Megan vs. Stuart plus Doug

We’ll get around to the full story of how Megan Kaiser fared at Stuart Horse Trials in a hot minute, but first, Megan wants to introduce us to her new celebrity eventing friend, Doug Payne.Here’s an index of Megan’s previous “Megan vs. Stuart” entries:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Also, be sure to tune in to Thursday’s Eventing Radio Show for an interview with Megan about her adventures!

Top photo: Doug Payne and Lysander, who made his prelim debut at Stuart last weekend.

From Megan:

What a fun environment for a lowly Beginner Novice rider to spend several days. There were more supportive people at the show than you can imagine. I saw people whom I didn’t think they even knew what a horse was, let alone would go to an event and walk up and down hills in the blazing heat. Everywhere you went there were strangers telling you to have a good ride. A lovely lady let my 5-year-old pet her horse as they got ready to go stadium (and win their division, by the way–grays are now my daughter’s favorite because of this–go Kathleen and Sullivan!).

Three boarders from where I keep my horse where there (with me there , that’s two-thirds of the barn). Ninety-nine percent were the friendliest, loveliest people. The other one percent were too cool for school, but you will always get that and I believe that is a smaller proportion than in a lot of sports.  Through a former boyfriend that worked for ESPN I have meet more than my fair share of professional athletes and TV “talent.” And I would definitely have to say, with eventers you are far less likely to run into a professional whose first question concerns how good you are, or they’re fishing for a compliment, than from anyone I met from other sports.

Our geographic area has a relatively small community of regulars that participate in these things and there is no reason not to be friendly to the same people you see over and over. I’m not a professional who is going to steal your clients, so lighten up “think you are a big-wig” local trainer–maybe you are feeling a bit threatened because of the influx of professionals here this weekend? Maybe? OK, I am done with the rant and I promise that is the only one (but it had to be said).

Back to the 99-percent… and speaking of professionals that epitomize the meaning of the word professional: I stalked Doug Payne all weekend (I did send him an email and told him I was going to do this, so I think it’s not entirely stalking). He was kind and gracious to me every time I talked with him and this was also true when I had my 5-year-old daughter in tow and we invaded his area in stabling.

Doug has been a loyal participant at Stuart for years and is going places in this sport (actually, he already has been places) so he was the perfect person to talk with. He spoke of the great exposure to many things for all the levels at this event. A testament to this is that he chose here to move Lysander up to Prelim this past weekend. (Did I mention the 13-point-something they recently scored on a training test–is that score even possible?)

He introduced me to the horses he brought: Arbor Hill (4th in Open Novice), Lyansander (8th in Prelim B), Shining North Star (3rd Open Intermediate), and Running Order (2nd in the CIC**). They were all just stunning. I will admit I turned into a star struck 12-year-old for Running Order (if you haven’t seen this video of their four year partnership, you should–it’s really cool). You can tell they have a great relationship and they know each other so well. When Doug opened the stall door he came right up looking for an ear rub. This was Running Order’s first event since Rolex and they did just great–his sister beat him, but I’m all for girl power.

Doug is a smart man in how he handles horses (and people like me–and I have enough dignity to not call myself a stalker again). We chatted about his future hopes for his horses and career. He talked about how he didn’t want to push his horse and had been realistic about his chances in London. This, along with a degree in mechanical engineering from a high profile local technical college, proves how smart he is. I have a lot of respect for someone that chooses to not go crazy for a chance at something and rather take their time for a stronger showing down the line along with a happy and sound horse. Good man.

Running Order is 10 and in my humble opinion will be leading the team in 2016, no question about it. And you know when that happens I will have these pictures up in my office, taped to my car window, and posted all over Facebook. (By that time I will have finally joined even though it will be totally out of style, but you get the point–heck, I might join now just to post these).

There still are three or four syndicate shares left for Running Order–so jump on it if you are able! How cool would it be to have a small part in that!

And now that the show is over I will have more time to figure out how to convince my husband that it would be the best idea ever to buy in… he is a HUGE Springsteen fan so maybe there is hope for it after all.

Megan & Running Order


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