On the back of her wildly rearing Thoroughbred, and terrified, Cherie Chauvin’s heart was in her throat.
Years earlier, a horse had pulled a similar maneuver while she was in the saddle, and wound up flipping over on top of her, and badly breaking her leg.
But this time, she did not fall when her beloved Thoroughbred Katchi Kapshi reared while schooling over a cross-country course; she clung tight with her seat and with poise and determination, eased him over obstacles, and past the unfamiliar ditches that spooked him, so he might become a shining eventing star.
This was, after all, a great horse, and she was determined to work with him, to help him, and to see him shine.
During their six years together, Katchi and Chauvin have ridden with and been instructed by the finest equestrians working, including Phillip Dutton, James Wofford and Silva Martin.
And through it all, Katchi has blossomed into an eye-catching animal with the physique of a body builder and the talent of a ballerina.
As 2013 gets underway, the pair is poised to ride at 3rd level, a feat that is simply astonishing, given their humble beginnings.
Offering Off-TrackThoroughbreds.com an update on her life with Katchi, Chauvin tells us that things keep getting better and better:
“After an amazing year in 2011, Katchi and I were poised for even more amazing events in 2012— until I gave him 2 weeks off in January.
“He came in from the field crippled for no apparent reason!
“It took almost five months to fully diagnose and treat his malady, but thankfully we were allowed to keep up our dressage work through much of the testing, treating, and retesting process.
“While the year was a near total disappointment in eventing (Katchi did win his one and only event in 2012!), I’m very excited about our dressage progress!
“This year Katchi earned me the USDF Rider Performance award at 2nd level, and we have our eyes set on 3rd level.
“I’m not sure I ever thought I’d be able to ride at 3rd level, and the prospect of doing it with an OTTB I’ve taught everything to, is nothing short of fantastic!
“Everyone keeps saying Katchi looks so great, and I just laugh!
“It’s because he looks like a body builder dressage horse instead of an anorexic eventer! All his horse Pilates work has really puffed him up in all the right places!
“I’m trying to take 2013 in stride and just let him tell me where we will head next, but it’s hard not to get a little excited about the competition year when you’re sitting on a horse that feels so amazing!”