In the midst of the hustle and bustle of a 500-entry event at Virginia International Horse Trials, co-organizer Angela Bowles took time to celebrate and reflect on the lengthy and impactful career of her longtime partner, Novelle. After 14 years eventing, Novelle has been officially retired from competition.
“It was a hard decision to retire Novelle from competition as she has far from lost the fire to compete. But as the stewards of these wonderful horses, it is our duty and privilege to make sure that we care for them in the twilight of their careers,” Bowles said.
“I can’t put into words what she has meant to me and so many others. Novelle was the horse that no one believed in as a racehorse, so much so that she was given to me. I feel like no one expected great things of her, or of me – a small town girl from nowhere Texas.”
The now 20-year-old off-track Thoroughbred mare had a storied career. Together, Bowles and Novelle contested the Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI5* in 2015 and 2016. Novelle also finished second in a jumping grand prix, competed in 22 FEI events, and earned 2010 USEA Preliminary Horse of the Year. She had 10 wins and finished in the top ten in 88% of her runs She also jumped clear in show jumping in 83%.
“Novelle always kept me safe, she kept me humble, she showed me the world of upper-level eventing, she taught me, she made me feel like there was no jump too big or too hard. I owe my entire riding career to this horse,” Bowles said.
After stepping down from the upper-levels of the sport, Novelle showed several riders the ropes around the lower levels, from Beginner Novice to CCI2*-L. Novelle’s USEA record spans seven pages. In total, she finished a remarkable 113 USEA events with 10 different riders.
“It is obvious all the things that Novelle did for my career, but not reflective of what truly makes Novelle special,” Bowles said. “What she has done that is the most special is show such a variety of riders how to have confidence and love of the sport. To watch riders who previously had confidence issues or were suffering the loss of their horses be re-ignited in the sport solely because of this diminutive mare means more to me than I can ever express. Thank you Novelle, for keeping us all safe and always giving your absolute all.”
Happy retirement, Novelle.