Dawn and Jonathan Dofelmier, the owners of Doesn’t Play Fair, the horse with whom Maya Black was named the traveling reserve for the 2016 Olympic Games, have retired him from the upper levels and brought him home to Arlington, Wash.
The Dofelmiers, a husband-and-wife farrier team, originally purchased “Cody” for Dawn almost six years ago as a birthday present. The U.S.-bred Holsteiner (Camiros—Oncoeur, Coriender), bred by Jenny Lucianna, went into training with Black, and she took him to his first recognized beginner novice event in May of 2011. Since then she’s been the only one to compete him, achieving impressive results at every level.
The pair traveled across the country from Washington to the East Coast, where Maya contested her first advanced event with Cody in the spring of 2014. They won two CIC***s, Plantation Field (Pa.) in 2014 and The Fork (N.C.) in 2016, and finished third at the 2016 Rolex Kentucky CCI**** as well.
Cody, now 12, sustained an injury after being named the traveling reserve, and this fall Dawn decided she was ready to step back into his stirrups.
“He’s been home since Nov. 1, and we are having a great time together,” said Dawn. “His future is ocean rides, camping with friends in Idaho and being turned out daily with his best bud.”
She hopes to eventually event him at novice level and do jumper shows and said he’s “super happy to be home.”
It was an emotional farewell for Black, whose name made national headlines with Cody.
“Cody had been my world for nearly six years, as I was his,” stated Black on her Facebook page. “He got me to my first advanced, my first three-star win, my first four-star and my first shot at being part of a U.S. team. I will forever be indebted to him. I loved all of his quirks and idiosyncrasies because it’s what made him so special and in return, an incredible partner and competitor. Above everything else, Cody has been my best friend, and I will miss him terribly. While I don’t think I will ever have a partner again quite like Cody, I am very confident that I will persevere, and, given the chance, I will continue to produce horses to be real competitors at the highest level.”
Neither Dawn nor Black wished to comment on the factors that influenced the decision to bring Cody home.
“It had nothing to do with Maya’s training,” said Dawn. “She did a fantastic job, and hopefully she will have many, many more horses of his caliber in her lifetime.”
“While losing Cody has left me with an array of feelings, I remain thankful to the Dofelmiers for their support in the past and giving me the chance to ride a certain little horse who, to all of our surprise, ended up making a lot of dreams come true,” Black said.
Black has returned to her roots on the West Coast in Washington to spend time with family and reconnect with clients. She’s planning to remain there this spring and summer.
“Depending on how the season unfolds I could see myself returning back to the East Coast later in the year for more of a long-term situation,” she told the Chronicle. “I do have a coming 7-year-old OTTB named Mowgli, who had a very successful 2016 fall at the preliminary/CCI* level. I’m hoping to move him up to the intermediate level and aim him at a two-star when the time is right. He is a really exciting horse, who I have big hopes for, knock on wood!”
Black owns Mowgli outright and is now looking for people who want to be part of her journey to produce another team horse.
“While riding at the highest levels of the sport is a great privilege and joy, what I love the most is taking my time and producing a partnership with a horse to become the very best it can be,” she said. “The art of training a horse is what has hooked me from the beginning, and I hope to have the opportunity to produce many more horses for the future.”