Saturday, November 6, 2010

Post Cross-country Update from Boyd at Pau

Hello pilgrims,

I had a great day on the Hanoverian Hurricane today on cross-country at the Pau CCI****. Little Remi was second last to go on a tough, twisty course that saw many famous names have problems. I must admit I did not have the most beautiful round, but I got the job done. I went all of the direct routes at the tough obstacles and finished the course with 16 time penalties, which leaves me in 3rd place behind William Fox-Pitt and Karin Donckers.

Remi looks like he has pulled up well after a tough afternoon. He trotted up sound late this afternoon, so we look good for the trot-up tomorrow, which is at lunchtime. In hindsight, I wish I had taken a little bit more of a chance at some of the galloping fences. There were one or two fences where I added one too many strides on the approach, and on a horse like Remington not jumping these fences out of stride costs time.

Anyway, I am looking forward to a good show jumping round tomorrow.



Here is a few video off YouTube, hope you enjoy the ride.

Press Release: Boyd and Remington in 3rd after XC at Pau!

While we wait for news directly from Boyd, here's a press release for the much anticipated news that he and Remi had a successful ride cross-country in the CCI4* at Pau today and are now standing in 3rd place! -AMH

Press release, Saturday 6 November 2010

William Fox-Pitt playing it safe

The current world n°1, British William Fox-Pitt, took the lead in Pau with the cross-country on Saturday that he started off without taking any risks: “I might have taken chicken ways, but my priority was to return home in one piece.” This strategy proved to be successful as the Briton took command in this class, thus strengthening his top position in the HSBC FEI Classics.

Only one of Friday’s “dressage champions” managed to stay in the top 3 after the cross-country: Belgian rider Karin Donckers with her « young 10-year-old » horse as she likes to remind everyone. This year’s course was a very harsh one as the statistics show: 16 refusals, 5 leading to elimination, 5 rider falls, 3 horse falls (notably Glennbury du Léou with French rider Pascal Leroy falling in the water at 26 A B C) and one withdrawal. That makes it 14 couples that weren’t able to finish this big adventure. “There were many green horses, explains the excellent course designer Pierre Michelet, and a great number of them were running their first four star event; this could explain the number of incidents.”

William Fox-Pitt knows that the course in Pau is not one of the easiest having rarely finished a cross-country here without any incidents. “That is why I didn’t want to take any risks. Even if Navigator is one of my best horses – by the way, I wondered if I should take him to Lexington, I didn’t play with fire and did often take the longer options even though I knew that he was capable of taking the direct options.”

A wise decision that helped the vice-world champion to take the lead of the ranking in front of Belgian Karin Donckers (Lamicell Charizard) and the Australian naturalized American Boyd Martin for whom Pau is his first European competition. “The food is great, the coffee very strong, but, oh my God, the turnings!” This third place was somehow the surprise of the day. His horse Remington used to be a dressage horse and then hunter that an American woman gave him so he could sell it. But the horse never passed the veterinary check … which didn’t prevent him from proving today that he was one of the world’s best eventing horses.

The best French performance was realized, just like in 2009, by the surprising Gwendolen Fer who finished her course without any incident even if her saddle was dangerously sliding on the back of the horse after the breast plate, supposed to hold the saddle, broke ! What a hero! The young rider placed 8th tonight.

For more information visit

Friday, November 5, 2010

Boyd and Remington 4th after Dressage at Pau CCI**** in Spite of Illness

Hey guys,

I had a good test on the "little fella" today. I was second last to go late this afternoon in the dressage phase at the Pau CCI ****. Remington warmed up well-ish, a little bit lazy to be honest. I must give a big thanks to Mark and Silva who helped me in the warm-up. To his credit, Remi went in and did an accurate test finishing on a score of 43. I think he is in 4th place, not far off the lead. This is a personal best score for me and Remington.

I had a terrible day personally which saw me in the fetal position in the tack room all day after getting some serious food poisoning this morning. I ended up in the French medical van twice throughout the day and I spewed up about ten times today. The first spew was actually while I was riding Remi early this morning; I got a few funny looks from the other riders! It was good in a way, as I had plenty of room to work in the warm-up arena. In the end, I received a big needle in the bum by the doctor just before the test to try to settle my stomach. Better me than the horse I suppose...

