Gotta pay for this daft obsession of mine somehow..
I agreed to vet at Katanning some months ago. The closer it got to the day, the more I wished I was riding instead. Ho hum – I couldn’t back out without letting a lot of people down, so on Friday afternoon I threw my swag, pillow, and all important insulated travel mug and red wine glass in the car and drove the (this time, short) distance to Katanning. it took me an hour and a bit – VERY different to the trip to Payne’s Find!
The ride base was GORGEOUS: the lady who used to live there was into carriage driving so we had a fenced dressage arena with floodlights for our vet ring, a proper office, a caravan to sleep in (bliss) and a HUGE flat grassy paddock for float parking and horse yards. I couldn’t quite believe it was a private property.
In no time flat after arrival we were vetting in the usual string of gorgeous horses (why are so many Arabs grey?):
Some of them were feeling a tad – ahem – exuberant in the cold weather:
Katanning offered a 120km (75 mile) elevator ride as well as an 80km, 40km and 20km. An elevator ride allows you to enter for the longer distance, then at the end of 80 of the 120km, depending on how the horse is travelling etc etc you can decide whether to “elevate” to the longer distance or not. If you elect to withdraw at 80km, provided the horse passed the vet check at that stage, you still get completion credits for the 80km. It’s a nice way for people to have a go at stepping up to the longer distances.
This does however mean a VERY early start.. I didn’t need to be on deck in the vet ring until 6 a.m. but of course the horses leaving for the 120 at 5 woke me, so I gave up and got out of bed. It was FREEZING: just before the sun came up down came the frost.. It was a nice sunrise though.
We had a lovely fire in the vet ring, from which we scuttled as horses were presented, and we were able to warm our hands under their rugs!
There were 12 entries in the 120km (3 legs, so vet checked 4 times all up), 32 in the 80km (3 vet checks each), 21 in the 40km (2 vet checks) and 25 in the 20km (2 vet checks). That’s – um – 236 vet checks shared between three vets, one of whom was only there for the Saturday. Call it 225, allowing for those who vetted out or withdrew. At each vet check my stethoscope is put in my ears twice.
I had sore ears by the end of the day… But it was nice to see so many entries.
It stayed cold but sunny all day. Lots of happy riders:
I wanted to take this bloke home:
There were a number of vet outs for lameness, and I seemed to see every one of them. I hate vetting out horses, but lameness generally falls into the “shit happens” category and does not mean anyone did anything wrong. It’s still frustrating though.
8 out of 12 finished the 120km: two were lame, one withdrew after getting lost, and the fourth withdrew as the horse was not travelling as well as expected. Smart riding. 26 of 32 (81%) of the 80km riders finished. All but one of those who did not complete were as a result of lameness. The last withdrew as she felt something “off” in her horse, but was not lame at the vet check (if you withdraw, you still have to pass a vet check post withdrawing).
I went home tired but happy, but a tad itchy to actually RIDE rather than vet…
Just as well, then, that Quilty prep starts now. We have a 60km (37.5 miles) scheduled in 2 weeks, then a couple of 80s over the following month, and it’s only 11 weeks to go till the big one. Time to walk that fine line between being fit enough and not breaking my horse… Wish me luck.
I sent in my entry this morning..