Boyd Martin, Phillip Dutton Pilot Rides Into Top 7 at Luhmühlen

Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4. Photo by Jenni Autry. Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4. Photo by Jenni Autry.

What a day! At the conclusion of cross country at Luhmühlen, Phillip Dutton is sitting in the top five with Mighty Nice, and Boyd Martin is sitting seventh with Shamwari 4 and 17th with Otis Barbotiere thanks to clear rounds on all three. Both Mighty Nice and Shamwari 4 went inside the time, two of the 10 horses to accomplish that feat today. Otis also had a cracking round with 6.8 time penalties in his first major competition back since the 2012 London Olympics.

Boyd and Otis were first out for Team USA and just third out for the day. Kai Ruder and Gryffindor 9, the first pair on course, had a stop at the skinny at 10b in the main arena and retired soon after on course. But Boyd and Otis made quick work of this combination when they came through, as you’ll see in the video below. Due to breaking his leg, Boyd has only ridden Otis at one Intermediate this year, and Phillip took the horse Advanced once, so the clear is definitely nothing to sneeze at.

Boyd did say Otis was tired toward the end of the course, so he eased off the gas then, hence the time penalties. But the clear round moved them away up the leaderboard, as they were sitting in 33rd place after Otis’ naughty antics during Thursday’s dressage test. He’s certainly redeemed himself now, and a good show jumping round tomorrow in what is generally the horse’s best phase would be the cherry on top of what has already been a very sweet weekend.

Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Phillip Dutton and Mighty Nice. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Shamwari 4 was out next for Team USA, and my oh my — this horse is a rock star. He looked keen and bold and seemed to hit every jump out of stride, making a course that didn’t exactly ride easily today look like a walk in the park. Boyd said after that it was one of the smoothest, nicest cross country rounds he’s ever ridden, and it’s obvious the horse loves his job. He gave a nod to Mr. Myagi, AKA Big Phil, since he did a lot of the leg work this spring to get him ramped up with Boyd sidelined.

Phillip was the third and final ride of the day for Team USA with Mighty Nice, and he had a really lengthy hold on course due to back-to-back falls from Lucinda Fredericks and Benjamin Winter. But Happy handled the hold well and settled right back into a groove. He really rose to the occasion today in what is definitely the biggest course he’s seen to date. While Phillip said he’s still “greenish” to the level, Happy really stepped up on a day when it counted.

And on that note, Boyd and Phillip are just a show jumping round away from being named to the World Equestrian Games team with these horses. The performances today were just too impressive for the selectors to ignore, and Boyd and Phillip did exactly what they needed to do today to keep their WEG hopes alive. Tomorrow is going to be a nail-biter for more reasons than one. Stay tuned for much more from Luhmühlen.

Luhmühlen Links: [Website] [Live Scores]  [EN’s Luhmühlen Coverage] [@eventingnation] [EN’s Instagram

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