Saturday, September 20, 2008

Boyd Leads Two-Star at Plantation Field CIC

Boyd rocked the cross-country at Plantation Field today! He and Belmont II are tied for second with Phillip Dutton on Bailey Wick in the CIC*** with identical dressage scores (49.20) and cross-country time faults (5.20) for a total of 54.4 penalties. Will Coleman and Twizzel maintained their lead(45.2)

In the CIC** Boyd is leading with Bellaney Destiny, (50.0), an Irish horse owned by Debbie Kuhns that is a relatively new ride for him, though he already won the preliminary at Seneca. “He’s top class and gave me a great ride today,” said Boyd.

California native Molly Rosin, who has been training with Boyd, is in second on Havarah’s Charlie, her partner in winning the preliminary championship at the American Eventing Championships two years ago. Molly was thrilled with Charlie’s cross-country round and said that he felt unstoppable on course today.

Sally Cousins won the advanced division riding The Robber Baron, a nice reward after she and Tsunami parted company in the same division. Boyd was tied for first but was two seconds slower so had to settle for second place riding Anne Hennessey’s Benwald. Boyd wrapped things up by winning a division of preliminary riding Minotaure du Passoir, who only recently returned to competition after undergoing colic surgery earlier this year. "He's only had two starts since I brought him back and I'm ecstatic with him," said Boyd. Shatzi finished 5th in the same division.

At the end of the day Boyd said, "They were good tough, testing courses but rideable. Most of the horses jumped well and the courses caught out the horses that weren't up to it. It was a fantastic cross-country day here at Plantation Field, I'm thrilled with all five horses that I rode. This is probably the best Plantation I've been to. I've always thought of Unionville as as the best area for eventing, with all the trainers and horses here, and it's fantastic that we now have a showcase event like this."

Photo: Boyd Martin and Bellaney Destiny, copyright 2008 Amber Heintzberger

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Inaugural Plantation Field International CIC

Boyd and Belmont II compete in the CIC***

Photo by Amber Heintzberger

Boyd Talks About Mental Toughness

For the second time this year students of eventing gathered at True Prospect Farm for the Phillip Dutton Eventing Camp. Boyd and Silva taught lessons throughout the week and at the camp's conclusion Boyd, along with Kerry Milliken, gave a talk about "mental toughness" in eventing, to send the campers away on a positive note.

A few excerpts:

"Cross-country is obviously the most nerve-wracking phase on an event. In any competition there are going to be nerves, it doesn't matter how many competitions you do; I ride and compete a lot and I still get nervous every time I ride cross-country.

"The question is, does this moment of terror ruin you or do you work with it and deal with it so that you can actually enjoy your ride?

"One of the first things you can do is visualization. One thing I've learned from Phillip is that from the moment you walk your course to the time you ride it is a long time. Make a time for thinking about it, and then move on - don't dwell on it and psych yourself out. Don't let the whole visualization aspect control you for two days.

"Another keyword is focus. To me that's a personal thing. You don't want to be so focused that you can't talk to your wife. Focus on just a couple of points, like when you're riding shoulder-in just think about correct bend and keeping the horse on three tracks."

He reminded riders to focus on their own issues and not to pay attention to external distractions. "If you're riding in the warm-up and David O'Connor does a big extended trot past you, don't try to do what he's doing or ride to impress him - just stick to your usual warm-up. Have a plan and stick to it. Don't let exterior factors influence you. You are not going to re-train your horse in the warm-up ring!"

Finally, Boyd commented, "Something you have to come to terms with is that a lot is out of your control. The weather, the footing, if the warm-up ring for dressage is next to the cross-country can get upset about it and lose your focus or you can think of it as a great test to see if you can handle it, like if it's raining you can see how your horse goes in the mud. Do the best with what you've got."

