Amidst this terrible heat wave and drought, the show must go on - and that it did! Thank you so much for supporting the 2010 Ride for Life! The total amount raised for the Johns Hopkins Avon Breast Cancer Center won't be available for a few weeks, but Katchi & I exceeded our pledge goal of $1000! And we won the high-pledge award for our division!! Which I owe to the wonderful and generous people in my life! THANK YOU!
It was so exciting to have so many friends brave the heat to come out to the event this year - it was really a wonderful feeling to head into the competition ring with an audience of supporters! Thanks to... Samantha & Beqir, Kerry, Courtney (Katchi's masseusse!), Kim, Dee, Rebecca, Debi, Bridget, Anna, Chris, and... I sure hope I didn't miss anyone! If I did, I'm totally blaming it on the heat - seriously, it was so hot I'm surprised I can remember anything from the weekend at this point! It was also great to run into fellow blogger, Abby... who I believe won at least 1 of her classes on her event horse - go eventers!! In addition to my friends and students who came out, I also had the good fortune of having Silva Martin (and her entourage!) ring side too. Silva's ride times worked out perfectly with mine, and she was able to help me in the warm-up for all 3 of my tests and watch 2 of my rides. What an investment in my future with her! I cannot wait for our next lesson now that she has had her eyes on me at a show - we've come so far in 6 months with her, and I think the next 6 months are going to be even better!
And now onto Katchi - who was such a star! The 2007 Ride for Life was Katchi's first recognized dressage show - the flowers were horse eaters, the judge's box contained a trap door to hell, and sharing the warm-up arena with Grand Prix dressage horses was just too much (Katchi just couldn't figure out what to make of those canter pirouettes!). It was striking to me this weekend how much he has grown up! In only his second time doing the First Level tests, he scored well into the 60s under 3 different judges (coming home with 2 second place ribbons and 1 third place ribbon)! But scores aside, he was a total professional and that impressed me even more than his scores (which really impressed me!). He knew his job and he tried his heart out - he was all business! Sometimes it takes going back to someplace for you to realize how far you've come. I just couldn't have been more proud of my little off the track thoroughbred!
But here's the part I am the most proud of and that must have left more than a few Dressage Queens horrified! Before our test on Saturday, Silva was helping me in the warm-up arena. The horse before me was just about to start their test, so Silva suggested we take a quick break for water (and air!) before we put the finishing polishes on. No sooner had we stopped did the water truck arrive to work on the footing in the warm-up arena. They kicked us all out, and suggested we could go to one of the other arenas (not close by). We really didn't have enough time to do that, and the water truck seemed to be going around very quickly, so we waited. Just when we thought we were clear - the tractor showed up to drag the arena too. AGH! The horse before me had started his test, which gave me only a few minutes to put it all together. The tractor was racing around the arena, but the drag was so tiny, this was going to take ages. Silva and I were looking at each other, and looking at the tractor, and looking at Katchi, and back at the tractor, and then at each other... finally, Silva says - "well, how is he with tractors?" And I replied something along the lines of, "well, I don't know, but he's an eventer, so lets see." And Katchi just said - "okay mom, whatever you say!" While all the other Dressage Queens stood around the edge of the arena, Katchi and me and the tractor did a little pas de deux (a junior rider eventually joined us to make it a pas de trois?!). While the tractor was racing around on our heels, Silva polished us off in our leg yields and canter transitions! It was all I could do not to burst out laughing at the whole situation. I do hope someone caught that on camera - if I can track down a picture, I'll be sure to post it, because it must have been just priceless! And Katchi never even looked at the tractor! A total professional. Wow, what a horse I have.
On Saturday night, Debi, Samantha, Beqir and I enjoyed the Dancing Horse Challenge together (I have to confess, Samantha and I had cheese nachos and concession stand wine for dinner - so much for being a foodie!). The Challenge has come a long ways since they started it 4 years ago, and we all really enjoyed it! Samantha's husband, Beqir, having just moved here from Albania, may have enjoyed it the most! He's a big fan of the extended trot - it was such a thrill for me to see someone (who knows nothing about horses) enjoy an extended trot so much!!! Honestly, he went nuts every time a horse would do an extended trot (or as I like to explain it to Katchi - "a big boy trot"!). If only more men were that excited about dressage!! Sigh...
Anyhow, thanks again to everyone who supported this event through donations, coming out, or wishing us good luck! It was a wonderful weekend, and I'm already getting excited about doing it all over again next year!