Purina News

One Equestrian’s Road to Rio

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Purina Animal Nutrition

Shoreview, Minn. [July 14, 2016] – There are few dreams bigger than competing at the Olympic games. The quiet before the bell, the heartbeat of your horse and millions of fans hushed with anticipation; it’s a moment few obtain. Boyd Martin will experience this exhilaration for the second time in his life at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Purina® Ambassador Boyd Martin competed in his first Olympic games in 2012 and will compete for the U.S. Equestrian Team in eventing from August 6-9. Ranked seventh in the world in eventing, Martin will be riding Blackfoot Mystery, a Thoroughbred who has taken on eventing in a big way.
Blackfoot Mystery, better known as Red, got his name from his bright copper chestnut coat. An extremely large three-year old at 16 hands, now, at 12 years old, Red stands more than 17 hands tall.   

Horses like Red tend to be at a disadvantage for racing because they grow too quickly and lack coordination. After finishing dead last in his first three races, Red’s future seemed hopeless until the horse caught the eye of trainer Lisa Peecock and a student of Martin’s, Kelly Prather. Prather adopted Red from the Thoroughbred Rehab Center in Los Angeles, Calif., training and helping him mature into his oversized frame. Recognizing Red’s potential, Martin bought the thoroughbred from Prather.
Any doubts remaining about Red were dispelled when Martin decided to ride him at the highest level of competition, the prestigious Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Rolex was Red’s first 4-star level event and one with onerous weather. Martin and Red stunned finishing in 6th place, solidifying his position on the U.S. Rio Olympic Equestrian team.

This August, Martin and Red will compete along with the world’s top eventing equestrians at the Rio Olympics. Martin is bucking the trend and riding a thoroughbred; a breed whose presence in eventing has been in decline since the early 90’s.
The eventing team will compete in three world-class events at the Olympic games, comparable to a human triathlon. Each of the three disciplines (dressage, show jumping and cross-country) test the precision, fitness and training of the horse as well as the equestrian.
“The horses who compete at the Olympic level in eventing are unmatched in skill, athleticism, and courage,” says David Nelson, who manages the Purina® Ambassador relationships. “The equestrian’s heart and dedication must match the power of their horse. We are proud Boyd Martin will represent the iconic Purina checkerboard in Rio.”