This is NOT my gag bit. This is an assembled gag. It's worth the money. Picture source here.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
The Gag Bit: Some Assembly Required
This is NOT my gag bit. This is an assembled gag. It's worth the money. Picture source here.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Katchi - picture taken the first time I saw him!
The day after I signed the papers to purchase my very own pony, I left to spend a month in Asia for work. I spent the entire month trying to come up with a new name for him - Merle had to go! I was in the De-Militarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea, when I saw a military coin that said "Katchi Kapshi" on it. I quickly pulled out my notebook and added it to the list of about 100 other possibilities - later I discovered it's English translation - "We go together". And that was it. Katchi had his new name.
Katchi and I have been together since the fall of 2006 - it's been a roller coaster of a ride for us as we've both had to overcome demons we didn't even know we had! During DC's "Snowmageddon" in 2010, while I was trapped in my house, I put together this video of "bad Katchi clips". When I made the video, I promised myself that I would share it when I had successfully moved Katchi up to Prelim - so here we are... Bad Katchi!
And, on July 17, 2011, my little bad Katchi officially became a Prelim event horse! We started off with a solid dressage test that I thought was a little stiff, but very respectable. It wasn't until the day was over that I learned Katchi's 31.5 led the OP-C division of 18 horses! WOW! High Noon - it was me against the show jumping course. When I walked the course, I almost got down on my knees and kissed the ground! The footing was ENTIRELY different than the week before - it was a bit deep in places, but I could walk on solid ground! And the course had long flowing lines with choices for wider turns if you got into trouble! I thought I might just have a fighting chance. For those who have looked at the scoreboard, you might say I had a rough go of it. 12 jumping faults, 20 time penalties. But OH NO! It was by far the very best show jumping round I've ever had!!!! When I came out of the ring, Kitty from L'Appogee Saddles (who I bought my amazing dressage saddle from) said - "YOU RIDE THAT BEAST!" - and that's just what I did! Oh, how I wish Phillip could have seen it. I rode just how I promised him that I would. Katchi was in a bit of shock at how powerful I was riding him, but he jumped those 3'7" jumps better than any course he's ever done! We pulled one rail at #2 when I got him in a little deep and pulled a second rail at the oxer in the triple - that's okay - triples are a big question for him, but he's just about to figure it all out! We also grabbed a stop at the oxer after the bending line from the liverpool (hence the time penalties too). That's the one part Phillip would have not been pleased with - I jumped too big over the liverpool and couldn't land, turn, and keep going - the oxer was just too big and Katchi admitted he couldn't do it. But, let me tell you, he SOARED over it when we came back around. So, 32 points added to my score - doubled our dressage score - and I must have been the happiest girl at the show!!!
And then it was XC time!! I really can't say much more than brilliant! That damn trakehner was on the course and I was terrified. I rode to it like I don't think I've ever ridden to anything in my life - and it's a damn good thing because Katchi couldn't believe his eyes when I turned him at that THING! He actually jumped okay from the front side, but he went so high up, he didn't cover enough ground on the back side. His back legs landed just on the edge of the ditch. It never ceases to amaze me how horses can take care of themselves, because I'm certain his hind end was headed back into the ditch when he somehow extracted himself. If I was Phillip Dutton, I would have recovered seamlessly and kicked on. But, I had to stop for a moment, and tell Katchi that he was the best horse in the world because he didn't want to do that jump at all - and he did it for me - he went because I asked him to. He got a huge pat, I think I said thank you 10 times, and we were off. I didn't quite get him going again enough before the steps up, so we crawled up those. But, then the course just absolutely fell into place for us. I don't think he took a wrong step the entire rest of the course (I discovered at the end of the course that he'd pulled his hind boots down around his fetlocks at the Trakehner, so he jumped fences 6-19 with galloping boots smushed around his ankles! Guess he's over his hind boot phobia!). Katchi was cautious in the second water - trotted over the water-to-water rolltop (he's only jumped one teeny tiny water-to-water schooling about a year ago!) - but he was never not going. He jumped the huge tables on the back side of the course like they were little cross rails! The 1-stride brush combination was a walk in the park. And he was an absolute cat through the turning ravine rolltop combination. Coming back up the hill to the last fence, I kept saying in my head "Don't fall off Ronnie!" - my mom and I watched Secretariat Saturday night, and that's what the trainer was yelling at Ron Turicott as he was just about to win the Belmont by 31 lengths!!! When I pulled Katchi up at the finish line, he blew his nose twice and shook his head a little. I laughed out loud! I'm sure Katchi was saying "Holy cats mom!! That was AMAZING!"
