Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rider # 55. My Hero.

Plantation Field was almost fabulous.  But it wasn't.  Katchi had a "moment" and pulled a shoe in show jumping. And I think it was the first time in my life that I neither felt or heard the shoe go.  I was headed to the XC start box. And that's why rider # 55 is my hero.  She saw it.  Despite her own impending face-off with the colored poles, she left the in-gate waiting area, trotted around the entire length of the very large jumping ring - to yell at me, "Number 47! I think you pulled a shoe!"  And sure enough I had.  While # 55 probably thinks it was no big deal - I'm quite certain she saved Katchi and I from the very serious threat of, at best, being back to months of walking with lots more vet bills - and at worst, well, worse I don't even want to think about. So shoeless Katchi and I were faced with two options:
1) Trek down the huge mountain of very hard ground about 1/2 mile to the barn where I saw the farrier; hope Katchi wouldn't hurt the foot on the journey; hope the show farrier could reattach Katchi's custom made bar shoe and leather pad just perfectly (my farrier calls him a Princess for a reason!); trek back up the mountain; and hope the starters could squeeze me in out of order to run around a XC course whose desperately-wanting-rain ground I was already fretting about.
2) Withdraw.
I chose option 2.  No XC for us today. I meant to grab a program so I could thank # 55 by name, but I forgot.  So, I'll always be ever so grateful to # 55 who went out of her way, despite her own competitive schedule, to pull me off the primrose path to hell.  Eventers really are a special kind of people. Thank you # 55.

Katchi, very proud of his lovely dressage test, digging for peppermints! 
Up until the shoe incident, Katchi and I were enjoying a wonderful day.  He was simply lovely in dressage - the most forward, relaxed, and obedient he's ever been.  I was all smiles!   I headed up the mountain to show jumping plenty early to watch a few rounds, which turned out to be a very good plan as riders were having all kinds of issues with the final jump - 8AB, a one-stride vertical to oxer combination.  The vertical was all poles, and the oxer had 2 grey aqueduct walls at the base.  Horses were jumping it horrendously - if at all!  I seem to recall something Denny Emerson wrote about aqueduct shapes - horses think they look like small animals.  Well, whatever they thought they saw - it was clear the horses hated them!

Katchi warmed up great and headed into the ring with power and focus.  He tried to snowplow a bit at the base of the first fence which earned him a good wack - I swear I heard him say "I KNOW - okay, okay - I'll jump good now - I promise!" - and good he was!  7 more fences.  7 perfect jumps.  No stutters or awkwardness at all - a little dramatic over the oxers, but relaxed and forward (and finally not frantic) - a huge improvement even from the jumper show last weekend!  Just the final combination remained.  3 strides out, I know Katchi saw those evil walls.  I rode hard and he jumped in beautifully - and then he got a clear view of those walls and said, "I don't jump small animals!"  Refusal.  I kept his nose right near that wall while he got a good wack - then galloped a huge loop around the ring (so he could have ample time to pull off his shoe).  31 time penalties later, Katchi jumped through the final combination perfectly.  And that was the end of Plantation for us.

I admit, I'm ready for the "perfect" show jumping round.  But it's hard to be too frustrated when things are improving so much.  And the reality is, I'd rather be the rider with 9 perfect jumps and 1 mistake that hits the scoreboard hard - than the rider who miraculously gets over all 10 fences adding nothing to the scoreboard, but with the audience not knowing whether to scream or laugh.  So, we push ahead...

Katchi says, "I have to wear these stinking ice boots and we didn't even run XC?! You suck."


  1. Rider #55 was Tatiana Herrero Bernstein, out from Michigan to spend some time training with Boyd. She will be attending Phillip Dutton Academy with her youngster Callisto this week

    1. THANK YOU Seema!!!! I'm tragically not at PD's camp this year, but I will send a message up there to thank her and be sure she sees this post.