Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Archive for the ‘Horse Shows’ Category

Fate Speaks

Call it Fate.
Call it God.
Call it the Universe.
Call it the human ability to find patterns in random noise.
Call it whatever you want, I can’t help but feel that I’m being sent a message.

Saddle seat? Absolutely. How much ya want? There are enough lesson horses at Stepping Stone Farm that I could ride a different one every day this week and still ride a new horse in the group lesson on Saturday. Suit? If I gave the word, Coach Courtney would have horses for me to try within days. Shows? I could be showing my heart out this year, if it wasn’t for …

Driving? No problem. How about two different styles in three states? Four, if you count vicarious driving in Kentucky.

Riding my horse? Riding in my discipline(s) of choice? Well …

Progress has been stalled by the horse, e.g. Rodney’s fear of his leather halter [Here We Stand]; by external circumstance, e.g. when my stirrup leather broke during Milton’s rodeo demo [Did I Piss Off the Universe and Not Notice?]; and by internal demons, e.g. my inability to cope with a second set-back [Milton Deconstructed].

The latest in the litany of obstacles.

Milton. We finally (finally, finally) get him to a contained space, only to have the driving going so well (Yay!) that we don’t want to introduce riding just yet. Greg has put in a huge amount of work with Milton. It’s only fair that he gets to reap the benefits for a while.

Rodney. Jump? No? Okay, how about DQ? So, we find a dressage instructor who works well with Rodney and who Rodney likes, only to have Rodney get problematic about shipping to lessons.

Lessons. At the few h/j barns that give school-horse lessons, there is heavy pressure to upgrade to having a horse in training. I don’t know of any event barns that have lesson horses. Even if they did, I don’t want to trot around in circles, hopping school horses over crossrails. To paraphrase Larson’s vulture, Patience my ass, I want to jump something.

BTW, That’s why the ASBs work. I don’t know from saddle seat. Therefore, the equivalent of trotting over crossrails is still amusing.

Bottom Line. I want to ride and show my own horse, one who I have worked and trained (with help) and built a relationship with. That seems to be the one thing Fate/God/the Universe is resisting.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

7 Ways To Dodge Nostalgia


In planning for the CAA Carriage Festival, there was one question on everyone’s mind. How would I handle it? In the end, the weekend didn’t turn out so bad. [Show Report, Show Photos]

Looking Back
I wasn’t nostalgic because … I already held the pity party.

“The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home.” Where I stayed. New owners. Still gorgeous.

For over a decade, I would spend the week of the then-Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event running around the Kentucky Horse Park. I’ve mentioned it once or twice [Peregrinatio in Stabilitate 2012]. When I left WEG on the last day, I made a point of stopping and looking back at the arena, knowing it would be a while before I came back. It was seven years. [Kentucky Memories 2013]

I wasn’t nostalgic because … everything looked different.

I’ve seen Iron Works Pike often, but never from this angle.

The CAA Festival was in the Alltech arena, which was built for WEG in 2010. It stands off to the side behind the maintenance area. So we were on a completely different patch of turf. The trailers were parked in a section of KHP that I didn’t even know existed.

We did not go near the big arena all weekend. I only saw it in the distance. We were specifically told NOT to take the carriages down Nina Bonnie Boulevard, so that we didn’t spook the exhibitors at the Arabian show and they didn’t spook us. When I walked up to see the show, I went through the barns, something I could never do when they were fenced off as FEI stabling. Instead of a trade fair, the covered arena held classes that looked a lot like an ASB show.

Even cross-country looked different. Obviously, the white ropes and flowers were not there. Seeing unbarricaded, naked jumps was odd. Plus the jumps themselves have changed. Now it’s all portables, skinnies, and angled lines. Difficult, but not the heart-stopping impossibility of a broken bridge.

Lexington has changed, as cities do over time. deSha’s is gone, which seems unreal, Herald-Leader: It’s closing time for deSha’s restaurant in downtown Lexington.

DeSha’s corner is to the left. I refuse to take a picture of the global brand that now occupies the space.

OTOH, we discovered North Lime Coffee & Donuts which produced a pastry product that tested my loyalty to Dunkin’ Donuts. We would have gone back every day had their hours been more horse show friendly.

