Olympic event horse bows out of top-level sport: ‘He’s meant so much to me and my career’

  • US Olympic event horse Vandiver will be retired from top-level competition after he showjumps in his final five-star at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event this afternoon.

    “It’s tough to put into words, ‘Quinn’ has meant so much to me and my career and our family – he’s given us more than any horse ever could,” said his rider Doug Payne yesterday.

    “We’re in bonus time. Going round today in Kentucky, he pulled up great and we’re going to showjump tomorrow, but I do think this’ll be his last competition at the top end.

    “We always try to look after them as best we can because frankly they are family for us, so he’s going to have a second career. Courtney [Carson, Doug’s barn manager and head groom] is going to take him into prelim, then we’ll probably look for a lease opportunity or whatever so he can continue eventing, because it is absolutely his love, but I’d certainly never forgive myself if something ever happened to him.”

    Vandiver jumped round Kentucky yesterday with 20 penalties at the final element of the Park Question (fence 7abc) and 17.2 time-faults. He sits in 27th place going into this afternoon’s showjumping.

    “He’s the ultimate trier and super genuine,” said Doug after his round yesterday.

    Vandiver is an 18-year-old Trakehner, owned by his breeder Debi Crowley and Doug and his wife Jessica. He is by Windfall 2, who won the modified five-star division at Kentucky in 2004, out of a mare by the thoroughbred Mystic Replica.

    He finished 16th at the Tokyo Olympics as a member of the sixth-placed American team. He has completed Kentucky three times previously, finishing fifth in 2019 and 12th in 2021. He has also won three times at four-star level.

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