She's Back! Tina Konyot and Calecto V Return to the Grand Prix Ring and Take a Win at Gold Coast Dressage Association Finale I

Sunday, April 12, 2009

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West Palm Beach, Florida – Four months after badly breaking her ankle, Tina Konyot made her way back into the Grand Prix ring at the Gold Coast Dressage Association Finale I and II and beat out a field of nearly two dozen competitors to take the blue ribbon with a score of 68.10 percent. She took the win with her 11-year-old Danish Warmblood stallion, Calecto V, and she could not have been happier. "I love this horse more than anything in the entire world," Konyot said of her partner. "I'm just the happiest person in the world to have done this today." Last fall, Konyot fell down some stairs at home and broke her ankle in nine places, which required numerous screws and metal plates to repair.

At the time, doctors told her it would be at least four months before she would be able to walk and at least six months before she could ride. Her injury had her out of the saddle and essentially out of work for months. "It was a real struggle," Konyot admits.

With his rider sidelined with injury, Calecto also sat, spending most of his time in turn-out with only some lunge work to keep him going. It was just six weeks ago that he and Konyot started back in training, albeit very slowly. "We're both not in the best condition," Konyot said. "We do a lot of walking. We're the handicapped horse and the handicapped rider."

While Calecto still lacks fitness and condition, his biggest obstacle, Konyot said, is his rider. She admits that riding is still a bit painful and because of all the hardware in her right ankle, she doesn't have much flexibility in that leg and has to ride with her stirrup longer. "I don't have much mobility and I'm crooked. My hips kill me and my ankle kills me. It's tough for me, but also for the horse." Still, Calecto has not let her down. "I think that horse really loves me. I would wish for everyone to be so lucky to have a horse like that, one that you can really connect with," Konyot said.

Their winning ride was not without some errors, particularly in the tempi changes, but no matter, Konyot was so thrilled to be back in the ring that she smiled her way through the ride. And while she's made it back into the show ring, her recovery is not complete. She's still facing many more weeks of physical therapy and needs a bit of help getting on and off her horse, but "I see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Konyot and Calecto are now headed home to Connecticut and while Konyot hopes to compete in CDI competition in New York later in the summer, she said her only real goal is to get her life back and that means rebuilding the clientele she lost when she couldn't ride and train. "My only real plan is to have a wonderful life and of Calecto, I think he'll one day be a very special Grand Prix horse," Konyot said.

One other thing Konyot plans to do is spend time with her boyfriend, Roger Attfield, who is one of Canada's leading racehorse trainers. The two dated 25 years ago and reconnected this past February. Konyot said one thing she has really learned these past months is the importance of building strong relationships with family and friends. "All of us who are self-employed need to realize that this could happen to anyone of us and when it does and you can't work and care for your horses, you'll need your friends," Konyot said. "So, be good to your friends, because that's who will be there when you need someone."

When she thinks of all the people who helped her and supported her over the past few months, Konyot said it makes her cry. "I want to thank all my friends for being there. Please give my love to everyone."