My BE Life: Hector Payne

My BE Life: Hector Payne

International rider Hector Payne shares his proudest moments, including his podium finish at Pau in 2022

How did you get into eventing?

I grew up riding and was involved in all Pony Club activities with the Puckeridge Hunt Pony Club, including lots of hunting and tetrathlon. My love for eventing probably came through my grandparents, Judy and Jeremy Skinner, who founded the EHOA and were Pitt. As a 10 year old, I watched William ride Ballincoola at South of England and decided I wanted to be a professional event rider.

What’s been your highlight so far?

Finishing third at Pau 5* with Dynasty in 2022. I’d hoped for a top 10 finish and didn’t expect to finish on the podium! It was a result Dynasty deserved. He’s not the fastest galloper, but he could jump the moon and probably would if I asked him. I have always said if there was 6* cross country he would want to do it!

What do you love most about the sport?

One of the things that makes our sport special has to be the fine margins involved, whether it be a late flying change in the dressage or a couple of seconds over the time on the cross country. And all the people you meet and the incredible venues you travel to – the eventing community is one of a kind!

My proudest moment was…

After I broke my femur in May 2021 it wasn’t an easy season and it was a very long road to recovery, so jumping a clear round in cross country at Badminton the next year has to be my proudest moment. Watching the cross country that Saturday morning, probably the toughest day we have had in the sport for many years, made me more nervous than I have ever been.

My favourite saying is…

One that has stuck with me is ‘by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail’. I’m sure every event rider can think of at least one instance where they know they could have been better prepared.

The best tip I’ve been given is…

It’s from Ian and Heidi Woodhead and is to always be black and white when training horses. Horses don’t understand grey and so we need to be clear about what we are asking. It’s our responsibility to have a system in place that allows us to ask the horse the same question the same way each time.