Boyd Martin delivered the good news this morning that his 2010 World Equestrian Games partner and 2012 USEF International Horse of the Year Neville Bardos is “back prancing around” under saddle following an extended period of time off.
The now 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding garnered top-10 finishes at WEG, Kentucky and Burghley, plus a win in the Fair Hill CCI3*, during his heyday, and now Boyd is trying to see if he can bring him back for one last romp around a big track.
“We’ve tried for two years to bring him back to do a four-star, and both times his heart wants to do it, but his body just has got a bit too much wear and tear,” Boyd said. “He’s done a lot in his career.”
Neville raced nine times in Australia as a 3-year-old under the name Hurtle, during which “his legs clocked up some miles.” Boyd got him off the track at that point, and the horse has been eventing at the FEI level since 2005.
He was diagnosed with arthritis in his neck at the end of the 2012 season. Boyd competed him once at Pine Top in February 2013, but an ultrasound later showed a slight suspensory strain. Neville received treatment for that injury at the Caddel Equine Therapy Center in Kentucky last year.
“Otis (Barbotiere) is back in work now, too, and he’s at the same point in his career where I’ve been very successful with him but have also been battling away with a few injuries over the years,” Boyd said.
The more realistic scenario might be that Neville returns to eventing but at the lower levels with a different rider, Boyd said. But he’s not saying no to Neville just yet, and the horse is back under saddle and hacking with Mike Pendleton in the tack.
“We treat him like a bit of a king at the farm. He gets a big stall, and a great group of people own him and want what’s best for him,” Boyd said. “We’ll just see. I don’t want to retire him just yet, because you never know. I might pull him out and see if we can do one more.”