Boyd Martin and Trading Aces Take Top Honors at Richland Park CIC3*

RELEASE: August 24, 2013

Boyd Martin and Trading Aces over the table at fence 19 (Hannah Bennet/USEA)
Boyd Martin and Trading Aces over the table at fence 19 (Hannah Bennet/USEA)
Richfield, MI
- All the action at the Richland Park Horse Trials CIC3* came to a roaring climax Saturday as the horses and riders galloped through the cornfields across Ian Stark’s massive cross-country test. Time was a major factor due to the twisting nature of the course, and not one pair was able to avoid the sting of time penalties.

This weekend was also a part of the exciting Adequan USEA Gold Up and PRO Tour series, meaning that all the riders that completed the CIC3* division at Richland Park will now be qualified for the finale at the American Eventing Championships, where they will battle it out for a chance at $40,000 in prize money.

Course designer Ian Stark set up a serious cross-country test for those brave enough to take it on, and it proved to be every bit what a 3* test should be. Several pairs had issues with a corner to keyhole to corner combination at the end of the course, which resulted in refusals and run-outs. “There were some disappointments here and there. There was a very hard combination at the end. I’d say the first-year horses went around it, which was correct, and then it was a bit of a fight,” said eventing team coach David O’Connor.

However, overall, David was thrilled with the performances he saw this weekend, and feels that all the work that he’s been doing with the U.S. team riders is paying off. “I think generally, the horses are in a better balance, I think people are playing around with things that are going to lead us into a really good place, so I’m actually really quite happy with a lot of it.”

Boyd Martin and Trading Aces LLC’s Trading Aces, a 9-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, were able to put in the fastest time of the day to hang on to their overnight lead, adding just 3.6 penalties to their score to finish the weekend on a 47.1.

Overall, Boyd said he was thrilled with the horse’s performance throughout the competition, and feels quite excited about the future. “I was elated with him to be honest. I definitely came here to try to have a crack at winning this thing, and in all three phases I wanted to go out and be competitive, which is not always the mindset. The footing was great hear, the horse was fit, and I’m really fired up to get him competitive for a full three-day,” Boyd said.

Boyd set out with a goal of jumping all the fences out of a consistent rhythm, and felt the horse was right there with him every step of the way. “I actually felt that I was jumping pretty much all the fences out of stride, which is something I couldn’t achieve at Kentucky. I felt I was a bit herky-jerky, stopping and starting.”

This weekend, Boyd was able to keep a steady pace from start to finish, which was no easy feat for such a winding course. “Even though I think I had the fastest time of the day, it wasn’t the highest speed I’ve ridden the horse, but less whoa-ing and going. I was pretty happy with the way I rode- I have to pat myself on the back. It’s hard because sometimes going fast means that you actually have to go a bit slower, but not slow down, so that’s what I was trying to do,” he said.

For several horse and rider combinations, including Boyd and Trading Aces, this weekend was a major stepping-stone toward bigger and bolder goals in Europe this fall. Eventing chef d’equipe David O’Connor commented that most of the time penalties throughout the day were due to the time of year, and the plans for the rest of the season. “This beginning [of the course], with the roll-back to the sunken road, you can’t really get going until you’re out in the middle of the field. The fastest time I think was 3.6 time penalties, which would be about right for someone that is having a good rhythm at it. Could he take the ten seconds off? Yeah. But in August? I mean, they’re all going to be competing in October, which is what we’re getting ready for.”

David was also thrilled with the performance of the winning combination. “In all three phases, I thought [Trading Aces] looked great. I thought his dressage was good, he’s very much working on the things we’ve been working on, and I thought it was a marked improvement. I thought he jumped beautifully yesterday, easily, and the same thing on cross-country. It was just business. Boyd’s in a good place with that horse and I think going over to Boekelo is the right line for that horse, so this was a perfect step for them.”