Tuesday, Sep. 26, 2023

Free Rein With: Boyd Martin

Name: Boyd Martin                 
Home Base: Unionville, Pa.                                 
Age: 29



Name: Boyd Martin                 
Home Base: Unionville, Pa.                                 
Age: 29

Lured to the United States from Australia in January of 2007 by an assistant trainership offer from Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin hasn’t wasted any time in making a name for himself in American eventing. While riding five to 10 horses at any given event has been par for the course since settling in at True Prospect Farm, Dutton’s absence this summer for the Olympic Games left Martin with even more horses to compete; he topped out at 15 mounts at a recent two-day event, placing in the top 10 with all but one of them. After winning the Adelaide CCI**** (Australia) in 2003, Martin is now on the hunt for his first big North American win, having placed second and fourth at last fall’s Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) and ninth at the Rolex Kentucky CCI****. In the meantime, the wise-cracking Australian wonder will be fueling up for victory at McDonald’s.

If you hadn’t become a horseman, where would you be right now?
I’d probably be a brain surgeon or a Supreme Court judge. Actually I’d probably be traveling around the world just doing the biggest and best court cases and surgeries.

Given the chance, what horse other than your own would you like to take a turn on?
I think I’d like to give [Debbie McDonald’s Grand Prix dressage mount] Brentina a try at a novice level eventing competition. I just feel like I’d have a big enough lead after the dressage that I could basically walk around the cross-country and maybe have a few rails in the show jumping and still get a win.

What word or phrase do you overuse?
“No worries, mate.”

What is your drink of choice?

What do you find to be the most ridiculous part of the horse world?
Going to a low-level horse trial and seeing that there are actually more trainers than riders at the competition.


What is your biggest self-indulgence?
Probably working out at the gym, bodybuilding.

What’s your favorite competition venue?
Stuart Horse Trials (N.Y.). ’Cause there’s a McDonald’s right nearby.

What is the best feeling in the world?
Going into the show jumping at a three-day event leading the competition and riding a good-jumping horse and feeling confident. And vice versa, it’s probably the most terrifying feeling in the world going into the jumping with the lead and riding a bad jumper.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
My current dressage instructor [my Grand Prix rider wife], Silva.

What one item from your wardrobe best personifies you?

My Thai fishing pants. If you can imagine what a Thai fisherman would be wearing, they’re these thin cotton pants that go about 3/4 of the way down your leg and tie with ropes at the bottom.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing the world today?
Too many lawsuits.

What was the last book you read?
Spun Out, the biography of Shane Warne, Australia’s most famous and infamous bowler and cricket player. It’s the tale of a true sporting champion who didn’t live a perfect life.

What three things are most likely to be found in your refrigerator at all times?
Moldy cheese, chocolate ice cream and penicillin.


If you had to boil down your training philosophy into one word, what would it be?

In retrospect, what has been the best decision you’ve made in life?
Moving to America to train event horses. It’s great coming to a country where the equestrian sport is enthusiastic and exciting. It’s been a really wonderful journey traveling over from another country with a bunch of horses to compete in the Promised Land.

Who do you think is the biggest and brightest star coming up the eventing ranks today?
Nate Chambers. (Just don’t tell him that).

What is your greatest regret?

Selling my best horse, True Blue Toozac [winner of the 2003 Adelaide CCI**** (Australia)].

If you could change one thing about the sport of eventing, what would it be?
Compulsory prize money at every horse trial, from beginner novice to advanced.

What characteristic do you value most in a horse?
I want a horse that tries really hard. A horse that’s got a big heart will easily outdo a horse that’s got all the ability in the world but doesn’t try.

Where will you be in 10 years?
Riding around on my 15 four-star horses on my very own 200-acre super-equestrian facility that has three indoor arenas and a big fountain in the driveway. I’ll also have several life-size bronze statues of some of the greats and favorites among event horses scattered about the farm. It’ll be in Unionville, Pa., right next door to Phillip’s—overshadowing it.

Boyd Martin, as told to Kat Netzler




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