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Bit of Education at the AEC, Sponsored by Bit of Britain

Even though the upper-level cross-country got rained out at the AEC, Boyd and an intrepid group of eventers slogged around the preliminary cross-country course on Friday in a course walk sponsored by Bit of Britain Saddlery, sponsors of Boyd and Silva Martin. Company owner John Nunn joined the group and after a rousing introduction we set off through the mud, dodging training-level competitors as Boyd offered advice for how to ride the course.

I joined the group with camera and notebook in hand, but it's hard to take notes in the pouring rain - paper gets soggy and ink tends to run, so the notes end up looking more like a Rorschach inkblot test. I managed to copy down a few of Boyd's comments from key fences and will share them here:

Fence 3, a hanging log in the trees. "A green or spooky horse will look here because it's in the dark and on a slight uphill. I'd set up a bit and then move up to it, but you don't want a long, flat gallop."

The next two fences were straightforward and Boyd commented, "The object of the first five fences is to get going forward and feel how the horse is going. After that it's down to business."

Fence 10, the bank complex. "This is a test of your horse's courage and boldness. You don't want to get waiting and quiet to this one or he'll do a cat leap - encourage him forwrad and strong. I think it's a tough fence for prelim."

11. The Coffin. "Don't waste time after the bank, because here you want to balance the horse up a bit. Hopefully it will ride as a one-stride to a one-stride (the coffin consisted of a standard-width vertical to a reveted ditch and out over a skinny arrowhead). The danger is if the horse looks in the ditch - that's when you get one catching a knee on the jump in. Realize the horse might hesitate and stay behind with your position, shoulders back. After the ditch don't give up - do everything you can to get over that skinny."

Water complex: a big drop in, then a bending line to a corner in the water (black flag option to go past the corner, make a right-hand turn back over a log into the water and then out again). "A corner in the water is a big call...The quieter you jump in to the water, the more rideable the horse will be for the turn to the corner in the water."

17-18 was a skinny to a skinny on a wide right-hand turn. "I'd take the turn out of the line a bit by jumping in left-to-right; if you have a problem here it would be a run out to the left at 18 because the horse drops its shoulder. You have to hold the horse on the line and react quickly to what the horse does.

A word on pace: "At preliminary you have to go faster than at the lower levels. The first thing you want to achieve is to get around - do all you can not to stop or fall off. Then you want to go clear. Then you want to go fast. Making the time is not just for crazy people, it's for those who are economical. If you can land and get away from each fence a second faster than everyone else, that puts you ahead of the game."

Even though the competitors who participated in Boyd's course walk at the AEC did not have a chance to put his advice into practice, it was a fun and educational opportunity for all. Look for more of these sponsored course walks at future events!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Record Rains Wash Out 2008 AEC

Record-setting rain (6.59" today)continued to fall in Illinois as Hurricane Ike pounded Texas, and Lamplight Equestrian Center was in the heart of the flood zone. After rescheduling the AEC to run show jumping on Saturday and cross-country on Sunday, the organizers decided to scrap cross-country for the upper levels altogether and completed the competition a day early as a combined test. The footing in the arenas held up well considering the ongoing rain, and except for a few short holds for lightning the competition ran nearly to schedule.

In the Intermediate Championship Boyd and Remington XXV, owned by Densey Juvonen, had two rails down to finish on 42.4 penalties in eleventh place. Becky Holder on Ann Bower's Rejuvenate won this division followed by Boyd's student, Jennie Brannigan riding Cooper in second.

Boyd also finished eleventh in the Advanced Championship riding Benwald, owned by Anne Hennessey, on a score of 51.2. British rider Leslie Law won this division riding Beatrice and Guy ReyHerme's Mystere Du Val.

In the Preliminary Horse Championship Boyd's student Kate Chadderton finished 20th riding Canyonleigh's Sir Echo, a horse that along with Boyd's two would likely have benefited from a cross-country run in a bid to move up the placings.

Boyd, Kate and Jennie had already packed up the trailer and quickly got on the road back to Pennsylvania as soon as the competition came to a close, hoping for drier weather at Plantation Field next weekend.

Photo of Boyd and Remington XXV Copyright Amber Heintzberger 2008