On this episode of the Equiratings Eventing Podcast, show host Nicole Brown talks to Pan American Games gold medalist and U.S. team stalwart Boyd Martin about his career to date, highs and lows, and coming back from injury.
Brown starts by going all the way back to the beginning to discuss how Martin's parents - who were both Olympians as well, although at the winter Olympics - met at the 1968 Winter Olympic Games.
Sport is a big part of the national culture in Australia, where Martin was born, and he participated in many different sports including Pony Club. That was how he got started in equestrian sport, and when it came time to make a decision about a career, he decided to pursue a career in sport.
Early in his career, while he was still based in Australia, he went to work with Heath Ryan. Martin said that, at that point in his life, having a mentor and trainer helped to set him on the right path.
In 2007, after coming to the U.S. to compete at the Kentucky Three-Day Event for the first time, Martin made the decision to move to the States. He had dual citizenship because his mother was American, and while most of his Australian cohort went to England, he decided to take a crack at it in America.
When he first moved to the U.S., Martin worked with Phillip Dutton, another Australian event rider whom he had stayed with when he came to compete at Kentucky. Martin observed that Ryan and Dutton couldn't be more different, but that both were phenomenal horsemen and have been great mentors for Martin during his career.
In 2011, a devastating barn fire at Martin's farm left six horses dead and several more injured, including Neville Bardos, Martin's 2010 WEG partner. Martin reflected on the time as challenging, but that he knew if he just put his head down and put one foot in front of the other they would come out on the other side. That they did, as Neville Bardos made an astounding recovery to finish seventh at the Burghley Horse Trials later that year.
"I married well!" was Martin's response to Brown's question about his family. He talks about how he and his wife, German pure dressage rider Silva Martin, have created a thriving business here in the States.
Martin holds the record for the highest number of USEA recognized event runs in a single season (you'll have to listen in to find out how many!), so Brown asks Martin what it's like to manage such a busy schedule. In recent years, Martin acknowledged that he's shifted his focus to quality over quantity for a number of reasons, including how many injuries he's sustained.
In fact, Martin had four separate surgeries last year, some of which were the result of injuries but others were to repair long-term wear and tear to his body. Martin sees it as all a part of the price he pays to be an elite athlete - it's all part of the game.
Having competed at Pan American Games, Olympic Games, and World Equestrian Games, Brown asks Martin what's left on the bucket list for his career. As a competitor, Martin said he's going to keep striving to be better - not just looking to compete, but looking to win.
Martin wraps up the episode with some tidbits about what's to come for some of the different horses in his barn, from his 2019 Pan American Games partner Tsetserleg to one of his up-and-comers, Luke 140.