Despite only one Intermediate event together under their belt, Boyd Martin and Shamwari 4 jumped into third place at Luhmühlen CCI4* before being named to the U.S. team for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France.
Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton will represent the U.S. at this summer’s World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, thanks to putting in good performances at Luhmühlen CCI4* in Germany, the final selection trial for the Games.
Martin, Cochranville, PA, finished in third place on a final score of 48.8 with the Shamwari 4 Syndicate’s Shamwari 4, his mount for Normandy yet still a relatively new ride that only just came in to his program in January after he purchased the horse from Sweden’s Ludwig Svennerstal.
A 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding, Shamwari has a plethora of international experience — having competed on the Swedish team at the 2012 London Olympic Games — but not with Martin, who only competed the horse at one Intermediate horse trials before Luhmühlen due to breaking his right leg at Carolina International in March.
That’s where his fellow WEG teammate Dutton stepped in, and “Mr. Miyagi” — as Martin has taken to calling him — competed the horse instead. The team effort — and the fact that Dutton was there in Germany to see the successful outcome firsthand — made the top-three finish that much sweeter, Martin said.
“We got this horse in January, and 10 people got behind him and believed in him (for the syndicate), and right from the get go, I knew he was a class horse,” Martin said. “Then everything went wrong, and I had wonderful people like Phillip help me along, and I got here and everything just fell into place. I’m thrilled with the horse.”
Mighty Nice Is Seventh
Dutton, of West Grove, PA, had his own bit of success, as Bruce Duchossois’ Mighty Nice finished in seventh place on a final score of 58.0, the horse’s best finish and best score in a CCI4* competition to date. The effort earned the horse a spot on the U.S. WEG squad as an alternate.
Dutton and Mighty Nice were sitting in fifth place going into the show jumping phase, but they could not match Martin and Shamwari’s clear round. The three rails pushed them down the leaderboard, but Dutton said he was very pleased with how the horse jumped, and “Happy,” a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding, will only get better with time.
“He hasn’t been in a big atmosphere for quite awhile, so I think he’s going to learn from it and be a better horse for the weekend,” Dutton said. “I couldn’t be more happy with him. He didn’t have a great preparation because he had some (foot) issues at Kentucky, and we had to get his shoeing back in order. I think it was a great experience for him.”
In addition to his own good finish, Dutton said it was exciting to watch Martin have such a solid weekend considering the adversity he’s been up against with trying to get back to competing following his injury: “To watch Boyd on Shamwari was pretty rewarding as well. The guy has only done one Intermediate with the horse in the last couple months, so it’s one of the great efforts of the sport,” Dutton said.
Silva Martin traveled to Germany to cheer on her husband for the first time since suffering a brain injury during a fall in March. She was teaching a lesson from horseback when her mount tripped, which unseated her. She was wearing a helmet, but has since faced challenges with her speech, balance and vision.
“I’m doing pretty good,” she said of how she’s faring in her recovery. “I wish my eyes were better, but you can always wish for something better. I’m here, and that’s all that counts, and I’m going to be back to what I was doing. It’s just going to take time, but I’m happy to be here.”
Otis Is Back
She had to cheer twice as loud, as Martin also had his London Olympic mount Otis Barbotiere entered in the horse’s first CCI4* since the Games. The horse had a long period of time off after suffering an injury on cross country at London in 2012 and just returned to competing in February.
Otis Barbotiere, a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by the Otis Barbotiere Syndicate, finished in 15th place on a score of 73.3, and Martin said that while there is still a long way to go to get the horse back into his form from the Olympics, the weekend still served as a big step in the right direction.
“He had a lot of time off after the Olympics,” Martin said. “We did all the fitness work on him, but he didn’t have that depth of fitness from the year before. He’s a great horse — a real trier. He still did a decent job this weekend; he was just a bit flat (in the show jumping),” where the horse had two rails down.
Tragically, the good performance for Dutton and Martin was marred by the death of Benjamin Winter, a 25-year-old German rider who was killed in a rotational fall at fence 20 on Capt. Mark Phillips’ cross-country course while riding Ispo. He had already jumped clear and inside the time earlier in the day with his first horse, Wild Thing Z.
Officials and competitors met to discuss whether the competition should be continued, and Sybille Winter, his mother, spoke on his behalf, saying he would have wanted the event to go on. The final day began with a moment of silence in Winter’s honor, and a commemoration ceremony was held prior to the start of show jumping.
Chris Bartle, coach of the German eventing team, gave a touching speech in remembrance of Winter: “We are all shocked and in deep sadness at our loss, and our thoughts at this time are very much with Ben’s family and his very close friends. But we can also be strong. We can also hold our heads up high in the knowledge that Ben lost his life doing what he so much wanted to do. The sport of eventing was his life, his passion.”
Three Locals to Ride for U.S.
Joining Martin and Dutton in Normandy will be Buck Davidson of Riegelsville, Pa., and Ocala, Fla. Davidson will ride Carl and Cassie Segal’s Ballynoe Castle RM, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood/Irish Thoroughbred gelding. The horse finished in third place at this year’s Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Davidson is also named to the alternate list with Park Trader, a 12-year-old Irish Thoroughbred gelding also owned by the Segals.
Martin earned his ticket to Normandy with Shamwari 4, a 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by the Shamwari 4 Syndicate. He is also named to the alternate with Trading Aces, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the Trading Aces Syndicate.
Trading Aces is also the main team mount for Dutton, who piloted the horse to an eighth-place finish at Rolex Kentucky while Martin was sidelined with a broken leg. Dutton also has a reserve horse on the alternate list with Bruce Duchossois’ Mighty Nice, a 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding.
The other U.S. WEG team members are Sinead Halpin, of Oldwick, N.J., and Manoir de Carneville, a 14-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by the Manoir de Carneville Syndicate; Kim Severson, of Charlottesville, Va., and Fernhill Fearless, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by the rider; and Lynn Symansky, Middleburg, VA, and Donner, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding owned by the rider.
All U.S. riders named to both the main squad and alternate list will compete in a mandatory preparatory outing at Great Meadows in The Plains, Va., on July 26 and 27. The eventing portion of the World Equestrian Games will take place Aug. 27-31 in Normandy.