Evil in Wood.
Second water complex: tiki house, into water, water-to-water rolltop, out water, skinnier tiki house = FUN!
Now it's time to regroup and figure out what's next! Katchi won't compete in August, but I'm thinking big for September and October. When I woke up this morning, my phone was already notifying me of opening dates for Seneca and Loudon in September. Time to sort out the fall schedule for my big Prelim horse! :)
AND - I have to give a huge shout out to Diane and Susan who I coached at Loch Moy on Saturday - they were absolute stars! Diane moved her awesome big boy Lincoln up to Training - and they WON!!! After winning the dressage and adding nothing to their score in SJ or XC, they came home with the blue ribbon! Not too bad for a move-up event! I think Diane was most thrilled that her Percheron-Thoroughbred-Paint cross made XC time - and he pulled up in good form! Hot, but recovered quickly and looked oh so pleased with himself! Susan and her green-bean Eeyore completed their first BN, with just one stop at the water. Eeyore reminds me a lot of Katchi, and I'm so excited to see how he develops. Susan definitely had her hands full out there, but she rode very sensibly and gave Eeyore a great confidence boosting trip. Just what every horse deserves at their first event!
I cannot thank everyone enough for all your support and encouragement the past couple of weeks! Jimmy always says that preparation is your best defense against nerves, but I have to admit, I was pretty sick Sunday morning. I knew we could do this - but the question was would we?! The jump from Training to Prelim is huge - I've done it twice before, but to do it again, 15 years after the last time I ran around a Prelim course, wow - I'm gonna be on the top of the world for a while! Thank you so much to everyone who cheered us on and who was there to give me a hug at the end! To Kerry who woke Katchi up from his traditional nap before jumping and who ran the video camera. And especially a huge thanks to my mom who has always been my #1 fan. She was groom extraordinaire this weekend - and chief treat giver when it was all over! We wouldn't be where we are today without her support. What a lucky girl I am indeed.
My mom working out the knots in Katchi's neck on Saturday morning - while she was working on him, he did his cat stretch, sea horse stretch, and downward dog stretch!!! HE LOVED IT!
My very tired PRELIM EVENT HORSE!
Thursday, July 14, 2011
3 days to go - Prelim Entry Stands.
Dressage test is memorized
Final jump school is complete.
Jumping tack is clean and trailer is mostly packed.
Ride times are posted.
Maryland Horse Trials II
Cherie Chauvin & Katchi Kapshi: OP-C
Show Jumping: 12:00
Sunday. High Noon. Me and my bat versus 3'7" painted poles.
Had an outstanding lesson with Phillip yesterday. It wasn't perfect and it wasn't easy. It was exactly what we needed. Phillip made his point. Katchi WILL stay in front of my leg at all times. I'll be riding show jumping on Sunday with my reins bridged, ready to activate the bat at a moment's notice. And ready to ride quiet when he's good and steady when he's really there. It will be good - I promised Phillip I'd make it good.
And when it's all over, the champagne is ready too.
See y'all this weekend!
Monday, July 11, 2011
Not all stops are created equal
Katchi jumping the terrible trakehner way back in 2009.
Well, it is what it is, and a stop it is. Or so I thought. I had the great fortune of being parked right next to an old pal, Erin, from Phillip's 2009 camp. I was a bit slow getting packed up as we were chatting and laughing and talking about fall events and... so, by the time I got down to the scoreboard, scores were final, ribbons were out - but wait, there's a 0 next to Katchi's name under XC jump faults?!?! How can that be??? I know in my heart, he stopped. But, maybe just maybe, the judge gave me the benefit of the doubt that he stopped because he wouldn't turn - which isn't untrue. I am so grateful that 4.4 time penalties (I didn't look at my watch at all after our "stop") dropped me to 10th place, because I would feel SO guilty if they had finished me in the ribbons. What a crazy weekend of wacky stops and not-stops!!
