It took both focus and fitness for Boyd Martin to top the Jersey Fresh International CCI 3- and 2-star divisions, as well as the CIC 3-star. As if that weren’t not enough, Boyd actually was aboard a head-spinning total of six horses at Jersey Fresh, where he had to learn four separate cross-country courses.
“That’s a lot of remembering to do,” he said after Saturday’s cross-country, noting, “I rode every jump on this farm.” And today, he had to deal with four separate show jumping routes.
All I can say is “Wow.” That’s some achievement. Hear what Boyd had to say about it by clicking on this video.
Jersey Fresh, presented by B.W. Furlong & Associates, took on former U.S. eventing coach Mark Phillips as its cross-country course designer last year and he has completely redone the routes. Morgan Rowsell, the fence builder, is also very involved and helped lay out the 2-star courses.
Discussing his philosophy, Mark said, “I really don’t care about the result. I really care about being fair to the horse, and helping the horse see and understand the problem. Then if the rider makes a mistake, the horse still has half a chance of getting his feet out of the way. Give the horse half a chance, and that’s your best insurance.”
It was an education watching Boyd handle those courses with very different horses. It’s not only his style that’s impressive. What’s most interesting is that he has been building his string with unending effort.
“I’m tooled up with a lot of good horses coming through at the moment,” he said. “I think the next four or five years in my career are going to be good, because we went out and picked out four-, five- and six-year-olds years and years ago, and now they’re all starting to step up. I’ve got some strong rides coming through that were hand-picked. It’s a long process.”
Boyd proudly described his winners. Long Island T, who sparked the rider’s interest initially for his dressage ability, had a “disastrous” debut after a 10-person syndicate bought the horse—getting eliminated at the second fence in a Wellington, Fla., show jumping competition. But things obviously have turned around.
“It’s been a very, very long road,” said Boyd, who took the horse back to training level. With the help of Richard Picken, his show jumping coach, he learned how to ride this powerhouse, packaging him to offer a lot of support instead of riding “loose, open and free,” the way Boyd prefers.
His CIC 3-star winner, Kyra, is “all class. She’s probably the best jumper I’ve got in training at the moment. She’s highly strung and a bit of a handful to get to know,” he said.
On Cue, who took the CCI 2-star title, “is a lovely, lovely mare--everything you’d love in a horse, movement and temperament and scope and gallop and all that.” He noted, however, “she’s a little bit of work in the show jumping,” which looked from my viewpoint on the rail like an understatement. The puddles in the ring after hours of rain weren’t her pleasure. She tapped her toes on nearly every top pole, with a special knock at the last fence, where a worried Boyd turned around to look after she cleared it. Nothing came down, however, and On Cue finished on her dressage score.
He also rode Ray Price, who dropped from second to 10th in the CCI 3-star after four show jumping knockdowns, a total in the final phase matched by Steady Eddie, who was 12th in the CIC 3-star.
Boyd came to win in every division but the CIC 2-star, where he was prepping Shamwari 4 for the Luhmuhlen, Germany 4-star. Four rails down also was his number in show jumping, putting him 10th.
“He’s 16 years old now and he’s done Olympics and World Equestrian Games and there’s not a course in the world he couldn’t jump. I think he has a couple of real big events left in him, and winning the CIC 2-star was not in that plan,” said Boyd. “It was just a fitness run and stretching him out a bit. I’m going to go for broke at Luhmuhlen.”
Boyd added, “He’d be by far the most outstanding horse I’ve ever had.” Sounds like a possible for September’s WEG in Tryon, N.C., to me.
The fact that this was Mother’s Day did not go unnoticed at Jersey Fresh. Anna Loschiavo, was delighted to win the CIC 2-star on Prince Renan, especially since her mother, Melanie, was on hand to help.
“She’s the best mother and the best groom,” said Anna.
Boyd’s wife, Silva, and their son, Nox, turned up to watch. Silva’s day was made by her husband’s victory and she proudly posed for photos with him during the trophy presentation. That was about the only time that Nox stood still; he kept his mother busy by playing in puddles, grabbing a broom to sweep in front of the arena and showing general high spirits. I’ll bet Boyd was just like him as a child.
“He’s a tiger,” Boyd said proudly and sure enough, Nox’s face was painted to look just like that beast.
For full results of Jersey Fresh, go to www.evententries.com.