When Boyd Martin and Fedarman B finished their show jumping round Sept. 11 at the Tryon Fall Horse Trials (North Carolina), they received a standing ovation in memory of Annie Goodwin, who rode and trained “Bruno” to the four-star level. Goodwin died in a cross-country schooling accident in July, just months after finishing sixth at the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI4*-S.
In August, her parents, Tina and Putter Goodwin, sent the gelding to Martin, who had coached Annie. They asked him to continue with the horse’s training and to carry on Annie’s dreams.
“Tina and I not only appreciate Boyd’s thoughtful care of Bruno but also his concern for Annie’s memory,” Putter said. “We all want that focus to be on the positive because we know that’s what Annie would want. We love seeing Bruno so happy. He is being very well looked after by everyone at Windurra [Boyd and Silva Martins’ Pennsylvania farm].”
Boyd and Silva had been coaching Annie for the past few years.
“I’ve really enjoyed helping Annie with her riding in the cross-country and show jumping,” Boyd said. “Silva also coached her a bit in the dressage, and we also really enjoyed seeing her career evolve and develop.”
Annie, 32, grew up on a ranch in Wyoming and had established her own business, Rafter Y South, in Aiken, South Carolina, to be closer to the heart of elite-level eventing.
“She had a beautiful facility in Aiken, was out competing at the highest level, and definitely on a path to being one of the country’s top riders,” Boyd said. “On top of that, she was developing a following, with clients and owners. She had an incredible work ethic, and with her horse Bruno, it was really inspiring watching them reach the top level.
“Over the years, Annie put in a lot of time and effort with Bruno; he wasn’t always the easiest horse to bring along,” he added. “He’s obviously supremely talented, but with his carefulness, there were definitely challenges in his training. Her character showed through with her perseverance in the face of all the challenges Bruno showed along the journey. Competing at the top of the sport takes a huge amount of dedication, and Annie showed great character with the time and effort and energy she put into her riding. It was inspiring watching her develop over the past few years.”
After taking the reins three weeks ago, Martin cantered Bruno around a training level track at the Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials (Maryland) so they could get acquainted. Then he entered him in the open intermediate at Tryon for a more serious challenge. They led the pack after dressage and show jumping, but Martin said because they are still developing a partnership, he coasted around the cross-country, adding 10 time faults to finish third.
“For me, it’s a huge honor and privilege to be continuing Annie’s work with Bruno,” he said. “Part of me feels awkward, riding such a beautiful animal that has been produced by Annie. After she put in all the hard work, to simply step into the irons and compete him. When I first took him out it was obvious that he knew his job and felt educated. It will take a while for us to develop a partnership, but I was blown away by his ability. The first time I tried some more advanced movements in the dressage at home, and schooled him over a few bigger jumps, I was blown away by his ability and training.”
Martin said that after connecting with Annie’s parents and her fiancée, Jake, they decided not to make too many concrete plans regarding Bruno’s future just yet, and to spend the fall season continuing the work that Annie put into the horse.
“At the end of the year, we’ll get together and come up with a game plan for Bruno’s future. The whole eventing community is still in mourning and disbelief, and I think it’s important not to leap into any big decisions right away,” he said. “It really is a privilege to be riding Bruno. The first couple times I rode him, it was quite emotional, sitting on the young horse Annie had ridden for years and years and done such a sensational job training. A part of me is honored to ride him, and a part of me feels uncomfortable with the success we’re achieving together because it’s all due to her hard work.”
He acknowledged that the outpouring of support from the eventing community at Tryon was uplifting.
“So many of Annie’s friends came up and gave Bruno a pat and a hug,” he said. “A couple of girls who had worked for her came up and introduced themselves, and there was a standing ovation at the end of our show jumping round when they paid tribute to Annie. Bruno’s success is a fabulous tribute to Annie’s memory.”