Boyd Martin No Wimp At The Normandy Bank

Sunday, April 28, 2019
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Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg flew to a double clear round to move into second at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN.
Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg flew to a double clear round to move into second at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN. Allison Pezzack Photo

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg flew to a double clear round to move into second at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS EQUESTRIAN. Martin, 39, of Cochranville, Pennsylvania, noticed a change in his 12-year-old Trakehner from last year's performance.

"He gave me a fantastic ride actually," he said. "My little guy felt a lot more seasoned and I have a better partnership with him. For a half-bred horse he's got quite a good gallop and speed. He was just a gutsy little trier."

Price, 40 of Marlborough, England was pleased with the 13-year-old British Sport Horse's performance and fitness. "I had a good trip around on my horse today and I'm really happy with the fitness," he said. "Especially when you're coming from (across the pond) you have to be more up on your game. And it was just so demanding. It walked demanding, because it was quite complex throughout and there was no way to get coasting and make up time or regain the horse's composure. But he threw himself over everything-not clumsy but he's not always the most coordinated, but he was trying his hardest and stayed upright in all the most important places."

Riders had expressed that Derek di Grazia's cross country course provided a stiff test, and their concern seemed warranted when the first three riders out of the box came to grief. Two of them, Buck Davidson aboard Park Trader and Caroline Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack, fell at the straight route at the Normandy bank combination at fence 20.

The fifth horse on course, Sara Gumbiner and Polaris made it through going the straight route, but the rest of the field assiduously avoided the straight route there until Philip Dutton did it on Z at the end of the day, followed by Martin. "I'm stabled next to (Dutton) and we were kind of egging each other on to see who would do the fast way at the Normandy bank, but I was not sure he was going to do it," Martin said with a laugh. "And then when I heard warming up that he did it, I thought 'oh, I have to do it now or I will look like a big wimp.' I realize that could have seriously backfired."

"You guys both went straight? Now I feel like a wimp!" joked Price. As predicted, the time proved very hard to get, with only three coming home with no jumping or time penalties: Martin, Price and Dutton, who now stands fourth. Will Coleman and Tight Lines also came home inside the time, but were awarded 15 penalty points for knocking down a flag in the water at 11A.

"For the most part the jumps worked in the way I thought they would," di Grazia said of his course. "I think with a lot of the combinations there was variation of different strides in the obstacle and I think the riders used all of them. They had to work for it at the Head of the Lake with the brush jumping in and then having to reorganize for the step out. That to me was more the place where the riders had to work more than I thought they would. "But, I set the track knowing it could go one way or the other," he continued. "It was more that the riders had to make decisions and though they could have a plan A going in, at same time they had to have a plan B, depending on what actually happened on course. It wasn't going to be something set you would have to do; that was my intention, it wasn't that sort of course (and) I was happy to see everything was used."

Of the 41 horses that started cross country, 31 will be moving forward to the final horse inspection. Twenty-six made it home with no jumping penalties.

Four were eliminated on cross country: Deniro Z and Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp, Park Trader and Davidson, Martin and Islandwood Captain Jack and Colleen Loach of Canada aboard Qorry Blue D'Argouges. Halliday-Sharp was eliminated for a fall of horse; the other three were eliminated for rider falls. Two retired on cross country: Sharon White and Cooley On Show and Hallie Coon and Celien, and four others didn't start.

Davidson withdrew his additional two mounts after he was found to have broken his collarbone and Martin also withdrew her second mount Danger Mouse. Mara DePuy also withdrew Congo Brazzaville C before cross country.