Jul 23, 2021

Tokyo Team Member: Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg

By Claire Kelley - USEA Staff
USEA/Claire Kelley Photo

Boyd Martin and Tsetserleg TSF are on the road to Tokyo! Boyd Martin has represented the U.S. in every Olympic Games, World Equestrian Games, and Pan American Games since he gained U.S. citizenship in 2010. Going into his third Olympic Games, he competed at the 2012 London Olympics with Otis Barbotiere and the 2016 Rio Olympics with Blackfoot Mystery. The Tokyo Olympics will be Martin’s third Olympic Games and Tsetserleg TSF’s first.

This is Tsetserleg TSF’s first Olympic Games but, his path to Tokyo has been filled with highlights. His last team performance for the U.S. resulted in double gold as he and Martin won the individual gold medal and team gold at the 2019 Pan American Games. At the 2019 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5*-L, they finished second and were the highest placed American pair. In 2020, they won the CCI4*-L at Tryon International, and they finished second in the CCI4*-S at The Fork at TIEC earlier this year.

Tsetserleg TSF (Windfall II x Thabana) is an American bred 14-year-old Trakehner gelding bred by Timothy Holekamp of New Spring Farm, and owned by Christine Turner, Thomas Turner, and Tommie Turner. Like Mai Baum, Tsetserleg is also a graduate of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Program, where he graduated as a 5-year-old in 2012. Tsetserleg TSF (Windfall II x Thabana) is also the half-brother to his Olympic teammate, Vandiver (Windfall II x Thabana), as they both share the same sire.

Tsetserleg TSF’s barn mate, On Cue (Cabri de Elle x On High), is the second direct reserve and is a 16-year-old Selle Français mare bred by Alyse and Jolyse Clancey and owned by Christine Turner, Thomas Turner, Tommie Turner, and Boyd Martin. Martin and On Cue finished fourth at the 2021 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event and were the highest-placed American pair.

USEA/Claire Kelley Photo

Get to know more about Martin and Tsetserleg TSF from Martin himself as he answered the questions below.

  • Who was the first to tell you that you made the U.S. Eventing Olympic team for Tokyo?

“My phone started blowing up with congratulations texts, and then I checked my emails on my phone, and I’d received the message from Jenni Autry saying that I’d made the team. To be honest, this is a much more humane way to announce the team; in my early years as an American rider, for the 2010 WEG and 2012 Olympics, they’d bring all of the riders together into a room: everyone on the list, and then announce who had made the team. You’d look around the room, and the people who didn’t make it, their faces would drop, and the ones who did couldn’t stop smiling. The email is a lot nicer.”

  • Where were you when you heard the news that you made the team?

“I was just working away at home, jumping horses in my jumping ring.”

  • Who will be coming with you to Tokyo?

“Obviously and most importantly, Thomas and his personal assistant Stephanie Simpson who is also my barn manager and groom. Beyond that, Thomas’ owners, Christine and Tommie Turner, and I’m fortunate to have my dressage coach, whom I’m sleeping with, Silva Martin, coming along. On Cue will stay in Germany for the training camp, and if all goes well, only Thomas will fly to Tokyo.”

USEA/Leslie Mintz Photo
  • Do you have any lucky items (lucky socks, lucky hat, etc.) that you are bringing with you to Tokyo? Do you have any superstitions/unique routines before cross-country?

“I’m not sure what the other riders are going to say, but I believe anyone who has superstitions or rituals, to me, is a true sign of a rider that’s not confident. When I hear people talking about lucky omens and imaginary things that might make them go well, it’s not a real confident sign, in my opinion. So the answer is no. My superstition is that the hard work I’ve put in will have me prepared. If I don’t have that, I probably won’t go well. I worry that if you start to rely on lucky charms and then you’ve forgotten them, it could cause a nervous breakdown before your event. I do have a routine in preparation for riding at big competitions: I usually spend a bit of time alone in the mornings. I do about 45 minutes of stretching and exercises and find comfort in getting my body ready to perform. I do think there’s a bit of mental focus in alone time, which is hard to come by sometimes. I find that that routine does get me dialed in for a good performance.”

  • If you were to compete in any other Olympic sport, what would it be?

“Probably weightlifting.”

  • Can you share a little about what Tsetserleg TSF is like around the barn?

“In the barn, he’s very laid back; he’s a happy horse and always has his head over the door with his ears pricked. He loves attention – some horses want to be left alone, but Thomas does love a pat and a cuddle. Out in the paddock, he loves visitors and loves to say hello to anyone walking past his field. He loves to roll and get dirty. He’s had some big performances, and a lot of people will stop by and say hello, and he’s quite happy to meet and greet.”

“In riding him, he can be nervous of other horses. In dressage, I like to ride him first of the day, first thing in the morning, so he’s alone in there or if there’s just one other horse. In the jumping ring, he also gets nervous about other horses and people around the jumps. He was like that from day one, and we work around it, but at competitions, it can be a bit frustrating, especially in that final warm-up. The good thing about our sport is most horses get a little nervous and tense when they go out in the competition ring by themselves, and he actually takes a breath and is relieved that there are no other horses out there.”

Erin Gilmore Photo

The USEA wishes this pair and the rest of the team the best of luck in Tokyo!

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