Boyd Martin and Long Island T lead the Advanced division at Millbrook Horse Trials after the first day of dressage here in Millbrook, New York, topping the leaderboard on a personal best score at the level of 22.9. He just missed a career personal best across all levels for the horse, beaten only by 22.0 when Long Island T won Pine Top Intermediate with Peter Barry in 2015.
“I love riding this horse in the dressage,” Boyd said. “He’s just one of these horses that lifts up and finds another gear when there is atmosphere and excitement. He makes you feel like you know what you’re doing. He gives you such a nice feel in the ring so you can concentrate on the tiny details.”
“Ludwig,” a 12-year-old Oldenburg/Thoroughbred (Ludwig von Bayern x Haupstsbuch Highlight, by Heraldik xx) owned by the Long Island T Syndicate, has seen all the highs and lows of eventing this summer. He won the Jersey Fresh CCI3* in his debut at the level, but had 20 jumping penalties on cross country in his next run at Maryland.
“He needs a very particular ride,” Boyd said. “If I try to give him a long, going, free distance, he doesn’t like it. When I’m riding a lot of horses in one day like I was at Maryland or I am here at Millbrook, I have to really think about how the horses want to be ridden as opposed to expect them to adapt to me. Deep inside I think we are really close to clicking, but I have a couple more small things to sort out with him.”
Defending winners Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux also delivered a personal best score at the level to sit in second place on 23.4. Sara and “Rubens,” a 13-year-old Selle Francais (Balougran X Davidoff Silver Shadow, by Mr. Blue), are using Millbrook as a prep run before crossing the pond to contest the Blenheim CCI3* in England.
“I was trying to get a bit more excitement and be a little bit braver (in the test), and at Bromont I did a little bit too much, so I was trying to tone it down a tiny bit here,” Sara said. “I should have maybe had a little bit more fire back into it, but he’s such a little worker. It’s so nice having a horse that you know is going to go in and actually try to do a good job. The atmosphere and the tents make him better.”
Doug Payne and Lisa Wall’s Getaway sit in third place on 25.4, a career personal best for the horse across all levels. “Flynn,” an 11-year-old Oldenburg by Contendro, received a Jacqueline B. Mars International Competition Grant from the USET Foundation to compete at Boekelo CCIO3* and are another pair using Millbrook as a prep run.
“This was his first test back after Bromont, and this was a great start as we are ramping up for Boekelo,” Doug said. “His dressage is a continuous progression. Given a little bit of time, he’s going to be pretty difficult to beat. He’s an incredibly special horse. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to ride him.”
Looking to the rest of the Advanced leaderboard, two horses heading for Burghley CCI4* round out the top five. Buck Davidson and Park Trader, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Master Imp X Ballyhast Polly, by Highland King) owned by Carl and Cassie Segal, sit fourth on 28.4. Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie, a 15-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred (Jetball X Tudnela) owned by George and Gretchen Wintersteen and Denise Lahey and Pierre Colin, sit fifth on 29.5.
Click here to view full scores after the first day of dressage. It absolutely poured during the late afternoon tests, adding even more water to the ground here in the area. The riders have been loving the good footing — schooling on the grass and taking advantage of the springy turf. With more rain expected tonight, we might see conditions tip in more of a muddy direction, which would definitely impact how things plays out on Saturday.
Tremaine Cooper’s Advanced cross country course has a new look this year, with the track reversed in direction to provide a very different flow and feel to the course. It is typically very difficult to catch the time at Millbrook, with only 7 of the last 173 starters managing to beat the clock. Wet conditions and a change of direction could join forces to make the time even more difficult to make this year.
“Millbrook is a very tricky piece of countryside to build a flowing cross country course,” Boyd said. “Tremaine is really trying to make it as flowing and less downhill as possible. These horses are here to prepare for the fall circuit and the big CCIs coming up. Tremaine knows this and is trying to build us a track that creates confidence and a happy sound horse at the end of it — hat’s off to him for getting creative.”
Stay tuned for a full preview of the Advanced cross country track. Go Eventing.
Day 1 Advanced Scores:
1. Boyd Martin and Long Island T – 22.90
2. Sara Kozumplik Murphy and Rubens D’Ysieux – 23.40
3. Doug Payne and Getaway – 25.40
4. Buck Davidson and Park Trader – 28.40
5. Boyd Martin and Steady Eddie – 29.50
6. Boyd Martin and On Cue – 30.90
7. Buck Davidson and Archie Rocks – 31.10
8T. Allison Springer and Business Ben – 32.0
8T. Daniela Moguel Cecelia – 32.00
10. Jenny Caras and Fernhill Full Throttle – 32.10