As the Hotwalker Turns: A state-of-the-union address

Columnist/eventer Katy Groesbeck has been too busy winning everything in sight to write for us lately (just teasing, Katy–keep doing what you’re doing!). Today she catches us up.

From Katy:

So here we are, June 15, 2012 (well, not by the time you read this, but you get it). That’s about as middle-of-the-year as you can get, and I think that’s a great time for both reflection on the year that’s already passed and goal-setting for the year that’s yet to come.

Today while on the trail with my horse, I couldn’t help but think back to six months ago, New Year’s Day–and it seems like only yesterday! I was at Terry and Linda Paine’s beautiful Kingsway Farm in Temecula, CA (home of Gin n’ Juice and 5 O’Clock Somewhere when they’re not world-traveling) for a Buck Davidson clinic, enjoying Day 2 with some wonderful people in varying degrees of hungoverness (I hear they throw a mean party down at Copper Meadows!). As of then, I was still itching to get out of the start box again and rectify a poor (and costly) ride to a fence in the CCI2* at Galway Downs in November. I was still dreaming of my first run at Advanced and admittedly still very much star-struck by both Buck and Hawley Bennett-Awad (the first few minutes of the clinic were along the lines of, “Is HE talking to ME???!!” ). And, additionally, I was making resolutions to never ever ever ever ever slouch again, on or off a horse; when Kristi Nunnink picks on you, she does it thoroughly!!  😉

I feel like both my horse and I have grown up so much since then. Admittedly the slouching is still an issue on most days, but beside that I feel like we have both matured years in just this short time.  In addition to running our first Advanced horse trials together, Wort and I have also put two solid wins in the books at the CIC2* and Advanced levels and are now entered to run the CIC3* in Montana (keep your fingers crossed for grant money! THANKS to USEA and Rebecca Broussard for helping to make dreams come true). Wort and I have also experienced new ways to be eliminated and subsequently learned how to move on from those less-than-stellar moments. And although he might not be Mystery Whisper, I (re)discovered that my horse is capable of some some pretty kick-ass dressage!

Since January 1, I have also started writing for Horse Nation and have gotten to meet some more fellow horse nuts fanatics. I’ve made several new friends from all over the country and have made some important new connections.  I also gained two very important and invaluable sponsors, FLAIR Nasal Strips and Ride on Video, who now accompany my other great sponsors, Meditrax, Sonoma Saddle Shop, and MDC Stirrups, in keeping my horse and I well-equipped to perform our best.  I’ve had numerous friends and family members contribute blood, sweat, tears, and money to the adventure that is the path to the Upper Levels, and my amazing boyfriend also designed a logo for my budding business and has helped encourage me to live out my dreams. And to top it all off, I wrote down on OFFICIAL PAPERWORK that I have plans to go to Rolex next year.  This blows my mind every single day, but as they say, YOLO! (I think that’s what they say. Truth be told, I only learned what that meant last week.  I’m really new to trendy lingo, but since I have a degree in Linguistics I feel obligated to stay current).

However, I’m not the first to experience the thrill of being on the brink of seeing some of your biggest dreams potentially come true. Many have been there before me, many will be there after me, and I think it is a feeling that never really goes away when you ride and compete.  Each day can bring total heartache or tears of joy, and it’s all relative to where you set your sites.

That being said, I think I might be the first to state publicly that being the owner of an upper level horse is MUCH HARDER than being the rider of an upper level horse. Seriously, it takes balls nerves of steel.  It would be one thing if I had deep pockets and could just buy my horse the fanciest things and treat him with the most luxurious remedies and therapies and know that I could fix any ailment that befell him, Heaven forbid. But I don’t. Instead, I pray to God (this horse has turned me religious, it seems) that his good upbringing, active lifestyle, healthy diet, and routine vet care have equipped him with the means he needs to keep going strong. I haven’t ever taken unnecessary risks, but it seems these days that what I’d like to do most is buy out Staples’ entire stock of bubblewrap and encase Wort in it.

But I don’t. My parents raised me to know that the healthiest and happiest horses are those who are allowed to live like horses. I try very hard to not let dreams of Rolex unduly alter the way I treat my horse and the things I do with him. Every day I go to the barn, I take a mental snapshot of eyes, ears, nose, tail, legs etc., and then try to CHILL THE HECK OUT!! It’s not easy. I am ashamed to admit that I’ve had the vet out twice for no reason at all, as it turns out, other than pure neurosis.  She takes it with good humor and reasonable sums of money, thankfully.

So here’s hoping that my sanity holds out for another month, and hopefully in that time I will be able to add a CIC3* completion to the year’s tally. Fingers (and toes, and even legs ── my dad would be so proud) crossed!!

‘Til next time,



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