Lexington, Ky.—Aug. 30
Boyd Martin’s partnership with Long Island T hasn’t always been smooth sailing. The gelding had competed to the three-star level with Peter Barry, and when Martin took over, he brought “Ludwig” down to the preliminary level. But they didn’t complete their first two events, so Martin dropped him down to training level.
In the time since then they’ve seen vast improvement, even winning the CCI4*-L at the Jersey Fresh International (New Jersey), but even then, Martin says it wasn’t until about nine months ago that he feels the two developed a true partnership.
“He is a funny horse,” Martin said. “It took a long time to get a hang of him. I think finally about nine months ago we started to real partnership. The more confident I got, the more confident he got, and we are sort of now we are both egging each other on a bit. At first I wasn’t sure he was going to go, and he wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I think it takes about two years for a relationship to build with a horse and really click with your animal, and we are hitting that stage now, so I couldn’t be more happy.”
There was plenty to test their partnership on Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course for the $60,000 Adequan USEA Advanced Final at the USEA American Eventing Championships, but they answered all the questions adding just 6.4 time penalties to their dressage score of 32.0, to maintain the lead.
“I was actually very nervous going into it,” Martin said. “I hadn’t jumped a really big track on him since earlier this year, and it was a pretty intimidating track, but typical Kentucky you just get out there, and it rides magic. Ludwig was brave and just jumping out of stride. I was trying to give him a good ride to every fence, and he just really gave me a good ride today.
“I didn’t go for broke, but I also need to start practicing trying to jump the fences out of stride,
he continued. “A course like this that is so open and galloping if you got a good eye and you are a little bit brave you can catch a lot of those galloping jumps without touching their mouth. I worked hard at that, and he’s a pretty experienced horse now, so I made a couple of tight turns and jumped some fences on the angle and thinking of that big check tomorrow I kept running to the end.”
Olympic gold medalist Leslie Law had 8.4 time penalties with Voltaire De Tre’, but that was enough to help move them into second heading into show jumping tomorrow.
“He was amazing,” said Law. “He’s really turned into this cross-country machine. I haven’t run him since he was here for the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in April, so I was a little nervous. I think I get more nervous now than I ever used to, but he was a real machine out there. A lot of it went to plan. I would have liked for the second water to not be so dramatic, but apart from that it was very good.” Law had a hairy moment at the Frog Pond at 10AB, where riders dropped into the water.
“Second water I jumped in way too big; I jumped and lost my stirrup and attempted to fall off and managed to get back in the tack and still turn him and point him at the corner [10B], and he’s just like yeah there’s the flags, let me jump it, and so that took me by surprise, which it shouldn’t because my wife’s always telling me to sit back going into water anyway, and I refuse to do that,” he said with a laugh. “It always gives her the opportunity to say, ‘There you go, I told you so,’ when I finish.”
Yesterday Phillip Dutton was sitting in third with Fernhill Singapore, and while that horse dropped down to fifth, his other ride Z, moved into third on a 42.0.
“He was great,” said Dutton. “Obviously I wanted it to be a good round since [the Nations Cup at the CHIO Aachen (Germany)] didn’t go to plan [where they parted company early on course], but I didn’t think he really had a bad fence. It was a good round. I tried to go quick, I probably misjudged how fast you had to go because I probably could have gone a little faster on him. I thought [it would be difficult to make the time] walking it, but I didn’t think it would be quite as difficult as it was. It’s a long year, and I’m not too worried. I was very pleased with him.”
No one made time today, with Martin coming the closest with 6.4 penalties. Five pairs (Buck Davidson/Copper Beech, Jacob Fletcher/Van Gough, Ryan Keefe/Flintstar, Alexandra Green/Fernhill Limited Edition and Waylon Roberts/Lancaster) incurred stops on course. Clark Montgomery triggered a frangible device at the Sunken Road at (14ABCD) with Caribbean Soul and retired two fences later. There were two horse falls on course. Julia Batters and Cooley O fell at 21AB, the Kentucky Classique Coffin, but neither were injured. Arden Wildasin and Il Vici fell at the Normandy Bank. Wildasin was transported to the University of Kentucky hospital to get check out but suffered no serious injuries. Il Vici was uninjured in the fall.
The Chronicle is on-site at the USEA American Eventing Championships bringing you coverage and beautiful photos from the competition. If you know a pair with a unique story, email Kimberly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ride times and live scoring are here: https://eventing.startboxscoring.com/eventsr/aec/ht0819/
The schedule is available here: https://useventing.com/events-competitions/aec/aec-schedule-of-events