I must say, the course is a big ask for Remi and me. It has a few tough fences that are scattered through the course that scare the hell out of me. I will be riding hard and fast tomorrow trying to get a top result on my first European four star.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pau XC Course Walk

I was lucky enough to do a course walk with Captain Mark Phillips this morning around the Pau Cci **** course. Silva and Caitlin tagged along and took a few snaps with the iPhone. Here are a few of the interesting fences that I can predict will keep me awake in a cold sweat tomorrow night before Cross-Country...


Fence 4 is a very square corner off a very sharp turn.... This is the first tough question about 35 seconds into the course.
The first of the three waters. A big drop in, then a turn in the lake to a big step out, one stride to a angled brush. I think this is the first real test for Remi.

Walking in seriously cold water....

A few fences later is a double of narrows on top of two mounds 4 strides apart. Should be sweet....
A duck at the top of another man made mound. I have found a bit of a shortcut inside a few trees after this fence which should save some time.

A huge angled rail over a very wide ditch. Mark told me to hit this one at pace over the third flower pot to the left.
This is the second water at about 6:30 into the course. Before these angle one stride hedges in the water is a big hedge drop in, with a ditch brushnbefore it. This is a fence that requires bold accurate ridding. This is a bit of a concern for me.

This is the ditch rails to a direct three strides angling over the narrow. The key at this one is to hit it a pace, jumping the middle of part A at an angle, and keep pushing to get three.

This is my biggest worry on the course. It's a freaking huge jump in over the corner of the boat, then an curving line in five strides, to a big step out, then one stride angling out over the apex of the second boat. This fence is late in the course and tests everything of a star horse... Boldness, accuracy, athletisim and courage.
The third last fence is this corner, which follows a four stride hedge oxer line. After the two hedges it's down a steep hill, turning to this corner in the picture. Nearly home...
Ahhh... The last fence. The smallest fence on the course. It would be a long trip home if I had a shocking ride to this one. I will be looking to take a tug at this one just to be sure (unless the clock is yelling at me).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Remington XXV Passes First Veterinary Inspection at Pau CCI****

So far, so good.

Remington passed the first horse inspection here in Pau. He jogged up like a champ in front of the ground jury late this afternoon. All of the horses that were presented in the four-star passed. It looks to be a quality field of 38 starters.
I worked Remi on the flat in front of my USA supporters: owners Ron and Densey Juvonen, wife Silva, and groom Caitlin. He went well again today. I focused a little more on the canter work today, especially the changes.
Densey Juvonen, proud owner of Remington, XXV

I walked the course as well today. My first impressions were...well...Holy Moly! It's an intense cross-country made up of one tough technical line after another. It's pretty big too.
Anyway, it's dressage practice again tomorrow with help from Silva and Capt. Mark Phillips. Then I think I will walk the cross-country again with the Captain to get a bit of advice.



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Boyd Arrives in Pau

I arrived safe and sound here at Pau after catching the Red Eye from Philadelphia through the night. I was happy to see no road blocks, protests or riots on the way. It seems like the French sorted out their retirement issues just in time.

Remington looks like he has traveled like a champ. We have pumped 40 liters of fluids through him since leaving Unionville. I worked him lightly yesterday, and a little bit harder today. I worked mostly on getting him soft and stretching yesterday for about 20 minutes, then a 40 minute hack around the race track. Today I went a bit longer and started doing some movements from the test. I was really happy with him, he felt great since he has not been worked in 5 days.Looks like I have the trot up tomorrow at about 5 pm. I must say, I think we have Remington about perfect. He looks fit and trim, happy and healthy. I gave him a trot up straight out of the stall this morning and he looks sound as a pound.

