Boyd Martin’s Pan Am Double Gold Medal Winning Performance—in His Own Words

Taylor Pence/US Equestrian

Boyd Martin, anchor of USA’s Pan American Games Eventing team and unofficial Disney prince, was the golden boy of Lima.

Riding the 11-year-old Trakhener gelding Tsetserleg, the two-time Olympian put on a dominating performance to set the standard in Peru, leading the Americans to team and individual gold medals.

But if there is one thing the world #7 is known for beyond his obvious skill and dashing good looks, it’s his propensity to serve up an entertaining quip.

Here is Martin’s history making week, in his own words:

On the highlight of his dressage test

“My favorite part was finishing.”

Martin earned a score of 25.6 in dressage—his second best international score to date with Tsetserleg—to slide into second place on the leaderboard behind teammate Tamra Smith and Mai Baum.

©Taylor Pence/US Equestrian

Then it was time to focus on the cross country course…

“I walked it and I thought, Holy moly, this is a tough crack for the level.

The three-star long level course featured a twisting 4,520 meter track with 26 fences (35 efforts) and an optimum time of eight minutes and 14 seconds. Despite being on “probably the most experienced horse in the field,” Martin flagged numerous spots for potential runouts and “not long” options as areas of concern.

His strategy:

“My game plan would be to start out a little steady and get him settled in, and get through the first five, six fences. Then, really open him up where the galloping is good and really slow down where there’s complicated jumps.”

Got it: Twisting course. Slow down.

There’s just one thing….

“My horse is quite fast but he’s not very good at turning or slowing down.”


©Shannon Brinkman Photography

Which is to say, he was feeling tremendously confident.

“I’m just terrified of a slip up.”

Reservations aside, Martin was one of only two riders to finish cross country phase fault free and within the time allowed. Teammate Lynn Symansky and RF Cool Play were the other.

The rest of the field didn’t fair as well.

“Yeah, wasn’t very fun watching everyone crash and burn this morning.”

Some 17 of the 42 deep field were eliminated or retired on the course. For Colombia, Uruguay, Guatemala, and Chile, it was the end of team competition. All four nations failed to finish three riders in the cross-country phase.

Martin returned with a clear in show jumping

“This is a big relief.”

All four members of the US Eventing team turned in double clear jumping performances to finish on a collective score of 91.2, some 30 points ahead of Brazil’s silver medal winning team.

Martin’s clear also clinched the individual gold for USA, his first ever individual championship medal.

Team USA punched their ticket to Tokyo!

 “It was everything you dream of in a championship.”

At least, it was for the Americans.

Brazil earned the second Olympic qualification slot and ended on a 122.1. Canada finished in third place with an overall score of 183.7. It was good enough for bronze but not for Tokyo.

So concluded the eventing phase of the 2019 Pan American Games.

Next up: show jumping!