Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hagyard MidSouth Kentucky: More Photos and Quotes!

Katchi and I made it home safe and sound Monday night - the old truck and I managed to shave off 45 minutes on our return trip, so it only took us just under 12 hours! And that included a stop at a West Virginia gas station where I had an interesting conversation with a man with 3 teeth about whether Katchi had any "Morgan horse" in him - yep, I'm sure, not a Morgan. That was just one of many moments when I really wished Katchi wasn't my sole travel companion! But, the good news is that Katchi and I successfully completed a 12 hour road trip, and we're still speaking. I guess that says something about the strength of our relationship!

I have a lot of thoughts about the T3D experience that I want to share, but that will have to wait until my lazy weekend. But, for now, thanks to my lovely mom who made a quick call Saturday night to purchase all the T3D photos of me and Katchi - I have photos! And for those looking for a little humor today, I came up with my 5 favorite quotes of the event ...

“I did a one-star long format in 1994.” [Cherie] “Wow, that was 17 years ago! I was born that year!” [P3D rider]

“He’s fine.” [The answer to any and all questions at the 1st horse inspection.]

“He lost a shoe yesterday.” [The answer to any and all questions at the final horse inspection.]

“Do you want a beer?” [Every groom on Saturday night, to every rider with a stop on XC plus a few others.]

“My God. Are you seriously braiding me again?” [Every horse in the 3 day]

And now photos from Xpress Foto - great pics!!

First Horse Inspection


Check out that super cool quarter mark!! I got skiilllzzz!

Both very pleased with ourselves! :)


What steeplechase looks like when a horse doesn't understand to go THROUGH the brush!!

Cross Country!

Yea, still not getting the brush concept.

Picture perfect last fence! GOOD BOY!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2nd place finish in Kentucky!


After a foot perfect double clear show jumping round late this afternoon, Katchi moved up the placings to finish in 2nd!!! What an amazing ending to an amazing experience!

Lots more pictures and stories to come later, but for now, I'm off to bed - Katchi and I start the 12 hour drive back home first thing tomorrow morning.

We got some serious loot for our efforts this week - awesome stuff!!! Saddle pad, tote, hat, fly spray, linament, shampoo, cowboy magic... but no horse treats for Katchi - he was so devastated!!

What a show jumping view - if we couldn't be in the WEG/Rolex arena, at least we could be next to it!

The last fence on course - check out my big fat smile!

Be sure to check out all of Eventing Nation's coverage of this event (especially Samantha's Blog) - I must thank them for all the EN karma this week - it sure came in handy!!

Show Jumping photos by Xpress Foto

XC morning nerves have nothing on jog morning nerves

Last horse inspection is over. We passed. Eventually.

I was nearly headed to the bar for a shot at 9:15 this morning.

Katchi looked great this morning. A little tired, but his legs looked great, and when I jogged him on the pavement for the farrier, he was perfect. Iced again, braided, shined up and ready - we headed to this morning's jog full of confidence. Down the jog path and back, when I hear, "#65 please go to the hold area." WHAT?!?!?! Tendons all checked out perfect. No reaction to the hoof testers. All perfect. And then I got the privilege of running him back and forth for the vets about 6 more times. Accompanied with instructions, "run faster" "hold onto the right rein" "keep his head straight" "run even faster". The jog area footing was pretty well packed, but uneven from horse hoofprints, and let me tell you, this "run faster" crap was sucking quick. Then they asked me if I wanted to represent. HELL YES. I know Katchi, and I know he was good to go. Whatever was going wrong was my inability to jog him properly. So, they tell me again, "run faster and hold the right rein steady." Walking back to represent, I was keenly aware that it all hung on "run faster, Cherie". God I'm not a runner.

We ran back and forth, and I was pretty sure I was going to fall down. I couldn't keep up to save my life, and it all hung on this one run. The ground jury said "thank you." WHAT DOES THANK YOU MEAN??? "Thank you, now go pack up your shit." Or "Thank you, have a wonderful show jumping round" ?!?!?! Moments later, I hear, "Approved." I burst into tears and threw my arms around Katchi's neck. I hugged a steward, and maybe even a vet. I can't remember exactly. I also found Eventing Nation's Samantha and gave her a hug too! I might have been pretty happy. So now we rest until show jumping later this afternoon. What a day.

Jog outfit #2 - thanks so much to Shane for the use of her beautiful velvet coat!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Eventing Nation Pictures!

Well, I was 1 foot from bed when I decided to pull up Eventing Nation once more (nope, I'm not obsessed at all) - nothing about Hagyard Three Day yet, so I went to Samantha's Blog on EN to see if it was there yet... and now I have the biggest smile on my face any girl has had all day long!!!! YOU MUST CHECK OUT THE PICTURES OF KATCHI!!!! I'm just tickled to death to see those pictures and read her very kind words. I so hope I can track Samantha down tomorrow to thank her - and, if I don't scare her, maybe I'll even give her a big hug for making my wonderful day have a simply fabulous ending! GOOD BOY KATCHI!!!

