Saturday, October 18, 2008

Three Solid Cross-Country Rounds at Fair Hil


I started the day fantastically- Remy (pictured right, Amber Heintzberger photo) was the first on the course and blasted around cross-country, only two seconds over the time. He's now in fifth place. It was a real test for him but he really proved himself over a lot of accuracy questions and the tough terrain. They had quite a few problems today, but I think that there were a lot of green horses and riders for the levels.

Che Kairo (pictured left, Amber Heintzberger photo)was a big ride, I had the weight of Ecuador on my shoulders! He had a really courageous round and moved up a few places, from 40th to 20th jumping clean and with only .8 time faults.

Belmont (pictured right, Amber Heintzberger photo) made the three-star feel easy, he's an experienced horse and he jumped everything out of stride, clean and in the time. I think this performance will really assist his sale.

Dr. Kevin Keane went over all the horses and they are in good condition for tomorrow.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Belmont II Breaks Into the Top Ten at Fair Hill

Boyd and Belmont II, owned by Kate Dichey, compete in the CCI*** at Fair Hill. Amber Heintzberger photo


Today I had Belmont II in the three-star. I gave him a light workout first thing in the morning and he felt pretty good so I was confident. He warmed up well before the test and Silva told me to go for it in the ring. He gets tense sometimes with atmosphere, but he went in and I felt like I got the best test that I've had with him so far.

He was just a little tense in the walk, but it was the best score we've had and it's exciting that it was in an FEI test and that he made the top ten with such good rides from the competition. I thought in both the two-star and the three-star the judges got a little more generous as the day went on, but luckily I rode in the afternoon!

Thinking about tomorrow, in the two-star the biggest thing is making sure I have enough fuel left in the tank with Remington.

In the three-star Kairo's a little green and I don't know him well so I will have to take my time at the jumps that ask accuracy questions. Belmont is big and strong so I'll have to take care with him at the end of the course, in case he gets stronger as we go along.

Remington is first on course at 8:30am so I'm looking forward to getting out early and getting a good ride while the others sit back in the barn getting nervous! Actually it's an advantage to watch a few go, but it's part of the sport that what you get is what you get.

Silva's students did well today, so I'll hand it over to her to talk about them....


Molly [Rosin] was awesome yesterday, she had a little scare in the shoulder-in left when the loudspeaker started crackling and Charly spooked, but she pulled herself together and rode a beautiful test.

Ryan [Wood]had beautiful trot work and the canter got a bit long, but the horse has naturally fantastic movement and obviously he did well in spite of the canter.

Cayla's ride was fantastic - the horse didn't look as big as he does sometimes, which makes Cayla look like a peanut up there. She really pulled him together well. She got a 66 from two judges and a 61 from one judge so the scores were off and I think she should have scored higher, which is disappointing.

Julia Steinberg and Mr. Big had a lovely test and scored their best score ever.

Steph Boyer got the flying changes, and I thought she should have scored better too. I guess I'm a little biased, because I see the horses every day so I saw how much they have improved, while the judges only see what's in front of them!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Remington XXV Top 5 in CCI** at Fair Hill International

Photo of Boyd on Remington XXV warming up under Silva's watchful eye. Amber Heintzberger photo.

Boyd’s commentary from Fair Hill:

Remington XXV (in fifth place in the CCI** with 50.3), put in the test of his lifetime. We had a couple little mistakes but he was as good as I’ve ever had him. He struggles with the walk, and the first half-pirouette in the walk he got tense and thought I wanted him to canter, so we had a little bobble there. It was the best score I’ve had with him at an FEI event and I could not have asked for more.

Che Kairo’s (20th place in the CCI*** with 66.7), trot work was basically spot on but he got a little tired and strung out in the canter. The thing that hurt the most is that I fumbled both changes, but he’s a bit green in the changes and I think that with a bit more training they’ll be good.

Looking at the cross-country course I think it’s challenging. The course is up a mountain and then down a mountain. Remington can jump anything but has never run this distance before. Being a warmblood, I plan to look at how he’s going after a bit and gauge how he’s feeling. If he feels good I’ll get on with it, but if he’s getting tired I’ll just get him home. He’s been galloping hills and doing lot trots so I feel like he’s as fit as he could be.

