Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin will bring their popular Masterclass back to Aiken this year with a twist, as the event is also serving as a fundraiser to help support the Land Rover U.S. Olympic Eventing Team’s trip to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The Celebration of U.S. Eventing will be held March 3 at Stable View Farm in Aiken, with Phillip and Boyd’s Masterclass starting at 5 p.m., including special guest appearances from big names in the sport, like Bobby Costello, David O’Connor, Jan Byyny, Will Coleman, Beth Perkins and Mara DePuy.
Then a VIP after party will kick off at 6:30 p.m. in the main barn, with top event riders acting as guest bartenders, as well as a live auction with proceeds benefitting Team USA. More than 350 people attended last year’s Masterclass, and Boyd said he hopes to see an even bigger turnout this year.
“Last year’s Masterclass was a huge success,” Boyd said. “This year our expectations are for a bigger, bolder and better show. The audience here in Aiken is definitely enthusiastic about what goes on behind the scenes with training event horses. Phillip and I look forward to putting on a display of what it takes to train the green off-track Thoroughbreds up to the big time four-star horses.”
Phillip said the Masterclass portion of the night will be scaled back to some degree this year since the event is combined with the Team USA fundraiser, but he also emphasized it will still be packed with educational opportunities.
“We’ll have a range of demonstrations, from the very green horse just getting introduced to the sport to four-star horses, and it will be a combination of training exercises, tips and advice on what Boyd and I do to educate the horses and bring them along,” Phillip said. “It will be fun and entertaining as well.”
Phillip confirmed off-track Thoroughbred superstar Icabad Crane will make an appearance, and both Boyd and Phillip will ride one of their top four-star mounts during the demonstration. Boyd said his broken collarbone is mending well following surgery last week, and he’ll be healed up and ready to ride in the Masterclass.
As for whether we’ll see Boyd and Phillip pouring drinks at the VIP after party, Phillip said, “We will definitely be bartending, and we’re looking to raise a lot of money and selling a lot of drinks.”
Advance ticket sales close next Monday, Feb. 22, so now is the time to secure your spot for the Celebration of U.S. Eventing. Tickets are $35 for the Masterclass only, $25 of which is tax-deductible. Tickets for both the Masterclass and VIP after party are $150, $125 of which is tax-deductible.