Looking Around
I wasn’t nostalgic because … I was busy.
No princessing permitted [Reign of the Swan Princess, Show Report]. If something needed to be done to the horses, one of the four of us had to do it. I loved it. IRL, I’m horrible barn help. I do good work but I’m too slow to be a professional. However, for the handful of days at a show, I am an awesome groom: perky, organized, obsessive. Everything one would want in a minion.

Taking care of what’s important.

Didn’t get to Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Didn’t get to Commotion to try on schooling jods. Didn’t get to Freedmans to drool over leather goods. Did get to Old Kentucky Chocolates.

I wasn’t nostalgic because … I have new friends.

The Lexington Junior League Charity Horse Show takes place the week after CAA. Stepping Stone Farm came up to represent in the Adult Eq division, Upton Claims Back-to-Back USEF Saddle Seat Adult Amateur Medal Final Titles. Despite all that time in Lexington. I had never seen the Red Mile. Heard of, yes. Driven past, sure. Gone to see? No. Now that I had a reason, we stopped on the way home out to check out the showgrounds.

Sunday morning during our doughnut run, I texted Coach Courtney.

Sunday afternoon, she texted back.

Photo by Courtney Huguley

Missed ’em by that much.

Looking Forward
I wasn’t nostalgic because … the carriages will be back.
Will we go to CAA next year? Depends what horse Greg is driving. On one hand, it’s hunterland in a cart. On the other hand, we do not suffer an overabundance of driving competition opportunities. Plus, half of the classes were speed classes, even if one does have to do them in fancy dress.

I wasn’t nostalgic because … the Saddlebreds will be back.
In 2018, the Junior League show is moving to KHP, in the big arena no less. I’ve read what they said publicly in the Special Junior League of Lexington Announcement. Since it is the horse world, I have to imagine an element of drama accompanied that decision. One reason given was the all-weather footing. Remember, show Saddlebreds do not consider themselves to be all-terrain vehicles.

Memories of #thelastmile, Red Mile 2017.
Photos by Courtney Huguley

I wonder if I could start a movement for an Adult Leadline class.

I wasn’t nostalgic because … I’ll be back.
Would I forego an event in Georgia that was closer to me or drive right past a hunter/jumper show in Tennessee just to compete at the Kentucky Horse Park? Absolutely.

Rolex in Rodney’s Saga over the years [list of posts].

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Photos: CAA Carriage Festival 2017

CAA Carriage Festival
Alltech Arena
Kentucky Horse Park
Lexington KY, USA
June 30-July 2, 2017
[Show Report]

Bliss is revved up from winning the timed obstacle class.

On a Sunday drive through the Kentucky Horse Park.

The Sunday drive as seen from the back seat.

Jewel and Kate behind the Alltech arena

Kate’s phancy phaeton earns a gold certificate in the carriage judging.

Carriage closeup.

Whip Hand Farm photos by Kate Bushman and Kevin Smith.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Report: CAA Carriage Festival 2017

Driving Thursday

CAA Carriage Festival
Alltech Arena
Kentucky Horse Park
Lexington KY, USA
June 30-July 2, 2017

Whip Hand Farm ribbons

Greg & Bliss
21 Utility Vehicle Working – 4th of 7
22 Utility Vehicle Timed Obstacles – 1st of 7
23 Utility Vehicle Reinsmanship – 1st of 7
Utility Vehicle Reserve Champion

55 Double Jeopardy Single Horse with Kate Bushman as second driver – 1st of 3

Presentation Pleasure Drive – no place

Thank you to Kate Bushman for the horse, for the coaching, and for dragging us CDE types to a pleasure carriage show.

Official Photographer – Casey McBride. Friday Afternoon, Saturday Morning & Afternoon, Sunday #387-403. Bay horse, black jacket, helmet. In the Sunday photos, the red hat in the photos before ours is Coach Kate, accompanied by her husband, driving Jewel.

Thursday in the warm-up ring. Bliss & Greg are not in frame.

First Class – Zoom, Zoom
I thought the pair looked marvelous, full of style & flair. The judge, not so much. She thought they were too fast. Pfffft.