Che Kairo is an Argentinean Thoroughbred and he’s a tough horse and a naturally good galloper. Because it was a late decision to bring him to the event he missed some early gallops so again I will have to see where he is on the course and bring him home carefully if I have to.

The new two-star course looks brilliant – it’s the first year they are running a two-star and it shares a few fences with the three-star. The jumps are pretty tough and technical but the hardest thing is where they are placed on the terrain. The trickiest part for Remington will be that he’s a bit green on cross-country so I will have to try to show him the jumps a bit.

Silva’s and my student Molly Rosin is leading the two-star and she made a very good effort and had a great test. Her horse is in fantastic form. I’ve jumped him a few times myself and he’s awesome, a lot of fun.

Tomorrow I’m riding Belmont in the three-star. He’s rockin’ and rollin’; I worked him twice today and he looked fantastic. He started feeling a little flat this afternoon, so I’ll take him for an easy walk tomorrow morning. Of course then I risk him having too much energy in the afternoon, so it’ll be the art of walking the tightrope tomorrow.

Silva performed the early-morning test ride on Shannon Stimson's Sea Lord, aka Big Bird, and showed the eventers how it's done!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bellaney's Destiny Withdrawn from Fair Hill

A message from Boyd:

"The horses were all checked out at home this morning and unfortunately Bellaney's Destiny (pictured above, photo by Amber Heintzberger) will be a late withdrawal because of a bruise on the heel of one of his forefeet. The vet he should be a hundred per cent sound in a few days, but the first veterinary inspection is tomorrow and we want to play it safe and let him heal completely.

"The other three horses were checked out this morning as well and given the go, so I did a jump school with the each of them with Phillip, then drove them over to the event and gave them each a light ride around the competition site. They've all settled in well and we're looking forward to the event getting under way tomorrow. Silva will be doing the test ride Thursday morning at about 7:30am, then I'll be riding early in the two-star lineup so I should be in the ring shortly after Silva."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Preparations for Fair Hill

Boyd took a few minutes out of his busy Fair Hill preparations to talk about the four horses that he is taking the championship event, which begins with the first veterinary inspection on Wednesday. Last year in the CCI*** at Fair Hill Boyd placed second on Ying Yang Yo and fourth on Neville Bardos.

"It's good going back to Fair Hill feeling confident and knowing what it's about," says Boyd. "I think we've had a good preparation for the event and I'm riding four good horses. I think that the new two-star will be a real showcase of the best horses in the country."

In the three-star Boyd will ride Che Kairo,(pictured left, photo by Amber Heintzberger) a 13-year-old Argentinean Thoroughbred gelding who was Ecuadorian Ronald Zabala's partner at the Pan American Games. Zabala is trying to sell the gelding, who has also been ridden by Phillip Dutton. "He's athletic and has a lot of talent," says Boyd. I won an intermediate with him at Surefire earlier this year and ran him advanced at Morven last weekend. The end goal is to sell the horse, so I hope to have a good result that will encourage his sale on the international market."

Also in the CCI*** Boyd will ride Belmont II, (pictured right, photo by Amber Heintzberger), a Dutch Warmblood/Thoroughbred cross gelding owned by Californian Kate Dichey, who is a good friend of Boyd and Silva. "Belmont is very strong in the dressage and has a good jump in him," says Boyd. "I'm also looking for a good result to get him sold for Kate."

Boyd points out that with a good result, both of these horses will be qualified for the 2010 World Equestrian Games, which he hopes will also improve their chances at selling.

In the CCI** Boyd will ride Bellaney Destiny, (pictured left, photo by Amber Heintzberger), an Irish gelding owned by Debbie Kuhns. Boyd and the handsome big grey recently placed second in the CIC** at Plantation Field.

Boyd will also ride Remington XXV, (pictured right, photo by Emily Daily for the US Eventing Association), owned by Densev Juvonen, in the CIC**. The handsome bay placed third in the CIC** at Richland Park and was third in the open intermediate at Stuart.

“Both of these horses have had really strong performances this year so I’m looking forward to a good weekend with them.”

Back at the barn things are also on a good turn. Boyd's good friend from Australia, Ryan Wood, just started working at True Prospect Farm, and leading Intermediate rider Jennie Brannigan has been at the farm for about a month now. "It's good fun,” says Boyd. “I think that with me and Ryan and Jennie all riding we've set a really high standard, and the maestro Phillip is giving us all a lot of good training."