Earning a new personal best in the face of unparalleled adversity, Purina Ambassador Boyd Martin earned a new personal best at the 2016 Olympic Games, returning to the U.S. with head held high after accomplishing a 16th place finish in the individual three-day event.
Martin competed with his 12-year-old Thoroughbred, Blackfoot Mystery, known as “Red.” The 17-hand chestnut gelding has a rags-to-riches story, growing from an off-the-track racehorse, known for finishing last in nearly every race he ever ran, into an Olympic athlete representing the United States in Rio.
Martin and Red earned a personal best score of 47.7 during the dressage portion of the competition, a five-point increase over their previous personal best, and showed mastery on this year’s cross country course, which was considered the most physically demanding of modern era Olympics.
The course had the lowest level of completion ever recorded, with a mere 40.6 percent of the horses having a clear round, and Martin and Red were part of the minority of riders who succeeded in getting a clean score. They finished the day in 6th place.
“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.”
On the final day of eventing, Martin and Red were on the heels of an Olympic medal going into show jumping, and the team made it into the final jump off, where they finished as the second-highest placed Americans in individual eventing.
“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.”