Second & Third Class – In Our Wheelhouse

Simple cones courses while wearing fancy dress. Piece of cake. In Double Jeopardy, Greg drove the course, switch drivers, Coach Kate drove the course backwards. Not clear which of the three had more fun.


Fourth Class – Redemption
After going too fast the day before, and two speed classes that day, could he reel it all back in? Why yes he could. For carriage driving, as with saddle seat, one trots into the ring. Greg walked down the entry chute. The audience – including yours truly – wondered why. As Bliss passed the ingate, Greg asked for the trot. It set the tone for the class: sedate, mannerly, elegant. I thought it was a snooze. I much prefer the zip of the day before. BSF, the trick is Friday’s energy with Saturday’s control.

The mature part of me recognizes that it’s all about the work. It’s nice to have the work rewarded.

We all got dressed up – with me in groom’s attire – for a drive around the horse park. How cool is that?

Helmet Note
Greg was not the only driver at the show with a helmet, a minority, but not alone. A railbird floated the opinion that Greg’s outfit was too dark. Given the black hunt-cap style helmet and the black apron to match the cart, a dark blue or black jacket are about his only options. I liked how the helmet was integral to the outfit, rather than plopped on top. Plus, the dark outfit drew the eye to the horse. But what do I know. We are as likely to take up pleasure carriage showing as I am to take up hunters.

View From The Back Seat
I. Was. Exhausted. It is way harder to watch than to do. All the nervousness with none of the ability to act. Plus, carriage shows expect decorum from the spectators. I had to stuff a towel in my mouth – seriously – to keep from hootin’ and hollerin’ during the classes.

Heading home with an armload.

Hint solution [What]: We met up with Coach Kate in Franklin TN. She drove the ladies and the cart Greg would use. We followed with a box trailer containing her fancy carriage. No pressure.

Nashville Skyline

Update: the rest of the story, CAA 2017 posts
[What I Love About Lexington]
[Show Photos: CAA Carriage Festival 2017]
[CAA Repercussions]
[7 Ways To Dodge Nostalgia]
[Foto Friday: Instagram July 2017] 4 photos

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

What I Love About Lexington

Saddle Seat Wednesday

Gotta love a town that advertises a horse show on a billboard.

Why were we in Lexington? You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out. (Unless you followed me on Instagram over the weekend, @rodneyssaga.)

Hint: It was not Saddlebreds.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Photos: Mid-South Spring Premiere 2107

With a combo deal from the photographer, I also got Greg’s first victory pass.

Jane Jacobs Photography
[Show Report: Mid-South Spring Premiere 2107, Riding]
[Show Report: Mid-South Spring Premiere 2107, Driving]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Show Report: Mid-South Spring Premiere 2107, Driving

Driving Thursday

Mid-South Spring Premiere
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Northeast Alabama Agribusiness Center
Rainsville, AL

65. Academy Driving
1st – Greg & Memory Lane’s Spice Girl (Posh)
2nd – Katherine & HB Whizbang (Snippy)
Thank you to the Kasparian and Alvis families for their wonderful horses.

Official Photographer: Jane Jacobs Photography
Previous years [list of posts]

Lived Experience
We were equal in the regular trot and the flat walk. The difference was the extended trot. Greg threaded the line between getting the extended trot and keeping Posh from cantering. Me and Mr. Whizbang, not so much.

The extended trot is about power as much as speed. Of one fails to hold the front end, the horse will either run off or completely ignore you. Or both.

The first way, we nailed it. Strong, powerful trot. Beautiful reinsmanship on my part. I was congratulating myself on how wonderful I was (Need to stop doing that! [Report:Flub]), when I realized we were cantering. Ooops. It was a few steps in a back corner. Dunno if the judge saw.

The second way, I never got nuthin’. I was holding. I really was. I thought I was. Let’s go to the tape.

Photographic Record
First photo, awesome entry pass. Sitting up. Nice contact. This is the photo I bought. Over the course of the class, Mr. Whizbang slowing talks me out of more and more rein. By the last pass – when I was trying so hard to get the second extended trot – the reins are floating along his back. I’m still sitting up in fine style, but I have thrown the reins away. I’m basically saying, ‘Go Horsie Go’ and hoping the extended trot fairy wafts by.

While I thank Mr. Whizbang for a lovely drive, it appears that he still has my number.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott