Oct 15, 2023

"I Think He Could Be One of Those Horses of a Lifetime.” Martin and Commando 3 Top Morven Park International CCI4*-L

By Lindsay Berreth - USEA Staff
Boyd Martin and Commando 3. USEA/Lindsay Berreth photos

Leesburg, Va.—Oct. 15Boyd Martin knew he had a talented partner in Commando 3, but with just under a year competing together, Martin hadn’t truly tested the gelding until this weekend at the Morven Park International CCI4*-L.

Yankee Creek Ranch’s 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Connor 48 x R-Adelgunde) scored a 26.2 in dressage on Friday and tackled Derek di Grazia’s tough cross-country course yesterday with grit and determination and just a handful of time penalties.

This afternoon, he pinged over Chris Barnard’s show jumping course double-clear to finish on a final score of 29.4, more than 10 points ahead of Caroline Pamukcu and her young talent King’s Especiale (39.8).

“It just sort of confirms my belief that he's just so strong in all phases,” said Martin of his win. “He’s unbelievably elegant on the flat, he gallops like a racehorse cross-country, and he’s sharp and careful and scopey for the show jumping, and he trots up good. It’s very hard to find all those elements and characteristics. It's a needle in a haystack, so I just really feel a privilege to ride him. He's an easy ride. He could be a little bit sharp when he's fresh, but once he settles down, he's not a complicated horse. I pushed him along a bit yesterday, and he felt fresh as a daisy and pranced out of the stable this morning and came out and show jumped very well.”

Martin has a strong string of five-star horses in his barn in Cochranville, Pennsylvania, but he thinks after this weekend, “Connor” could make his debut at the level next year.

Boyd Martin and Commando 3.

With the 2024 Paris Olympics as a goal, Martin’s not sure where Connor will be aimed yet, but he believes the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event could be a possibility.

“I think he could win a five-star,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have a couple of horses that I think would be a chance at the Olympics next year, and the Olympics is a four-star. My preference would be to run him at Kentucky in the five-star, but I'm not even going to think about it at the moment. Next year we'll sort of come up with a bit of a game plan for each horse and talk to the powers that be of what they think would suit each animal. I'm just so excited about the future. I think this is the beginning of a long reign with Commando, and if he hangs in there, I think he could be one of those horses of a lifetime.”

Caroline Pamukcu and King's Especiale.

Pamukcu had a stellar weekend with her two 8-year-olds, finishing second with Redfield King HX’s Group’s Dutch Warmblood gelding King’s Especiale (Connect x Cha Cha Cha Special) and third with her own, Sherrie Martin, and Andy and Mollie Hoff’s Anglo European mare She’s The One (Jaguar Mail x One To Watch).

The pair swapped places after cross-country, with “King” jumping clear with .4 time penalties, and “Gemma” dropping three rails and adding 2.8 time penalties.

“I love Chris Barnard; he is like the best human ever,” she said. “I love his designing. I love how if you ride positive, it always promotes positive riding and rewards it.

She’s had King since he was a 5-year-old and said being able to bring him through the levels has made all the difference.

Caroline Pamucku and She's The One.

“He’s got the blood, he’s obviously got the movement,” she said. “He’s gonna win something big one day.

“She’s The One, our relationship is new, and we’ve only had her a few months, and she gets a little bit blood in the ring, and I’m just trying to figure her out in the ring—she was just losing relaxation, but it’s going to be there,” she continued. “She has more heart than anyone else. She fights and gives you everything she has.”

Pamukcu's hoping both horses will get a chance to do another European tour next year to solidify their results before their five-star debuts.

Lucienne Bellissmo and Dyri finished fourth.
Shannon Lilley and Eindhoven Garette were fifth.
Andrew McConnon and Wakita 54 were sixth.

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