Shoreview, Minn. [August 25, 2016] – Earning a new personal best in the face of unparalleled adversity, Purina® Ambassador Boyd Martin returns with head held high accomplishing a 16th place finish in the 2016 Olympic Games.
Martin and his 12-year-old Thoroughbred, Blackfoot Mystery, earned a personal best score of 47.7 during the dressage portion of the three-day eventing competition in Rio, a five-point increase over their previous personal best.
Blackfoot Mystery, the copper-coated, 17-hand gelding is the rags-to-riches story of the current eventing world. “Red” has grown from being an off-the-track racehorse who finished last in nearly every race he ever ran, into an Olympic athlete representing the United States in Rio. Martin and Red showed mastery on this year’s cross country course, which was considered the most physically demanding of modern era Olympics. The course was designed to be arduous with difficult jumps, tight turns and quick acceleration portions. The approaches and landings were equally racked with challenges.
The course had the lowest level of completion ever recorded with a mere 40.6 percent of the horses having a clear round. Martin and Red were part of the minority of riders who succeeded in getting a clean score. Martin finished the day in 6th
place against the best riders on the planet.
“Watching Red and Martin ride through the cross country course was like watching a man on fire,” says David Nelson, who manages the Purina®
Ambassador relationships. “Their coordination and athleticism made them stand out in a field of the world’s best.”
Martin was on the heels of an Olympic medal going into show jumping on the final day of eventing. Martin and Red continued to be in the running for a medal, navigating the course skillfully and making it into the final jump off. They finished as the second-highest placed Americans in individual eventing.
Martin’s personal success in Rio means even more when considering the personal challenges he has faced. Five years ago, right before the World Equestrian Games, Martin lost six horses in a barn fire. His father and wife Silva’s father also died within two weeks of one another shortly after that tragedy. Two years ago, Silva, an accomplished dressage rider in her own regard, received a severe head injury in a freak riding accident. All the while, the Martins have shown strength in the face of adversity, and they continue to ride and compete at the highest level of horse sports. Boyd’s courage and perseverance paid dividends in Rio.
“Martin and Red’s impressive finish encourages us all to train longer, go faster and achieve more as we aspire to unlock our potential and our horse’s potential,” says Nelson. “We are proud Boyd Martin represented the iconic Purina®
checkerboard in Rio.”