Darren Chiacchia Continues His Winning Ways
In the Dressage Arena
Media Contact: Hallie McEvoy, (802) 233-2415
Photos available upon request
September 3, 2013 - Springville, NY - Darren Chiacchia and his black Trakehner stallion, Ballzauber, continued their unprecedented championship streak at the Western New York Dressage Association (WNYDA) Show in Houghton, NY and at the Maplewood Warmbloods Dressage Show in Middleton, NY over the past weeks.
“He’s just a winning machine,” stated Chiacchia of Ballzauber. “He’s all business when he is in the ring.” Along with his excellent show ring presence, Ballzauber is a “remarkable and very sweet horse.” Ballzauber has been victorious from Wellington, FL through KY Horse Park, and now in his home base of New York state. “We’ve shown under some top judges and I’m very pleased to score well under these tough officials,” Chiacchia said.
At the WNYDA Show, Ballzauber was overall Grand Champion of the Breeding Show and won the High Score Trakehner Award. Along the way, Ballzauber was 4 Year-Old and Older Breeding Stallion class winner as well as Champion in the Stallion and Mature Horse classes. Ballzauber is a 9 year-old Trakehner by Axis who is by the very influential EH Sixtus (half brother to Windfall) out of Ballgefluster by EH Itaxerxes.
With Schwarze Zauber (’Black Magic‘ in the German language), a three year-old stallion by Zauberruf, Alayna Pastuck, Chiacchia’s barn manager and student, took the Champion Young Horse. Schwarze Zauber was overall Reserve Champion of the Breeding Show, just behind Ballzauber.
In the ridden portion of the WNYDA Show, Ballzauber was victorious in all six of his second and third level tests. This left Ballzauber, in addition to his previous honors, as Champion High Score of the show and High Score Trakehner both weekend days.
Pastuck was second in the three third level tests, finishing just behind Ballzauber. She achieved high enough scores to secure her U.S. Dressage Federation (USDF) Bronze Medal, a significant honor.
At the WNYDA Show, Chiacchia introduced two new junior students, Mackenzie Martin and Madison Seliskar. Both girls are 14 years-old and come from Bay City, Michigan. In their first dressage show they took home ribbons from each class they entered, a remarkable feat. In total, Martin won three classes on her Trakehner gelding Fantastic (by Connery).
At the Maplewood Warmbloods Dressage Show, Chiacchia and Ballzauber won all six of their second and third level tests. Chiacchia’s student Martin shined by again winning three classes and achieving a score of over 70%.
Chiacchia continues a steady recovery from his dramatic accident at the 2008 Red Hills International Horse Trials in Tallahassee, FL. With his resulting Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), he is steadily climbing back up the road to success. His amazing recovery has inspired many people. Chiacchia is a 2004 Olympic eventing bronze medalist, 2003 Pan American Games individual gold medal victor, and a winner of the prestigious Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event CCI****.
Chiacchia is proud to be sponsored by Voltaire Design, Triple Crown Feeds, Der Dau Boots, Charles Owen Helmets, FarmVet.com, Spalding Fly Predators, Flair Equine Nasal Strips, Omega Alpha, EquiFit, Inc., Heritage Performance Riding Gloves, Cavalor, Back on Track, System Fencing, Renegade Trucks, and Kesmarc Equine Therapy.
To contact Darren Chiacchia, please call (352) 895-3694.
A WARM WELCOME BACK HELPS HEAL THE DEEPEST SCARS
Author: Emily Daily
By Joshua A. Walker
Sometimes healing from physical wounds is the easiest part about recovering from an injury. Many doctors have called Darren Chiacchia's rapid physical recovery from a catastrophic accident at Red Hills (Fla.) this March nothing short of miraculous. But sometimes the emotional and psychological bruises leave the deepest scars, and it takes the familiar and sincere support of those closest to quell those injuries.
"You have to understand that this is more important to me that the Olympics" Darren said before running his cross-country trips at the Cosequin Stuart Horse Trials on July 19. "These are my closest friends and family here."
Based in Victor, N.Y., the Stuart Horse Trials has always been near and dear to Darren, and he has always been warmly welcomed. "It was especially heartwarming to welcome him, Windfall II and Better I Do It back that weekend," said Kyra Stuart, one of the events initial founders and organizer or 15 years. She has known Darren since he was 18. "It's often been said competing in front of your hometown crowd is most difficult. However in this case, I truly believe the crowd was delighted to welcome Darren and his horses back."
