Local equestrian riders looking for gold at Pan-American Games

AIKEN, SC -- The Pan-American Game officially began on Friday in Lima, Peru. The US Equestrian Eventing team hasn't made the trip to South America yet. The team and their horses finished their prep work Friday at Stable View Farms in Aiken. Local riders Boyd Martin and Doug Payne are part of the team and want to bring another Gold back to the states.

Martin is looking to win his second team gold medal at the Pan-Am Games. He won the team gold in Eventing during the 2015 Toronto Pan-Am Games. Martin has been instrumental in turning Stable View Farms into an elite training location for equestrian riders.The site boasts one of the complete training facilities in the world with a roofed dressage arena, cross country course (named for Martin), and show jumping field. Martin also spends the winters at the site.

Payne has called Aiken home for the last three years. He believes Aiken is the perfect training location and enjoys being in the US equestrian capital. Being able to train at Stable View Farms is another element that Payne doesn't take for granted.

"Having all of the events: The dressage, show jumping and cross country, really anything you'd want to see to try to best train the horses for the upcoming competitions," said Payne. "This is a wonderful place to do it."

The US team is favored to win gold once again this year. Martin is confident, but also acknowledges there is some added pressure as the favorite. He will also be working with a different horse than in the last games. The bond both rider and horse share is special as both learn to work with each other.

"It's a funny sport. It's the only Olympic discipline where you have an animal as your teammate." said Martin. "It takes years and years and years of training together and they're your training partner, your best friend sometimes. You know them inside-out."

Martin and Payne still have a few days before they go for gold in Eventing. Eventing begins on August first and runs through the fourth. The team needs to win gold or silver in order to qualify for the 2020 Olympics.