Update on Upper Level Horses from Aiken

Silva schooling Neville Bardos in Aiken, SC

Boyd is preparing three horses for the Rolex Kentucky CCI**** in Lexington at the end of April, and staying busy riding everything else he has the chance to sit on as well as teaching lessons and clinics. Here’s an update on his top tier horses:

The three advanced horses that are heading to Rolex after enjoying their winter vacation in Wellington: Neville Bardos, Remington XXV and Rock on Rose, had to come back to reality and move to Aiken in three inches of snow. It was their biggest snow in 30 years! But it was good to bring the rock stars back to reality after living the good life in Wellington.

All three horses have been on track with Kentucky as their main goal for the spring and have been sound and had no hiccups. I started off Nev and Remi with a nice Intermediate at Pine Top and then went back a couple weeks later and hit them a little harder; Remington ran fantastic in the advanced, finishing third, while Neville ran a bit slow in the intermediate. I opted not to run him cross-country at the first one since he’s an experienced horse and kept him at intermediate the second time around just to play it safe.

I took Rock on Rose to Rocking Horse down in Florida under the watchful eye of Bruce Davidson for her first event of the year. She had very good dressage test and show jumped a beautiful round but unfortunately I got a bit close to a fence on cross-country and I flew off the top of her and gave my fancy new air vest a trial. I bounced like a beach ball and then we walked home. After that Bruce and I agreed to back her down to intermediate at Pine Top last weekend and she had a great dressage and clear show jump and was spot-on on cross-country to finish a creditable sixth place.

The two prelim horses I’ve been competing this year were Amy Lindgren’s Minotaure du Passoir and Phantom Pursuit who is owned by Abbey Golden, a Young Rider from Texas that’s training with me. I’m competing her horse and keeping it fit until she can get away from college to compete him herself. Both of these horses have had two fantastic prelims this year at Pine Top and Paradise.

Oded Shimoni and Mark Phillips have been flying up to Aiken every ten days to do some US team training sessions. I’ve been taking Neville to the sessions and the main focus has been improving his trot, which I think is paying off. Oded has been working on almost making him passage in the trot to improve his action. Rock on Rose and Remington I’ve been training with Silva because she knows both of these horses and she’s made huge improvements working on some of the movements that will be in the test at Kentucky.

The three advanced horses are all on a very planned training and competition schedule to prepare for Kentucky. All three horses are jogging the hills in Bridle Creek for 35 minutes once a week and we’ve just started taking them to the racetrack to start some quicker, sharper work.

At Pine Top I got a phone call on Thursday evening that my good friend Holly Hepp fell off a ladder and sprained her wrist, so I rode two of her horses this past weekend, at advanced and intermediate ,and they both had successful results.

Pine Top is one of my favorite events: it’s a good course with a long, open cross-country course that encourages forward riding. Unfortunately in the advanced there was a fair bit of trouble with many riders coming to grief at a number of fences. In my round on Remington I actually got held twice on course: it was one of the longest rides of my career, taking over 30 minutes. Jan Byyny and Rebecca Howard were both injured at Pine Top and we are keeping them both in our thoughts.

I was really thrilled with my apprentice Lillian Heard and my student Erin Sylvester, who had their first advanced horse trials and managed to cruise around the course without any incidents despite all the ambulances coming and going!

I’m taking all of the young horses and moving them up to training at Sporting Days this coming weekend and Summer’s having her first start at beginner novice. Then the higher level horses go to the advanced at Southern Pines. If the snow’s gone off the mountain I’ll head back to Pennsylvania and start galloping up the hills before The Fork, but it depends a bit on the weather.

Lillian Heard
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