The boisterous ovations he received when entering and exiting the dressage and show jumping arenas were remarkable. But as Darren and Windfall glided down the Stuart Steps and over the Skinny Brush like an equitation ride in front of a packed patrons tent, the explosion of support, accolades, and respect was truly inspiring.
"I think Darren, and particularly Windfall, greatly appreciated the reception. They were both smiling throughout cross-country," Stuart said. Comfortable with his surroundings and aboard his most trusted partner, Darren and Windfall rode smoothly, accurately, and methodically, and placed second in the Open Intermediate division.
Joshua A. Walker
"I, for one, am proud of Darren. I've watched him and Windfall together many times before," said Gale Fox, one of the Technical Delegates at the Stuart Horse Trails. "But at Stuart it was more like watching a private moment rather than spectating a cross-country event."
"It had everything to do with emotional recovery and getting my confidence back," Darren said. At the end of the day, spectators, riders, reporters, grooms and officials discussed amongst one another the cross-country course and merits and faults of each trip around it. But the consensus was obvious: Windfall and Darren flawlessly illustrated how that course was supposed to be ridden. "It felt really good hear that," Darren said.
It was very remarkable that Darren was able to do so well, and we were all really glad that he could make his comeback here in front of his home crowd," said Wezo Pierson, organizer of the Stuart Horse Trials. "And of course we were glad that we could provide a wonderful venue for his return."
Joshua A. Walker
Darren said he owes much of his rapid, safe homecoming to his long-time best friend Chester Weber, and all of the coaches who helped keep the Chiacchia business running during his recuperation, as well as his forever-dedicated assistant and friend Cristin Stoop. "And I wouldn't be having this conversation today without Rusty Lowe and the medical response team at Red Hills," he said. Also Darren thanks the neurology Team led by one of the nation's leading neurologist Dr. Peter Kinkel.
"I absolutely have to thank my mom and family who have been by my side through the entire ordeal and all the members of Team Chiacchia. That means everyone," Darren went on, "And literally, the thousands of people who sent their support through donations, and well-wishing, and just being there for me."
So many members of Team Chiacchia stepped up to keep Darren's business running smoothly - from the guys that mow the grass, to his bookkeeper, to the shavings delivery guy, and of course the obvious - the grooms, barn manager, vets, and farriers.
Also, the coaches that helped Darren's students in his absence were incredibly important and enjoyed by all - John & Beezie Madden, Lauren Hough, Jessica Ransehousen, Robert Dover, Jane Savoy, Missy Ransehousen, Kyle Carter and others.
Darren plans to run at the Millbrook Horse Trials (N.Y.) in August and hopes to run at the Wellpride USEA American Eventing Championships at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Ill., September 10 -14. And if all goes well, the Fair Hill CCI3* International Three-Day Event (Md.) is also a possibility.
All funds contributed go directly to pay the medical expenses of Darren
All of us at the Equestrian Aid Foundation wish to thank everyone for truly
embracing the Ride for Hope and Team Chiacchia for your overwhelming
generosity. Your help is still needed! Please visit the EAF
to see how you can
assist our fellow equestrians who need your support.
May 20, 2008
Letter from Debi & Kevin Crowley:
I have been following your recovery from your website and I want you to know
that you are an inspiration to me. What an incredible world it would be if
everyone understood that there are no guarantees in life and that hard work
and a positive attitude are the recipe for success. You have been a success
in so many ways in your life and your attitude towards your current
challenge is just one more example. I look forward to seeing you compete at
the Olympics again!
May 20, 2008
Letter from Margaret Rowell:
I am hoping this email finds you well. I have been keeping close tabs on you and am looking forward to the time when you are back in Ocala. These last few weeks have been very busy, and more than once I thought, "where is Darren, I could really use his help" or "Darren would appreciate this". In any case, I thought you might be interested in a play by play of the Festival of the Horse weekend from my perspective. Mind you that I had very little time over the course of the competition to watch rides or pay too much attention to standings, so this account will have much more to do with the social aspects of the weekend. ...more....
In response to the intense media interest following his accident at Red Hills Horse Trials on March 15, 2008, Darren has answered a series of questions below:
Q. It is just over 60 days since your accident, how are you feeling now that you're home?
A. It's wonderful to be home, I feel I am being stimulated by my own environment, horses, home, business. It is crucial to my recovery.