Boyd Martin’s Former Upper-Level Mount Trading Aces Dies of Cardiac Arrest

Boyd Martin and Trading Aces at the $15,000 Wellington Eventing Showcase. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Boyd Martin and Trading Aces at the 2015 Wellington Eventing Showcase. Photo by Jenni Autry.

It’s a terribly sad time for U.S. eventing fans, as Boyd Martin confirmed to EN that his former upper-level mount Trading Aces died suddenly yesterday of cardiac arrest. “Oscar,” a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding formerly owned by the Trading Aces Syndicate, retired from eventing last year and had been enjoying a new career as an equitation horse with junior rider Alex Pielet.

“Oscar, you will be missed by everyone that has ever met you,” Alex wrote on her Facebook page. “Your personality made you, Oscar. I will miss that every single day. I am privileged to have been loved by you. I know there won’t be a day I’m not thinking of you, but you are in a better place now. I know you are watching down on me. I love you too much for words to describe. Rest easily up there.”

Originally imported from Ireland by Joan Nichols, Kylie Lyman campaigned Oscar through the CIC3* level and won the Fair Hill International CCI2* in 2011 before Boyd acquired the ride in 2012. In the 10 events they completed together at the three-star level, Boyd and Oscar only finished outside the top 10 twice, taking big wins at Richland Park CIC3* in 2013; Red Hills CIC3* in 2014; and the inaugural Wellington Eventing Showcase last year.

Lindsey Taylor and Trading Aces at Boekelo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lindsey Taylor and Trading Aces at Boekelo in 2013. Photo by Jenni Autry.

“He was one of the most incredibly horses I’ve ever ridden,” Boyd told EN. “He had sensational movement and presence on the flat and an unbelievable scopey jump. There are not many horses in the world that have competed at international four-stars, as well as Fourth Level at Dressage at Devon and the Maclay Finals — what an incredible all-rounder. He was one of the hardest horses I’ve ever had to let go because of how talented he was.”

Boyd made the difficult decision to sell Oscar as an equitation horse last year due to the horse’s ongoing struggle with stamina on cross country. “He just never could quite do the distance at the big four-stars, but I had a lot of success with him,” Boyd said. “He was a unique horse in that he also represented the U.S. at the World Equestrian Games with another pilot, which is something that hadn’t happened since the early days of U.S. eventing.”

Phillip Dutton and Trading Aces. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Phillip Dutton and Trading Aces at the 2014 World Equestrian Games. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Phillip Dutton competed Oscar at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy following their eighth-place finish at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event while Boyd recovered from a broken leg. That was an especially memorable Rolex for Phillip and Oscar’s team, as the horse crossed the finish bang on the optimum time on cross country to win the Land Rover Ride of the Day.

Our thoughts are with Melissa and Alex Pielet; Kylie and the Nichols family; Lindsey Taylor, Oscar’s dedicated groom during his time at Windurra; Boyd and the members of the Trading Aces Syndicate; and all who knew and loved the horse. His signature pinned ears may have earned him the name Oscar after a certain infamous grouch, but he was truly a special horse in his own way.

Rest in peace, Oscar. Thank you for the memories.