Tag Archives: Boyd Martin

Boyd Martin Repeats Victory at $75,000 Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase

Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery. ©SusanJStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – February 6, 2016 – Boyd Martin (USA) piloted new mount Blackfoot Mystery to victory in the $75,000 Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, held at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and produced by Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP). Martin bested a class of 35 entries with a final score of 30.60. Colleen Rutledge (USA) and Covert Rights finished in second place with a 31.00, while Daniel Jocelyn (NZL) rode catch-ride Devil Munchkin to third with a score of 32.30.

The 2016 event proved to be the most successful yet, as a large crowd of spectators and fans packed the Global Pavilion and lined the fences of the polo and derby fields used to host cross-country competition. Martin and Blackfoot Mystery, owned by the Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate, jumped to an early lead after going clear in the show jumping phase around the difficult track set by Richard Jeffrey. They then continued fault-free on cross country to earn a double clear effort. The cross country track was designed by Captain Mark Phillips and was built by Eric Bull of ETB Equine Construction.

“This year was a much more competitive field, and it was definitely of a higher standard. The course was a bit tougher, and it was harder to win this year than last year. By saying that, I knew this horse I had, Blackfoot Mystery, had a good chance,” said Martin. “We’ve just purchased him thanks to a group of supporters and this is the first time a few of the owners have come to see him. [There are] not many better ways to impress our owners than to bring them to Wellington in this beautiful marquee and have this horse win. I was very pleased on all levels.”

Blackfoot Mystery, a 2004 Thoroughbred gelding (Out of Place x True Mystery), has come into his own with the experienced Martin. The pair was only one of eight clear efforts (no jumping or time faults) in the stadium round, which has been an aspect of training Martin has focused on since acquiring the talented gelding in July.

Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery in the show jumping portion of competition. ©SusanJStickle.com
Boyd Martin and Blackfoot Mystery in the show jumping portion of competition. ©SusanJStickle.com

“At the moment it looks very promising and this horse has a great future,” said Martin. “The ding in this horse when we bought him was his show jumping and I’ve been working very closely with an English show jumping trainer named Richard Pickett. He’s gone well above the call of duty and has been studying the horse’s videos and making trips to Pennsylvania and Aiken, SC to help us. We changed his canter around a bit, just a few little things, but I think we started to see more improvement in the show jumping. He’s careful, but we’re working on getting that blend between confidence and carefulness too in the ring. I’d like to keep on this path. The horse has a wonderful jump, and it’s more about keeping him in the right balance.”

The event, which saw four different nations represented, offered new owners and fans the opportunity to experience the third equestrian Olympic discipline at PBIEC. Martin, who thrives in pressure situations, rose to the occasion once again and found himself crossing the finish with a double clear round in hand, ultimately securing his second victory.

Martin said, “I’ve got a lot of respect for (ESP CEO) Mark Bellissimo, and I think we’ve got a similar personality. His ideas are out of this world, which I love. Wellington is a place for the Olympic disciplines, except for eventers, until this (competition), and I think he’s got the sport we love in front of a lot more people.”

Colleen Rutledge and her impressive home-bred Covert Rights made another bold statement early in the season, adding this top finish to their list of accolades over the past two years. The 2006 Thoroughbred cross gelding (Black Fox Farm Incognito x Let’s Get It Right) has amassed two FEI CCI 4* finishes to its resume over the past two years and looks primed to take the international limelight again, as the duo are headed to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day CCI 4*.

“The cross-country course was fabulous today,” said Rutledge. “I was so proud of the way that CR went out and ran. The amount that he’s grown up since Rolex last year is just leaps and bounds. He’s a completely different horse. This was just fantastic to run on and the course was great. It asked some very good questions and for me, this was my horse’s first run of the year. It was a fantastic start, and I’m just thrilled with everything. I’ve had a great time and a great run.”

The relationship Rutledge has forged with Covert Rights, known as “CR” in the barn, is strong, and the pair made easy work of both the stadium and cross country courses this afternoon. The talk of the event was the gallop through the Global Pavilion VIP tent, which dropped riders into the sand ring on the other side for their final fence before the finish line. Questions about the obstacle prompted Rutledge to comment on the mentality and partnership between horse and rider.

“I’ve had my horse since he was a baby and I know him inside and out. When I asked him to go through the tent he didn’t question it. I mean really and truly, that looks like a huge deal and it was amazing to ride, but these horses jump ‘key holes’ and stuff along these lines. I think our horses were relatively prepared for it, but it really is about the mind of the horse,” Rutledge described. “It’s great to have a horse that’s a phenomenal mover and a horse that is a phenomenal jumper, but if you have a horse with a great mind you can make up abilities there.”

Daniel Jocelyn was one of two non-U.S. based riders representing the nation of New Zealand who made the trip to PBIEC to test the waters of the event. Tim Price also made the journey to Wellington to ride in the showcase. Both Jocelyn and Price currently reside in the U.K. and were paired with two catch rides for the event. Jocelyn made the most of his time aboard Devil Munchkin a 2008 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Casiro I x Rhona), owned by Sable Giesler. Jocelyn had sat on the gelding just one time before entering the dressage ring on Friday afternoon. They added nothing to their original score of 32.30 for third place.

Jocelyn said, “Firstly, thank you to Sable [Giesler] and Jessica [Bortner-Harris] for lending the horses to me for this weekend. I’m very happy to have had the ride on these horses, and they’ve obviously done a good job on the groundwork because they felt fantastic.”

While the notion of catch riding may be intimidating to most, especially at the Advanced level, Jocelyn took the opportunity in stride, noting that he actually enjoys catch riding and felt prepared on both mounts. He also rode Win the War, owned by Jessica Bortner-Harris, to 21st place.

“This is a fantastic facility, and I’ve enjoyed the three days I’ve been here. It’s an unbelievable experience and something certainly I’ll be taking home and telling everyone about. It’s a great time,” he continued.

Representatives from Asheville Regional Airport and Wellington Equestrian Realty were on hand to discuss their involvement with the event and continued support for eventing and all disciplines of equestrian sport.

