Warmblood O

By Boyd Martin Balancing Priorities

ne of the biggest challenges a top equestrian faces is the fine balancing act between becoming the best rider and competitor possible and also figur-

ing out how to pay for it all. To me it’s a very tricky issue: if you are obsessed with making money, you’re away teaching clin- ics, training middle-of-the-road horses and running around like a headless chook, and it’s easy to get distracted from focusing on yourself. My dream schedule would be

to wake up in the morning, go to the gym, come home and ride six or seven handpicked horses with a coach sitting in the corner giv- ing me advice, get a massage and then go to bed early, all the while preparing for the upcoming competitions on my calendar. But in reality I have a farm to run, students to teach, all sorts of horses to ride and a family to support and spend quality time with. Financially, it would be impossible for me to execute that ‘ultimate lifestyle.’ Our new high performance chef d’equipe Erik Duvander

both the mortgage and the staff, and buy feed and hay. (Going off to an upper level event with two or three horses really doesn’t make financial sense when you sit down with your accountant at the end of the year!) Contrary to what many assume, being a top level rider is very expensive and not al- ways glamourous. When balancing priorities,

Chef d’equipe Erik Duvander (left) stands with Boyd and Silva.

it’s also important to remember eventing is a seasonal sport. In this busy time of the year, while preparing for the WEG and four- stars, it’s rare that I take a weekend to teach a clinic. Most weekends I’m off competing and if there’s a spare weekend or even a Sunday, I think it’s important to try to be at the farm and spend time with

sat me down at the end of last year and recommended a great formula that is helping me address the challenge of balancing and organizing my priorities. The solution is quite simple: block off the hours of roughly 7:30 am to 2 pm for what I call “high performance time.” During these hours, I try not to answer the phone or teach lessons, and instead really concentrate on the performance of me and my top horses. I think it’s important to block out this time, especially for someone like me who tries to do everything at once. It’s too easy for me to get distracted to meet the building contrac- tor, jump on the tractor or squeeze in a lesson at 10:30 am. But as a member of the US Eventing Team, it’s important for me to focus on my top group of horses and becoming a better rider. Once we hit 2 pm, it’s an absolute free-for-all. I crack on

and teach the guys who work for me, move cross country jumps, talk to owners on the phone and do everything else that needs to be done but doesn’t require that ultimate focus. By dividing my day like this, I am working very, very hard at becoming an awesome rider and I’m dealing with the reality that I have to come up with the funds to pay

74 September/October 2018

my family. I also spend every available second with my horses because when I’m away important details can be overlooked. In November, December and January, the com- petition calendar calms down and I can travel around the country teaching clinics, taking a break from competition and making a few extra bucks while the horses are taking a vacation or doing their foundation fitness work. At this point you may be thinking that I’m complaining

about my life—on the contrary. I’ve got one of the best gigs in the world and I’m one of those very fortunate people who can make a living doing something they love. I’m grateful for that every day. I believe the pressure of trying to be the best while still

making enough money to pay the bills and provide for my family is what spurs me on. I would not have the same drive to make it all work if the money was simply handed to me. I happen to love the exhilarating feeling of gambling - rolling the dice or dealing the cards—then holding my breath. The lifestyle my wife Silva and I have created gives us that same thrill as we work to build a winning professional hand with horses.

Four-star event rider Boyd Martin represented the United States at the 2010 and 2014 World Equestrian Games as well as the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. He and his wife Silva, a G.P. dressage rider, own and operate Windurra USA in Cochranville, PA. Learn more about them at

Amber Heintzberger

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