COOLEST TRICK OF A PRO LEARNED AT LOCH MOY: While I was [harassing] talking to Phillip on Saturday about helping me on Sunday, he was trying to get suited up for XC. He asked me to put his pinny string through the loop. What loop? Where? I was looking on his air vest. He showed me the loop, and I went nuts - that's the coolest thing ever! When Phillip Dutton puts on his pinny, he uses a trick he learned from snow skiers. The strings on the back side of the pinny are tied into loops, so the strings from the front are laced through the loops, and drawn back to the front, so you make one tie right at your belly button. You'll never have to struggle to find your pinny ties on your sides again (while pony club children attack you to reclaim your pinny at the finish line)! Lesson #835 from Phillip Dutton.
My faithful groom, mom, in her hat that all the horses wanted to eat!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Golightly Goings On
In mid-June, we said 'happy trails' to Adrianne & Tori who relocated to beautiful Colorado!! Adrianne and her husband have been itching to try out life without DC traffic and the pieces finally fell into place for their escape - it was absolutely painful to get an update from her that she's riding her bike from her new home to Tori's new barn, in less time than it would take her to battle DC traffic driving her car from Virginia to Baywood to ride. Adrianne says they're going to try the Colorado life out for a year and then decide whether they'll come back - based on the beautiful pictures I've seen so far, I think Tori has a new permanent life as a Colorado mountain horse! Adrianne is at a primarily dressage barn now, and said the eventing scene is pretty few-and-far-between. She's even invited me to come out to give her a jumping lesson sometime - tempting!! It was such a pleasure to help Adrianne get through her first adventures in eventing, culminating in winning the Novice division at Full Moon Farm last fall. Sad to see her go, but wishing Adrianne and Tori all the best in Colorado- and hoping we might see them back here again some day!
Erik, Vader, Adrianne & Tori at their last cross-country drive stop - Kansas.
Right after I came back from my week at Phillip Dutton's, I headed out to Seneca Valley Pony Club's Horse Trial with two students - Diane & Kerry. My new student Diane, and her super cool BIG pony "Mr. President" aka Lincoln, ate up the Novice cross country course, finishing 2nd in their division! This was the first time I'd seen Diane & Lincoln in action at a competition, and I think it's really so helpful to see how horses and riders perform at home versus a competition. Rarely are we the same rider sitting on the same horse! Kerry & Atticus were also out at Seneca, making their second Novice appearance - Kerry had a bit rougher day with a stop on XC, but she came home having learned some valuable lessons about her partnership with Atticus that I expect will really help her at her next outing.
Me, Lincoln & Diane
And I'd also like to introduce Karrie, another new student who I hope we'll see out and about at some starter stuff this fall. Karrie and her super fabulous Baggio comes to us from the hunter world, and she's conquering all kinds of demons out in fields - grass, hills, trees - oh my! But look at that smile on her face in the picture below - this girl is lovin' it! And I think if horses could smile, Baggio'd have a big old grin on his face too!
Karrie & Baggio (photo by Samantha Daley)
Looking forward to seeing everyone at Loch Moy this weekend and next weekend! My mom flies back in tonight to groom for me at both Loch Moys - she loves Loch Moy (but not quite as much as she loves going to Phillip Dutton's!). I'm pretty lucky to have a mom who will travel all the way from California just to be my groom - she definitely deserves some kind of a prize for that!
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Pony Ride Birthday Party
Until he passed out! Lightweight.
And check out this birthday gift from Shane - SHE MADE IT! It's the most beautiful necklace with a tag with Katchi's name cut into it! WOW! She should seriously sell these things - they're beautiful!! And a very special thank you to Kerry who gave me a beautiful collage of photos from our trip to WEG - what great memories! It will make me smile every time I walk past it hanging on the wall at the top of my stairs.
There are days in your life when you just have to sit back and think how wonderful it is to have such amazing people in your life (and horses too!) - today was one of those days! THANK YOU so much to everyone who came out to play at my pony ride birthday party!!!