Endurance Day!

Well, that was fun!

Today was the big endurance day at the Kentucky Horse Park - it's the reason I made this trip! For the chance to experience the heart of three day eventing at the location of the biggest event in the US - to remember what eventing used to be along the very same paths so many of our greatest American (and international!) event horses have tread. And today did not disappoint! It was absolutely wonderful.

And it was especially wonderful because my pony was just super! He was a little confused, and I think he had a few "ah ha" moments out there - "oh, I get it - this is why we've been doing all that boring trotting, up and down all those big hills - well, okay, yea, this is okay!" Katchi was just a total star in my eyes today. The giraffe stayed back in the barn and he was all business. He couldn't have been more lovely on roads and tracks, and it was just such a wonderful time spent with my very best friend. Amanda even caught some video of us. So, get ready for the excitement, the suspense, the drama, the insanity.... of Roads & Tracks on video!!

I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with the steeplechase course when I saw it Thursday - only 3 fences (2 the first minute, then 1 minute 15 sec gallop around a tear-drop turn, then one last fence and the finish line - I think we kinda got cheated on that, but anyhow...). When Katchi came out of the start box, I had to laugh at him - how could he have known what was coming? But he practically leaped out of the start box, just how I imagine a racehorse feels coming out of the gate. He galloped strong up to the first, got a little spooky, and leaped 6 feet in the air. That was when I was dead thankful I only had to survive 2 more steeplechase jumps. My cute little pony just doesn't understand the concept of brushing through brush. He jumps over brush, with room to spare. So, onto the second - even bigger jump, but we land running - only trouble is I'm trying to kick my stirrup off my heel where it planted intself on the landing of this enormous leap. A couple of months ago, I took the plunge to modern technology and replaced my old faithful stirrups with a new hi-tech lightweight plastic version. Not a good idea. The stirrup slipped back so far, it was practically stuck on my heel, and because it has no weight of its own, I couldn't get it to come back down to my toe. We're flying, and I'm shaking my leg around like a spaz. I'm just ready to give up, when I decide to give it one more try. SHIT! Came right off my toe. Now we're galloping down the hill into the final turn to the final jump - no stirrup and that left leg aint' holding me. And I can't get my toe into the stirrup because Mr. Lightweight Stirrup isn't hanging where it should be! And there's no way in hell I'm going to survive over that last jump with one stirrup. So, I tell Katchi, I'm so sorry, you have to stop. Now he's really confused. I get him slowed down just enough that I can get the stirrup back where it should be and my toe in it, and I dig my spurs into Katchi and he is flying now!! Damn I don't want time penalties. I look at my watch at the last 30 second marker and we're only down a few seconds - we fly over the last jump and charge at the finish... 1 second over time, 0.8 penalty points, dropped 2 places to 5th. Ugh, heart breaker. But what a tremendously fabulous pony I have - go, stop, go - and he did it all, just as I asked!

XC was great too - just the confidence boost we needed! As I was afraid, the small jumps rode a bit crap - Katchi just couldn't figure out why they were so small and he was a bit spooky at them, adding strides, and jumping like a llama. But, when the jumps finally got bigger and the questions harder - he rode like a charm! Even right through the ditch combination towards the end that I was worried wouldn't quite go to plan. But, he was great! And I'm also super thrilled that neither of us felt all that tired at the end of the course!

Amanda cooling Katchi out after XC

Here's the breakdown in speeds and distances for today's' endurance day:
Roads & Tracks, Phase A: 3520 M @220 MPM 16 minutes
Steeplechase, Phase B: 1300 M @520 MPM 2:30 minutes
Roads & Tracks, Phase C: 4000 M @ 160 MPM 25 minutes
10 minute vet box hold
XC, Phase D: 3009M @ 450 MPM 6:42 minutes

So, tonight Katchi is resting all poulticed, wrapped, and feet packed. He's always a tough one to keep comfortable, so we have our work cut out for us in the morning before the final jog. Please keep fingers, toes, hooves, and paws crossed for us tomorrow morning. And then it's show jumping around 4:00 tomorrow afternoon - another long day! And with that, I am off to bed!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Kentucky Dressage!

Today was nearly as exciting as yesterday, but all in a good way this time! When Amanda and I walked out of the hotel this morning, it was 37 degrees (internet said it felt like 31), and it felt almost like summer compared to yesterday's Arctic hell! No rain or wind - we couldn't be any luckier for dressage day! And Katchi sure did me proud today! 40 horses are entered in Kentucky's Training Three Day, and Katchi and I are sitting tied for 3rd after dressage! The scores are very close, so we don't have a point to waste, but I'm thrilled with this great start!

When in tails, do not touch fuzz. Erin Durst gets de-fuzzed by duct tape!

I sas so pleased with my test, that I totally forgot to get pictures of Katchi and me all fancied up! But I did click this picture before heading out - check out those snazzy quarter marks!

Amanda taking out Katchi's braids, while he catches up on his beauty sleep!

