Sunday, September 18, 2011

Miracle at Marlborough

While so many of the East Coast Eventers were at Plantation this weekend, the rest of us were at Marlborough Horse Trials - celebrating their 20th anniversary. And for those who were ringside during my show jumping round, they were in for a special treat. A real miracle - a miracle most didn't even know they had witnessed, but I knew. Mr. Katchi Kapshi jumped like a real show jumper, with hardly a stutter - over a course that was causing havoc left and right with refusals and falls. Thank you Phillip Dutton for making this round possible. I was very nearly in tears coming out of the ring. I think the video speaks for itself.

Thank you Debi for being videographer extraordinaire.

I really like the Marlborough Horse Trials, and not just because it's 15 minutes down the road from Katchi's barn in Harwood, MD. The land is beautiful, the jumps are awesome, and the courses include some super fun galloping through wide wooded paths, open fields, and big hills. Despite the serious flooding only 10 days ago, the land recovered fantastically and we all got to enjoy some seriously good galloping! And the homebaked cookies waiting for us at the awards table - AMAZING! If you go for no other reason, go for the cookies!

At the end of the Prelim divisions, the scoreboard looked nothing short of carnage. Funny, because I told Phillip on Wednesday that the XC course was really soft and no big deal - he said I'm never ever allowed to say that to him again, and no joke, because I picked up a stop at an EASY EASY fence almost at the end of the course. Nothing can make you eat your words like a horse. After a tremendous round, including the water combination where someone later told me that if they'd caught it on video, it would have been the perfect example of how to ride it! Ahhh, you're making me blush... and then I picked up a stop by simply coming in on a bad stride and not closing my leg. Lucinda says, "don't think you had it, know you had it." I thought Katchi had it. I was tired, after all. Back to the treadmill.

Me with angry face at the scene of our "20". When Katchi ducked out left, I yelled out "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! AT THAT?!" - and as I spun him around, I caught the eye of the young-teen-ish boy jump judge - lounging in his chair, laughing. Apparently I was hilarious, and he finally got to write something other than "0" on his score sheet. Glad I made your day, chuckles.

But, at the end of the day - the carnage others faced was worse than mine, and we finished in 2nd!!!! Diane said, "you don't have to be faster than the bear, you only have to be faster than the other guy." Yep, that was my day! Of 9 starters in my division, only 6 finished, and only the winner finished without xc jump penalties. sheesh. I'm never calling a course "soft" again.

Saturday afternoon, Kerry and Atticus were up on the Novice course. After a stellar day and rockin' xc round, Kerry discovered a big fat E next to her name! WHAT?! An inquiry revealed that some numbers were transposed and she was credited with taking about an hour to complete the xc course, thereby exceeding the time limit - um, could we get a sanity check here folks?! Luckily - and let this be a lesson to everyone - Kerry caught the error withing the protest period and was able to save herself from Elimination and claim her very pretty 5th place ribbon! Congrats to Kerry and Atticus!

Saturday night, a whole gang of us headed to the annual BBQ for the Maryland Horse Council, at Larking Hills, just across the road from Katchi's barn. I thought it would be fun to get some good food and listen to a fun band at the end of a horse trial day, but I have a new appreciation for this organization now. If you live in Maryland, have anything to do with horses, and are not a member - become a member! I didn't appreciate how much the MHC has the power to influence - especially city, county, and state government - in ways that seriously affect the horse industry. I spoke briefly with a county councilman who is putting in legislative changes for Anne Arundel county that will hopefully stop the persecution of building anything on horse farms (indoor arena, shavings shed, covered round pen...) - he said Anne Arundel is the least horse-friendly county in Maryland! And for anyone who has visited the area, that's just criminal, because it has some of the best land for horses!

Sunday, it was back to Marlborough to help Diane & Lincoln on the Training course. Lincoln continues to impress me with his businessman-like approach to this whole eventing thing. Every day, he puts on his suit and tie, and shows up for work. And whatever work throws at him, he just gets down to it, and finishes it all in time to clock-out at 5:00, and head home for dinner with the wife and kids. Diane had 3 really solid phases (including 1 of only 2 double clear xc rounds) and was well rewarded with a 2nd place ribbon! Way to go Diane & Lincoln!!!

2010 Training trakehner. Evil. Scary. Airy. Deep.

2011 Training trakehner. Ah, lovin' that groundline!!

Lincoln & Diane - pay no attention to that ditch behind the groundline!

Diane, Lincoln, and his grooms waiting for their reward smoothies from the Smoothie Lady!

I hate groundhogs. My last note about Marlborough is about groundhogs. Katchi found a groundhog tunnel during the walk in his dressage test. Apparently, with all this rain, the ground had softened up enough, that he fell right into a tunnel (not an entrance hole!). I alerted the judge and stewards after my test that it might need some attention - apparently it took 2 buckets of gravel to fill! And another tunnel opened up later, just outside the ring, and a trotting horse when down to its knees. SCARY! I'm a vegetarian. I really like animals - especially cute cuddly looking ones. I officially hate groundhogs. And I'm seriously starting to feel like Bill Murray in Caddyshack - these little bastards are everywhere and they will not go away! And if they destroy Rosaryville Park for the horses, I may become a hunter.

Photo from

Today also brought a very cool surprise - I finally arranged to collect the MCTA perpetual trophy that Katchi and I won earlier this spring for the lowest dressage score of all MCTA members competing at Shawan Downs. I was actually struck at what an honor it was to receive the trophy and see all the past winner's names engraved on it (including Phillip Dutton)! It sort of made me feel like a part of eventing history! Pretty cool!


  1. Congrats on a great event! Nice ride on the show jumping round. It is just the angle of the picture or is that X-country fence 20 kind of small? :)

  2. WOW Katchi gets special treats for not only a fantastic show jumping round but also for not bolting away after falling in the groundhog tunnel during his dressage test! Good boy Katchi!


  3. Your smile at the end of that video says it all :)

    I hate groundhogs too - they're all over the place at my barn and they have been digging tunnels along the edges of the indoor. Poor Lucy fell into one of the tunnels during one of our rides. Now we just avoid the edges of the ring, but come on!

  4. 2nd! That is great! Good work! You guys looked so good in the video.

  5. Come over and post this blog at a newly launched Equine Blogging Network It would be great to share your news with other Equine Bloggers!