“This was such a pleasure to sponsor. It’s an interesting thing to have an airport in western North Carolina sponsor an event in this beautiful area. We are on the periphery of this amazing event that everyone has provided today,” said Tina Kinsey of Asheville Regional Airport. “There is a sister corporation, the Tryon International Equestrian Center, and Asheville Regional Airport is the gateway to that equestrian center. To be here on this gorgeous course with amazing riders, it’s just been a true pleasure.”

Matt Varney of Wellington Equestrian Realty also spoke to the importance of broadening the fan base for the sport of eventing, as the realty company is heavily involved with the sport in Ocala, FL, the home base for many eventing athletes during winter months.

“We’ve had a long relationship with eventing through our sister company, Ocala Horse Properties, started by Chris and Rob Desino. Craig Martin and I have been in Wellington for a number of years now. This is a chance for people to come here and experience what we see every week basically for four months,” said Varney. “What’s so cool [is that] these riders [and horses] are unbelievable athletes. It’s amazing to watch. Any chance that we get to help bring more people to the state of Florida during the winter months, whether that be Ocala or here, is our main goal. We know eventers go back and forth, and we want to see as many shows here as possible for you guys.”

The mastermind behind much of the operation, Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of Tryon Equestrian Partners and Wellington Equestrian Partners, discussed the need to bring all three equestrian Olympic disciplines to Wellington while touching on the overall success of the event.

“Thank you to Asheville Regional Airport. They’ve been a great partner here and a great partner in Tryon. We appreciate everything you do for us. We’ve had a great relationship with Wellington Equestrian Realty since they stormed Wellington six years ago. We’re very proud of this event and it really takes a village,” Bellissimo said. “It’s amazing to see a group of athletes, both human and animal, go through this course and everywhere I walked there were so many people who were just excited because they had never seen this before. I’d also like to thank Rolex, Land Rover, Adequan®, and Ariat for their continued support and contribution to this event.”

“It was a high-risk strategy to do this eventing. We have tried to push the envelope a little bit and really engage the audience. The goal of this event was to bring new owners into the sport. I think we’ve had great success in generating interest for owners and my goal is to generate ten new owners for the sport. We had three or four last year, and I’m actually an owner now working with Jimmie and Dom Schramm. I want to engage this at different levels, and I think there will be others who will too,” he continued.

Several new awards were distributed during the awards ceremony, highlighting the dedication and support of owners and team members for all participating horse and rider combinations. Caroline Moran of Goshen Hill donated $10,000 for the Grooms’ Awards, which was distributed to all grooms at the event in honor of their continued hard work and commitment to the sport. Martin’s groom, Sergio Reyes, took top honors earning $2,500, while Colleen Rutledge’s groom Alex Ambelang received $1,500, and $1,000 went to Sabel Giesler, the groom for Daniel Jocelyn this week. The Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate, owners of the winning horse, were awarded with a $10,000 check to be donated to the charity of their choice, which will be made to Guillain-Barre syndrome research, in honor of syndicate member Anne Laver. Martin also collected a $10,000 bonus for winning the event two consecutive years in a row.

“We hope to see this event grow, and I think we’re going to up the stakes a bit. We will increase the prize money to $100,000 and a big part of that is to reward the owners and the riders. This year we added a grooms’ awards, and I’d like to thank Caroline Moran and Goshen Hill,” explained Bellissimo. “I’m a big advocate of supporting the team behind these riders and I think the grooms are, in many ways, the pit crew for these horses and riders and we’d like them to get more recognition. I think it’s a great way to reward some unheralded people in the sport.”

Equestrian Sport Productions would like to thank the team who made the Asheville Regional Airport Wellington Eventing Showcase, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty, a great success and looks forward to the 2017 edition. For more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

US Eventing Team Triumphs at 2015 Pan American Games, Qualifies US for 2016 Olympic Games

Individual Gold medal winners Marilyn little and RF Scandalous (StockImageServices.com)

Caledon, Ont. – The United States Eventing Team finished a stellar week of competition at the 2015 Pan American Games held at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Ontario, Canada. Superlative efforts by Philip Dutton, Lauren Kieffer, Marilyn Little, and Boyd Martin resulted in a Team Gold medal and a berth at the 2016 Olympic Games. Adding to their accolades, Little was awarded the Individual Gold medal.

The U.S. team began the show jumping phase in first place on a total of 133, with a narrow lead over Brazil on 136.70 and Canada on 159. First to cross the timers for the U.S. was Dutton on Thomas Tierney and Ann Jones’ Fernhill Fugitive. An unlucky rail at fence two caused the crowd to hold its breath for the remainder of Dutton’s ride. The rest of the rails stayed in the cups, adding four faults to his cumulative total, finishing on 52.40. Explaining his round, Dutton said, “I think I might have been a little bit quiet there [at fence two]; he didn’t even hit it very hard, but it did come down unfortunately. It was fortunate that we didn’t need that [score], but the rest of his round was good.”

The pressure was on the rest of the team as Kieffer entered the arena next on Marie Le Menestrel’s Meadowbrook’s Scarlett. The young mare again handled the electric atmosphere well, leaving all the poles up within the time allowed.

“I’ve had her since she was four and rode her in her first event. Every step of the way she has bumped up and just thinks it’s fun,” said Kieffer of the classy mare. “She was great out there today.”

Martin and the Pancho Villa Syndicate’s Pancho Villa completed the track handily for a score of no faults. Speaking confidently about his partner, Martin said, “I’m on a very good jumper; he felt fresh this morning, warmed up good, and jumped around pretty well. He is a three-star horse so I thought he should jump clear.”

With Brazil at the heels of the U.S team, all eyes were on Little as she entered the ring on Raylyn Farms Inc. and Phoebe and Michael Manders’ fiery mare, RF Scandalous. Little was in second place going into the stadium phase adding to the pressure to perform. With a lifelong background in show jumping, Little mastered the course perfectly. With the leading Brazilian rider dropping a rail at the last fence on course, Little was secured of an Individual Gold.

“Nothing really compares to a day like this,” said Little. “This is my first major games and this day is indescribable. It’s a great day for all of us and the people supporting us who made it happen. [RF Scandalous] was everything that I hoped she would be and that we know she can be. She’s a very special horse and a pleasure to work with. She shows up for work and really loves her job. She was exceptional this weekend and I am really proud of her.”

