Elkton, Md.-Oct. 15
Jan Byyny and Boyd Martin are sitting at the top of the leaderboard in the CCI*** at the Dansko Fair Hill International, but that’s not all the two have in common. Byyny, currently first with Inmidair on 51.2 penalties, and Martin, second on Ying Yang Yo with 52.0 penalties, are both rebounding from rough times.
“I think maybe my perspective is different since I’ve been back,” she said. “What I have gotten through has been really hard. Learning to talk again has been much harder than riding a horse around this [cross-country course]. You kind of have to take it one day at a time, and enjoy what you do each day.”
“From my point of view, looking at Jan, that’s a pretty inspiring thing,” said Boyd. “Most people would have quit and given up. It’s been a long, hard road. I’ve been friends with Jan and her trainer Phillip [Dutton] for a long time, and this girl has no quit. Ninety-nine percent of people would have given up and said, ‘This is all too hard, and I’ll just take it easy for the rest of my life.’ To be leading a three-star after cheating death is phenomenal.”
“For me, it feels good to be in a strong position in a huge event like this after going through the fire and then losing my dad and Silva’s dad,” Boyd continued. “The horses and the competition have been something that you can focus on. Jan and I both feel our pleasure is out there riding and training horses. You can sit at home and get fat and think about how awful life is, or you can get on the horse and get out there. We’ve been down and out, and it looks like we’re getting back on now.”
This was also the first three-star in years for Ying Yang Yo, a 15-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by Faye Woolf. Woolf lost a horse, Call Me Ollie, in the True Prospect fire.
“I was a little slow,” said Boyd. “I had a good round. I think both ‘Thomas’ and I were a little surprised to be jumping jumps this big again. We struggled a little bit to get in a rhythm. I got behind my minute-makers a little in the farmyard [Fence 19 AB], and we never caught back up. But it was good to be riding the old horse again. It felt like he finished well, so hopefully we’ll see him back at the four-star level next year. It was nice to see his owner so happy back at the barns.”
The time proved tough to get on Derek di Grazia’s 5,776-meter, 10:08-minute course. Boyd and Byyny, fifth after dressage, had time penalties, with Boyd’s 11.6 penalties dropping him from first to second. While riders said the footing dried up since yesterday, the going was still sticky and only Daniel Clasing on Houston and Peter Atkins on H.J. Hampton had double-clear trips. As a result of his double-clear rounds, H.J. Hampton moved up from 29th to seventh. Houston jumped up from 42nd to 17th.
“The ground was a bit holding,” said Byyny, who picked up 4.4 time penalties along the way with Inmidair, a 12-year-old New Zealand Thoroughbred. “My horse was awesome. It was easy for him. I’m really lucky that Phillip has done a lot of work on him, because I’ve had so much time off. I thought the Chesapeake Water [at Fence 16 AB] was probably the toughest combination on the course. There were a lot of big galloping jumps so it was pretty taxing on the horses.”
While there were few falls in the CCI*** division (Mara DePuy, riding Fun Maker, and Laura Vandervliet, riding King Billy, both tumbled off at Fence 6, but horses and riders were fine) only 25 of the original 43 starters made it around without jumping penalties. There were 35 total finishers. Becky Holder and Can’t Fire Me dropped from second to third because of 8.0 time penalties. Twizzel and Will Coleman maintained their fourth-placed standing after gathering 9.6 penalties.
The standings are close heading into show jumping tomorrow (the top four are all within a rail of each other), but Boyd and Byyny aren’t too worried about it.
“I think I’m just enjoying the moment right now. I’ll see tomorrow how that all goes,” Byyny said.
“Sounds like a good plan to me,” Boyd added.
Lyman Leads CCI**
In the CCI**, the standings shifted around even more. Yesterday’s leader, Susan Beebee on Wolf, picked up 20 penalties in a technicality after jumping a three-star table. Beebee realized her mistake and corrected her path, jumping the correct table, but not until she’d already crossed her path once.
Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star, second after dressage, picked up one stop and 8.4 time penalties on course, dropping them down to 29th. Andrea Leatherman and Mystic My (tied for third after dressage) retired after picking up three stops at different points on the course.
But the other two riders who were tied for third after dressage, Kylie Lyman and Kadi Eykamp, put in clean trips with only time penalties and took first and second respectively. Lyman is sitting first aboard Trading Aces and ninth on Garrison Flash.
“I’m super, super excited to be here at all,” said Lyman. “I’ve groomed here quite a few times, but this is my first time riding here. I’m definitely excited about it, and my horse was just wonderful. He loves it, and the cross-country was just a blast. It was my first time riding in so much mud, and I know it was his first time going in so much mud. We both figured it out and had a lot of fun doing it.”
Lyman, 25, hails from West Hartford, Vt. She was a working student for Bobby Costello for four years and now rides with Buck Davidson and Costello. She started riding Trading Aces, a 7-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Coevers Diamond Boy—Ballyvannon Beauty VII) owned by Joan Nichols, at novice last spring. The horse earned just 1.2 time penalties over the 4,876-meter course.
“He’s had a quick run up through the levels,” she said. “As green as he is, he helps me out.”
The clock was also a factor in the CCI** with only 10 pairs making it around without time penalties. Forty-six of the original 58 starters made it around, and there were three rider falls with no reported injuries.
Eykamp, riding for Australia, picked up 2.0 time penalties on her run with Double Rivers Really Cool, a 6-year-old Hanoverian (Regardez—Re Venue).
“He’s an awesome horse,” she said. “I really love this horse. He’s barely 6 and this is his first season at the two-star level. I didn’t know how he’d run in the mud today. I took the first part of the course a little cautiously—he was jumping up a little bit because of the footing. He’s just awesome. He loves it.”
The jog begins at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. The CCI** show jumping starts at 10:30 a.m. and the three-star horses jump at 1:30. Results available at EventEntries.