Tobi Taylor's Journal

News > Tuesday, October-01-2013


 Brusally Panatela, who competed to fourth level at Arizona Dressage Association and Arabian shows in the 1990s and early 2000s, died on September 6 at the age of 28, at Coronado Ranch Sporthorses in Tucson, Arizona. Over the years, she touched the lives of many Arizona dressage enthusiasts, from her breeder, Shelley Trevor, to one of her last riders, General Jonathan R. Burton, two-time Olympian and judge.

Half Arabian and half Trakehner, Panatela was a warmblood cross long before they became fashionable. In the mid-1970s, Panatela’s breeder, Shelley Groom Trevor, began taking lessons from dressage master Charles de Kunffy on Panatela’s sire, Brusally Orzetyn, an Arabian. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, Shelley and Orzetyn competed successfully up to Prix St. Georges at a time when there were very few FEI horses of any breed in the state of Arizona. Panatela’s dam, *Korona, was one of the first Trakehners in Arizona. She was imported from France in the early 1980s by Misdee Chauncey, stepdaughter of Arabian breeder Tom Chauncey, and later acquired by Shelley Trevor.

          Shelley started Panatela under saddle, then showed her at Training and First Level. It was during this time that I first rode Panatela, whom Shelley used as a lesson horse from the age of four, owing to her calm disposition. In 1992, Shelley decided to sell Panatela, and offered her to me. However, as a recently married young woman, I wasn’t in a position to buy her. Later that year, Panatela was purchased by an amateur rider, Carla Ferrara. While in Carla’s ownership, Panatela was trained by Julie Sodowsky, Beverly Rogers, Jeannette Schaefer (now Redmond), and Ceinwen Muma. For many years, Carla greatly enjoyed riding and showing Panatela, and I made a point of keeping tabs on their appearances at various shows, and even visiting a training session Panatela had with Bev Rogers in the mid-1990s.

          In spring 2001, I heard that Panatela was for sale, and in April of that year, I purchased her from Carla and hauled her from Kendall Brookhart’s barn to my (then) home in Cave Creek. After so long apart, it felt like a homecoming. A few weeks later, Panatela and I attended her sire Orzetyn’s thirtieth birthday party, where he and his offspring got to sample the carrot cake. Over the next three years, while in training with Valerie Crail, Panatela was an excellent FEI schoolmaster for me. (Panatela was not shown above Fourth Level because we never found a curb/snaffle combination that she approved of.)  A few moments from those years stand out, like the time that Valerie and I were on a post-lesson trail ride in a grassy park near her barn, when the sprinklers came on without warning—and Panatela reacted by giving me an amazing, impulsion-fueled passage as we wended our way out of the park! Another memorable moment was watching Valerie ride Panatela in a lovely Third Level test judged by Bev Rogers, one of Panatela’s former trainers, who rewarded them with a very good score that won the class.

                In 2004, when she was 19, I “semi-retired” Panatela and took her to my new home in Tucson, where she joined my two other daughters of Brusally Orzetyn. For a few more years, she was ridden weekly by a friend, dressage rider Linda Mayro, who enjoyed doing lateral work, flying changes, and other “fun stuff” on her. But it was not until 2009, when she was twenty-four, that Panatela carried her most famous rider, General Jonathan Burton (go here), when the two of them had a combined age of 114.

                After that, Panatela gave occasional rides to visitors, and spent the rest of her time in the company of her niece, Contessa Orzel, known as Tess, another chestnut warmblood cross, and the only other horse with whom she’d deign to be turned out. Shelley Trevor painted a portrait of aunt and niece, called “Love,” that appeared last year in Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine. Like Panatela, Tess is a quiet but opinionated red-headed mare.  She, too, was easy to start under saddle, and there are times when I ride her that she feels and acts just like her aunt, which is a source of comfort and, sometimes, amusement, in the wake of Panatela’s death. Twenty-four years ago, when I first met Panatela, I had no idea she’d take me on such a journey, teach me so much, and introduce me to so many inspiring people. Thank you, Panatela, and godspeed.

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