The first time she saw her mare, Donna Novella, come down centerline at her first CDI, Melissa Mulchahey got tears in her eyes. She can only imagine what it will feel like when Donna comes down centerline at this year's Intermediaire Championships.
"I didn't have this dream when I bought the horse, but it has become the dream and the horse is living the dream that has found us. It's really exciting and we're just so happy with her and with how she's doing," Mulchahey said.
Although focusing on the Intermediaire Championships, Mulchahey has no doubt that Donna Novella will be competitive at Grand Prix. At this point, she is even daring to dream of Donna on a U.S. team. "That is our far-off dream," she said. George Williams has continued to provide assistance and Sue Blinks has taken over much of the role of providing consistent coaching. "Liz had worked with Sue Blinks before so we called Sue and she has been working with Liz this season. Sue has been a wonderful resource for us. She has really helped us fill in some of the missing pieces in terms of preparing the horse for this level of competition," Mulchahey said. She expects Donna to be competing at the Grand Prix within the year and has come to believe that competing at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Kentucky is a dream within reach.
"Donna had started the Grand Prix work over the winter and is showing a remarkable aptitude for piaffe, passage and the pirouettes. She's like an onion. As we have peeled off layer after layer, the horse has gotten better and better. At this point, the horse is a very, very good small tour horse. But the horse is going to be an extremely good Grand Prix horse. Everyone we work with, tells us the horse will be at her best at the Grand Prix because of the natural strengths she has in the piaffe, passage and piriouettes," Mulchahey said. "I think the other real quality the horse has going for her is her mental attitude. She really works unbelievably hard. She will not quit no matter what. She will always give everything that she has."