Boyd Martin’s ride Cracker Jack has been euthanised after sustaining multiple pastern fractures in the final stages of the 4* Pau horse trials in France.
The US combination were clear and had an impressive trip over the course, but coming into the final stretch in the arena, Cracker Jack took “a horrible step, almost on false ground. I heard a crack and instantly knew something was wrong,” Martin said. “I knew Crackers was in bad shape.” He pulled up immediately and jumped off the horse, who was tended to straight away, as the incident occurred close to the finish line.
Cracker Jack was taken to the racetrack hospital nearby, where X-rays showed multiple fractures in the pastern. Crackerjack’s owner/breeder Lucy Boynton and Martin, on the advice of several veterinarians, decided the only humane choice was to euthanize Crackerjack. He was aged 13.
“We had a wonderful cross-country round,” Martin said. “I felt like it was one of our best ever trips together: We were jumping clear and took all the direct routes, and coming into the final stretch in the arena, he had plenty left in the tank. He felt fresh and his ears were pricked and I was thrilled with the way he was going.”
The cross-country at Pau took a toll on the field, with only 39 finishers from 62 starters making it through to the final jumping phase.
A purpose-bred eventer, Cracker Jack was a full thoroughbred (Aberjack x Satan’s Slave, by Raise A Native) bred in the US by Boynton and campaigned up to prelim level by her son, Colin Davidson. After Davidson’s death, Crackers was sent to Martin with thoughts of selling the horse, but Boynton decided to stick with him.
“What a ride it’s been. Crackers has taken me all over the world and given Lucy some wonderful memories,” Martin said.