Cathy Wieschhoff just informed us that the University of Kentucky eventing team is joining forces with the school’s dressage team to form a sledjoring team. Team members Liz Wise, Hannah Forte, Hannah Kembel, Kimmy Cecere, Sophie Ward and Aileen O’Brien have been busily preparing for their first sledjoring competition, as you’ll see in their training footage video.
When asked why the team decided to take up sledjoring, Cathy, the team’s coach, said it was out of sheer desperation for something to do. “With so much snow on the ground and temperatures so cold, they literally ran out of ways to occupy their time,” Cathy said. “They actually started polishing the D-rings on all the saddles in the tack room. Who does that?”
Kimmy’s mare Scarlett O’Hara, who competes at Preliminary level during months when the world isn’t frozen, serves as the anchor horse for the team, and she seems to be learning the ropes well in the video. You’ll also catch a glimpse of Kimmy’s dog Kaya, the official team mascot, who takes her duties very seriously, Kimmy said.
“Kaya insists on being there for every team practice,” Kimmy said. “We almost lost her during one practice when the polar vortex winds blew her across the arena. Thankfully, she had a soft landing with so much snow covering the footing — not that I remember what the footing looks like. What’s footing, again?”
The team is currently borrowing a sled from Cathy’s son, Lucas, but they’ll be selling homemade snow cones on UK’s campus while the polar vortex continues to raise the funds they need to purchase their own equipment. “We just thought with so much snow on the ground it made sense to put it to good use,” Liz Wise, team captain, said. “Oh, God. What am I saying? Get me out of here!”
Sounds like a Disney movie in the making. Step aside, Jamaican bobsled team. It’s sledjoring season. Only 50 days until spring.