Earlier this week, things weren’t looking good for Catalina Sherwood as she pursued her dream of riding at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, a unique national head-to-head competition for adult amateur and open riders of all levels being held November 5-8, 2015 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. After a long van ride from Tucson, Ariz., her eight-year-old RPSI mare Razmitaz wasn’t her usual self.
“She wasn’t feeling well when she came off the trailer, but the wonderful show vets from Hagyard Equine Medical Institute got right on it and it turned out she was coming down with shipping fever,” Sherwood explained. “So we didn’t know if we’d even get to ride. Fortunately she responded to treatment and bounced right back, but it was quite a dramatic few days.”
Despite the worry, Razmitaz rewarded Sherwood’s faith by earning a victory for Region 5 in the First Level Adult Amateur Championship with 69.118%. “She’s half Quarter Horse and half Dutch Warmblood, so she’s an interesting mix and you never know what you’re going to get with her. Some days we call her ‘Ranch Raz’ and other days it’s ‘Spaz Raz’ depending on her mood,” laughed Sherwood.
“But she felt great this morning, so I just focused on riding her just like I do at home and tried not to get distracted by the incredible surroundings here and all the other amazing riders and horses. To end up winning is so much more special after a long week of worry.” Sherwood is just one example of a multitude of inspiring stories at the Finals, especially among the adult amateur ranks. “I’m a working mom with a full-time career in engineering and sales, and my husband Chris is at home with my three-year-old son Marshall, and I couldn’t be here without their support and that of my mom who came to Lexington with me,” she said.
“We all work hard and there’s a lot of early mornings and late nights to try to ride, so it’s really special to be here with so many other amazing amateurs who are doing the same thing.” Reserve Champion was Region 9’s Ashlee Watts, an equine orthopedic surgeon at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas who rode her Danish Warmblood gelding Hampton (Blue Hors Hotline x Madigan L) to 68.284%. “My friends make fun of me because all I talk about is how amazing my horse is, but he is!” said a thrilled Watts. “He hasn’t traveled a lot or done that much showing, so I wasn’t sure how he’d handle all of this but he’s been perfect and happy here.”
The US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan® will conclude on Sunday as the last group of 10 champions for 2015 are crowned. Follow the action through updates on the USDF Facebook page and the US Dressage Finals website, as well as watch live online streaming on the popular USEF Network. To learn more about the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, download competition information, review day sheets and results, and read daily news releases, visit the official event website at www.usdressagefinals.com.