More Reflections on Rio


Boyd and Red Show Jumping Photo: Jenni Autry

With such a long build up to the Olympics, the pressure of getting selected, then having a disastrous preparation event at Great Meadow, and then finally getting through such a grueling competition, I can honestly say that I am glad it’s all over.


Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate member Mike Laver in the Athlete’s Village

First and foremost, it’s important to recignize that there is a monstrous team that got Red and me to Rio:

  • The Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate.  An absolutely awesome group of people who came together to purchase this horse only a year ago. I can promise you guys, there is plenty more to come in Big Red”s career.
  • My wife Silva whom has put up with me over the last few years. Even with having a brain injury, have a baby, and running her own full time dressage training business, she still has found time to prioritize Red’s and my training.
  • Team USA. Susan Johns, Steve Teichman, Joanie Morris, Andy Thomas, Jo Anne Wilson and Will Connell. What an awesome group to have around us at such an important event. It was a very well oiled machine.
  • My coaches that got Red going: David O’Connor and Silva Martin in the dressage helped get Red’s score to a personal best by 5 points, Richard Picken has turned my jump riding around and improved Red enormously, and Phillip Dutton’s awesome cross country schooling prior to the games was a life changer. My trouble at Great Meadow was a blessing in disguise, as Phillip and his masterful training got Red’s and my cross country riding up to scratch just in time.
  • My grooms and staff. Sergio Reyes and Kristen Merala did a sensational job grooming, and my crew of staff back home did an outstanding job of keeping everything going whilst I was away. You are a great bunch of people.
  • Our sponsors, for all of their support.

Red and Kristen

In my opinion, the Olympic competition is exactly what I expected and hoped for. It was a contest that saw dreams crushed and memories made. A lot has been said about the course being too tough, but I think it was about right, it is the freakin’ Olympics don’t forget! I think it is only right that it should have a high degree of difficulty. I was thrilled with the way Red went. He was by far the greenest horse on the US team and I took the alternate route at the super tough fences and he galloped as fast as he could between them. With about a minute to go on the course, Red got seriously tired. He dug in and pinned his ears back and fought all the way to the finish line. For this, I will always be in awe of him. He has the heart of a champion.

I believe Red stepped up and did the job we were picked for. I knew going into this, he was probably too inexperienced for an individual medal. He was there for a team score. I had no problem being the lead horse for the team and going first.  At the end of the first round of jumping we were placed 7th, which is about all I could hope for and I was proud of the result.  By the time we got to the second round, Red was very tired and a bit green around the bigger show jumping course. Looking back at it all, I am satisfied with our performance. He will get stronger and stronger in time.


Watching Judo

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. I will say that I have no issue with Lauren going the direct way at the fence she fell at. She went down with her ship, going for it! That is the sign of a champion. This is a sport of inches: if you look at every team that competed, they all have moments that they would change if they had their time over, but everyone gave it their all.


The US Event Horses Heading Home

I am so happy for Phillip, Evie, Emma and the connections of Mighty Nice. No one deserved a medal more than this group. I have been very close to Phillip over the years and seen how hard he has worked for this. He has made so many sacrifices and I am glad he has received this medal as a re-payment!

Finally, I must say what an honor and pleasure it is representing the US at a championship like this. No other country in the world supports their team like the US does and I am so proud to be part of this country’s sport program and thankful they have taken me in as one of their own.




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  1. Excellent Blog

    Your insight and honest is awesome

    You have a great team around you

    You worked so hard and what a great Olympics!

    Phillip definitely deserved an individual medal how incredible it must of been to be there as he did it!

    Team USA is lucky to have you what a great team player you are!

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