WE DID IT! Katchi's an event horse again! Despite the wicked heat, we had the most wonderful day at Maryland Horse Trials I at Loch Moy yesterday - Katchi got to run XC for the first time since October and he's never been so happy!!! Ears pricked and full of running the entire way around XC! I went out of the start box with the plan to let Katchi go the pace he chose, and if it wasn't enough for the jumps, then we'd walk home. When Katchi flew out of the start box, I knew we were golden! I don't think I put my leg on him once, and he came home 45 seconds under optimum time, and I even convinced him to slow down a bit at the end of the course. Katchi just took me everywhere I pointed him, and I didn't see any point in fighting him to slow down if he felt great. With the help of Kerry at the finish line, we had him cool and back to normal in about 5 minutes. Love that thoroughbred blood! And at the end of it all, Katchi came home with a very well deserved first place ribbon! What a great way to finally make our return to eventing in 2012! AND - my RED boots made their competitive debut too!!!! If you were at the event - you might have thought I was having a seriously patriotic weekend (my normal XC colors are royal blue and white, so I was an extreme American flag!) CANNOT wait to see how the photos came out - the red boots may have to become part of my regular XC attire! I got lots of compliments on them - or comments at least, hummmm, maybe they weren't really compliments! Either way, I made some new friends thanks to my RED boots, so it's all good.
A huge thank you to everyone at Loch Moy who were so helpful to all the horses and riders! They had water troughs everywhere (which Katchi wisely made good use of) with ice bags floating inside to keep the water cool. Loch Moy's owner, Carolyn, was everywhere holding buckets of water for drinking horses, refilling water troughs, and checking in on the volunteers to be sure everyone was hanging in there okay. The worst part of the day was actually dressage - between the warm up, circling the ring, and a 4 minute test in the Sun, Katchi and I were about done for - that was the one point in the day I wasn't sure if we'd make it all 3 phases. But as our show jumping time got closer, I was feeling pretty okay. Two jumps in warm up, and it was straight into the ring for 1 minute. Nothing like a little heat to keep you moving! The XC course ran great with the first 2 fences in the Sun, then a long stretch in the woods, through the water and 2 more fences in the Sun, followed by another long stretch in the shade - 3 more fences, through the second water - and one final fence, across the finish, and pulling up straight into the cooling tent with fans, shade, and ice! They also had a couple of vets on hand just to be sure everyone was doing okay. Some of the horses took quite a bit of time to recover, but it seemed like all the riders were very sensible in what they asked them to do considering their body type and fitness level - and everyone looked to come home in good shape.
But Katchi wasn't the only star of the day - Kerry and Atticus came home with a pretty red second place ribbon in their Training level class - WOO HOO! It's taken Atticus a bit of time to adjust to the demands of Training level, so it was very exciting to see all 3 phases come together for him - as we all know, that ain't easy!
Katchi and Atticus were stars - but the smartest horse of the day award goes to the horse who dumped his rider between fences and then headed straight to the pond! I guess he'd just had enough. He caused about a 10 minute hold on course while they literally fished him out. He went in the pond and was having no part of coming back out. I had a good laugh this morning when I saw Eventing Nation linked to a blog post with photographic evidence of the incident. EEEWWWW!!!! Check out that slime they had to wade into to get the pony out - I'm sure swimming in the water had its cooling off appeal - but the winner of that prize got to be sweaty, hot, pond water wet, and slimy. I hope they didn't have any passengers in their car on the way home!!! EEEEWWWW!