At the end of the team competition, the U.S. won Gold, Brazil won Silver, and Canada won Bronze. Individual medals were awarded to Little as the Gold medal winner, Jessica Phoenix of Canada as the Silver medal winner, and Ruy Fonseca of Brazil as the Bronze medal winner. Martin placed fourth individually on 44.30, Kieffer seventh on 48.40, and Dutton in 10th on 52.40.

As the first team medal for O’Connor as the U.S. Eventing Chef d’Equipe, O’Connor noted, “I have a belief in the program. We wanted to change some things when we started this program – attitude and belief; belief from the riders, from the public, and from the eventing community as a whole. I think step by step we’ve done that. To have these guys perform the way they performed this weekend, they were very professional and had great camaraderie, and with the help of everyone behind the scenes it was an exceptional effort. It showed that a system that’s built like this, with belief, belief in each other, and huge respect for each other, that you can really win in the end. We let these guys prove what they can do; we all know they can do it and believe in them as riders. We’ve seen great performances out of all of them and to put it all together in one weekend; that’s what these championships are all about. It was a joy to watch them.”

A passionate Martin said after the Team Gold win, “I’ve been in this racket for the last 20 years and have never gotten a medal. This is my first medal and we had to fight for it pretty hard. I have to say it is a rewarding feeling. I’ve been trying for this for a long time and I’ve finally got it. Team USA has the best support system with Joanie Morris as team leader, Dr. Susan Johns who is an unbelievable vet, Steve Teichman who is a genius farrier, and David O’Connor as our coach.”

Complete Results

Behind the Scenes with the U.S. Teams: USEF Sport Director Will Connell’s Blog

From the USEF Communications Department

Eventing Double-Gold for Team USA

USA’s Marilyn Little, Boyd Martin, Phillip Dutton and Lauren Kieffer celebrate team Jumping gold at the Pan-American Games in Caledon Park, Toronto, Canada today. Little also claimed the individual title. (FEI/StockImageServices.com)

Lausanne (SUI), 19 July 2015 – America scooped both the team and individual titles as Eventing came to a close today at the Pan-American Games 2015 in Caledon Park, Toronto, Canada. Always with their eyes on the target of that single qualifying spot on offer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Philip Dutton, Lauren Kieffer, Marilyn Little and Boyd Martin forged a marginal lead over the host country in Dressage on Friday. And once out in front, they held on tight to triumph ahead of Brazil this afternoon, while Canada had to settle for bronze in the final analysis.

And Little took the individual title in fine style. Lying second, and less than a fence behind Brazil’s Ruy Fonseca who led from the outset with Tom Bombadill Too, the 33-year-old former Jumping rider kept a cool head to stay clear with her relatively inexperienced mare RF Scandalous today, while 2011 Pan-American Eventing individual champions Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti from Canada claimed silver this time around when Fonseca’s single error dropped him to bronze medal spot.

A total of 11 nations lined out in the team competition, and Ecuador, Chile and Mexico were lying fourth, fifth and sixth after the Dressage phase. The USA had only a slender 0.7 point lead over Canada going into cross-country day, and Brazil was chasing hard when only three marks further adrift at this stage.

Cross-Country track

Canadian chances took a sharp knock, however, when Kathryn Robinson was eliminated for a fall with Let It Bee at the Hayracks, the second fence on yesterday’s cross-country track. Her team-mates Waylon Roberts (Bill Owen), Colleen Loach (Qorry Blue D’Argouges) and Jessica Phoenix (Pavarotti) all completed the course without incident. But Canada dropped behind Brazil when Fonseca, Carlos Parro (Caulcourt Landline), Henrique Plombon (Land Quenotte) and Jorge Marcio Carvalho (Lissy Mac Wayer) all likewise kept a clean sheet, Robinson’s brilliant 39.80 in Dressage, which placed her individually second on the opening day, no longer being taken into account. All four American team-members cruised home, maintaining their advantage with nothing to add.

From a starting field of 43, a total of 16 returned within the time-allowed of 8 minutes 39 seconds, including all three members of the team from Ecuador who eventually finished fourth. A total of 10 horse-and-rider combinations were eliminated over the 26-fence track created by Australia’s Wayne Copping.

Jumping phase

As the final Jumping phase got underway today, Team USA had less than a fence in hand over the Brazilians, while the Canadians were more than 20 penalties further adrift. America’s Martin (Pancho Villa) and Kieffer (Meadowbrooks Scarlett) kept a clean sheet once again, but when Philip Dutton’s Fernhill Fugitive collected four faults then Little’s result might prove pivotal for the team rankings.

The individual medals were also still very much up for grabs, and for Little there was no room for error as Canada’s Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti, who were lying just 3.20 points behind, had piled on the pressure with a brilliant clear when third-last into the ring. The American didn’t falter, however, leaving all the poles in place with her 10-year-old Oldenburg mare, and placing all the weight on Fonseca’s shoulders. Even a time fault would cost the Brazilian dearly, but when his 15-year-old gelding had a fence down he dropped all the way to bronze medal position individually and his team remained in silver medal spot.

New to the sport

“My mare is new to the sport; I have her for only a year now and she’s only just moved up to 2-Star level with the goal of these Games in mind!” said newly-crowned individual gold medallist Little this evening. She explained that she was a regular on the US Jumping team between 1999 and 2011, and competed in several Nations Cups, but then suddenly decided to change her allegiance. “I became interested in Eventing when watching the World Equestrian Games in 2010 on TV. I thought, ‘I’d like to do that; it looks like a lot of fun,’ so when I came back from Spruce Meadows that year I pulled one out of the barn and it has gone from there! I did my first 4-Star in 2012,” she explained.

She has really enjoyed the Pan-American Games experience at Caledon Park this week. “The event has been beautifully organised and it has been an incredible experience from the standpoint of horsemanship; the thought and care they’ve put into everything for the horses has been amazing. The cross-country course was fair but challenging; it has to be difficult for the course designer catering for the developing riders as well as very seasoned competitors. It needed to be challenging for both, but safe enough too, and he really succeeded in that,” she said.