After only spending 40 minutes on Remington's back today, I spent the rest of the day watching all of the rock stars working their horses. It was great to see how the legendary European riders train leading up to a big one. Caitlin and I also zipped into town and took in a bit of culture. Pau has some fantastic old buildings and churches that we checked out. We also spent a lot of time hand grazing The Hannoverian Hurricane,(Remi's wishful nickname), which he seriously approves of! I also had a sneak preview of some of the xc fences...Fence 12 is nearly as tall as me!We are stabled with all of the New Zealanders, Itallians and Spanish horses and the other riders have been friendly and welcoming. The weather looks good for the next few days. Silva, Ron and Densey get here tomorrow. Boyd

Monday, November 1, 2010

Travels with Caitlin and Remington: the Journey to Pau

Caitlin Silliman reports from France:

After 5 days of traveling Remington and I finally arrived at Pau at 4 o'clock on Sunday afternoon! It was quite an adventure from True Prospect to the Pau show grounds for two first-timers traveling abroad. I have never flown with horses before so I was a bit nervous about the trip, as I found out late Tuesday night that it would only be Remington and I traveling to Pau! But I figured you can't get too lost at the airport with a horse in tow...

Remi and I started out at 6:30 on Wednesday morning with a commercial shipper who took us to the vet port at JFK where we would wait to fly out to Amsterdam at 10:30 that night. We arrived at JFK at 11 AM to a friendly voice in the vet port barn: Nat VC was in the stables with Nina Ligon's two horses. They were on their way to the Asian Games but were on my flight to Amsterdam, as they had to lay over in Germany for a week before traveling to China. Nat is a VERY experienced traveler and talked me through every step of the airport process!

We stayed in the vet port for the day until 6 pm when we loaded the three horses on a lorry that would take them to the boxes they would travel in on the plane. After saying good bye to the horses Nat, Scott (a professional flyer to assist us with the horses on the plane in case of emergency), and I went into the airport to check in for our flight like regular passengers. Scott and Nat told me that there are two kinds of flights that the horses can go on. One is a "freighter" which just has cargo and a crew of pilots so it is very casual and you stay with the horses the whole flight. The other kind, (our flight), is a KLM flight which is a huge plane with regular passengers, (most of which don't even know horses are on board), and the horses are behind the passengers at the back of the plane.

Once we checked in Nat and I rushed off to get pedicures at the express spa with our remaining time and then boarded the plane! Nat, Scott and I sat in the last row of seats and went back with the horses for take off, landing, and many times in between to check on them. Remi flew like a pro! Horses seem to ship better on planes than they do in trailers!

7 hours later we landed in Amsterdam at 11:30 AM on Thursday morning. Once we arrived we walked to the vet port to meet the horses who were still in the boxes that they traveled in on the plane. I was able to offer Remi water and give him some grain while I waited for the vets to unload him. Once the vets gave him the OK and all paperwork was done I unloaded Remi, waved goodbye to Nat, and loaded onto a lorry that would take Remi and I to Chantilly. A little French guy drove us to Chantilly and he spoke about 4 words of English! It made for an entertaining drive because for the 7 hours of our trip I taught him English, he taught me French, and we tried to communicate with small, slow sentences and lots of hand gestures!
We arrived in Chantilly late Thursday night and Remi and I were both very pleased to be in a bed for the night! Friday morning I hacked Remi for and hour and then put him out in a paddock for the remainder of the day. Remi recovered very well from traveling the days before. Furson stables, where we were staying, is beautiful! There are two barns on the property, one was full of Grand Prix show jumpers, and the other, (the barn remi and I were in), only had 5 horses that did some low level eventing. I took Remi out for a long walk again on Friday morning and then a French vet came in the afternoon to give him fluids (photo below) so he would be ready for the drive on Sunday.
Sunday morning at 5 AM an older man named Christophe picked us up to take us to the competition grounds in Pau. Christophe had to pick up a horse at the race track in Paris on the way, so Remi and I got a tour of the city, (including the Eiffel Tower), all lit up because it was still dark out! The drive to Pau took 11 hours which flew by because of the beautiful countryside we got to see on the way. Lots of huge farms and vineyards for most of the drive and then 1 hour outside of Pau we drove through the mountains.

Remi and I were the first to arrive at Pau so everyone helped us get settled in.
Remi seems full of energy and ready to compete! The show grounds are beautiful and the weather couldn't be better. Boyd will meet us tomorrow at lunch time!

Wish us luck!!