|Eventer Boyd Martin and his wife, Grand Prix dressage trainer, Silva, at Rolex Kentucky 2008 with Neville Bardos.|
By Jennifer Autry
Boyd and Silva Martin have taken the horse world by storm since moving to Pennsylvania in 2007 and establishing their training operation at Phillip Dutton's True Prospect Farm in West Grove.
Boyd, a native Australian turned U.S. citizen, finished ninth at last year's Rolex Kentucky with Neville Bardos, and currently sits in third on the 2009 USEA Overall Leaderboard.
Hailing from Germany, Silva sold her Grand Prix dressage mount Theopolis Thisla last year to fund her competitive career, and now trains a slew of talented young horses with unfathomable potential.
This equestrian dream team recently took time out of their very busy schedules to chat with Pennsylvania Equestrian about their recent victories, promising horses and goals for 2009.
PE: Which horses are you taking to Rolex? How are you preparing them right now?
Boyd: Unfortunately I've had a bit of a disappointment because Neville Bardos is temporarily out of action with an injury. I was doing fitness work with him when he tripped in a hole and sprained the back of his leg. The vet said he could go on and compete, but there is a small risk of further damage. So I'm better off playing it safe and planning for events later in the year like Burghley.
I am trying to secure some other rides for Rolex right now, but so far nothing is finalized.
PE: How are you preparing for the 2010 World Equestrian Games? Which horses are you planning to take?
Boyd: I have three Advanced horses right now, Neville Bardos, Benwald and Remington XXV. In my experience, the most important thing is to have sound horses at this time next year. I don't want to get too excited and gung ho this early. I just need the horses to stay fit and sound.
PE: What promising young horses are you bringing along right now? What are your hopes for them?
Boyd: I have two really nice mares right now. One is Shatzi W; she is doing Intermediate events. I will be flying over Fair Fiona W from Australia. I bred both of them myself; they are half Dutch Warmblood, half Thoroughbred. Both are exceptional movers and will be focused toward two-star events and the Olympic trials.
With both horses, my main goal at the moment is working on syndicating them and getting American owners involved. I would really like to have some syndicated owners come along and enjoy the entire process.
PE: You have officially changed nationalities and will represent the U.S. in future competitions. Why did you make this decision and how do you feel about competing for the U.S.?
Boyd: I have made my life and career using the system provided by the United States Eventing Association, so I decided it was time to give something back to the country that supplied me with my career. I also felt like I owed something to the Americans who have let me ride such wonderful horses. Americans are very patriotic, and I know the owners would one day like their horses to represent their country.
PE: You competed in Wellington, Fla., earlier this year. What were your biggest accomplishments while there?
Silva: The last two shows, the Palm Beach Derby and the Wellington Classic, were definitely the best because of all the hard work I did up to the shows. I've really been working on developing my younger horse, Jeff The Chef. After all the hard work everything finally came together and it was a great finish to the season.
PE: What promising horses are you bringing along right now? What are your hopes for them?
Silva: I've had Prosecco for two months. He is 10 and won the Prix St. Georges at the Wellington Classic. We are trying to figure out which way we want to go with him.
Jeff The Chef just turned eight and placed third in the Developing Horse Class at the Palm Beach Derby. He just started Prix St. Georges and I might take him to the CDI Raleigh in May.
Sea Lord is a full Thoroughbred and used to be an American racehorse. He is one of the best-moving horses I've ever ridden, which is so surprising because he's a Thoroughbred. He has scores in the upper 60's right now for fourth level and has qualified for Dressage At Devon, so I'm very excited about him.
FS Tiger Lily is a 6-year-old mare and very talented. She did very well in first level at the Wellington Classic.
PE: You were recently featured on www.DressageDaily.com after winning the Prix St. Georges with Prosecco at the Wellington Classic. How does it feel to have your accomplishments recognized?
Silva: Being in the article was so fun because I didn't even know about it at first. Everyone was talking about it the next day at the show and that's how I found out. My friends from Germany even saw it and were calling to congratulate me. It's very flattering and nice to see after working so hard.
PE: You credit much of your success to training with Israeli Olympian Oded Shimoni. How has he helped your riding?
Silva: I have been training with Oded for two years after training with the Germans for seven years. The Germans are the best in the world, and Oded is at the same level. You can put him on any horse and he will have everything figured out within minutes. He has helped my riding so much and I truly believe he is one of the best trainers in the world.
PE: What are you hoping to accomplish this year?
Silva: Most of my horses are on the younger side, but I'm hoping to do a Grand Prix by the end of the year or at the beginning of next year, especially since I will be an American citizen by the end of the year.
PE: Why did you decide to change your citizenship and how do you feel about competing for America?
Silva: I have lived here now for two years and I'm starting to feel like this is home. Of course, Germany will always be my true home, but we have had very good support from the Americans and I hope to compete for America one day. You have to be in Germany to compete for Germany, so it really just makes sense to become an American citizen.