In the moment

Talking about the cross-country track, she said, “Riding the course you had to be ‘in the moment’… you had to stay aware of all the plans. Cross-country is designed to force you to look at all the options and to stay ready to take them if necessary. Making it easy to quickly change your plan is the mark of a good cross-country course. Fitness played a part too yesterday; the terrain took its toll in terms of technicality and some horses got tired, but it was safe and jumpable and it was really a pleasure to ride the track.”

Despite all her experience as a Jumping rider, Little said she was still feeling the heat going into the arena this afternoon with so much hanging in the balance. “I knew I was under pressure, but I also knew my horse is a clear-rounder and very careful. She’s very sensitive though, and the atmosphere was electric, especially since I was following a Canadian rider (Jessica Phoenix) into the ring! I knew I had to remain calm and focused, and take it just one jump at a time and not get caught up with the magnitude of the moment!”

Facts and Figures:

USA claimed team gold and the individual qualifying spot on offer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with victory in the Pan-American Games Jumping at Caledon Park in Toronto, Canada today.

The individual medals went to: Gold, Marilyn Little (RF Scandalous) USA: Silver, Jessica Phoenix (Pavarotti) CAN: Bronze, Ruy Fonseca (Tom Bombadill Too) BRA.

13 nations were represented in Eventing at the 17th Pan-American Games while 11 countries fielded teams.

A total of 42 horse-and-rider combinations competed for the individual medals.

The list of teams so far qualified in Eventing for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games now includes, Brazil (automatic qualification), Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Australia, Ireland and Canada (placings at Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy), and USA (Pan-American Games 2015 in Toronto, Canada).

The next major Olympic qualification opportunity is at the forthcoming Longines FEI European Eventing Championships in Blair Castle, Scotland from 10-13 September 2015 where 2 further places are on offer.

Find out more about the Pan-American Games 2015 here and check out the programme of events here. Results are available here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:
At Toronto:
Jean Llewellyn
Press Officer

Boyd Martin & Trading Aces Take Home the Win in $50,000 Wellington Eventing Showcase

Boyd Martin and Trading Aces landing from the final cross-country jump for victory. Photos copyright SusanJStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – January 31, 2015 – Boyd Martin (USA) and Trading Aces proved to be unbeatable this weekend at the first-ever $50,000 Wellington Eventing Showcase presented by Asheville Regional Airport. Martin and Trading Aces led the competition from start to finish, completing the weekend on their original dressage score of 24.80. Michael Pollard (USA) and Cyrano Z finished in second place on a 25.7 with Laine Ashker (USA) and her own Anthony Patch in third, ending the weekend with their original score, 29.1.

The Derby Field at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center was packed with more than 2,000 spectators on a beautiful Saturday afternoon as visitors from around the country came to see the first-ever eventing competition in Wellington unfold. Martin commented that the entire competition was first-class, and it was a privilege to be a part of such a unique competition. “I’ve been lucky enough; I’m 35 and I’ve competed in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Holland, U.S., France, England, and this is by far the best competition I have ever been to,” he expressed. “The organizers have put on something I have never seen before, and I am just so proud to be here.”

From the incredible footing of both the dressage and show jumping arena and out on the cross-country course, the riders were all very pleased with the event as many of them used it to begin their spring season and prepare for the Rolex CCI4* in Lexington, Kentucky later in the spring. “I think this was the right test for this time in the year and certainly for those who haven’t seen this type of atmosphere before. It is always great to get some experience in a place like this because it is similar to Kentucky,” commented Pollard.

Martin concluded a wonderful weekend aboard Trading Aces, piloting the 2004 Irish Sport Horse gelding, to his first big win of the 2015 season. The two performed a lovely dressage test yesterday late in the afternoon to take the lead in the large class on a 24.80, the score on which they would finish. Martin was ecstatic to take home the win this weekend and felt the course was perfectly suited for Trading Aces. “For me, at this time in the year, my horses are not that fit yet, so it was perfect. It was right around the three and a half, four-minute mark, and it was a well-designed course with a few galloping questions and then double corners to test for accuracy and Mt. Wellington down to the narrow (jump) is probably a 3 or 4 star question,” he said. “It was spot on for this time in the year.”

Ashker agreed with Martin’s comments, adding that the course had every type of question you need to be asked when going out at the Advanced level. “I was nervous before we left the start box. It had all of the questions you need: water, a ditch, corners, and skinnies. I definitely respected it and felt like I had a horse who was super happy and healthy coming off when we finished. This was pretty much my cross-country school for the Carolina International 3* in March, and it was tough but fair at the same time.”

Captain Mark Phillips, the designer of the cross-country course, was also pleased with the way the course rode for the riders this early in the season. “A lot of the infrastructure was already here. We tried to put together a 3* test that was appropriate for the time of year and the fitness of the horses. When we talk about the future of the sport in this sense, I think we will see a lot more of these types of events as build-ups to Rolex and other large international competitions,” he continued to explain. “It is a huge benefit to the riders, the horses and in particular the owners and the sponsors. When everyone is happy we have a good sport to look forward too.”

Pollard and Cyrano on the stadium jumping course
Pollard and Cyrano on the stadium jumping course

Earlier in the day, all of the riders tested themselves on Richard Jeffery’s show jumping course in The Stadium Arena. The course was very technical and proved to be challenging for many of the pairs as numerous rails fell throughout the morning. “I think there are a couple of designers who do a good job at testing event horses, and Mr. Jeffery is one of them,” stated Pollard. “I thought it was tough. You had to have some sort of plan coming to many of the lines and needed to ride well for them to work.”

Ashker agreed that Jeffery’s course was more technical than what she expected when she walked it, as this arena is smaller than what most are used to competing in. “They are always very technical. You had to use a lot of leg, which made it a bit deceiving in that way. You had to really ride forward, but that is exactly what you need before going out on cross-country and it kind of set the precedent for what to expect out there.”

Cyrano Z arrived in Pollard’s barn only a few weeks ago from his father-in-law Carl Bouckaert, who rode the horse in the 2012 London Olympics. The pair, who has only had a few weeks to familiarize with each other, had a stellar performance across the board, and Pollard was thrilled. “He was perfect today. I don’t know him that well, but it couldn’t have gone a whole lot better. Carl has had a lot of clear rounds on this horse and I thought I’d better do a good job so I just held on and let the horse do his job, which he did quite well,” he said.

