Boyd Martin Steps Into the Lead After Show Jumping at Richland Park CIC3*

RELEASE: August 24, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: United States Eventing Association

Boyd Martin and Trading Aces land after the final show jumping fence after putting in one of only eight double clear rounds (Hannah Bennet/USEA)
Boyd Martin and Trading Aces land after the final show jumping fence after putting in one of only eight double clear rounds (Hannah Bennet/USEA)
Richland, MI - The weather gods were smiling on the CIC3* riders Friday afternoon at Richland Park as they took to the showjumping ring to tackle Mark Donovan’s proper three-star course. As inconvenient as the deluge was Thursday afternoon, it provided perfectly softened footing for the horses to spring off of Friday, and they needed every extra advantage they could get. Donovan set up a monster of a course for the second day of competition by using an unexpectedly large amount of related distances, meaning that if a rider missed once, they missed again… and again. Just eight out of the 46 horses managed to leave the ring without paint on their toes and escape the carnage.

One rail down for overnight leaders Ben and Phillip Dutton meant that Boyd Martin and horse Trading Aces, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Trading Aces LLC, were able to sneak into the lead by putting in a flawless double clear round. Overall, Boyd was pleased with his horse, who he says is quite strong in the show jumping phase.

“He’s a proper jumper- he’s probably the easiest horse to ride in the show jumping, so if you have a rail down, it’s usually rider error. He’s just a good, good jumper and to be honest I didn’t really do anything other than guide him around the track and he jumped it clear, so I was very happy with him.”

Boyd and Trading Aces put in a lovely test yesterday, despite having most of the summer off due to Boyd’s injured ankle. “

To be quite frank, the experts say it’s probably not going to feel as good as it should feel for a year,” Boyd said. “It’s good enough to jump around, but it’s far from perfect at the moment.”

However, even with Boyd not quite at his best, he and Trading Aces pulled out an extremely competitive score that put them very much in the hunt for a top spot on the leaderboard.

“I was thrilled with the horse in the dressage yesterday. He put in probably one of the better tests I had on him, but I still think there are probably 5 or 6 points there, both my changes were not confirmed. But overall I’m pleased with him, it was a cracking score and not far off the winner.”

Currently sitting in second after the show jumping is Phillip Dutton riding Team Rebecca’s Ben, a 12-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding. Phillip, who took three trips around the hefty show jumping course, echoed the sentiment of most riders, finding it to be a true 3* test. “It’s a tough course. It’s a fair course. It’s as hard as we’ve seen in a long time. You have to start off with a good rhythm and keep that all the way.”

Phillip finished in the lead yesterday after riding a stunning test that scored a 41.8, however, he found that the most important achievement of the day was the continued confirmation of consistency on the part of his horse. After placing in the top three of his last three three-stars, Ben is proving to be quite the performer at this level.  “The best thing is that he’s consistent now. He’s done well all spring. His reliability is good. If you time your warm-up right then you can get a really good score, but at the moment he’s reliable and I like that,” Phillip said.

Phillip was also aboard new mount Mr. Medicott this afternoon, but had a bit of a sticky jump over the oxer at fence three, leaving Phillip one stirrup short for the remainder of the course.  The two survived with two rails and a handful of time penalties to drop them from fifth to 31st, and Phillip humbly blamed the man at the helm. “He’s a superhorse, and I’ve just got to catch up to him a bit. I had the wrong bit on today. It’s been a bit rushed- ideally I’d like to spend a week or so at a horse show and just play around a bit and get used to him a little bit. It’s all right, I’m pleased with the dressage and we know he’s a great show jumper, so I’ve just got to get with him a little bit better.”

Sitting in third place is Michael Pollard riding Andrea Leatherman’s Mensa, a 15-year-old thoroughbred gelding. Yesterday Michael and Mensa put in a lovely test to score a 46.4, putting them into fourth place overnight, and were able to move up one spot after a nearly foot-perfect double-clear show jumping round.

Looking forward to the final day of competition, Phillip and Boyd both expressed their readiness to take on Ian Stark’s cross-country course Saturday morning. “I like the track, I think it’s big, and it’s sort of what we need at this time of year for anybody that’s thinking about going overseas, or even getting ready for Fair Hill,” Phillip said. “If [Ben] goes around tomorrow, if we go around tomorrow, he’s hopefully going to go to Blenheim.”

Boyd also will have future European goals in mind as he leaves the start box Saturday with Trading Aces. “I’m in a competitive spot, so I’m going to open him up a bit and have a crack at it. He’s had a pretty easy summer just because I’ve been out of action, so I think I’ll give him a good hard run and try to get him ripe for Boekelo in a couple of weeks.”

Check back Saturday evening for the final results for the CIC3* division at Richland Park Horse Trials, part of the Adequan USEA Gold Cup and Pro Tour Series.