As the three day is an "educational" competition, they allowed us to head out on phases A & C for some hacking - here we are before we headed out, before Katchi turned into a giraffe!

This is not Katchi. This is a giraffe. This is what a giraffe looks like when it's trying to poke its rider's eyes out with its ears. I am SO thankful we had a chance to take a "walk" (jig, panic, stop, go, panic, stare...) around out there today. We might have a chance at surviving tomorrow. Or I might well get my ass dumped on Roads & Tracks. That would be fun.

Even from the back of a giraffe, it sure is a pretty view!

And here are a few of tomorrow's XC jumps...

Pretty cool water jump - coop in, left turn to rolltop out, 2 strides, to another rolltop. Should be fun!!

The one thing on the course that has me a little worried - ditch on angle, 2 strides to hedge - but, hello?! Check out that driving marathon practically in the landing! That's one heck of a gymnastic jumping line if you don't make the left turn up the hill!!

The last jump - I hear they've shaved down the back a bit and given us some flowered wings - sort of a tough last jump at 6 min 42 seconds, eh?!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Katchi Kapshi... Accepted!

The first big test of Kentucky is done - and Katchi passed! After a 12 hour and 15 minute drive yesterday (the old truck held steady at 35 mph through the mountains - good truck, but oh so painfully slow!) , a 40 degree temperature drop, rain, wind, and general chaos - and my last hope for a groom for this weekend won't make it here for another 2 hours - just showing up at the jog was some kind of miracle. Passing it - with braids in and no green slobber on either of us - was definitely a miracle. Thanks so much to my Area 2 buds who stripped off Katchi's cooler as we ran past. And a huge thanks to the Kentucky event organizers who took pity on us all and moved the jog into the Alltech indoor arena.

If day days 2, 3 and 4 are 1/2 as exciting as day 1, I'm in trouble. They keep saying the weather is going to improve, but riding Katchi this morning - in the freezing windy rain - I just kept saying to myself, if you want to play with the big boys, get used to it! It was that or cry and go home, and I'm not ready for that drive again yet. Katchi did a lot of cantering this morning and finally started breathing properly about 15 minutes in. Oh - and I very nearly fell off before my butt even hit the saddle! I cautiously walked the fragile pony up to the practice rings, hopping and skipping and dancing around. As I tried to get up in the ring, saddle went a little slippery, and cute pony decided to leave. But I was already committed to the mount - so I graciously sat my ass on his back... clean and clear ... 4 inches behind the saddle. And cute pony was still leaving. All I could think was "Damn this beast. I'm gonna have to fall off to get outta this. dammit." Somehow I managed to wrangle pony to a stop and flip my leg up over the cantle and deposit butt where it belonged - IN the saddle. Did a quick look around, and it appears that either a) the other riders in the ring were occupied enough with their own wild beasts to not notice, or b) were gracious enough to pretend it never happened! Luckily, the ride improved from there. Like I said, can't wait to see what excitement day 2 brings with it.

Katchi is currently napping, and I'm just about to head out to survey the land - dressage rings, xc course and sj. Drove around Phases A, B, and C a bit this morning - it actually appears to be a course requiring some memorization! Roads and Tracks with rollback turns. Interesting. Lots more pictures and news to come soon!

During the drive yesterday, I kept thinking, why am I doing this?! This morning, as the sun came up and Katchi and I had a look across the cross country course and the Rolex stadium in the distance - I remembered why. It was the most beautiful sight in the world.

JOG OUTFIT! Did I pick a good one?! So much for winning "best presented" this year - Katchi didn't even get a final brush off... but, mom, I got my lipstick on!

Katchi's tried to find a windbreak in his stall. It's not very effective, but he's enjoying his nap anyhow. He actually pretty much hates me right now. If anyone wants a horse, he's looking for a new owner - preferably who lives in Florida or California!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fair Hill Fun on Foot!

All the "real" eventing sites have all the Fair Hill news and horse photos, so this post is full of the "other" pictures - proof of how FUN Fair Hill is on foot! I'm absolutely swamped with trying to get everything ready to leave for Kentucky at o'dark-thirty on Wednesday morning, but with this beautiful fall weather, I just couldn't miss Fair Hill! And what fun we had!!! We had a whole gang out... up to no good all weekend!

The whole group out by the "haunted corner"!

XC Tailgaters!

Random spectators (at the coffin)

I saw several public announcements last week about the coming of the ATM machine to Fair Hill. This is not exactly what I expected! Notice the low-jack on the front tire!

Possibly overheard at the wine tasting table along the long walk from the XC start/finish back to the vendors: "Hey, I know you from the other bar!" Dooh!

The Vendor Fair


The pictures say it all!

Debi - she's in the Dubarry club now!

My old boots didn't look so old until they stood next to a new pair! Well loved.

I own the new pair now. I'm imagining a trophy case in my dream barn to display Dubarries over a lifetime - each retired pair resting in honor!


Aren't you jealous that you weren't there?!?! See you in 2012!