiver, would keep galloping around top-level competitions as long as Payne kept asking. But last Saturday, as they made their way around the 2022 Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*-L, Payne said he knew it was time to stop asking.

Doug Payne Vandiver
Doug Payne and Vandiver at the 2022 Kentucky Three-Day Event, where Payne announced Vandiver’s retirement from top-level competition.
© Amy K. Dragoo

“I was always told at some point ‘You’ll know it’s time,’ and I think it’s our responsibility to make sure we look after them as best we can,” said Payne, who announced in Kentucky that the 18-year-old Trakehener would step down from top-level eventing. “Honestly, he’s given me more than I could ever have dreamed of. About a quarter of a way around cross country, I was like, ‘It’s time.’ He was not quite as sharp and quick. He tries and there were a number of galloping stretches where all of a sudden he’d kind of kick in again a little bit. He wants to do it. At some point though, it’s time for all of us, and I would never forgive myself if something went wrong.”

Quinn finished in 24th place in the Kentucky CCI5*-L. After dressage, he and Payne were in 11th place, with a score of 34.9. But they had a refusal at Fence 7C, a corner.

While Kentucky was “Quinn’s” last hurrah in the big leagues, he’ll still be doing what he loves. His groom, Courtney Carson, has always wanted to compete him, so she’ll take him to the Southern Pines Equine Associates War Horse Event Series, Payne said. This is an unrecognized series at the Carolina Horse Park in Raeford, North Carolina, in mid-July.

Carson, who regularly rides Quinn to condition him, will ride him in Preliminary at the horse park. After that, Payne, who owns Quinn along with his wife, Jessica, and Debi and Kevin Crowley, said they might consider leasing him to a Young Rider type because, “[Quinn] would not be happy at all standing still. He loves [eventing.]”

Doug Payne Vandive
Doug Payne and Vandiver
© Amy K. Dragoo

Debi Crowley bred Quinn (Windfall II x Visions of Grandeur). Payne said the horse was sent to him originally to be sold as a jumper. But he told the Crowleys that he thought Quinn was talented, so they struck up a partnership. “It went beyond all our expectations,” he said.

Payne and Quinn helped the U.S. team to sixth place in the Tokyo Olympics last year, and they were the highest-placed U.S. individual pair there, too. He has competed in six CCI5* competitions and placed fifth in Kentucky in 2019. They won the CCI4*-S at The Fork this year and last.

As for Quinn’s personality, Carson said in a recent interview about him: “He’s a very interesting creature. Everything’s kind of on his terms. If he wants to eat cookies or if he wants to eat at all … you kind of do everything his way. I have a little bit created this monster and I’m not ashamed to say it. He’s like my first and only child.

“Quinn’s getting more social, but the minute you go to pet him, he might be like, ‘Whoa, I’m not quite sure about that, actually.’”

Thanks for following along with Practical Horseman’s coverage of the 2022 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, and thank you to our sponsors, Kent Nutrition GroupMane ‘n Tail, and Cosequin®.