Registered as Papa Cy, BWD was named for BC Horse Racing Hall of Famer – Cy Anderson. While I am uncertain of his number of actual “starts”….suffice to say Dave’s racing career was long…arriving at Nick Holme’s Smith Chase Creek facility as a 6yr old. As a working student for Nick, BWD became my project. I (via the BWD Group) purchased Dave as an 8 year old – Training Level horse in 1999.

Big Wave Dave was my “gateway” horse to the upper levels of eventing. We did our first two star (Radnor), three star (Foxhall) and four star (Rolex) together. An assorted crop of soft tissue stresses (no two were ever the same !) ensured that competitive life was regularly punctuated with 6 – 8 month layoffs, but Dave come back from each one… keener and smarter than before. It was like he had been “practising in his head” the whole time. This may have been what was behind that never changing ENTHUSIASTIC expression Dave carried with him …always !!

For our very first advance run, BWD’s “prep” was weeks … or probably months spent in the dreaded DOC’ “BOX” exercise. While all my peers were at the top of the hill in a lesson jumping Big jumps & waving at Dave and I – we were confined to the “box” which was four 2 foot brush boxes – in a square pattern that I just jumped through over … and…. over again ….. working on our c.o.m.m.u.n.i.c.a.t.i.o.n!…. “Boring” was not something he excelled at !!

In 2006 Dave made a 3rd career switch….moving in with Mari Cole Robinson (Delaplane, VA)

My favorite BWD story from this period was BWD at the AEC’s. After retiring from the big divisions Dave spent his spring “cleaning up” in the Training divisions with Mari, but all of these shows were close to home, so he just shipped in and out, with no overnight stabling required. The AEC’s however were different. They were in Southern Pines NC, making them the first competition that Dave overnighted at- since running Rolex. He immediately understood that THIS show was an important one – and required a different horse from the one Mari was used to. On XC he came out of the box looking like the 4* horse he always was! Arriving at the water jump … he just knew the Training route could not possibly be for him & Mari. The prescribed track went down a drop bank into the water, looped AROUND an island (and Advanced chevron) to exit up a ramp on the opposite side – to a table.

BWD jumped in and while Mari thought she was going AROUND the chevron… Dave was activating the Turbo’s! Locking on, he jumped that advance chevron BACKWARDS from in the water … continued UP the bank (that the advanced jumped down) before turning to jump his own training table! Mari did the right (ONLY?) thing and just held on… making the whole thing look like it was all meant to happen! In Big Wave Dave’s world, he was just jazzing things up for the fans…. he had an image to maintain !

Ahhhh Big Wave!

Mari writes:
During the six years that I’ve owned him he has had many jobs. He took me from Novice to Preliminary in a year and a half, which I can’t imagine any other horse could have done. After retiring him from competition I took amazing dressage lessons on him, he taught me so much, such a schoolmaster. Lately he has been my “run around the farm” horse, a job he loved unconditionally.

He grew more flexible in his old age (mentally that is..). More willing to be in different paddocks and have new neighbors. Less running around when the farrier would pull in or I’d hook up the trailer. I’ll miss him terribly but I feel lucky not to have to watch him deteriorate physically. He was still very sound and happy! Spoiled rotten…

Dave died on Sunday July 8th 2001 during a thunder storm and is now buried on Mari’s Farm.
RIP Big Wave………..