‘She was everyone’s favourite’: Michael Eilberg loses top grand prix mare

  • Michael Eilberg has paid tribute to the “amazing” grand prix mare Half Moon Dynasty.

    The talented thirteen-year-old owned by Jon and Julie Deverill was put down six weeks after a serious accident out hacking.

    “Mollie” spooked and bolted through multiple fences, suffering severe injuries to her legs in the process.

    It was touch and go whether she would survive, but Michael and his team worked tirelessly to nurse Mollie back to health.

    She had shown signs of improvement, but her health suddenly deteriorated and Michael and the Deverills were left facing a tough decision.

    “I went up in the morning and she was on three legs,” Michael told H&H.

    “She got an infection in the carpal sheath and it was quite severe. It was in the leg that we were worried about at the very beginning.

    “She had seemed to be coping ok, but every now and then she would get a little funny on that leg — I thought it was due to her having such a large amount of skin missing, an awful lot of bruising and the wound being sore and tight and catching her, but it had progressed to being incredibly painful.

    “Her owner and I thought it was the best decision to let her go. We had to weigh up how much we were willing to put her through. It was sensible but gut wrenching.

    “It was so sudden — we had her at grass at 7pm the night before.”

    Everyone’s favourite

    Michael reflected on his time with the special mare, whom he had had for six years.

    “I’ve been looking back on things we did and pictures I found of her,” he said. “I was surprised how much she had done.

    “She won a medium competition with me at the nationals, an advanced medium, the Mount St John at HOYS, the super flex [intermediate I music freestyle] at the winters, at Saumur in two a and b classes, an intermediate II at the nationals, and had started grand prix stuff.

    “She was a lovely mare. She wasn’t easy, she wasn’t a super traveller, but was a lovely person.

    “She’s been an amazing horse. She was everyone’s favourite and our show groom loved her to bits.”

    Michael said he had two particularly special memories of Mollie.

    “I’ll always remember inter I freestyle at the winters,” he said. “She was absolutely amazing there. Probably the best she felt in the ring. She won it by a long way.

    “It was the first time I rode her through a freestyle and she was just brilliant.

    “The other that is really sad was the last time at Somerford where she scored over 70%.

    “We had really made a leap. I felt like I was really going where I wanted to.

    “Stephen Clarke was judging and said it was very exciting to see what she could do.

    “That’s what made it so devastating because we’d been on such journey — getting her to grand prix and having her working right at the end the way she was.

    “To have it end so abruptly was devastating.

    “It’s sad for everyone involved – Jon and Julie sold Maggie [Half Moon Delphi — Mollie’s half sister] to the US. We put all our hopes and dreams into Mollie there have been plenty of chances to sell her.

    “Lots of things have been a challenge this year – I’m trying to put my focus on rebuilding

    “Life has to go on, we have to move on and find joy in other things.”

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