Monday Video from Tredstep Ireland: A Tribute to National du Pas

Blake Park, Nate and Bobbie Jones in Ocala. Photo by JJ Sillman. Blake Park, Nate and Bobbie Jones in Ocala. Photo by JJ Sillman.

After the devastating news of the passing of National du Pas due to cardiac arrest at Spring Bay this weekend, Area VIII eventer Bobbie Jones went out on cross country with Rebel’s Heartbreaker, donning her trusty helmet cam. Bobbie rode in honor of “Nate”, who was leased and ridden by her friend Blake Park and owned by Elizabeth Stewart.

Bobbie posted the following tribute to her friend’s horse:

“Less than five minutes before Rebel and I were supposed to go out on course right behind Blake and Nate, the unimaginable happened and Blake lost his incredible partner in a tragic, heartbreaking and unavoidable accident.

I was still in warm-up unaware of what had happened when my parents came to take Rebel back to the trailer while our coach took me to be by Blake’s side until he left to the hospital. Emotionally, I felt like there was no way I could get back on and go out on course. I didn’t want to, and all I wanted was to go straight to the hospital to be with him.

After speaking with his family and our coach they convinced me to go back out, and I knew that’s what he would want and he would be furious when he found out I scratched. It was an incredibly hard decision to continue on not knowing the extent of his injuries and having just lost a horse that although he wasn’t mine, he was still part of my family and I loved him dearly.

So I tacked Rebel back up and went on course. He’s such an awesome pony! He took care of me through a big Training course while I was an emotional wreck with tears in my eyes the whole course. He carried me through the finish line double clear to move from 7th after dressage to 2nd after cross country on a score of 38.3. Although this was our best placing of our career, it holds no happiness, and will always be a painful reminder of a horse that left us far too soon.

I have so many people to thank for their overwhelming support to both me and Blake. Friends. Family. Even total strangers who knew what had happened and were there for hugs and to offer their kind words when we came off course. Rebel…..I don’t think any other horse would have carried me through. Thank you for that.

I know he knew what happened to his buddy and he tried extra hard for him. Also, thank you to my dad for taking care of Rebel and bringing him home for me so I could rush to the hospital to be with Blake. I’m so thankful that he escaped without severe injuries!

I fully dedicate this ride to you Nate! I hope we made you proud. You were an amazing horse and I’ll never forget you ya big moose! I’m sure you and my Quickie are best friends already! Thank you for everything! I’m so glad to have had you in my life, even if it were just for a short time. I love you so much Nathan!

This is for you Blake Park and National Du Pas.”

National du Pas and Blake Park at Ocala. Photo courtesy of JJ Sillman.

National du Pas and Blake Park at Ocala. Photo courtesy of JJ Sillman.

National du Pas’ rider, Blake, also had a kind tribute for his partner who was lost too soon:

“I first rode Nate last October with Elizabeth Stewart and I fell in love with him from the moment I saw him. Nate was unlike any other horses. He was tall, dark, handsome, and he had a heart of gold. He knew his job and would do everything in his control to keep you safe.

I started leasing him in November 2015 and it has all been a dream since then. I brought him to Carriage Station Farm and started training with Cathy Wieschhoff at the same time. Cathy is an amazing trainer and she has helped me become a better rider on and off of the horse.

I am beyond thankful to have her in my life and I believe that she will be a huge support to help my dreams come true. I wish we could have kept going but I am thankful that Nate got to be apart of my life and shape the rider I am today.

Huge thanks to Elizabeth Stewart and Madeline Wood for letting me ride Nate, who truly was my dream horse. Please keep everyone associated with him in your prayers, including my best friend, Bobbie Jones.

As soon as the accident happened I immediately asked for Bobbie and she came rushing from the warmup ring to my side. I am beyond proud of her for making the decision to continue to ride, considering the tragic effect that had occurred. Bobbie and her cute little pinto, Rebel, went double clear, in honor of Nate and finished in second place!

This gives them a qualification for AECs at Training level, one of my goals to accomplish with Nate. Bobbie has been a strong friend and her and Rebel will continue to carry out Nate’s Legacy! Nate was a fabulous horse and he will still be watching me every step of the way while I continue to accomplish my goals and dreams of competing in NAJYRC and Rolex!”

Rest in peace, Nate.