Boyd Martin came to Virginia Horse Trials (VHT) International to get himself and his horses back into the swing of competing, and he picked up an international win along the way. Leading from start to finish, Martin and the 9-year-old Holsteiner gelding Luke 140, owned by the Luke 140 Syndicate, won the CCI3*-S on a final score of 35.5.
Starting off with a dressage score of 23.9, they show jumped double clear on Tuesday. They entered today’s cross country test with plenty of breathing room, allowing for the addition of 11.6 time penalties.
“Luke was brilliant in all three phases. I wanted to set him up for an assault on the second half of the year,” Martin said. “It was fantastic doing all the dressage in the shade of the indoor arenas, and the new jumping ring was brilliant to ride on.”
With the majority of the spring season being cancelled due to COVID-19, many competitors are just getting going with their competition season this summer. Martin commented that designer Andy Bowles’ cross country course was appropriate for horses who haven’t been out in a while, but there were “a couple of combinations that really tested the horses, and it’s a true test of fitness with a big, long gallop up the hill in the middle of the course.”
Having finished up his competition on Wednesday afternoon, Martin was already on his way home to prepare for another outing this weekend. “I love the idea of the midweek eventing, especially for the pro riders looking to get horses out,” Martin said. “I’m slowly getting better from surgery a couple months ago, and it was great just getting the horses out and seeing my eventing buddies I haven’t seen in months.”
Coming second in the CCI3*-S was Joe Meyer and his longtime partner Clip Clop. They added only 2.0 time penalties to their initial score, moving up from 11th after dressage. Benjamin Noonan and Keep Kitty rounded out the top three.
CCI3*-S Final Top 10:
In the CCI1*-L division, Andrew McConnon leads the way with D’Luxe Steel followed by Joanie Morris riding Betterthanexpected.
Elizabeth Halliday-Sharp holds the top two spots in the CCI2*-L with Cooley Be Cool and Cooley Seeking Fortune, respectively, with show jumping still to go. Halliday-Sharp won the CCI2*-S with Marysville Sir Henry – here’s the final top 10 from that division:
VHT’s original date had been postponed due to COVID-19 and this week the event is strictly adhering to necessary protocols, including paperless entries, mandatory face coverings, and social distancing. Martin offered this sentiment: “Everyone is keen to get back to normal life, and everyone is understanding it’s a huge privilege to do this sport [right now]. We are grateful to the organizers who have had to jump through many hoops to get events going.”
The competition continues Thursday with all three phases running concurrently at the Virginia Horse Center.