Five years ago, Melissa Mulchahey went shopping for the perfect dressage amateur horse for herself, what she found was a potential international superstar. Donna Novella, a 10-year-old Hanoverian mare, turned out to be so talented that Mulchahey even opted to give up the ride on her beautiful mare and hand the reins over to a professional. And now, Donna Novella, with rider Elizabeth Hendrix, has earned an invitation to the [#26585 override="2008 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions Intermediaire Championship." title="2008 Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF Festival of Champions Intermediaire Championship."]
In 2002, Mulchahey traveled to the Verden Elite Auction and spotted Donna Novella. "I was looking at her as an amateur horse for myself. I didn't have huge dreams. I was just looking for a lovely amateur horse to be regionally and national competitive with myself," Mulchahey said. "I thought if I could get her to FEI, that would be the icing on the cake, but it wasn't the plan."
What drew Mulchahey to "Donna" was what still makes the horse attractive today, her attitude and composure. "I was just drawn by her composure and by the way she carried herself. And on top of that, the quality of the gaits was also there. She was a lovely mover – very elastic and very loose. At the Verden auction, Mulchahey had narrowed her selection to two horses, Donna was one. Her final decision was easy. Donna was part of the Friday night gala. The horses were presented while an Italian opera singer was performing in the center under spotlights. Clouds filled the ring from dry ice, hampering the visibility of the horses.
The whole scene was rather chaotic for the horses, but Donna "was so calm and composed. It was clear she was listening to her rider and waiting for the aids. Even at four, she was totally unfazed by all the surroundings. I just knew she was the one that I wanted," Mulchahey said.
From the Start Donna Novella Showed Her Potential