For the young Katie Robicheaux, the 2008 World Young Horse Championships were an excellent learning experience. Her first time competing against the big guns, Robicheaux put in two highly consistent rides that earned her marks between 7.2 and 7.62.
In the first round, Robicheaux landed a 34th place just behind Hoffmann with a 7.2 score. Aboard her 5-year old gray Dutch warmblood gelding Williams (by Paddox x Michelangelo), Katie was the third combination to enter the ring for the preliminary test. Williams is a tall, impressive gray gelding with a beautiful front. In trot, he has an active, energetic hind leg, in canter he is ground covering but slightly croupe high so he could move more uphill. In walk, the gelding has two to three hooves overtrack but could be clearer in the rhythm and have more freedom in the shoulder, so that the front leg stretches further forwards . The mistakes in the ride were more from a training technical basis. In trot, the horse needed more bending in the body. Katie rushed her horse into the rein back, not taking the time to let him halt properly and take nice diagonal steps backwards. He scored 7.6 for trot, an undervalued 5.8 for walk, a 7.8 for canter, a 7.5 for submission and a 7.3 for general impression.
In the consolation finals, Katie spiced up her act and was more accurate in her riding. The judges witnessed the improvement and pushed up the scores to a 7.76 total mark which placed her 15th in the ranking.
Robicheaux is originally from Lake Charles, LA, but moved to Houston, TX, in the fall of 2007, as her father had to relocate for his job and did not want to do a long commute. They gave up their own Lake Charles' farm and became boarders in Texas. With the Danish warmblood gelding Jordy, Katie traveled to Florida to compete on the 2005 Dressage in Florida show circuit and she was also active in the 2006 Markel Amateur Dressage Championship at third level. Through her U.S. trainer Ed Borresen, Jordy found a new horse with a rider of the University of Findlay.
In 2005 Katie's mom Jennie purchased Williams as a 3-year old in The Netherlands, Katie got the opportunity to train with Anne van Olst in The Netherlands one year later. She gained show experience with Williams competing in the Dutch Young Horse circuit, called Pavo Cup. The combination rode a second place earning score of 7.3 at the 2007 Pavo Cup qualifier in Midden Beemster. In the 2007 Pavo Cup semi finals, the pair scored 7.6 and 7.4.
Robicheaux' American trainer Monica Sinks is thrilled that her ex-patriot student Katie did well in Europe. "Katie trained with us from when she was 14 to 22. We found Williams for her through Al Guden, but she elected to keep him in Holland. We are very sorry not to have Katie and Williams in our barn as she had certainly become part of the family. We are very proud and happy for her."