As for the future, all three riders have different plans for their mounts. Ashker plans on heading Anthony Patch towards the Rolex Kentucky CCI4* in April while Pollard and Martin are still trying to figure out where their partnerships will go with Cyrano Z and Trading Aces. “To be honest, this may or may not be the last time I ride Trading Aces. We’ve had some massive highs and lows, and we will just have to see,” said Martin. He also piloted Pancho Villa to a 7th place finish this weekend. According to Pollard, the plan was to just give Cyrano Z a leg up to prepare him for sale, but those plans could be changing after their finish this weekend. “We’ll take it one day at a time and if someone with the right situation comes around we will figure that out, but I wouldn’t mind keeping him around for a while,” he stated.

Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, was excited and grateful to the competitors, sponsors, and owners for coming together to be a part of such a unique opportunity for the sport. Equestrian Sport Productions and the Bellissimo family, who now own both the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina, as well as the Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado, are looking to help grow and elevate the stature of eventing in the United States.

“We had been contemplating doing this event for probably three or four years, trying to figure out something interesting we could do with eventing,” Bellissimo stated. “When we threw out the idea of doing an event, we talked about what it would take to get people to come down here and my colleague, Jim Wolf, said maybe $25,000 (in prize money). So we decided to double it, and I didn’t realize that it would turn into the second largest event in terms of prize money in the country, which really is a shame. The athletes are spectacular and the owners are amazing in this sport. It is a great group of people, and we are encouraged and inspired to take this sport to the next level.”

As for the fantastic turnout for a first-time event, Bellissimo said this is just the beginning of the vision to bring the sport to the forefront of equestrian competition. “We want to make eventing a major force at all of our venues. We’re talking to a number of different sponsors and we really want to elevate the sport. We’re fired up to take this sport to the next level and are excited to work with other organizers and organizations so that we can make something really interesting here,” continued Bellissimo. “There is a great trajectory, and we’ve already been approached by new sponsors and owners wanting to get involved. This event will only get better and we are anticipating that the prize money will double, as well as the charitable gifts we were able to give. I am very excited about this sport and this group of people. I was honored to see this incredible group of athletes perform at such a high level in an experimental venue.”

Bellissimo was proud to award the owners of the top three placed horses large charitable donations. Aside from their earned prize money, they will be able to donate to any 501c3 charity of their choice. “We are so thankful to the sponsors for giving us an opportunity to host an event like this. Asheville Regional Airport stepped up in a very big way very quickly, and Land Rover is always a great partner of ours. Allyn Mann and Adequan® have been spectacular, as has our longtime partner Rolex,” Bellissimo said. As for the future, there are big plans on the horizon to host fully recognized FEI events, with a CCI3* being held in Tryon in August and the hopes of hosting the country’s second CCI4* event, aside from Rolex Kentucky CCI4*, at Tryon International Equestrian Center as well.

For more information on Equestrian Sport Productions and the $50,000 Eventing Showcase presented by Asheville Regional Airport, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Carly Weilminster for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Boyd Martin & Trading Aces Rise to the Occasion after Dressage in Wellington Eventing Showcase

Boyd Martin and Trading Aces. Photo © SusanJStickle.com.

Wellington, FL – January 30, 2015 – Boyd Martin (USA) and Trading Aces bested the competition in the first phase of the Wellington Eventing Showcase presented by Asheville Regional Airport, which was held at The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Martin and Trading Aces performed a lovely dressage test to the take the lead on a 24.80 as the second-to-last ride of the afternoon. Michael Pollard (USA) and Cyrano currently hold onto second place with a 25.70 followed by Marilyn Little (USA) and RF Scandalous in third scoring a 26.60. Tomorrow’s competition will continue with show-jumping beginning at 10:30 am followed by cross-country at 1:30 pm.

Martin was very pleased with Trading Aces’ test and felt he put in one of the best efforts in their partnership together. “He’s one of my favorites. We’ve had some highs and lows in our career; we’ve won lots and came up short a number of times, but today he was absolutely fabulous,” said Martin. “It was the first time I’ve really done a test and felt like I pretty much got everything out of him. It’s great to be riding him here, and I’m so thankful for the group that owns him and who has stood by him for the past couple of years.”

Pollard was also very happy with this test aboard Cyrano, a relatively new mount for him. The horse was campaigned by his father-in-law, Carl Bouckaert, for Team Belgium and competed with him at the 2012 London Olympic Games. “I’m really pleased with him today. When I got here yesterday I probably wouldn’t have bet on myself to be sitting at this press conference,” he laughed. “We’ve basically had him for two months in the barn, and I’m really happy with the progress we’ve made over the past couple of weeks.”

Marilyn Little, a familiar face in Wellington from her days in the show jumping arena, was excited to be back in Florida, this time competing in the sport of eventing. “This is certainly an odd weekend for me, a wonderful weekend in many ways, but funny to be eventing in Wellington,” she commented on returning to the familiar grounds. “It is certainly home turf but also new turf. I’ve jumped a lot of jumps out in that field, but none of them have looked quite like this. It’s just such a pleasure to be back here.”

Little’s horse RF Scandalous is new to the Advanced level, and she will look to give the mare an educational and competitive ride tomorrow. “She is coming from the CCI 1* and Intermediate level. She’s qualified for Advanced on paper, but she is 10 years old now and is still very new to the level,” Marilyn commented. “She put in a great test today and I’m looking for a good performance from her, but there may be some bobbles. It is still early in the season.”

All three riders commented on what can be expected for the next two phases of the competition. The cross-country course, designed by Captain Mark Phillips, gives riders an opportunity to ride fast but also carefully, as there are many technical questions scattered throughout the course. “I think Captain Phillips did a great job building this course. I think it’s going to be very fast out there, and it will be influential as there are a few corners and skinnies that we may see some glances off of and riders will need to take their time, steady up, and balance,” said Martin.

Pollard agreed that the course will be tough, as it is still early in the season for most of these pairs. “They have the time right to make it a competitive day,” he continued. “Going at Intermediate speed would be too intense for this point in the season. These types of courses are always tough, but it is built really well and beautifully presented.”

