Boyd Martin And Phillip Dutton Cowboy Up – The Chronicle of the Horse

It may not have been the Dutton Ranch (a.k.a. the Yellowstone), and it certainly wasn’t Montana, but there were some cameo appearances in a Western reining contest meant to entertain the crowd at the Grand-Prix Eventing Festival at Bruce’s Field in Aiken, South Carolina, in early March.

Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin were game to participate in “Cowboy Up!” Well, “roped in” was how Martin put it.

The Olympians donned black hats, and they each performed a reining pattern for the first time aboard Guns And Tutus, a chestnut Quarter Horse. They rode in the same arena where, combined, they’d ridden five show jumping rounds the day before.

Dutton was up first, and to the surprise of many Western riding aficionados, committed the cardinal sin of tucking his pants into his boots. It wasn’t the only criticism Martin leveled at his good friend.

“Lucky for me, Phillip went first and put on a pathetic display, and I knew after watching Phillip’s ride that I could completely outclass him, even with my inexperience in the reining world,” Martin quipped.

“Boyd was fortunate to follow me, and he was able to pick up on what I didn’t do very well,” Dutton replied.

Martin, who had never ridden Western, admitted there was a bias in determining the winner, given his wife, Grand Prix dressage rider Silva Martin, was the judge.

“I don’t like people who make excuses, but when you have his wife judging the competition—and Boyd also had a much bigger belt buckle—I’m sure that sort of contributed to the whole look as well,” Dutton said.

As John Dutton, the lead character in the hit TV series “Yellowstone” said: “Let me tell you what fair means. Fair means that one side got what they wanted in a way the other side can’t complain about. There’s no such thing as fair.”

And “Yellowstone” is where Dutton may have the leg up, starting with his surname. “It’s amazing how many people bring up Yellowstone to me with my name,” said Dutton, adding that he’s open to the possibility of a casting call. “I haven’t been approached, so we’ll see.”

The riders received a 10-minute briefing about the reining pattern, which Martin said consisted of a halt, a spin each way, small circle, large circle, gallop and flying lead change, small and large circle, and then a fast gallop on a straight line to a sliding halt.

“I have to say, it wasn’t my best performance, but, again, not to try and make excuses, but it wasn’t explained to me what I had to do very well,” Dutton said. “I was trying to do the spin at the canter, but it turns out you just do it at the walk.”

Read more at the Chronicle of the Horse here.