Boyd’s first US training session with Captain Mark Phillips

All photos in this blog entry compliments of Emily Merrill.

I had my first official US training session with the US eventing coach Captain Mark Phillips. The Captain has been in Aiken for the last few days, and I have been lucky enough to secure dressage, show jumping and cross country lessons with him. I have focused my training sessions with my two “up and coming” horses, Remington XXV and Shatzi W. Both horses are just hitting the big time, so I thought it would be beneficial to see what Mark thought of them.

The most exciting session was yesterday with Remington. We jumped at a new equestrian facility called “Three Runs Farm” that is just down the road from Phillip’s farm. Mark worked with Remi a couple of days ago over the show jumps so this was actually his second show jumping session. Mark felt I was giving him too nice of a take off distance every time, and wanted to get Remi to a deeper take-off spot to make him work a bit harder. I must say, it took me out of my comfort zone, as we were jumping bloody big fences! Bigger than I usually school over. It was very interesting, as after a few jumps with me “daring” Remi in, he just jumped better and better.

The other main focus of the session was the connection between the bit, rein and hand. This connection can be a little inconsistent sometimes, and can sometimes lead to Remington being too bold to a fence, which is were we have had a rail in competition. After all this it was encouraging at the end of the session when Mark commented very positively on Remington’s potential as a top class horse.

Remington’s owners, Ron and Densey Juvonen, (pictured at right with Remi and me), are staying down here in Aiken with their team of fox hunters from Pennsylvania, and were keeping a close eye on their horse’s progress.

I compete this weekend at Paradise Farm Horse Trials on three horses.


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  1. I enjoyed your blog about your training session! It must have been great to train with Captain Mark Phillips! Nicole

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