Little also offered insight on what to expect from Richard Jeffery’s show jumping course in The Stadium arena. “Richard Jeffery always has challenging courses. He is one of the best, and it will be interesting to see how the eventers feel about competing and jumping on the amazing dressage footing. The horses have jumped well on it in competitions past, but it will be interesting to see the response tomorrow.”

Not only did each rider comment on the spectacular footing and the incredible venue of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, but they each thanked the organizers and sponsors – Asheville Regional Airport, Rolex, Land Rover, and Adequan® – for their support of the event. “It is an absolute honor and privilege to be competing in Wellington,” said Martin. “It is probably the best horse trials I have ever been to when you consider the organization, the arenas, and the marquee tent for the owners. It is fantastic to feel like our sport is climbing up to that caliber, and I think all of the riders are just blown away by the standard of competition.”

Pollard echoed Martin’s response by stating that competitions like these only help to strengthen the sport in the United States. “It is a real major addition to the calendar and hopefully we can continue to get more big atmosphere events like this and maybe we will start attracting some Europeans to ride here instead of going over there. To the extent that it is possible, this is exactly what we need to make that sort of thing happen,” he stated.

Little, familiar with Equestrian Sport Productions from previous travels to Wellington, thanked the Bellissimo family and their partners for hosting eventers this weekend at PBIEC. “Knowing I was going to be in Wellington, I knew that there would be a great opportunity here. Mark [Bellissimo’s] family is very involved as his daughters are both great up-and-coming riders and he is an owner himself. He understands what it takes to keep and produce horses of this caliber. Only someone who understands that can appreciate the time and effort it takes to get these horses to this level.”

Competition continues beginning at 10:30am with show jumping followed by cross-country at 1:30pm. To see the full dressage results, stadium jumping order of go, and course map, please visit http://bit.ly/1zp5Lss.

To watch the live stream of tomorrow’s stadium jumping, go to: http://bit.ly/1Dbofgc.

To watch the live stream of tomorrow’s cross-country, go to: http://bit.ly/1EqwYze.

For more information on Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Carly Weilminster for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Martin Finishes Eighth at WEG

Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Caen, France – The FEI World Team and Individual Eventing Championship came to an exciting conclusion on Sunday with the final phase taking place in d’Ornano Stadium in Caen, France. Of the 60 combinations that headed into the show jumping phase, only 13 were able to go double-clear over Frédéric Cottier’s difficult 12-obstacle course. The Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team had solid efforts on the last day of the competition in front of a packed crowd.

Boyd Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Shamwari 4 had another great performance in Normandy to close out the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and earn an eighth-place finish. Martin and the Shamwari 4 Syndicate LLC’s 2002 Hanoverian gelding were having a beautiful round but an unlucky tap at first element of the triple at 8A added four faults to their score to finish on a score of 63.9.

“He was a bit tired. I thought he jumped well; unfortunately I was just not quite accurate enough to the triple and he ticked it behind,” Martin said. “He really put in a huge effort yesterday, so I was happy with one down today.”

Though he has not had the talented horse for long, Martin and Shamwari 4 have already scored top results. The partnership looks to have a bright future as it continues to develop, already adding a top 10 finish at a World Championship to its resume.

Kim Severson (Charlottesville, Va.) and her own Fernhill Fearless had a fantastic day, jumping clean and finishing on a score of 91.2. She and the 2000 Irish Sport Horse gelding made light work of the track to finish in 23rd place.

Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

“I’m thrilled,” Severson said of her ride. “I know the horse can jump; it is just a matter of me staying out of his way and sort of putting him in the right direction. He’s just amazing. He wants to do a good job; he doesn’t want to touch the rails; he’s pretty cool.”

Severson didn’t realize being back on the world scene was going to be part of her future only a short time ago. When asked what it felt like to be back, she admitted, “It feels good. I didn’t know I missed it.”

Sinead Halpin (Oldwick, N.J.) and Manoir de Carneville began their round well but knocked rails at 8B and 10 to incur eight faults. With the Manoir de Carneville Syndicate’s 2000 Selle Francais gelding, Halpin finished her first World Championship in 38th place on a score of 114.4.

“I thought he was actually jumping really well but he is a lovely horse,” Halpin said of her horse on Sunday. “He is not really affected by the atmosphere. At least the first half was one of the steadiest rounds that he has done.”

Halpin feels that Manoir de Carneville gets better and learns each time out. With their 2014 Games experience under their belts, she and the talented gelding can continue to improve together.

Lynn Symansky (Middleburg, Va.) also finished her first World Championship experience at the 2014 Games with her own Donner. She and the 2003 Thoroughbred gelding received four faults for a knockdown at fence 3, to finish on a score of 135.4 and end up in 47th place.

“I was just floored with my horse today,” Symansky said. “He was really, really mature, jumped a great round, and that rail was just a little bit of a peak at the liverpool there, but I couldn’t be happier with how we ended.”

Though her experience at the Games didn’t turn out quite the way she would have hoped, Symansky learned that “things don’t go according to plan when you go into it and how to keep on going and don’t get defeated.”

Though the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team didn’t have the desired results, Chef d’Equipe David O’Connor doesn’t have too harsh of an outlook on the outcome.

“I am a hard believer that we have great riders and they are riding well,” O’Connor said. “I think the program is correct; we just need to keep improving.”

Germany claimed the Team Gold medal in the FEI World Team Eventing Championship on a score of 177.9. The Team Silver went to Great Britain on a score of 198.8, while The Netherlands took home the Team Bronze medal with a score of 246.8. In the FEI World Individual Eventing Championship, Sandra Auffarth (GER) and Opgun Louvo were named World Champions after finishing atop the leaderboard on a score of 52.0. Michael Jung (GER) and fischerRocana received the Individual Silver medal after finishing on a 52.3, while William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and Chilli Morning received the Individual Bronze medal with a score of 54.3.

By Kathleen Landwehr

To learn more about the FEI World Team and Individual Eventing Championship at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, visit: http://www.normandy2014.com/2014-games/the-disciplines/3/eventing.

Follow the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.

