Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Victory... in last place!

Last month, I wrote about my frustration over my day at MCTA - dressage score in the 20s, 1 rail in show jumping, double clear XC, and a 4th place finish. Despite the scoreboard, I knew it was a horrid day. Everyone thought I was crazy. Well, guess what folks, I get even crazier! Today, Katchi and I were at Waredaca - where we finished fair and square in last place (of those who finished!), and I couldn't be happier! Someone commit me.

So, here's the story...

Katchi warmed up nicely for dressage, and I'm beginning to think the evil-Katchi this spring must be the "spring grass demon." Cuz happy Katchi is back. But, as luck would have it - we pulled an unfortunate ring draw - ring 4. Right next to the dog kennels and the edge of the new arena, complete with hoses, a black drain pipe, plywood, and the arena "wall" just barely a horse's width from the white dressage ring fence. Just as Katchi slammed on the brakes to panic at the assortment of fun, I hear a bell. Holy shit! What a nasty judge to ring the bell, right when my horse is clearly having a meltdown and we've only been over here for 3 seconds. So, we try to traverse down the super scary path - trotting, stopping, trotting, stopping. I finally make it to the judge, say a few words to identify myself and try to act thrilled that my horse is panicking. She looks distracted, so I say "was that my bell?" - and she says - "yes, I have a bell" - and she rings it. JJJEEEEZZZUUUSSS. Two bells. And now I surely don't have enough time to go back down the primrose path to hell to let Katchi take a real look at the construction zone, so, off we go into the ring. Luckily, the first part of our test was on the opposite side of the ring, but as soon as we turned back to the construction zone - it was panic time. Honestly though, I couldn't have been more proud of Katchi - he came right back to me after each panic, and he tried so hard. It's just so unfortunate that I didn't get a chance to let him take a look at all that stuff - I know Katchi, and I'm certain he would have been just fine if he'd only had a chance to look. Well, despite the drama, Katchi still managed to pull off a 35.0, putting him in 6th out of 19.

But it was in our jumping that we triumphed today! Katchi is still shuffling around in the combinations, but today's round was a huge step forward in our partnership! We had some very good "normal" jumps, and I kept my head in the game. I have serious hope and inspiration from this round! No jumping faults, 8 time penalties - works for me! And, oh by the way - there was a green rolltop into the second combination and despite his doubts, the fluffy pony jumped it! I do love my boy.

Katchi was, once again, a dream on XC. He is the most wonderful horse to gallop - he loves his job and it's infectious! And then there was "my trakahner." Here's what you never do coming up to a trakahner... have a conversation with yourself and say clever things like "oh, isn't this a lovely round, isn't Katchi just the best - see these trakahners aren't so bad, he'll jump this easy"... and then look down into the ditch. Horse stops. No shit. Enough said.

For my fellow-Training level riders who wonder how everyone else survived jump #4 (the skinny, too vertical, mid-cliff jump) - it clearly wasn't a pretty picture! I saw it at the end of the day, and it took a serious beating. Looked a bit like a pinata just before the candy bursts out. The take-off was super torn up right at the base, so at least the horses had the sense to get nice and close to check things out on the other side - and then slither over it. Katchi decided to trot it, by the way - but he didn't touch it - another victory!

So, there you have it - the most wonderful day, ending on a score of 95.0 - fair and square in last place! And I must give a huge thank you to Shane, who I met because of this blog - Shane was groom-extraordinaire today, and she even said (after we saw my last place finish!) that she was proud to be part of our team! Ah, shucks!

And I must mention one other triumph - Katchi wore hind boots!!!! The last month, we've been in boot acceptance training, and my little monster did as told today - he wore the boots AND jumped the jumps!

I spoke to Boyd Martin several times today - Jennie Brannigan too. I won't speculate on how they're doing and feeling, but I will say that Boyd seemed SO tremendously grateful for every kind word and gesture. And, in a strange kind of way, it was good for my own heart to see them out doing what they love.

NEWS: One other bit of Golightly news... check out page 59 of the USEA Evening magazine (just arrived today) - you'll see a picture of my student, Kerry, with Atticus, at the Lucinda Green clinic in April. They're the ones jumping the point. Go Kerry!!!


  1. I stopped by the trailer to say hi, but you were out.

  2. Hi Seema! So sorry I missed you!! Shane said someone stopped by, but you were volunteering so couldn't stick around. Thanks for coming by - hopefully we'll meet next time!