Maya Black has taken the East Coast by storm since relocating from the West Coast in January with Doesn’t Play Fair, with whom she just won the CIC3* at Plantation Field International Horse Trials this past weekend, catapulting them into the spotlight as a serious combination to watch for the future.
But Maya is no stranger to EN readers. You’ll remember we featured her a year ago in EN’s Got Talent, just before she and “Cody” did their first CCI2* at Galway Downs — you can read those posts here and here. We’re unabashedly #teammaya around these parts, so here are 10 things you need to know about this rising star.
1. She’s from Washington State: Hailing from Clinton, Wash., Maya grew up on Whidbey Island and learned the ropes of eventing there. And though she did one nine-month working student stint on the East Coast in the past, she’s about to surpass the longest amount of time she’s ever been away from home.
2. She works for Jan Byyny: After discussing her goal to move up to the Advanced level in 2014 with Jan Byyny at least year’s USEA Convention, Jan invited Maya to be a working student at Surefire Farm in Virginia. She’s been working there since January, as well as competing some of Jan’s young horses, and has no plans to leave at this point.
3. Her farriers own Doesn’t Play Fair: Jon and Dawn Dofelmier originally found “Cody” — who was bred by Half Trak Farm and is sired by Camiros, out of a Coriander mare — as a 5-year-old and sent him to Maya for training to become a Novice horse for Dawn. They realized how much talent he had and decided to see how far he could go through the levels. Jon and Dawn still fly over from Washington state to Virginia to shoe Cody.
4. This is her first season going Advanced: She has previously produced two horses through the two-star level, but both incurred injuries before making it to Advanced. So she started over again with Cody — and has been really careful with him in the process, only going for time on rare occasions. They did their first Advanced at Pine Top in February.
5. She’s almost 6 feet tall: As a taller rider, and with Cody being 15.3 hands, Maya said fitness is really important to her, as is making sure her upper body and core are strong so she doesn’t throw him off balance. She’s also had to learn how to position her upper body to help him get the most scope he can over jumps.
6. Cody is extremely quirky and spooky: You wouldn’t think it when watching Cody tackle a big cross-country course, but he’s actually really spooky and difficult. Among his dislikes are things next to or above his head, going between things or next to things, living in a stall and being around other horses. That’s how he got his show name; he “doesn’t play fair.”
7. She’s been slowly making a name for herself: Maya and Cody were named to the 2012 USEF Developing Riders List and were invited to the 2014 Winter/Spring Training Sessions. They graduated up to the National category on the Summer/Fall lists, and we should see them on the National list again for the 2015 Winter/Spring training sessions.
8. She’s heading to Fair Hill next: Maya and Cody did their first CCI3* at Bromont in June, and now they had to Elkton, Md., for the toughest CCI3* on American soil at the Dutta Corp Fair Hill International. Which brings us to the next thing to now about her …
9. She’s now qualified for Rolex: After placing fifth in the Bromont CCI3* in June and winning the Plantation Field CIC3*, Maya and Cody are now qualified to tackle their first Rolex next year. She plans to see how Fair Hill CCI3* goes first before making a decision on aiming for Kentucky.
10. Her mom cried when she jumped a clear round: With her parents back home in Washington state, they don’t make it east to watch her compete very often, but they were able to see her go at Plantation Field thanks to the PRO TV live stream. Maya said her mom burst into tears when she jumped a clear show jumping round on Saturday. We can only imagine the kind of celebration that went down when she won the whole dang thing on Sunday.
Best of luck to Maya and Cody as they head to Fair Hill and look ahead to Rolex. Go Eventing.