Martin in Ninth after Challenging Cross Country Day at WEG

Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Le Pin-au-Haras, France – The heart of the eventing discipline was on display Saturday at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games with the cross country phase taking center stage at Le Pin National Stud in Le Pin-au-Haras, France. The FEI World Team and Individual Eventing Championship saw 87 combinations set out on a world championship-caliber 5,982m, 33-obstacle cross country course designed by Pierre Michelet (FRA). Due to wet conditions, the course was shortened from 6,500m, with two fences being removed, reducing the optimum time by one minute to 10 minutes and 30 seconds.

It proved to be an influential day, as even the sport’s best riders ran into trouble. Sixty-three combinations completed the course, with none finishing within the time and only 37 pairs jumping clean. Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 were the shining stars for the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team. Though the U.S. team is out of the running after a rough day, three other combinations will move on in the FEI World Individual Championship: Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless, Sinead Halpin and Manoir de Carneville, and Lynn Symansky and Donner.

Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Shamwari 4 had a spectacular day when the going was tough. On a day when the heavy footing was draining the horses’ energy as they went around the track, Martin and the Shamwari 4 Syndicate LLC’s 2002 Hanoverian gelding prevailed, finishing with 13.6 time penalties and sitting in ninth place heading into the final phase on a score of 59.9.

“I was thrilled with Shamwari 4. He is a new ride for me; he’s a real trier,” Martin explained. “My plan was to set out a little steady and then see how much horse I had at the end. In hindsight, I should’ve gone a lot quicker at the beginning because he was full of running at the end.”

Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Kim Severson and Fernhill Fearless (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Severson (Charlottesville, Va.) and her own Fernhill Fearless had a great day, other than one mishap. The pair had a run-out at the final water at fence 30 when the 2000 Irish Sport Horse gelding locked on to the wrong part of the combination, but they finished strongly. They sit in 32nd place with a score of 91.2 after adding 20 jump penalties and 20.4 time penalties to their score.

“It was the best ride I’ve ever had,” Severson said enthusiastically. “I mean it really sucks about the water. I thought I could get it done, of course, but he was absolutely brilliant. It was really the best ride of my life; it sounds so stupid, but he was absolutely amazing. That was definitely the horse to be on for today, I mean no two ways about it. He’s as straight as they come, he wants to do it, he’s a little Thoroughbred, and he is amazing.”

Halpin (Oldwick, N.J.) and Manoir de Carneville had an uncharacteristic run-out at fence four when the horse didn’t lock onto the fence. From then on, Halpin and the Manoir de Carneville Syndicate’s 2000 Selle Francais gelding were on a mission to complete their first World Championship track, and they accomplished just that. The pair sits in 42nd place on a score of 106.4.

“It got better and better, but it’s hard work,” Halpin said of her ride after her run-out. “It was gutting [to have the run-out] but the rest of it was just get it done, to get home, because it’s doable.”

Symansky (Middleburg, Va.) and her own Donner started strongly but didn’t have the day they were hoping for when they had run-outs at 16B at the second water and 27B at the corner after the trakehner. Though an undesirable result, Symansky and the 2003 Thoroughbred gelding finished well. They added 40 jumping penalties and 38.4 time penalties and sit in 50th place with a score of 131.4.

“He was great at the beginning. I had tons of horse, even to the end I had tons of horse, he never necessarily got tired,” Symansky said “I ended with a healthy horse and we made it to the finish, but obviously not the result I was looking for.

Buck Davidson (Ocala, Fla.) and Ballynoe Castle RM were in a tough position being the pathfinders for the World Championship field over a daunting track. The wet and hilly going proved difficult for Ballynoe Castle RM, but Carl and Cassandra Segal’s 2000 Irish Thoroughbred gelding pushed through until the final water when he ran out of steam and Davidson elected to retire after a runout at 30C and a stop at the fence 31 option fence.

“I’m really, really proud of him,” Davidson said. “He jumped perfect; he tried his heart out. In these conditions that’s a lot. I’m disappointed, but somebody had to go first and that’s sort of the thing you take. You’re not really sure and we got a lot of information now. My horse is healthy and happy and he’ll be back for another day.”

Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Trading Aces also struggled with the terrain factor. The horse tired before fence 24, having a stop at fence 25, where Dutton decided to retire. The Trading Aces LLC’s 2004 Irish Sport Horse gelding had jumped well around the tough track until the retirement.

“I think the jumps were all riding fine; it’s more the combination of a wet summer, the new ground, and the hilly terrain, so I think the endurance part of the course is pretty tough,” Dutton explained. “You can only forget about your minute markers and your watch and just go as fast as you can and save a bit for the end.”

Though the U.S. contingent had a tough day, it showed great horsemanship and represented their country well. Martin said it best when commenting on how the day unfolded for the U.S., saying, “It’s heartbreaking because I think we are a team of good riders and good horses. As we saw with a number of other good teams, it was just such a tough day cross country. It was a tough course and even the best riders were having trouble. The guys dug deep, they really tried their hearts out, and they should hold their heads high.”

At the end of the second phase, Germany heads into Sunday in Gold medal position in the FEI World Team Eventing Championship on a score of 177.9. Great Britain is in second place with a 186.8, and Australia lies in third on a score of 226.8. In the FEI World Individual Eventing Championship William Fox-Pitt (GBR) and Chilli Morning sit atop the leaderboard going into the final phase with a score of 50.3. Sandra Auffarth (GER) and Opgun Louvo are in second place with a score of 52.0, while Michael Jung (GER) and fischerRocana are third with a 52.3.

The last day of competition in the FEI World Team and Individual Championship begins at 7:30am local time with the Final Horse Inspection. The competitors will then travel to Caen, France and complete the final phase of the competition starting at 2:30pm local time.

By Kathleen Landwehr

To learn more about the FEI World Team and Individual Eventing Championship at the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, visit: http://www.normandy2014.com/2014-games/the-disciplines/3/eventing.

Follow the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.

Martin and Shamwari 4 Jump to Third Place at Luhmühlen CCI4*

Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 (Shannon Brinkman)

Luhmühlen, Germany – Clear rounds were at a premium on Sunday in the final phase of the Luhmühlen CCI4* over Heiko Wahlers’ 13-obstacle track. Of the 31 combinations that went forward into the show jumping, only three competitors were able to jump faultlessly. Leading the way for the American contingent were Land Rover Competition Grant recipients Boyd Martin and Shamwari, 4 who continued their climb up the leaderboard, finishing the prestigious German competition in third place.

Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and the Shamwari 4 Syndicate LLC’s 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding produced a strong performance in the show jumping leaving all the rails in place. However, the pair that has only been together since the beginning of 2014 finished just over the 88 second time allowed to collect a single time fault and finish on a score of 48.8.

“In January we got this horse and 10 people got behind him and believed in him and right from the get-go I knew he was a class horse,” said Martin. “I got here and everything fell into place this weekend, and I’m very happy.”

The pair were making their CCI4* debut together this weekend and rose from 12th after the dressage on the strength of finishing clear and inside the time on the cross country to head into the show jumping in seventh place before rising four more places to finish in the top three. Making the top finish all the more impressive, Martin, a 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and 2012 London Olympics Games veteran, spent much of the spring season out of the saddle after breaking his leg in March.

Finishing in seventh place were Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Bruce Duchossois’ 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Mighty Nice. The combination lowered rails at three, 6C, and 12B to add 12 faults to their total in the show jumping. They finished the weekend on a score of 58.0.

Martin also piloted Otis Barbotiere Syndicate LLC’s 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding Otis Barbotiere into 15th place. The pair, which represented the U.S. at the 2012 London Olympic Games, lowered rails at fences two and 12a on Sunday to finish on a score of 73.3.

New Zealand’s Tim Price and Wesko were one of three pairs to jump without fault in the final phase to earn the 2014 Luhmühlen CCI4* crown on a score of 43.8. Finishing in second place was Germany’s Olympic, World, and European Champion Michael Jung and fisherRoscana FST with a score of 45.5.

To learn more about the Luhmühlen CCI4*, visit: http://www.luhmuehlen.de/index.asp?tree_id=65&sprache_id=2.

Follow the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.

US Riders Shine on Cross Country Day at Luhmühlen CCI4*

Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

Luhmühlen, Germany – The riders representing the U.S. rose to the occasion on Saturday tackling Captain Mark Phillips’ 6,500m 29-fence cross country course. Land Rover Competition Grant recipients Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 looked like a true partnership, adding no penalties to their dressage score of 47.80 to move up to seventh place.

Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) and Shamwari 4 Syndicate LLC’s 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding are just 6.3 points out of the lead. Martin looked no worse for wear galloping cross country on a CCI4* after breaking his leg back in March. He also sits in 17th place with Otis Barbotiere, Otis Barbotiere Syndicate LLC’s 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding, after adding 6.8 time penalties and moving up from 33rd place.

“Both horses jumped their hearts out; I was thrilled with them,” Martin said.

Phillip Dutton produced a fault-free round on Mighty Nice. Though Bruce Duchossois’ 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding is green at the CCI4* level, he looked like a seasoned competitor with Dutton in the irons. The pair heads into Sunday’s show jumping phase in fifth place on their dressage score of 46.00.

Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice (Shannon Brinkman Photo)
Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice (Shannon Brinkman Photo)

“He’s still green at this level, but he really stepped up today and was great the whole way around,” Dutton shared.

Germany’s Olympic, World, and European Champion Michael Jung and fisherRocana FST remain on their dressage score of 41.5 to lie in first place heading into the final day of competition. Tim Price (NZL) and Wesko are in second place with a score of 43.80 while Bettina Hoy (GER) and Designer 10 are third on a score of 44.50.

The U.S. riders in Luhmühlen and the USEF send their condolences to the family and friends of German rider Benjamin Winter who passed away following a fall on the cross country.

To learn more about the Luhmühlen CCI4*, visit: http://www.luhmuehlen.de/index.asp?tree_id=65&sprache_id=2.

Follow the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.

US Lands Two in Top 12 at Conclusion of Dressage at Luhmühlen CCI4*

Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 (Stockimageservices.com)

Luhmühlen, Germany – The United States produced strong performances in the first phase of competition at the Luhmühlen CCI4* landing two riders in the top 12. Land Rover Competition Grant recipients Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 scored 47.8 from the Ground Jury of Gillian Rolton, Ernst Topp, and Alain James and will head out onto Captain Mark Phillips’ cross country course in 12th place.

Martin (Cochranville, Pa.) has spent much of the spring on the sidelines after breaking his leg in March but nevertheless produced his best test to date with the Shamwari 4 Syndicate LLC’s gelding on Friday. The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games veteran showcased Shamwari’s expressive gaits to leave himself within striking distance heading into the cross country.

The pair is making their CCI4* debut this weekend in Luhmühlen, after the 12-year-old Hanoverian was acquired for Martin in early 2014 after representing Sweden at the 2012 London Olympic Games and 2013 HSBC FEI European Eventing Championships.

Lying in 10th after the dressage are five-time Olympian Phillip Dutton (West Grove, Pa.) and Bruce Duchossois’ Mighty Nice. The winners of the 2013 Red Hills International Horse Trials scored 46.0 and set off on the cross country less than eight points behind the leaders.

“I thought Boyd and Phillip did really good jobs today. Boyd did well to keep Shamwari 4 on track when he got a bit lit up in his test,” said U.S Eventing Team Coach David O’Connor. “They continue to get better and better and are going in the right direction. Phillip did a really nice job with Mighty Nice and he is in the hunt.”

Martin also stands in 33rd with the Otis Barbotiere Syndicate LLC’s 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding Otis Barbotiere after the dressage. The pair performed their test on Thursday scoring 58.5.

Australia’s Lucinda Fredericks and Flying Finish holds the lead after the dressage on a score of 38.7, while Germany’s Olympic, World, and European Champion Michael Jung stands second with fisherRocana FST on a score of 41.5. Germany’s Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob head onto the cross country in third place with a score of 42.0.

Martin and Otis Barbotiere set out on Saturday’s cross country at 9:14am local time. Martin will then leave the start box with Shamwari 4 at 11:50am, with Dutton and Mighty Nice rounding out the U.S. effort at 12:18pm.

By Helen Murray

To learn more about the Luhmühlen CCI4*, visit: http://www.luhmuehlen.de/index.asp?tree_id=65&sprache_id=2.

Follow the Land Rover U.S. Eventing Team here.