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riding Sail on Madawaska. Her dream ended when she fell off another horse, Stop the Music, and ruptured the ligaments in her right knee. Though her career as an international rider came to an end, she continued on with teaching and training and has coached her daughter since Selena was nine years old. While Selena acknowledges that training with her mother has not always been smooth sailing, in the long run the relationship works. “As a teenager it was tough at times, but I have always tried to keep the home life at home,” she says. “Luckily lessons are free! Also my mother has been all over the world training and learning with horses, so I benefit from that experience. I now know so many top riders and coaches from all over Europe and North America through her connections. All in all I have done nothing but benefit from her passion for horses.” Morag’s passion was evident in the care that she gave

Colombo while she was rehabilitating him after splint surgery. “After his last surgery he came to Hawkridge to heal and be sold when he was ready,” Selena explains. “My mom started him in a walk program. She stuck at it for months on end and then she began his dressage and jumped him over his first few fences. I rode him a few times and took him to a Phillip Dutton clinic here in Ontario. That was the beginning of a beautiful partnership.”

THE PARTNERSHIP BLOSSOMS Selena and Colombo went on to fare well at a pair of three-star competitions in 2007: seventh at Jersey Fresh

in Allentown, New Jersey and sixth at the Dansko Fair Hill International in Elkton, Maryland. At that point the Davies decided not to sell Colombo. Selena was thrilled to keep riding the horse that

would provide her the opportunity to represent Canada on the world stage. “He is so clever,” she says. “I mean he is a genius level thinker! At the WEG we drifted left over these two angled cabins near the end of the cross-country course. Colombo brought a whole other level of scope and quick thinking skills.” Humbly, she adds, “His weakness is me. I have had to learn at this level with him. So he has been very patient with me and now we have such a bond.” Selena does have a small trick up her sleeve. She

confides, “The key to Colombo’s heart is English mints! I only give them to him at shows. I discovered it by mistake once at The Fork three day event (in North Carolina). I had a leftover restaurant mint in my pocket, wrapper and all. Well he heard me unwrap it and came over and ate it. Then he proceeded to maul my head, chair, stall door— everything in reach—until I went and got him his own jar of mints.” Another key to Colombo’s happiness is his laid-back

pasture mate Peanuts, a chestnut Canadian Sport Horse gelding. They spend all of their free time together.

FUTURE PLANS Selena and Colombo have steadily improved over the past couple of years. They finished 20th at Rolex Kentucky in 2008 and 2009. In 2008 they represented Canada at the Olympic Games in Hong Kong with unremarkable results. Last year, they also placed second at Advanced at Morven Park (VA) and eighth in the Plantation Field CIC*** (PA). This spring, they finished fourth at Intermediate at Rocking Horse (FL) and ninth in The Fork CIC*** (NC), and then won the CIC*** at Richland Park (MI) this summer before competing at the World Equestrian Games. In addition to coaching from her mother, Selena credits

Canadian technical advisor/team coach David O’Connor with bringing all of the Canadian riders’ abilities up to standard. “David has brought the Canadians into the game,” says Selena. “We are no longer going to these world class events just to be there. Now we are a force to be reckoned with! Not only has he improved my riding with lessons and training camps, he also sends me home with homework to look up or read online, so my understanding of riding has improved as well. David is very keen on sports psychology, so we have rider meetings and team dinners that involve ‘brain tuning,’ a positive mental attitude and a fighting competitive spirit. He recommends great books to read on these subjects and it’s all obviously working!” Colombo is getting on in years, and Selena will have to retire him from four-star level competition eventually.

18 January/February 2011

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