Friday, April 29, 2011

Rolex April 28: Over before it starts for Katie Ruppel

The very first dressage ride Bob and I watched was a non-starter. Katie Ruppel's mount Sir Donavan made a definitive statement: NOT TODAY.

The pair halted at X -- and they stayed halted for about 30 seconds while Katie urged him on, first subtly, then more urgently. He looked very annoyed and nappy. He eventually trotted off, only to stop again a few movements later, for good. He responded to his rider's urging with two huge bucks, but no forward movement. I saw Katie's hand go up, and I believe the judge excused her at her request.

Bob remarked that it's a shame we can't convey to horses when "it really matters" that they obey. I observed that if I were Katie I would probably take him back to his stall and whack him a few times on the butt with a broom, just because.

 Truly, I hope he's okay. My heart breaks for the rider. Here is some footage of Katie Ruppel and Yellow Rose Eventing.


  1. Heather in FloridaApril 29, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    It was truly heartbreaking to see that ride. Yep - if that had been my horse - we would have gone back to a warm up area and I would have worn his rearend OUT (after checking to make sure that something wasn't wrong...which reports are saying that he just had "attitude"). Hopefully next year she'll come back stronger than ever.

  2. Sometimes I think they do things like that BECAUSE they know it really matters! Gotta luv horses! Definitely not like riding a bike.

  3. Sometimes they just have a bad bad day....poor timing though. WOnder what it was though: something medical?

  4. I loved that video - it just makes me like her and want her to do well!

    I also really feel for her. My horse shut down on me at our first rated show - hello, scores in the 40's on a horse who should score in the 70s. That was frustrating and embarassing - but that was nothing like having your horse do that to you at Rolex! I hope it's something minor making him do that, whether unhappy with the warmup or a minor physical issue that is easily solved and not recurrent. Just something that it's not a repeat problem for her, and she can go on to success. And good for her for being willing to announce her goals - wanting to make an Olympic team is ambitious for anyone, and I wish it were more acceptable for people to admit that sort of goal!

  5. Oh, dear, that is just horrible. That naughty, naughty horse. Maybe she DID let him know via body language that it really counted, and that's what made him tense up and go "NOPE?" Just a thought... At any rate, I hate to hear of someone's hard work being derailed in such a humiliating way.

    Have a blast there, and please give my regards (you know my real name) to Melissa at the Secretariat Center booth, if she's there. I'm hoping to lend them a hand next year!

  6. How devastatingly disappointing that must be. I'm with your husband - it would be very useful to be able to do that.
    My horse Rogo used to do that when he was REALLY green (as opposed to somewhat green that he is now :) ) - he'd just stop in his tracks and nothing would convince him to go forward. Hope he doesn't try it in a show.

  7. I hope she has him checked out to make sure he's okay. When my horses stop like that there is definitely something WRONG.

    If he is truly okay, the bottom line: it only "really matters" to his rider and the people who are paying for him to be there. To him, it's a strange place, another day, doing something that may not be very fun for him to do. He's not a bad horse for expressing an opinion.

    In my opinion.

  8. You know, I hate to keep harping on this, but that is exactly the kind of behavior my Tucker demonstrates when he is in some kind of pain--in particular when he had ulcer flareup.

    The broom, in that case, would not do too much good. It's surely disappointing, but I'd wager Katie's horse was trying to tell her something.

  9. "....what a lovely and talented young woman, her dedication shines right through in that video and as such, I'm so sorry that she had to experience a false start. But hey, I'm sure we'll see more of her and her wonderful mounts!"


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