Boyd Martin dominated the Advanced division at Red Hills International Horse Trials, delivering a clear show jumping round with Christine Turner’s Kyra today to clinch the wire-to-wire win on 32.2. He also jumped clear with the Long Island T Syndicate’s Long Island T to finish second on 38.3, and had one rail down with Christine Turner’s On Cue to take fourth on 43.2.
Red Hills wasn’t originally scheduled as Boyd’s first Advanced run of the season, but his plans had to change when he broke his left collarbone on Feb. 2 while foxhunting with the Aiken Hounds in Hitchcock Woods.
“I was a guest to my good buddy, Mark Beecher. Everyone welcomed the Olympic rider and applauded. Then they had me ride right up front, and the last jump was about 2-feet high. I fell off, and I knew it was broken right away. As I was lying on the ground, all the ladies in the hunt were riding by saying, ‘Is that the guy we were acknowledging at the beginning of the hunt?’ It was pretty embarrassing, but it was perfect timing.”
Boyd quickly had surgery to place a plate in his collarbone, and he eased back into competing at Pine Top two weeks ago. While his season got off to a later start than usual, Boyd said he thinks the delay ultimately benefitted his horses.
“They feel fresher, sounder and sweeter. It might have been a blessing in disguise, and it’s something for me to think about next year — not eventing hard in January and February and just gently getting them out towards the end of February, and then come to (Red Hills) and get more stuck in at The Fork and Fair Hill.”
When he returned to competing after his surgery, Boyd found that his body protector placed uncomfortable pressure on his shoulder. His head groom and barn manager, Stephanie Simpson, came up with the idea to cushion the area with a sheepskin grooming mitt. “It looks a bit silly, but it makes a huge difference.”
Kyra, a 12-year-old Canadian Warmblood mare (VDL Ulando H X Wellesley, by Weltstern), added just 4.4 cross country time penalties yesterday to her dressage score in taking the win, and he said her cross country form has really come on in the last year.
“She’s really been hit and miss for the couple of years I’ve been riding her, but the end of last year we really started to click. She’s a very careful horse — a sensitive red-head. I’ve changed my tactic in training at home and cross country schooling by making it easier at Preliminary level fences where she can feel really confident, rather than challenging her at big fences. Then when she gets to a show, she’s a pistol. She zipped around like it was nothing yesterday.”
As for what’s next for Kyra, Boyd said he likes the idea of aiming her for competitions like the $50,000 LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing, where the mare finished fourth to take a chunk of the prize money.
“She’s a great short-course horse. With showcases and short-format internationals becoming bigger, she’s a horse that specializes in that. She’s such a fabulous show jumper, and often they build the show jumping tough at the showcases, so she’s a good one to have in the barn for that.”
Stay tuned for more from the Advanced division at Red Hills, plus the winners of all the other divisions. Go Eventing.