Wellington, FL – The equestrian community has proven that when tragedy strikes, they take care of their own. That’s why dressage rider Trae LaPorte is turning to the equestrian community for help, following the tragic death of his dressage mare Balubina. “Balubina was a Warmblood mare I got last fall and I was just getting ready to start showing her,” said LaPorte, a 25-year-old who rides and competes out of Gatewood Farms in Cordele, Georgia and Loxahatchee, Florida. LaPorte suffered the worst horse owner’s nightmares this past month when his star dressage prospect, Balubina, was being hand grazed, panicked and ran from the farm and into the path of a tractor trailer on Seminole Pratt Road in Loxahatchee.
The driver of the rig never even stopped, and Balubina had to be humanely destroyed due to her devastating injuries.
“I need some help taking another step in my life right now,” LaPorte said. “I don’t have a horse now, so I am reaching out to the community to see if anyone has a horse they could send my way to ride, train or compete.”
Unfortunately, LaPorte isn’t a stranger to tragedy. Last summer he once again had a future dressage star on his hands, but the horse died following complications from being gelded. “After he died I bought Balubina to replace him,” LaPorte said.
In 2003 LaPorte lost another horse, but Kathy Groves stepped up and offered him the opportunity to ride a horse named Fleetwood. “Bent Jensen helped me fine tune his training and I was able to take him to Bromont, California, where we were on the Region 3 Young Rider team that won the Gold Medal,” LaPorte said. “After Young Riders I gave Fleetwood back to her and was able to continue my riding career. Since then I have lost two more horses both by unexpected tragedies.”
Despite the tragedies, LaPorte is eager to get back in the saddle. “I am confident that I can get back in the show ring and continue my career. I want to be able to eventually make it onto the U.S. Team,” LaPorte said.
LaPorte’s solid dressage background includes training in the United States with Danish Olympian Jensen and six-time American Olympian Robert Dover. He also trained in Germany with Ernst Hoyos, who was head trainer of the Spanish Riding School and coach of Olympian Lisa Wilcox.
LaPorte was a member of the 2003 NAYRC Gold Medal team in Bromont, Quebec, Canada, and has trained successfully to Grand Prix level. He has experience in training horses at all levels, and said he is very open to someone sending him a horse to train.
Photo: Dressage rider Trae LaPorte, who has trained with Robert Dover, Bent Jensen and Germany’s Ernst Hoyos, is asking the equestrian community for help in finding a new dressage horse. (Photo courtesy of PhelpsPhotos.com)