North Alabama horse prepares for Olympics

Elkmont native Vandiver the oldest colt on US Eventing team
Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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ELKMONT, Ala. (WAFF) - Cotton Meadows Farm in Elkmont, Alabama is home to an Olympic athlete. Vandiver, or his barn name, will compete for the US on the Equestrian team. Owners Debi and Kevin Crowley will travel to Tokyo Vandiver’s events.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” Owner Debi Crowley said. “I can’t even believe this is happening. It’s really surreal.”

Vandiver has an Olympic lineage. Quinn is a home-bred Trakehner gelding by Windfall, who was an Olympic bronze medal winner on the US Eventing Team back in 2004. Quinn is the oldest on the US Eventing team, at age 17. Top horses usually reach their peak at age 12. 18 is typically the oldest a horse will compete.

“It is a years-long process,” Crowley added. “It starts in the very beginning. The basics are the basics. And you kind of, as the horses grow up and your training, and you figure out which ones have more talent than the others, and it’s really then about finding a rider that can continue to produce what that horse is capable of. They found that type of rider in Doug Payne. Payne is the co-owner of Quinn, and together they have finished high in numerous competitions, but more importantly, it’s grown into more of a true partnership.”

Eventing will start on July 30th in Tokyo, and will wrap up on August second. Quinn’s brother, Nigel, will hold down the barn until he returns home, hopefully with an Olympic medal.

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