Silva Martin Returns to CDI Arena for 1st Time Since Accident to Place 3rd on Rosa Cha W
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Sept. 26, 2014
By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Silva Martin returned to the international arena Friday to post a personal best score on Rosa Cha W to place third in the Prix St. Georges at Dressage at Devon, seven months after what was feared to be a career-ending freak horse accident.
The 33-year-old rider said serious eye problems caused by the accident were an advantage in riding for a score of 71.447 per cent as she was focused totally on the test because she could not see judges, spectators or other distractions at the busy postage stamp-sized show grounds on Main Line Philadelphia.
“I was like a blind person in the riing,” said Silva whose right eye is closed. “It was kind of nice. It was only me and her”
Olivia Lagoy-Weltz of Middleburg, Virginia on Rassing’s Lonoir was first with a score of 73.772 per cent, also a personal best, while Christopher Hickey of Wellington, Florida on Ronaldo was second on 71.842 per cent.
The third place score for Silva and the 10-year-old mare born in Australia by the Heath Ryan-owned stallion Regardez Moi beat their previous high of 69.474 per cent logged at a Wellington, Florida CDI just five days before the accident on Mar. 5. Before the accident, the Florida winter circuit had been the best ever for the German-born rider that included winning gold in the Nations Cup that was her first outing for the United States team.
Silva of nearby Cochranville, Pennsylvania who also competed two younger horses at this show, said she “got quite emotional” when she rode Rosa Cha down the centerline as one of 46 combinations that started the small tour class.
“I couldn’t see anything aound us–no judges, no spectators,” she told dressage-news.com.
“There was no pressure, just me and her doing our test. That was fine.
“All the credit goes to the horse. She knows the test inside out. I was kind of the pilot. I didn’t have to do that much.
“If it had gone badly people might have thought it was because of my injury. There are bigger things in life than this.”
Silva said she followed her routine of going to the competition arena before the start of the event to visualize her ride.
Unlike in the past, though, she was not anxious, keyed up wanting to do well.
“It felt differet this time,” she said. “I felt so calm. I didn’t feel any pressure. I said to myself, ‘whatever happens, happens.’
“I’m just so lucky to be able to do this. I felt very relaxed and calm. I trust the mare so much. I let her do her thing.
“She really wants to do well. The horse is more competitive than I am. She wants it so bad.”
What also was different was that Silva “kind of did it on my own.”
She was working with Debbie McDonald before the accident. Debbie could not be at Devon to coach her but Silva plans to work with her when both are in Florida for next winter’s circuit.
Debbie emailed her tips and hints that were helpful.
Boyd Martin, her Australian turned American event rider husband who rode on U.S. teams at the 2012 Olympics and World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France this year as well as at Kentucky in 2010, came to the show to help out as he has done at home.
Silva said that after this show she is scheduled to compete in the U.S. Dressage Federation’s Regional Championships in North Carolina next month.
Then, she will asses whether to move Rosa Cha up to Grand Prix as she already knows the movements and to schedule surgery for her eyes.
“This has been quite a show for me,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier.”