Martin opens eventing

LONDON – Spectators were still pouring into the gorgeous Greenwich Park equestrian venue as Boyd Martin dismounted his horse. Martin, the Aussie who lives and trains in Chester County, was the very first competitor through the course Saturday morning.

“I couldn’t have done much better,” Martin said after posting a score of 66.17 in the dressage portion of the three-day eventing competition.

“It’s an easy course, if you want to go slow. If you want to go really fast and be competitive, it’s one of the toughest courses I’ve ridden because of the turns. Maybe the changes at the end, I could have nailed them a bit more. I’m thrilled with the horse. He’s come a long way.”

Martin was riding Otis Barbotiere, a 10-year-old gelding who survived the tragic barn fire that claimed six horses last year. Neville Bardos, the most seriously injured of the surviving horses, did not make the trip to London.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in this horse,” Martin said. “He’s all class. I haven’t had him for a long time. He’s a confident horse. He’s a brave horse. Unlike Neville -- I’m half terrified going into an arena like this. I’ve got a little bit more faith that this guy can keep his composure.”

Martin shrugged off questions about the fire and the death of his father, an Australian Olympian back in 1968.

“That was last year,” he said. “Got through that and moved on and just enjoying being here and being part of the team.”

The dressage event continued through Saturday afternoon. By about 2:30, Martin was sitting in eighth place. Germany’s Dirk Schrade was in first place.