As Boyd Martin watched his 6-year-old son Nox Martin sprouting upward in height while Emma, his piebald pony, resolutely refused to budge past the 10-hand mark, he realized it was time for a change. His youngest, Leo Martin, still fits little Emma with several inches of growing room, but not Nox.
“I’ve been playing around with both Nox and Leo on their pony Emma, who measures about 9 or 10 hands,” said Boyd. “We’ve been having a great time … in the round pen, the ring, often towing her behind my scooter or the golf cart, or leading her off one of the eventers. And then Nox has been growing bigger and bigger, so we decided we needed to upgrade to a bigger animal.”
Where would one of the country’s best-known names in eventing and stalwart of the U.S. Eventing Team look for a suitable child’s mount? The answer: his neighbor’s field and his friend Densey Juvonen.
Other parents might go for a larger pony, but one horse from Boyd’s past kept popping into his mind: his former five-star partner Remington XXV.
“Remington has been living in the field at a neighbor’s farm for the last six or seven years without a saddle on him,” he said. “But after thinking of it and knowing Remington’s character and what a gentleman he was, I decided to give his owner a ring, Densey Juvonen, and see if she might be generous enough to allow a second generation of Martins to train her horse.
“All throughout Remi’s career, he was just such a pleasure to train and ride every day,” he added. “He was such a gentleman on the flat—a naturally round horse that didn’t get excited in the dressage. The cross-country, if he had one flaw, he sort of had one speed, and his top speed was cruise control, and he was very light in the mouth.”
Remington started out as a foxhunter before tackling eventing with Boyd. Together they finished clear at four five-stars—three times at Kentucky CCI5* and once at Pau CCI5*—with “Remi” being Boyd’s reserve horse for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Kentucky) and the 2012 London Olympics.
“He’s such a legend horse,” Boyd said. “He was at his prime in 2012. I just remember going to England with him. He’s such a fantastic horse to be around in the barn and out in the paddock. He just loved his work every day.”
After his career with Martin, Remi went on to compete at advanced with Martin’s former assistant Caitlin Silliman and competed at the 2015 FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (Kentucky) with Camilla Grover-Dodge.
Though Remi is several hands taller than Nox’s previous mount, Boyd trusted him. So, at 25 years young, Remi started his third career as world champion schoolmaster.
“[Nox] couldn’t believe how big he was compared to Emma,” Boyd said. “We went to pick him up with Sliva, and [Nox was] just smiling from ear to ear. Every afternoon after school, especially this time of the year when we get finished a little earlier, we’re playing around. It’s not real correct training. It’s out in the cross-country course, hopping over baby logs and riding bareback and having him in the conditioning pond. We’re more for having a good time than proper, sort of official riding lessons.”
Though Boyd isn’t sure if Nox will follow his footsteps in the equestrian world, he’s making sure his children know the joy of the horse. And Remington is proving the horse for that job.
“They’re into all sorts of sports, so I’m not sure they’ll be riders,” he said. “But to be honest, it’s good fun having a laugh with them and trying to think of how I got started riding in Australia, all those little things that made you fall in love with horses.
“Silva has a heart attack every time I’m in charge,” he continued. “We’ve had one or two falls on Remington, but he just stood still, and Nox just flew off the sides. He’s the perfect schoolmaster.”