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Friday, November 4, 2011

Featured Horse ***As You Wish WF***

As You Wish WF, or Kitty as she is known around the barn, is a highly entertaining mare with loads of personality! She is a reserved and dignified mare who shows her sweet and demonstrative side after a nice cross country run.

Kitty was born here on a cool March day and was the only foal we ever had from our Volturno daughter Volante. Volante was rescued from an unfortunate situation - sadly her older full brother and dam were unable to be saved. In spite of her rough beginning, Volante was a fun horse and went on to have a super riding career. Emily competed her through Prix St. Georges and both Emily and I evented her through Preliminary. Volante's dam was owned by a customer of Denny Emerson and competed through Intermediate and with her illustrious sire, it was not a surprise that she had a super gallop, huge stride and loved to event. She was also a great horse to foxhunt with one exception - she was a lanky 17.2 and many of the forrest trails are trimmed to a height appropriate for a 15 hand horse - so those rides involved a lot of ducking and cobwebs!

In any case, we opted to breed Volante to Adamant late in life and that breeding produced Kitty!

Kitty was a vast improvement on her dam, mentally, conformationally and correctness of movement. We opted to breed her as a 4 year old in order to secure her genetics for another generation of horses to enjoy either here on the farm or in sport. Her filly by Waldaire was a bit of surprise when she arrived - she was black! Needless to say, it was a delight to have such a nice foal and Kitty began her undersaddle career after weaning.

Kitty was easy to start, fun to ride but didn't seem to relish life in the dressage arena. We sent her to Sally Cousins in Aiken in the winter of 2008. While there, Kitty learned all about eventing, scooters, dogs, ATV's, and all the other bits of excitement that are 'normal' to an event horse. She was reported as being steady in the open and blossomed into a cross country lovin' horse!

In the late summer, I began competing Kitty at Novice level and moved up to Training in the spring of 2010 after a 12 year hiatus from eventing. For a rusty Dressage Queen, she was (and still is) the ideal horse. She is bold and careful out cross country with a natural uphill gallop, quick reaction time and sensible good nature. Also from the DQ perspective, she is the ideal dressage horse - a bit of an internalizer who needs the rider's confidence and reassurance that it will be ok in the flat, fenced box. :)

For part of the winter of 2010, Kitty spent time at Phillip and Evie Dutton's barn in Aiken with Ryan Wood taking over the ride. That went well, I enjoyed getting a super tuned up Kitty back in April and we competed through June of that year at Training and were preparing to move up to Preliminary. Then the pesky Mid-Atlantic weather pattern kicked in - our cool temperatures disappeared, the good footing turned to concrete, so galloping long distance and jumping several days each week got shelved - with the idea of competing lightly in the fall season and then another winter down in Aiken for both Kitty and me! Sounds super exciting, right? Unfortunately, a car wreck totally changed that plan and Kitty has shifted to more of a school mistress roll here on the farm with my hope that someday I will be able to jump again.

Here are some shots of Kitty with our 2011 working students -

There is a mix of video footage of Kitty and her daughter Wilona HERE. She is fun to ride - like all the horses I've been lucky to ride for several years, our relationship has evolved into a well rehearsed bit of conversation. I have complete faith in her to take care of me in the area where I lack confidence (cross country where those jumps do not come down!) and we work together in show jumping and dressage! She has throughly enjoyed having younger riders as she is a bit of an Alpha...her cheeky side peeks out at me and I laugh at her for getting up to her old tricks. That being said, she was a marvelous tool for less experienced riders - if they were told to change their way of riding, Kitty would respond instantly to the correction. A true gift to a rider who is learning 'feel'. :)

So hopefully that gives everyone a bit of insight of what makes our Kitty tick. :)

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