Blackfoot Mystery, the off-track Thoroughbred Boyd Martin rode at the 2016 Olympic Games (Brazil), has been purchased by Texas rider Amber Clark to compete at the lower levels.
The 16-year-old gelding (Out Of Place—True Mystery, Proud Truth) was bred by John O’Meara in Kentucky and had three starts on the track. He began his eventing career with Lisa Peecook in California before Kelly Prather bought him and took him through the four-star level. They finished fourth at the Jersey Fresh CCI4*-L (New Jersey) in 2015, after which Martin put together the Blackfoot Mystery Syndicate LLC to purchase him.
“Big Red” and Martin formed a quick partnership and placed sixth at the 2015 Dutta Corp. Fair Hill International CCI4*-L (Maryland). The next spring they finished sixth at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and were chosen for the U.S. team at the 2016 Olympics, where they finished 16th with a clear cross-country jumping round.
The gelding competed three times in 2017 and then stayed at home until this year, when he competed six times, including completing the MARS Equestrian Great Meadow International CCI4*-S (Virginia) with Phillip Dutton while Martin was recovering from surgery. Big Red finished the season with Martin in the irons, placing 28th at the MARS Equestrian Tryon International CCI4*-L (North Carolina).
“I’m very grateful for the 12 syndicate members that decided to believe in me and purchase Big Red,” said Martin in a post on his blog. “It was an amazing experience taking on these big events with such a wonderful group of owners in his syndicate. In 2016 Red gave everything he had to jump clean around a brutal cross-country course in Rio. I’ve never had a horse give so much heart around such a course, and I’ll always be in awe of how exhausted and empty Red was toward the end of the course, but he kept on digging deep and pushing himself to the finish line. In hindsight, I think Red left a part of himself in Brazil.
“I really had dreams and aspirations of trying to get Red back to the five-star level and potentially a chance at the Tokyo Olympics, but the reality is that at our last big event together at Tryon, the big fella felt like he was pushing himself too hard to get the job done,” Martin continued. “Deep down in my heart, when I drove home from North Carolina, I knew it was time to redirect Red’s career. I truly felt that if I was greedy and kept trying to get him to Kentucky next year that it was asking a little too much of him. I can’t tell you how happy I am that his career has got a new life with a new rider from Dallas, Texas. To me this is the perfect transition for Big Red: He’s still sound and happy and keen to go to work. His new accommodations in Dallas are first-class, and I’m guessing he will show his new rider a great taste of eventing at the lower levels.”