Lauren Patava received a most special delivery when Pippa (Damokles—Belaquador, by Ecuador), the 2020 Eighty-Dollar Champion, arrived at Braecrest Farm in Oro-Medonte, Ontario, CAN last month.
On July 13, Lauren was named the winner of the 2020 Eighty-Dollar Champion Contest, in which international show jumper Andy Kocher, inspired by the legendary story of Harry deLeyer and Snowman, awarded Pippa to a lucky entrant for just $80.
What made Patava’s win most special was that she was not even aware that she had entered the contest. Her mother, Marylou Patava, entered on her behalf.
Pippa, the 2020 Eighty-Dollar Champion, now lives at Braecrest Farm in Oro-Medonte, Ontario, CAN, with Lauren (right) and Marylou (left) Patava. Photo Courtesy Lauren Patava.
“I saw the contest being shared on social media, and I originally sent [my mom] the link,” Lauren explained. “My mom always said, ‘If I win the lottery, I’m going to buy you a horse first!’ I said, ‘You don’t need to win the lottery. This foal is only $80!’ But we didn’t chat about it again until after I had found out that [her entry] had won.”
When Marylou’s name was drawn, her entry revealed that Pippa would go to her daughter in a most heartwarming statement.
“Lauren had to give up her dream of [being a] professional [and] riding full time due to financial constraints,” she wrote. “She has a full-time job in the tech sector but still rides and trains part time. She would truly love a young prospect to bring along.”
With Lauren, who previously developed a young horse up to the grand prix level, Pippa has an opportunity to reach the potential set forth by her grand prix pedigree and kind, intelligent disposition.
“The horse [with which] I competed at the highest level was a horse that I bought when he was four, coming five. I had him for eight years,” Lauren said. “To [develop him] from four to 12 was an incredible learning experience for me. It was so rewarding and so fun to do. I’m excited to get to know Pippa from how she is now on the ground, to handling her [throughout her early years], to having my first ride on her back, [and beyond].”
Pippa at Braecrest Farm in Oro-Medonte, Ontario, CAN. Photo courtesy Lauren Patava.
Pippa made the journey from Windwood Farm in Pelham, AL, to Claire Hunter’s Braecrest Farm in August and quickly settled in at her new home. Hunter’s operation specializes in foals and young horses, and Lauren and Marylou are frequent visitors.
“A lot of great horses have come out of her program, so we felt comfortable and confident [sending Pippa there],” Lauren said. “Shipping was a big journey for the little girl, and she stepped right into [life at] the farm. She’s just been a dream to work with.
“Pippa has the sweetest disposition,” she continued. “You can tell that she was so well handled and loved earlier in her life.”
While not necessarily expecting to welcome a foal into her life, Lauren is certainly glad her mother took the initiative to enter the 2020 Eighty-Dollar Champion Contest.
“I’m excited for what’s next with it all,” Lauren said. “I hope Andy continues to [run the contest]. It’s been fun so far, and I’m hopeful that someone else gets the experience that I’m getting.”