10 Questions with… Boyd Martin!

Boyd Martin. Photo by Mike McNally.

March 04 2011 – Lexington, KY – Welcome to the first of many features profiling various people in equestrian sport – athletes, trainers and more. The profiles will be published regularly in the United States Equestrian Federation’s Week in Review e-newsletter. Is there someone you would like to know more about? Email “10 Questions With” editor Stephanie Doyle at news@usef.org. Then, stay tuned to USEF’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/usequestrianfederation) where you can submit your questions.

Up first – meet superstar eventer Boyd Martin. This Australian native relocated to the United States in 2007 to pursue his dreams of international eventing competition. He and his wife Silva, a Grand Prix dressage rider originally from Germany who now rides for the U.S., operate Windurra USA out of Phillip Dutton’s True Prospect Farm. Now riding for the U.S., Boyd, who has dual citizenship, was the top-finishing American individual and a member of the 4th-placed Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, KY.

Martin Boyd – 10 fun facts:

Nickname: The Maestro
Favorite food: Waffles from Waffle House
Favorite city: Philadelphia
Role model: Boxer Manny Pacquiao
Favorite beverage: Dunkin’ Donuts French vanilla cafe latte
Favorite horse: The Flying Doctor, my first horse, my Pony Club horse
Favorite actor: Kevin Spacey
Favorite movie: “Rocky II”
Vice: Caffeine
Dislike: People who come up with pathetic excuses for not being able to do something

And here are 10 questions some USEF Facebook fans want to know:

1. Katie Donnelly of New Jersey, Emilee Herbert of Maryland, Rebecca Lux of South Carolina and Amy Miller of Rocky Point Farm in Springfield, OH: When buying a new horse, what do you look for?

Boyd: The breed doesn’t fuss me too much. The biggest quality I like is athleticism. The horse has to be able to gallop and jump in eventing. I’ve had the most luck with Thoroughbreds but sometimes it’s a little bit of struggle with the dressage. It’s a balancing act to find a good galloping horse but also a good dressage horse.

2. Cynthia D. Alexander Garrett, Texas: How do you get ready for an event – mentally/physically?

Boyd: I try to keep myself very fit. And then mentally, the biggest thing is to be focused and also stay relaxed.

3. Shannon Marie Crane, Delaware, and Rhainnon Truax, Kansas – How did you start your career and what hooked you on eventing?:

Boyd: I grew up in Sydney, Australia, and went to Pony Club. Basically right from a young age it was obvious I wasn’t going to be an accountant or a brain surgeon. My family is very sports-oriented. The day I finished high school was the day I turned into a working student. I worked for Heath Ryan and had eight years of hard labor learning the work of eventing. Note: Heath has been three-times Assistant Coach for the Australian Olympic Eventing team.

4. Elena Nuila, Utah: What is the difference between Australian and U.S. events?

Boyd: At the Australian events, no one stays in hotels. Everyone camps there for the weekend. Australian courses are more challenging. They are not as well-built as the American events, they are not as safe.

5. Sarah Yeomans, Australia via Singapore: What are the main differences you’ve found in the training of event horses and riders between Australia and the U.S.?

Boyd: U.S. riders are much more trained as young riders by good coaching, where the Australian riders definitely don’t have much formal training. They go by feel and balance and hold on and hope for the best and learn from experience. The quality of horses generally is a little bit less in Australia which sometimes encourages different styles of riding.

6. Katie Foley Furgle, Virginia: How does your typical day usually start out?

Boyd: There is no day off. I work seven days a week. I usually try and start work at the farm at 7 a.m. I have a lot off horses in work, basically concentrating on training them, and helping some of the riders that are working for me. Basically I get quite obsessed with the training regime of all the horses no matter what their levels.

7. Horse N Pony Online, Florida: Have you considered getting the Olympic rings as a tattoo?

Boyd: Absolutely. If make the London Olympics, the next day I’ll be getting them.

8. Lynsey Steinberg, Augusta, GA: What is one thing you would like to see changed in the eventing world?

Boyd: I would like to see the sport of eventing be more accommodating to the treatment of the owners of American horses on all levels. Without owners in America, professional riders are dead meat. I would love to see the American eventing community come up with ideas to give these wonderful people the royal treatment.

9. Trella McMahon, Texas: Which has been your favorite or most challenging course/event and horse over the years?

Boyd: The most challenging horse was a horse called Extreme whose nickname was Skippy because he hopped around like a kangaroo. He was a 15.1 horse that I rode that was not quite right in the head. The most challenging course was the Pau CCI four-star where I rode Remington. It was relentless course with a question after question. It saw the best riders in the world struggle.

10. Patti Wills, Orlando, FL: Do you ever get nervous before a particular competition?

Boyd: Absolutely. But I’ve found ways to deal and welcome the feeling of being terrified. Understanding that pressure is a privilege. By you putting yourself out there … you allow yourself to feel the pillar of success and anguish of failure. The alternative is to sit at home and watch TV and get fat.

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