Elkton, Md.-Oct. 14
Boyd Martin and Ying Yang Yo’s CCI*** dressage test didn’t suffer from any miscommunications, and there’s a good reason for that.
“He’s a good old horse that’s been with me for a long time,” said Martin. “We know each other so well, and he’s so trained now. He’s had such a long and illustrious career. We went in and did a nice, soft, accurate test with a lot of flash.”
The pair’s efforts earned them the lead and the lowest score of the day, 40.4 penalties, at the Dansko Fair Hill International. Becky Holder and Can’t Fire Me are sitting second in the three-star with 44.2 penalties, while Karen O’Connor and Veronica are third on 44.6 penalties. Yesterday’s leaders, Phillip Dutton and Ben, will start cross-country in sixth.
Martin, West Grove, Pa., and Ying Yang Yo competed at the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in 2008, and then the two separated for a few years.
“I bought him off the track in Australia for about $1,200 and then moved to America with him. He came on the cargo plane with me,” said Martin. “He always had a lot of quality but was a very unsound horse.”
Eliza Woolf, daughter of the horse’s owner Faye Woolf, competed “Thomas,” a 15-year-old Thoroughbred (Mr. Investor—Magical Gift), at the novice and training levels in 2009 and 2010.
“He was still a young horse at Rolex [in 2008], but he wasn’t tough enough.” Martin said. “After competing at novice for a few years, lo and behold, he got over the little injuries that were bothering him. Eliza was busy with school a couple of months ago, and I rode him as a joke, and he felt pretty good.”
After competing in a few advanced horse trials this fall, Martin decided a Fair Hill three-star entry was in order for his old partner.
“We’re just cruising along, and the owners and I are taking it event-by-event,” he said. “The exciting thing is how healthy the horse is. I haven’t called the vet for him once. The horse is happy, and I’m confident in his ability. I haven’t over-trained him, but I feel like I’ve got him super fit from galloping up hills.”
Holder and Can’t Fire Me, a 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding (Fire Maker—Dipped In White), are fresh off a CIC*** win at Poplar Place Farm September Horse Trials (Ga.) and an advanced win at Chattahoochee Hills (Ga.) in May.
“I’m over the top about ‘Teddy’s’ performance today,” said Holder. “He was totally with me from the first movement to the last. He used to have tension and concentration issues. He has earned a soft spot in my heart with his work effort and how much he’s improved.”
Wolf Leads Large Two-Star Field
Susan Beebee and Wolf were last to go in the 60-horse two-star field, and their test scored 41.7 penalties to put them on top. Courtney Cooper and Who’s A Star are currently in second (45.8 penalties) and yesterday’s leaders Andrea Leatherman and Mystic My are tied for third with Kadi Eykamp and Double Rivers Really Cool.
“I’m lucky,” said Beebee. “Wolf is a very nice horse. He went in and really went to work today. He’s pretty straightforward and makes me look good. He has the most fun medium or extended trot of any horse I’ve ever ridden.”
This is Wolf’s first CCI**, and the horse just started eventing in 2010. Fair Hill is the fourth intermediate for the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood (Krack C—Porsche M). Beebee and Wolf will start cross-country last tomorrow.
“He’s just zipped up the ranks because he’s pretty smart with his feet. I think the footing is going to prove out whether Wolf is a good mudder or not,” said Beebee, of Vass, N.C. “He is a warmblood. We’ll see how Thoroughbred-y he feels tomorrow. It’s a typical Derek [di Grazia] course. It’s not trappy at all, but there’s enough to do all the way around.”
Cooper also expressed concern about the length of the two-star course combined with the still-muddy footing. Fair Hill received even more rain today.
“I think the footing is going to tire a lot of the horses,” Cooper said. “Until you go nine minutes in the mud, you don’t know what your horse is going to feel like.”
Cross-country begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow, with the CCI** running first. Full results available at Event Entries.