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Mikki Kuchta

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When Eventer Problems Strike During Cross Country

What would you do if your reins came unbuckled during a cross country round? That was the dilemma Mikki Kuchta found herself in while competing in the Advanced A division at The Fork with Rubens D'Ysieux. They are just fine after Mikki took a tumble in the second water complex, and she said their plans are still a go for Rolex. Kick on, Mikki!

Mikki Kuchta and Rubens D'Ysieux at the first water complex at fence 9. If you look closely, you can see her reins had already come unbuckled by this point on course. Photo by Jenni Autry. Mikki Kuchta and Rubens D'Ysieux at the first water complex at fence 9. If you look closely, you can see her reins had already come unbuckled by this point on course. Photo by Jenni Autry.

There is a story behind my fall in the Advanced Division A at the Fork. Rubens and I were having a super round with him handling the mound combination at fence 6 and the water complex at fence 9 beautifully. Then as I galloped away from the water complex, something was banging against my boot. I looked down and realized that my reins had become unbuckled. So now I have one rein in each hand, wondering how this is going to effect my ride.

As I’m pondering this, we jump the ditch and angled brush and gallop towards the next water. I knew I would need to slip my reins as that aqueduct tends to jump big and Rubens jumps big , particularly with his hind end. But if I were to slip my unbuckled reins the risk of losing one entirely seemed very likely, so I lengthened my reins and prepared to jump into the second water. Rubens jumped big, and on landing he pulled me right over his head. Reins not lengthened enough !#%&$

20/20 after thought … Jimmy Wofford asked me why I didn’t just re-buckle them while galloping … but Rubens was still pretty strong at this point, and I was unsure about looping the reins and trying to buckle them. Then someone asked why I didn’t just stop and buckle them? Now that is a good question … but it never crossed my mind.

Eventer problems … next time we will use electrical tape, knots, maybe some bailing twine, duct tape of course and zip ties just to be sure. Fortunately neither horse nor rider were hurt.

Meet the Area I NAJYRC Team

Area 1 is proud to announce the line-up for our 2015 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships team. This year we have one two-star rider and four one-star riders.

Area I CH-Y** Rider

Madison Gallien, 19, from Lebanon, New Hampshire, rides her own 15-year-old Irish/Selle Francais gelding Beau Voyager, “Beau.” She has had him for two years, and they moved up to the Intermediate level last summer.

In September of last year, they had a strong run at their first CIC2* at Plantation Field, finishing on their dressage score. This spring they ran a couple Intermediate horse trials in preparation for their first CCI2* at Bromont, where they ran well and qualified for this year’s NAJYRC.

Madison attributes much of her horsemanship and riding successes to Joe Forrest and Deborah Dean-Smith. When asked how she became interested in riding , she said her mother rode and always had horses.

Her horse Beau is notorious for jumping over pasture fencing. We are assuming he stays inside temporary stalls! Before Madison starts any phase, she twirls a bit of Beaus mane in her fingers and scratches his withers.

Anna Billings and Aint' Misbehavin'. Photo by Gwen Billings.

Anna Billings and Aint’ Misbehavin’. Photo by Gwen Billings.

Area I Junior Team

Anna Billings, 17, from Sherborn, Massachusetts rides her own 16-year-old Thoroughbred/Canadian Sport Horse mare Ain’t Misbehavin’, “Ruby.”

She has been riding Ruby for two years and has been riding at the Preliminary level for one year. This pair had a strong finish at their first CCI*, placing sixth last November at Virginia. This spring they placed fifth at University of New Hampshire.

Anna would like to thank her long time coach Carol Mayo and Babette Lenna for all their help with her riding. Her mother’s passion for horses and riding was passed on to Anna.

She told us that Ruby makes funny faces, specifically a lip wiggle when excited. Anna’s ritual is always walking through the finish flags of cross country and show jumping. Her favorite phase? Yup: Cross country.

Katie Lichten, 17, from Hamilton, Massachusetts, rides her own 9-year-old Hanoverian/Holsteiner gelding RF Luminati, “Toothless” (from How to Train Your Dragon).

She has had Toothless for one year but starting riding at the Preliminary level two years ago. This pair most recently had a fantastic outing at the Virginia CCI*, placing fourth. They also placed third in the CIC* at Fair Hill in April.

Katie attributes her riding accomplishments to Jan Bynny and Suzie Gornall. She is yet another rider on the team who loves cross country because she likes to go fast! Katie got hooked on horses at the very young age of 2, when she and her sister had a babysitter that rode.

Toothless will perform a variety of tricks for treats: nodding his head or lifting his upper lip. Katie’s competition ritual is to knock on rails when walking her show jumping course.

Mariah Gallien, 17, from Lebanon, New Hampshire, is Madison’s younger sister. She rides her own 19-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Clonmethan Crest, “Crest.” She has had him for two years and moved up to Preliminary less than a year ago.

They qualified for NAJYRC this May at he Virginia CCI*. They have had three top-five finishes this past year at King Oak Farm, Virginia and GMHA.

She would like to thank Joe Forrest and Deb Dean-Smith for so much help with her riding. She became interested in riding because her mother Stacey always had horses.

Crest has a habit of pawing. Mariah carries a four leaf clover in her armband for good luck.

Caitlin Tierney and Killea Gynis View. Photo by Tom Tierney.

Caitlin Tierney and Killea Gynis View. Photo by Tom Tierney.

Caitlin Tierney, 16, from New York City, rides her father Tom’s 9-year-old, 18.2-hand Irish Sport Horse gelding Killea Gynis View “Gynis.”

She took over the ride almost a year ago and has been competing at the Preliminary level for less than a year. This pair also qualified fro NAJYRC at the CCI* in Virginia a month ago. They had a strong spring competing in Aiken, including winning the Preliminary division at Poplar Place in March.

Caitlin would like to acknowledge her long time trainer Heidi White and Jane Rodd for their instruction. Her passion for horses began at a county fair, when she had her first pony ride. She then proceeded to drag her father into the sport of eventing as well.

Gynis also has the habit of sticking his upper lip out. Caitlin always walks through both the start and finish flags of both jumping phases at competitions.