Sunday, May 13, 2012

Winona Horse Trials Domination :)


Bastian and I had an AWESOME weekend at the Winona Horse Trials hosted by Stone Gate Farm in Hanoverton, Ohio. We won our division, finishing on our dressage score of 29.5. Yeah, that’s right. We won. Pardon my 5 year old bragging moment, but WE WON!!!! I never expected to do so well, yes, I wanted to win (who doesn’t?), but I was realistically aiming for a top 5 finish and figured that would be difficult enough with 17 people in my division and riding against professionals that have more experience and more guts than me. So I'm thinking this could be the start of something new....Para-Equestrian Eventing.

We had great rides everyday leading up to the show and had a fantastic dressage tune up on Friday morning with Kristin. On Thursday we jumped two new jumps out in the ring and he never looked at them, just said yes ma’am and jumped them.

My dressage time wasn’t until 2:35. Which if you know me, you know that I don’t eat on show day until after I ride, for various reasons, one of which is nerves. Unfortunately, after walking XC in the morning (not enough time to walk in on Friday!) I was exhausted, that’s a lot of walking, and not only that but its on rough terrain. I have enough trouble walking on the sidewalk and now I am walking through fields with uneven footing and tall grass. (Not to mention Stone Gates fabulous hills…lol). I hobbled my butt back to the trailer and ended up taking a nap in the back seat of Elvis (Cindy’s hauling rig).

During my nap, Cindy and Banff put in a solid dressage test to score a 30.9. While she went to walk the stadium course, I had some lunch. Which I was nervous about because goodness only knows how eating was going to turn out….but I needed some energy so I didn’t have much of a choice. Then I started getting Bastian ready for Dressage. I pulled him off the trailer and you would have thought he owned the place. He stood quietly while I tacked him and redid my hair about three times before I finally thought it was passable. Then we mounted up and headed down to the warm up!

He warmed up like a dream. The warm up was in one of the lower XC fields (not being used on the course on Saturday), he handled the uneven terrain and chaos of the warm-up pretty well, I was very much on the defensive so our warm up happened in little spurts-like 5 strides of trot then walk because someone was coming towards us, then canter a few strides, then walk. Let’s just say that we had our transitions nailed.

He put in a very nice test, I wasn’t even bothered by being in the small arena! LOL We scored a majority of 7s with two 8s and just one or two 6s. I was really looking forward to the rest of the day because Bastian felt soooooo good. Our score after dressage was 29.5. 

Then it was time for jumping! Super excited. I got to wear my vest. I got to wear my medical arm-band. I got to wear my new paper-pinney holder. Yes, I am a geek. I was the fourth to go in stadium and in an effort to avoid any warm-up shenanigans I got there early. He took all the fences wonderfully, we jumped the warm up oxer lots, I was having trouble getting him forward enough, but he was taking the oxer just fine in spite of me. Then we headed down to the stadium ring so I could learn my course.

Bastian was amazing in the ring. This was our first time jumping a course that we had not schooled before. He never questioned a thing, never looked at anything and behaved like quite the gentlemanly hunter in the ring. I needed more pace and more forward and I was thinking it, even if it didn’t actually happen. Progress for sure! Next time maybe I’ll actually have him forward. He saved me over fence 5 and fence 8. I just brought him in funky, but he got to the other side and didn’t touch the rails! So clear it was for us. Did I mention that we CANTERED almost all the fences??? Yup, sure did!

I came out of stadium beaming. On to XC! Just 10 fences stood between Bastian and I and finishing on our dressage score. I had a plan for XC that involved lots of cantering…well that didn’t happen, we actually trotted all of our fences except the last one…lol. The XC was straightforward, but challenging, all of the fences were inviting and Stone Gate did a great job!! There wasn't anything I was particularly concerned with, just wondering how he was going to behave overall, but I had nothing to worry about, he was a machine, he trotted up to each one and hopped right over and then cantered quietly on. I only had to pull him up once after the feeder (fence 4) when he blew through my half halt, so I made him stop then we continued on. His least graceful fence was fence 6, the roll-top. He clunked right on top of it and over it. What a crazy guy. Our best fences were the log in the pavilion (#3), the stumps (#7), and fence #10 (can’t remember the name). He went over everything!!!! I had a blast and although I was riding defensively, he remained the wonderful gentleman he is and really took care of me.

The photographer got some great pictures. (Brant Gamma) When the pictures are posted online, check out my pictures over the feeder. The first picture is us over the fence. Bastian looks great, I have a look of terror on my face because I wasn’t sure about the fence. The next shot is the landing and I look slightly less terrified, then the next shot is one stride out and I have a huge smile because we were still alive! It was pretty funny.

So we did it! We ended on our dressage score of 29.5 and won our division, which also included winning the Thoroughbred Incentive Program award for our division. I got two hugely awesome ribbons and a saddle pad. Cindy and Banff won the TIP award for the Novice division. Team BEC rocked this weekend!!!

We had such a great day on Saturday, it really boosted my confidence. And I have to say that I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I thought I would be, I managed to stay pretty calm and cool and focused all day long. I still need to push B forward more, but we will get it. We can fit in more XC schooling now that the summer is upon us. Next we have two schooling CT, one at Buckeye Horse Park and one at EHSC. I’m doing the BN division at both, as long as Buckeye goes well, I plan on entering the LHPC HT in Erie for the BN division. We also have the Grand Haven dressage show coming up the second weekend in June. Its gonna be a crazy three weeks!


  1. Awesome Katie! I'm proud of you both. Congrats on the ribbions!

  2. Woot! Woot! Congratulations!