‘Who Jumped It Best?’ at Boyd & Silva Martin’s Fitch’s Corner Clinic

Boyd Martin, international three-day eventer and Olympian based in Cochranville, PA. Photo by Kathy Landman.

Take five event riders of varying experience and levels – four professionals, two of whom are Olympians, and one amateur – put the Olympic riders on horses they’d never ridden before, and ask them to compete in front of a very discerning crowd of 125 spectators to be judged in “Who Jumped it Best?”

That was Fernanda Kellogg’s idea, based on Eventing Nation’s popular column of the same name. Kellogg was looking for something new and fun for the spectators at the 9th Annual Boyd & Silva Martin Memorial Weekend Clinic, held Sunday, May 28, at Fitch’s Corner in Millbrook, NY. Turns out that the competitors had at least as much fun jumping as the guests had watching them.

Fernanda Kellogg announcing the order of go. Photo by Kathy Landman.

Naturally, one of the Olympians was Boyd Martin, and the other was gold-medalist show jumper Peter Wylde, who just happens to be Kellogg’s neighbor in Millbrook.

Wylde rode Kellogg’s horse, Atlee, who has competed through Intermediate. He met Atlee for the first time just a half-hour before the fun started. Martin finished his morning clinic session and jumped on board Andy, a handful of a horse on loan from Missy Miller, another one of the competitors. She affectionately calls Andy her “monster.”

Peter Wylde, veteran show jumping rider and Olympic gold medalist from Millbrook, NY. Photo by Kathy Landman.

Missy Miller, trainer in residence at Town Hill Farm in Lakeville, CT. Photo by Kathy Landman.

The challenge: Each rider had to choose their own course made up of a combination of stadium and cross country jumps. They had to jump a minimum of five stadium jumps, and ride through the water at least twice. The cross country jumps were an assortment of Training and Prelim level obstacles.

Ronan Moloney of Moloney Eventing in Ancram, NY. Photo by Kathy Landman.

Watching the riders it was clear that no one would have any difficulty making the minimum. It seemed that they all wanted to jump nearly everything in sight. As they stood waiting their turn, Martin, ever the clinician, threw another challenge into the mix – get up a bit of speed and include a good long gallop, he instructed.

Nicki Negrea, training level amateur rider, from Greenwich, CT. Photo by Kathy Landman.

As the riders took their turns over the course, Kellogg narrated for the crowd, introducing each horse and rider team. At the finish she invited all the riders to line-up in front of the spectators and be judged by the applause meter. The not very scientific results seemed to be that the crowd liked them all.