Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton, to be exact. At the Millbrook Horse Trials at Coole Park Farm. I was stationed in the sand pit, which is exactly as glamorous as it sounds. My partner, who was better versed than me in dressage and the world of eventing by about 2000%, was all of 11 years old. It was our job to tell the competitors when it was time to wrap up their warm-up and head over to the arena. So yes, I actually exchanged words with Olympians Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton! To Boyd, I said, “Excuse me, they’re ready for you.” He replied, “I don’t think it’s my time yet and I’d like to get a little trot going first.” I retorted (meekly), “They’ll be ready whenever you’re ready,” and gave a little curtsy. Well I told him! I can’t explain the curtsy, except that I was confused and mortified. And he had just returned from London so…oh, forget it! Boyd has become a bit of a pin-up in the horsey world, a cross that his wife Silva bears with grace. He couldn’t have been more approachable and friendly though, and in fact, he was far more approachable and decent than most of the beginner novices I interacted with. Though I suppose a BN has a far worse case of the nerves. I didn’t mention to Boyd that he has ruined my chances of ever owning a horse — according to my dear hubby, if an Olympian can ride a $850 horse, so can I. Bleh.
I told Phillip Dutton where to go, too, and when. It was his time, so he said, “Thank you.” I hoped he didn’t remember that the last time we spoke, I had fallen directly on my head not more than five minutes into the lesson he was teaching. Luckily for me, he meets about a million people a day and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has fallen on their head in his presence. The sweetest moment of the day, other than the little girl riding a palomino pony named Angel (she insisted the pony was, indeed angelic, but that’s the first I’ve ever heard of a pony without a nasty Napoleon complex) was when Phillip Dutton’s family came over to the ring and his kids all screamed “Hi Daddy!” He immediately stopped what he was doing and beelined for his wife and children. He gets a gold in the dad and husband Olympics, the most important Olympics of all.