Kat reunites with Gil Merrick, former USEF High Performance Dressage Director and US Dressage Team Leader for 2008 Olympics in Beijing at this years WEF. Six years ago Gil gave Kat lessons at her Collecting Gaits Farm on both her mom's Grand Prix Dressage Horse Dueaville, and Kat's first miniature Buttercup. Her parents gave her Buttercup on Kat's first birthday along with Buttercup's just months old son, NutterButter. Collecting Gaits Farm was title sponsor for USEF National Dressage Championships & Olympic Trials for years before Kat came along. "Gil is one of my best friends. When I was like two, he took me swimming in the hotel pool while he was training my mom at a show years ago. Then he would come visit and train me when I was five. Now to come watch me at WEF show and compete my ponies and junior hunter, makes me feel special."
KAT & KEP are a perfect match. "I've been using KEP helmets for over four years. I like the look of them, and love how they have vents! I've had five or six because I love the fashion statement. My favorite is currently brown, totally unexpected in the show ring. The first time out I won Champion in the Large Ponies on Chic In Time at WEF!"
Kat & Finesse RF (Ladybug) bested a field of 37 ponies last week at WEF's $5000 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby placing Second Overall with 83 & 84. Her Goldhill's Arresting Charm came into the second round in 3rd.
Charm had a good chance of winning clearing the field beautifully but sadly I turned left instead of right for the trot jump. Last year Charm won the Deeridge Pony Derby & The Ridge Pony Derby. I was really embarrassed but my Ladybug pony shined through for me. This is her first year competing at WEF with me.
I love derbies and generally have great success. I won at this one the last two years with Charm in 2016 and Somekindawonderful in 2017. This year was very exciting because KEP Helmets & Ego 7 agreed to sponsor me just days before the show. I wore EGO 7's fashionable line of Italian show clothes. Last year F.lli Fabri Boots sponsored me with my very first pair of tall boots, my favorite. They have paddock show boots too. Everyone was so gracious that I took second after making a major rider error. I think it's important to admit we all make mistakes. It's part of riding!
It really is a wrap after three weeks at Atlanta Winter Classic, Kat and her Ponies & Junior Hunter braved the cold, snow and rain. It would not be possible without Michael Newman's superb training & Pepe Escobedo's quality care of Kat's sport horses. The final third show of circuit ended with two Championships in Medium Ponies with Finesse RF, and in Small Ponies with Goldhill's Arresting Charm who also won the Pony Classic with 85 & 83. RS Levitation won his Jr Hunter Over Fences and 3rd overall in the Junior Classic. Chic In Time won his Conformation Over Fences. Elite Show Jumping celebrated 2017 Circuit Awards this past Saturday night, naming Kat in 5 Championships for the year, Children's Hunter High Noon 3E, Small Pony Goldhill's Arresting Charm, Medium Pony Captain America, Large Green Pony & Large Pony both with Chic In Time.
Kat received the USEF Leading Owner Pony Hunter Award last night in Lexington, Kentucky at the 2017 USEF Horse of the Year Awards Gala. Kat is photographed with USHJA President Mary Babick presenting the trophy.