Tatendrang Makes an Emotional Return to Eventing at Chattahoochee Hills

Andrew Palmer and Tatendrang at Fair Hill. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Andrew Palmer and Tatendrang at Fair Hill. Photo by Jenni Autry.

The 9-year-old Trakehner stallion Tatendrang returned to competition this weekend at Chattahoochee Hills, finishing second in Open Preliminary-A. This was he and his longtime rider Andrew Palmer’s first horse trials together since November.

“Tate” is one of 32 horses in Andrew’s barn exposed to the toxic substance monensin after consuming contaminated ADM Alliance Nutrition feed in January. After less-than-ideal results from a stress test, it was recommended that Tate be rested to prevent strain on his heart muscles. He was cleared to return to full work in May.

Tate’s owner Anissa Cottongim kept the entry to Chatt Hills quiet to avoid a jinx. “We’re being a little superstitious and not saying exactly where we are running,” Anissa told EN. “I’ll breathe easier after he gets around the first cross country course!”

Tate didn’t miss a beat and appears to have come back better than ever. His dressage score of 26.1 is a career personal best, and a clear cross country with 3.2 time penalties moved them into first place.

In show jumping this morning, Tate pulled one rail to finish second. Immediately following the news of the round, Anissa said she was crying, happy and relieved all at once. “I’ve been crying all weekend!” she said. “We weren’t trying to win ribbons, we were trying to just get around. This was a warm-up!”

THEY DID IT!!! First HT back since Nov after the monensin scare and not only does he complete but they come in SECOND…

Posted by Tatendrang on Sunday, July 5, 2015

“Tate knew the minute he got to the show grounds on Friday what he was there for,” Anissa said. Andrew reported that he was exuberant during his flat school but felt great. “Yesterday when he went out for dressage it was pouring down rain, and Andrew said Tate just kept getting bigger and bigger underneath him.”

“He was pretty eager the whole time,” Andrew confirmed this morning after show jumping. “He got off the trailer and was just super alert. He stood in his stall and talked and talked and talked. He was just excited to be here. He was a little strong in dressage… he knew what he was here for.”

Anissa was not able to be at Chatt Hills in person, so she’s been relying on Andrew and friends for updates. On Saturday – cross country day – her phone wouldn’t charge so she sat on her computer all day watching for results. “When I finally got hold of Andrew last night he kept saying ‘I knew he was going to be good, but I didn’t know he was going to be that good.'”

Andrew said he expected the stallion to be a bit rusty on cross country, but he clearly wasn’t. “He got right back into the groove. He had great gallop and just was game for every fence. It was fun and felt really good. We were about mid-course and I was just kind of galloping along and had a huge smile on my face because it felt like he was picking up where he left off.”

Tate celebrating at Chatt Hills. Photo via Tatendrang's Facebook page.

Tate celebrating at Chatt Hills. Photo via Tatendrang’s Facebook page.

Even if his owner couldn’t attend his emotional return to competition, Tate was not without a fan club to cheer him on. “People have been coming up and saying they’ve heard of him and they were glad to see him back,” Anissa said. “All of the support has helped a lot. Mentally, physically. All of that has really helped us.”

Now that this milestone is behind them, Anissa, Andrew and Tate can tentatively look towards the future. “Before all this started we had our entire year planned, now we’re a little superstitious.”

The plan in pencil is to run Intermediate at the next event, and they’re still hoping to get to Advanced by the end of the year if all goes well. Whatever happens, we’re delighted that Tate is back in action after a long, emotional roller coaster ride.

Go Tatendrang.

Comments