DB Cooper Defies the Odds to Make His Eventing Comeback

Dasha Ivandaeva’s two-star partner DB Cooper returned to competing this past weekend at Ocala II Winter Horse Trials after a lengthy period of time off in which he battled through three surgeries. He skipped around the Open Preliminary like he hadn’t missed a beat. Welcome back, Coopy!

DB Cooper after jumping clear with 4 time penalties around the Open Preliminary at Ocala Winter II HT. Photo courtesy of Dasha Ivandaeva.

After a year off, three major surgeries, and a hell of a long way to recover, DB Cooper is BACK! This horse is a freaking rockstar, and I honestly don’t know how he does it — he’s just amazing.

For those of you who do not know who the real DB Cooper was, he was a man who hijacked a plane, took two-hundred-thousand dollars and jumped into the night sky, never to be seen again. As the story would suggest it, this man must have been some character, as is my DB Cooper.

A year ago, in February, Cooper had colic surgery where they resected 8 feet of bowel. Four days later he had another colic surgery. That in itself is just both heartbreaking and unbelievable. But this champ was a stoic hero through it all, and with a sparkle in his eye. Six weeks into his recovery, poor Cooper popped a massive hernia! We just could not catch a break. At that point in his recovery, nothing really could be done but play the waiting game.

In July, Cooper went in for surgery to repair the hernia. He came out of surgery a little more rough looking than before — figures after three surgeries, but he never lost that sparkle and fight. I just had to cross my fingers and hope that nothing more would get in the way of his recovery.

I got the news that I could start riding him again in December, and we were both so thrilled! He was so happy to be back out. Usually he can be a bit of a brat when it comes to catching him from the field, but he was so eager he was waiting at the gate.

Now, back in full work and ready to go, he is gearing up to make a comeback. And, after all he’s been through, I think he has a newfound fire that will make him a force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to bring him back out on the scene and watch him be an absolute machine.