Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton hosted an educational symposium this past Sunday at Windurra USA in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, teaching a crowd of more than 100 people in an action-packed day of riding demonstrations they dubbed Eventing With The Stars.
The day began at 10 a.m. with an introduction to the schedule, which included a series of six mounted and teaching demonstrations with Boyd, Phillip and Silva. The audience was enthusiastic and the subject matter was world class, sprinkled with a bit of good-natured Aussie humor. Here’s a glance at the mounted topics that were covered throughout the day.
Improve Your Dressage Scores with Silva Martin
This session was a real treat, as Silva, who is due to have her first child next month, coached Boyd aboard her Intermediate II dressage mare Rosa Cha W. Her emphasis to the audience on schooling dressage movements was to focus on the importance of the basics, to utilize exercises that prepared the horse for the movement and to not add pressure to the training routine by setting time limits.
Boyd noted the evolution within the sport of eventing that places an increased emphasis on the dressage phase, commenting that marrying a German dressage rider was his secret weapon. There was definitely some teasing involved as Silva coached Boyd through a series of lead change movements, retorting, “Good job, you didn’t ruin her!”
Schooling Cross Country Style Obstacles in Your Arena
Phillip and Boyd then took center stage on two of their mounts currently competing at Preliminary level, with Phillip on Fernhill Singapore, a 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Sue and Shawn Foley, Tom Tierney and Annie Jones, and Boyd on Santos, a 6-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Gloria Callen and Ron and Densey Juvonen (and featured on EN’s Got Talent earlier this year!).
Phillip and Boyd set a course of bounces, offset lines, unrelated distances and corners to show how to work on cross country-style elements in the ring. This session was designed to show the audience how to take advantage of jumping in the ring in order to create a good pace, develop skills to adjust strides and properly execute turns required on the cross country course.
Both Boyd and Phillip did a wonderful job of demonstrating and lecturing while they were riding through the exercises, thanks in large part to Brian O’Connor providing microphones and radios to ensure everyone could easily hear. Thank you, Brian, for supporting the symposium — just another of the many ways he gives back to the sport.
Addressing Safety in the Sport
Now this was a fun demonstration introduced by our friend Lindsy Gumbiner from Charles Owen. Boyd’s right-hand man Mike Pendleton took one for the team, demonstrating a fall over a stadium fence while wearing a Charles Owen AyrVest in order to show how an air jacket activates. This great sequence of photos from Cindy Lawler shows exactly what happened:
Training OTTBs For A New Career in Eventing
Phillip and Boyd enthusiastically showed off the extensive athletic capabilities of the Thoroughbred horse by presenting their OTTB superstars. Phillip rode Graham and Anita Motion’s Icabad Crane, who won the Retired Racehorse Project’s America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred Contest last year and is getting ready to do his first CIC1* at Plantation Field next month. Boyd rode his newest syndicated mount Blackfoot Mystery, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding that Kelly Prather produced through the CCI3* level.
The crowd loved watching both Icabad Crane and Blackfoot Mystery, who both serve as excellent examples of the talent and versatility of the American Thoroughbred. Everyone especially loved Phillip and Icabad demonstrating their “party trick” that won them the America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred title last year: fitting four, fix, six and seven strides in a line of two verticals. Click below to watch!
Cross Country Warm Up: Rider Position & Technique
The audience boarded a hay wagon or walked on foot out to the cross country field to listen and observe as Phillip and Boyd properly demonstrated a good warm-up for riders and horses at the lower level of the sport. Boyd rode Barry, a 6-year-old gelding out of Peter Barry’s Freespirit, who Colleen Loach currently competes at the three-star level. Phillip rode Sea of Clouds, a 4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding that last raced in November and is currently competing at Training level.
They placed an emphasis on rider position and then demonstrating how the exercises they demonstrated in the ring transferred out to the cross country course. Those exercises included proper adjustability in stride to the fence; riding fences out of stride at the gallop; and introducing your horse to different types of fences on the course, such as ditches, trakehners, brush, skinnies and corners.
Cross Country Questions: Demo Over Upper-Level Jumps
Boyd and Phillip then took their demonstration one step further by stepping up their game on a couple of their upper level horses. Boyd rode Craig and Gloria Callen’s Welcome Shadow, a 10-year-old Thoroughbred cross mare that just won the James Stamets Memorial Perpetual Trophy at Millbrook Horse Trials for finishing as the highest placed Advanced mare. Phillip rode Mr. Candyman, an 8-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Caroline Moran, Annie Jones and Bridget Colman that is aiming at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International.
They impressed the crowd by riding more technical questions through the bank and water complexes. Even though theses horses have been exposed to many challenging courses, Boyd and Phillips emphasized the importance of a positive and relaxed schooling session at home to encourage continued willingness and confidence in their Advanced level horses. Once again, their advice returned to schooling the basics in proper sequence as to reward a forward and positive ride.
The beauty of the professionally constructed Eric Bull course at Windurra USA is that it has a huge variety of fixed and movable jumps for every level of event horse. Boyd and Phillip were able to use a number of different types of fences during both the lower level and upper level portion of the cross country demonstration, and everyone had a great view of the action.
Cosequin Wine & Cheese Party Under the Tent
The day wrapped up with the Cosequin Wine & Cheese Horsemanship Demo with Phillip’s head groom and barn manager Emma Ford while spectators relaxed under the shade of the tent. Emma, who recently published World-Class Grooming for Horses with Cat Hill, focused on proper preparation and cool down after cross country, with Olivia Dutton and Amy Ruth Borun’s Santa’s Playboy assisting with the demonstration.
Silva, Boyd and Phillip then welcomed questions from the crowd before the raffle drawing for a number of generous prizes from Charles Owen, Ariat, SmartPak and Horseware Ireland. And, last but not least, the day ended with all of the spectators getting up close and personal with the team gold medals Phillip and Boyd won at this year’s Pan American Games in Toronto.
Thank you to the sponsors and everyone who helped make this such a successful day: Cosequin, Charles Owen, Purina, Triple Crown Nutrition, Attwood Equestrian Surfaces, Antares, Ariat, SmartPak, Horseware, Retired Racehorse Project, Brian O’Connor and SpeakEasy Ltd., Cindy Lawler, Rob Bowersox and the other super volunteers, as well as the staffs at Windurra USA and Phillip Dutton Eventing.
The entire day ran so smoothly, and we were just thrilled with the turn out and response from the crowd. Thank you to everyone who came out and attended the event. Boyd and Phillip plan to make this an annual symposium, so we hope you’ll plan to join us next year for Eventing With The Stars!