KATCHI WON SENECA VALLEY! And he deserved it. He had 3 good phases - finally, sheesh. I was a very proud mom. It's been so frustrating to know you're so close and something just keeps getting in the way. And then one day, it all comes together! And it really makes you smile. It's sort of funny, because Katchi won Seneca Valley last fall, only his 2nd training level event. And I really thought we were onto something big. And then this year has been the year that wasn't. Jimmy warned me that might happen; Jimmy is always right.
Dressage was tough with the very hard ground and my mistake to only put studs in behind. Katchi slipped pretty good up-front twice early on in his test, and it hurt his confidence (and mine!) for the lengthenings. But it was still a solid test that put us tied for 3rd.
When I arrived to watch a few show jumping rounds before warming up, instead, we got to watch the paramedics and ambulance take a friend away after a fall. I heard today that she's fine with only a broken wrist - but it's never nice to see a super nice person on the ground being 'tended' to. I then proceeded to have probably the worst show jumping warm-up Katchi and I have ever had. We put Kerry, my student and groom, to work pulling rails and standards back up from the ground (for a few other riders too, so at least I was in good company!). I seriously thought for a few moments about withdrawing, because we were a complete disaster. But we managed to have a few good jumps, and then it was our turn - I just hoped it would be better in the show ring. It was, but I worked for it. I was determined not to have 12 jumps as bad as we'd just had in warm-up, and I had to do something. So I rode. I focused and I rode, and it worked out pretty darn well - with just one rail down.
So, with 4 points added to our score, we were off to XC. I wasn't really worried about anything on course, so I had 2 goals: 1) not to ask Katchi to trot anything, and 2) to make the time. Katchi decided to trot to the vertical after the bank at #5 and up to the bank into the water. But, I don't really count either as having trotted, because he decided what he needed and he did it. And we made the time - by one second! I had hoped to make it a bit more comfortably under time, but we'll take it! And he jumped like a star! Bold and brave to everything. There are only 2 jumps I'd like to to have a do-over at - 1) the bank out of the water. There was such a nice inviting ramp out of the water just to the right of our skinny bank out, and Katchi really thought that was a better option. We had a bit of an argument over it; I won, but the deer hop up the bank was my punishment, apparently! And 2) the last fence. Katchi LEAPT off the bank at #14, and as I moved to collect him back up to get to the last fence, I forgot the new bit is a bit different/more than what I've been riding him in the past year or so - and Katchi reminded me by getting, well, pissed off. Pissed off all the way to the base of the last fence - when I thought, 'shit, he's going to stop and I deserve it!' - and then he went. I have the best horse in the world, don't I?!
And then, to top it all off, the scoreboard put him on top of his division!!! After the year we've had, I appreciate this win so much - there are just so many ways for it to go wrong! But yesterday was our day - and Katchi deserved it! I won't even begin to describe the number of oranges, peppermints, and various other treats he got at the end of the day - I'm probably lucky he didn't colic!
Check out Katchi checking out that handsome pony in the mirror!! Maybe I should hang his silver plate in his stall so he can check out his beautiful self all the time! :) Thanks to everyone for wishing us good luck this weekend - it clearly worked!