Boyd Martin (left) and Phillip Dutton.

Traveler

Saddle Savvy

Two local horsemen hold their own in the Summer Games.

By Jim Graham |

Unionville’s dynamic duo of Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin stood tall in the saddle at the 2016 Olympic Games earlier this week. Their 3 Day Eventing performance was a true bright spot. Dutton and Martin rode brilliantly and stand fifth and sixth, respectively, after the cross-country phase of the test. They were the only members of the United States team to complete the course, dropping the U.S. from contention in the team competition.

Dutton had just one rail down between his two show-jumping rounds, winning the individual bronze. His stellar effort the day before on the cross-country course put him in position to garner his medal. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way Happy jumped,” says Dutton. “I’ve never had a horse with a bigger heart. Even when he’s tired or not feeling his best, he just keeps trying.”

Dutton first rose to eventing stardom in Australia before settling in the U.S. He participated in four World Championships, winning consecutive team gold medals at the 1996 and 2000 Games for his home county. Dutton came here in 1991, officially becoming a U.S. citizen in 2006. A year later, he won an individual silver medal and team gold at the 2007 Pan American Games. He was a member of the U.S. team at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2006, 2010 and 2014, and he’s made three consecutive U.S. Olympic teams (2008, 2012 and 2016).

Martin and his horse, Blackfoot Mystery, also put in a valiant effort, taking 16th place overall in individual eventing. He may not be coming home with a medal, but it’s quite the accomplishment to finish in the top 20, and to have such a spectacular cross-country round with no jumping faults—which only 40 percent of competitors managed to do. “This was one of the most physical and demanding courses—it was intense,” Martin says. “[Blackfoot Mystery] is a racehorse from Kentucky, and he kept fighting the whole way home. He tried his heart out for every jump. He has speed and endurance—I’m so pleased with him.”

Martin was born to be an Olympian. His parents met at the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble, France—one a U.S. speed skater, the other a cross-country skier from New Zealand. Boyd and his wife, Silva, moved here in 2007 to pursue their dual dream of competing internationally, walking away from a comfortable lifestyle in Australia.

For the first three years in the U.S., Martin worked as an assistant to Phillip Dutton. In 2010, he and Silva started their own business, Windurra USA, leasing the upper barn from Dutton and running their operation out the same farm. They now have their own farm in Cochranville.