Michael Pollard has purchased Shannon Lilley’s 2011 Pan American Games team gold medalist, Ballingowan Pizazz, with the help of a newly-formed syndicate.
In a press release issued June 17, Pollard, Dalton, Ga., stated that a syndication formed recently to purchase the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse (O.B.O.S. Quality, Rocklea, Leabeg) gelding from The Lilley Group. Pollard is still rebuilding his program following the devastating trailer accident last month in which three of his top mounts—Icarus, Jude’s Law and VDL Ulando H—were lost.
“After one of the lowest points of my life I decided I needed to take positive and productive action that would give our team something to look forward to,” wrote Pollard, 31. “When I realized that we might actually be able to pull a group together [for a syndicate], I began to think of horses that could potentially live up to the standard of the incredible horses we lost. Ballingowan Pizazz was at the top of the list.”
“Mango’s” previous rider, Shannon Lilley, 33, of Gilroy, Calif., is still recovering from emergency back surgery she underwent earlier this spring. With Lilley in the irons last year, Mango placed third at the Rebecca Farm CCI** (Mont.) and won the Pan American Games mandatory outing at Richland Park (Mich.), before going on to win team gold and place fifth individually at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“Obviously, I knew him very well from watching him at the Pan American Games, but because he was not on the market and [because of] my tremendous respect for Shannon, it was a very difficult decision to even ask if he could be for sale,” said Pollard. “I was very surprised when Shannon wrote to me and said that she would consider selling him, and honestly I was honored that she considered me worthy of such an amazing horse. Shannon is one of the best and most positive people I know and, while I am obviously thrilled to have the opportunity to ride Mango, I am also sad that Shannon is not able to continue his career.”
There are still syndication shares of Mango available. Pollard Eventing is also starting a Road To Recovery fund online.
“We were self insured with the horses and unfortunately a clerical error left our trailer without insurance,” said Pollard. “The driver of the vehicle that caused the accident had very limited coverage, and it has put us in a very difficult situation. While we are very fortunate in many ways we were not properly prepared for this type of accident. We have received incredible support since this tragedy from people offering to help, so we decided to establish this fund where donations will be used to rebuild Pollard Eventing.”