Martin Lands On Top At Inaugural Rebecca Farm CCI***

Jul 26, 2015 - 1:59 PM

July 26—Kalispell, Mont.

Move over, Boyd; there’s a new Martin in town.

U.S. eventing has a new CCI*** titlist in Kurt Martin, whose clear show jumping round today at The Event at Rebecca Farm aboard Delux Z clinched the biggest win of the rider’s career thus far and gave the selectors who awarded him a USEF Land Rover Competition Grant to make the long trip from Virginia to Montana’s Flathead Valley a sigh of relief.

“I’ve gotten grants before and never been able to use one, so to come out on top here feels really good,” said Martin, 33, of Middleburg, Va. “[The grant] is a real opportunity for someone like myself that doesn’t have the money to do it. There’s no way I would be sitting here without it. I think it was worthwhile to send me here, and I appreciate people investing in me.”

Martin’s mount, Delux Z, is a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (Lux Z—Drumin Imp, Master Imp) owned by his mother, CarolJean Martin, who broke down weeping after she realized her son had won his first CCI*** title.

Their show jumping wasn’t an equitation round, but it was one of only three double-clears in the division.

“I think the horse was a bit overwhelmed; he was spooky,” Kurt said. “But I’ve ridden him long enough to know that that was how he was going to go in the ring, and he trusts me. When he spooks, he jumps higher, and that’s what he did. It wasn’t smooth, but we put it all together in our first attempt.”

Kurt and Delux Z stood second after cross-country, and their dressage-score finish on 47.0 penalties put the pressure on leader Buck Davidson with The Apprentice.

But the suspense was over in short order. Davidson had no rails in hand, and The Apprentice wasted no time in going bowling. They racked up a total of 24 jumping faults in a hard-to-watch round reminiscent of their six-rail performance at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** this spring.

“Obviously I’m disappointed. I didn’t come here to be third,” said Davidson, who finished behind James Alliston on 68.1 penalties. “But on days like this I always say, ‘Turn on CNN.’ My life is not that bad. My horse was great in the first two phases, and obviously I’m disappointed today, but we’ll just have to go back to the drawing board. I thought I was on to something last year; he was jumping well. I’ll just have to go back and try and find it.

“But this is so great for Kurt,” Davidson added. “He did an awesome job, and winning your first three-star is an exciting thing.”

Alliston, who stood third after cross-country and ended up second on 62.9 penalties, struggled through today’s course as well with Parker, pulling three rails.

“It was a bit of a disappointing way to end the show, really,” Alliston said. “It wasn’t the best round. But I’m delighted with second and happy for Parker. If you’d told me he would come second here I probably wouldn’t have believed you. But congratulations go to Kurt. He won by a lot!”

Third Time’s The Charm

Tamie Smith already had a pair of red ribbons hanging in her barn aisle by the time she entered the ring last in the CIC*** aboard her leading mount, Mai Baum. And she wasn’t about to get a third.

Smith, who jokes that she’s notoriously competitive, did pull one rail with Alexandra Ahearn’s 9-year-old German Sport Horse gelding, but she had plenty of breathing room over second-placed Barb Crabo with Eveready, who finished second on 70.2 points. Smith and the flashy black gelding led the victory gallop (held in tandem with the riders from the CCI*** division) on 52.9.

“[Show jumping] is his trickiest phase, I think, because he’s so careful and spooky, and he hasn’t had a lot of experience at this level,” said Smith, Murrieta, Calif. Mai Baum just completed his first CIC*** a few weeks ago at the Land Rover Great Meadow International (Va.).

“It’s been a little bit of a struggle, because he’ll leave from a gap sometimes, and sometimes he wants to add, and it’s tricky in the show jumping when they’re like that,” she continued. “I had a rail because I wanted to move up a little for a gap, but he was phenomenal. He felt amazing, and he jumped really, really well.”

Smith finished second in the CCI** with Dempsey (49.4) behind her best friend and business partner Heather Morris and Team Express Group LLC’s Charlie Tango (43.7). Both horses jumped double clear to retain their cross-country placings.

“I was a little bit worried about Dempsey,” Smith said, “because he had an awkward jump at the shrimp cocktail on cross-country yesterday and had a cut on his coronet band, but the ground jury [accepted us after a hold at this morning’s horse inspection] and were willing to watch him warm up, and they understood it wasn’t a big deal and that he was 100 percent. He jumped phenomenally.”

The shrimp cocktail jump did knock Smith’s other CCI** horse out of contention, however. Team Milton Syndicate’s Fleur de Lis had been standing second ahead of his stablemate Dempsey (owned by the West Coast Dempsey Syndicate) after cross-country, but Smith withdrew him before this morning’s jog.

“Both of my horses got underneath [the shrimp cocktail], and they both really whacked it,” she said. “There’s nothing obvious wrong with Fleur de Lis, but he’s not sound. We’ll get him home and try to figure it out. I’m bummed, because he had that shoe incident at Jersey Fresh in the show jumping, and I was really looking forward to getting him back to it and doing well. But that’s what this sport’s about—just when you think you’re going well, you realize you’ve got something else to go and do next.

Smith also finished second in the CCI* (43.0) aboard Beth Lendrum’s Under Wraps, who “jumped clear over the standards,” she joked. “But it felt like a hunter round; he jumped really well.”

Kelly Pugh ended up winning the 50-horse CCI* division from start to finish (41.3), aboard Corazon, David Garrett’s 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood.

Visit the Rebecca Farm website for more information about the event, or click here for full final results for all divisions.

And be sure to pick up a copy of the Aug. 10 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse to learn more about new CCI*** winner Kurt Martin, see additional photos and read more in-depth analysis of all the action at The Event at Rebecca Farm.

Category: Eventing
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