In 2019 Boyd Martin finished second at the Land Rover Kentucky CCI5*-L as the top U.S. rider, won team and individual gold at the Pan American Games (Peru) and won the MARS Equestrian Bromont CCI4* (Quebec). What does he hope is in store for 2020?
What are your New Year’s resolutions?
- Get through the season injury-free for horse and rider. That would be heavenly for me.
- I’d love to get a big marble statue at the entrance to the farm—a statue fountain, very similar to what you see in Caesars Palace Las Vegas Casino, maybe some big bronze lions at the front gate. Just for a grand entrance into our facility up in Pennsylvania, to really separate ourselves from a lot of the other farms in the Cheshire hunt country.
- To become more of a romantic lover to my beautiful wife Silva [Martin].
How do you maintain your emotional well-being?
You have to develop some sort of numbness to the highs and the lows, but more importantly to the lows—not to burst into tears if one of your horses goes to a different rider or one of your students trains with someone else, an owner leaves you, or you fall off and break a bone. This is all part of the game. All you can do is your very best, try as hard as you can, be honest, work hard, and give everything that you’ve got to this sport and your horses.
Don’t waste time worrying. This is the life you’ve chosen. It may seem hard and grueling sometimes, but have a look around the world at the life of a bricklayer—doing six days a week for 11 bucks an hour in the 100-degree heat, lifting brick after brick—and then think about your own life. You have nothing to complain about.
And your physical well-being?
In the last five years, I’ve been really trying to get a lot stronger in my body. I do about 30 minutes warm-up every morning before I start riding. I’ve got a number of exercises and stretches I go through down in my basement. This is a form of meditation, I suppose. It’s also a good time to think about each horse’s training plan for that day.
On Mondays, I go to a personal trainer. Tuesdays, I get my back lasered and go to a chiropractor. Wednesday or Thursday I might get a massage, and Friday I do yoga, so I spend a fair bit of time trying to get my body right, which is also a good mental escape sometimes.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself that I need to learn how to ride very correctly. My youth in Australia was spent riding with natural feel rather than correctness. I’ve been in a mad scramble the last 20 years to try and become more correct.
I would also say to myself, “Tiger, be who you are. Chase your dreams and do everything you can not to be normal.”
What was a lasting lesson of 2019?
Trying to raise my two boys well, and every day that’s probably my biggest challenge and struggle. [It’s] so much harder than training horses. I am loving the challenge. Thinking back on my early childhood and all the terrible things I made my parents go through, and now I’m now going through the same torture.
This is an excerpt from an article that will appear in the Jan. 13 issue of The Chronicle of the Horse as part of our Rider Health & Fitness issue. The entire issue will be made available free online on Jan. 13, so be sure to check it out if you’re not a regular subscriber!
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Photo: Caitlin Calder