A 12-year-old off-track Thoroughbred has been named to the U.S. Eventing Team for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, according to published reports.
Blackfoot Mystery, an eye-catching, multi-talented Thoroughbred and Boyd Martin, an Olympic three-day Eventer, were among four horse/rider teams named to the U.S. team by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF).
The same announcement named two other Thoroughbreds and their riders to the list of traveling reserve: Lynn Symansky of Middleburg, Va., and Donner, 13, and Elisa Wallace of Jasper, Ga., and Simply Priceless, 15.
Sire: Out of Place
Dam: True Mystery, by Proud Truth
Foal date: April 30, 2004Olympic hopefuls had the opportunity to qualify at one of 22 events, beginning with Rolex 2015 and concluding earlier this month with Bromont and Gramham, according to the USEF press release.
Stating he was pleased and “very thankful” to be chosen for the team, Boyd states in an email to Off-Track Thoroughbreds.com that Blackfoot is a true representation of the great American Thoroughbred.
“I think it’s great that Blackfoot Mystery is a US OTTB—it really shows that American Thoroughbreds have a place at the top of the sport,” Martin states in an email. “To be perfectly honest, I didn’t pick Red for his breeding – I was more drawn to his character, movement and athleticism, and it just so happened that he’s an American OTTB, and has a great story going through a horse adoption program.”
Martin adds, “I think it’s a great story and he’s gotten a lot of attention because there are a lot of horses out there with a background just like Red’s.”
He purchased the horse, with a syndicate, from a former student after admiring the gelding, and later trying the horse for himself.
“He’s very sound and very good at the dressage,” Martin said in the earlier interview, noting that finding a horse who has the movement for dressage, the stamina for cross-country, and the aptitude for show jumping is what keeps him looking toward the Thoroughbreds for that rare trifecta possessed by Blackfoot Mystery.
Steuart Pittman, founder of the Retired Racehorse Project, which showcases OTTB talent, says he’s confident Blackfoot Mystery will not disappoint.
“Selectors don’t pick team horses by breed, but you can bet that Blackfoot Mystery would not be going to Rio if they weren’t convinced that he would stay sound and come in clean and fast cross country,” he says. “Being a Thoroughbred probably gives the selectors that little extra confidence that he has the heart to represent our country well, and being fairly new to Boyd’s string suggests that he is still improving in all three phases.”
In an earlier interview Pittman notes: “Boyd Martin could have put a syndicate together to buy any event horse in the world that he believed in. People in the sport know that. When his search brought him to an American Thoroughbred ex-racehorse that sent a great message.”